Monday, September 21, 2009

Braggin rights!

Dallas came home with his first 4.5 weeks school progress report today. He was previously dx with moderate to severe ADHD and medicated for it. He's been on NO ADHD meds since June. He began and is presently on a bipolar mood stabilizer that is known to also help PTSD and anxiety disorder issues. There have been no reports of ADHD-like behaviors at school this year. At all.

In general education he received:

S in communications
S+ in mathematics
S+ in social growth and development
NO absences
NO tardies
NO flipped color cards

In his IEP goal/SLS progress report:

1. 2 of 2 Benchmarks - Dallas partcipates in all activities! Making progress - expect goal completion.
2. 2 of 2 Benchmarks - Dallas works very hard in the resource room! Making progress - expect goal completion.
3. 2 of 2 Benchmarks - Good Start! Making progress - expect goal completion.
4. 2 of 2 Benchmarks - Dallas is very successful in his homeroom class! Making progress - expect goal completion.

We are SO freakin happy and proud of him!! And so thankful for good doctors and good therapists too.

Just had to share brag. ;-)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hurt and Hugs

It's been one full month since school has been back in session, no ADHD medications, and still no indications of ADHD symptoms in class. At Dallas' therapy session yesterday, we pretty much came to the conclusion that his ADHD behaviors were mainly mood, anxiety, sensory and PTSD-related. It appears that his original diagnosis of ADHD by his first psychiatrist, may have been a misdiagnosis.

This is extremely troubling, particularly since we were aware (and made his pdoctor aware) that there was a biological history of bipolar disorder, depression and alcohol/substance abuse. The indicators were there, but I fear this old doctor is also "old school" regarding the possibility that young children can have bipolar disorder. This was the same doctor who prescribed a tricyclic antidepressant, on top of Ritalin, for his suicidal ideation, rather than consider bipolar disorder, and the danger of prescribing antidepressants to a bipolar person. From all that I've read and researched, and given that there is a biological history of BP, a doctor must assume bipolar disorder is a possibility before giving a child or an adult antidepressant, and not assume they should the first line of defense against depression.

I'm am so grateful that my own mommy instinct kept me from giving him that medication, and that research pushed me to seek out another psychiatrist. The old doctor? Is still diagnosing and despensing medication for children in DCF custody and residential treatment facilities and group homes in particular. Scary.

We had our first set-back since starting Lamictal, last Friday evening. It was pretty awful, and the worst of the violent rage lasted about 30 minutes and ended in an episode that can only be described as a PTSD "flash back" and emotional break down as memories came flooding back. It was absolutely heart-breaking. At the same time, it is also something to feel more positive about as he is finally beginning to recognize and verbalize these awful memories and feelings and each time is another break through. The events that happened to him when he was pre-verbal are just now begining to surface as triggers, and be verbalized as memories. If only we could find a way to help him purge them. He's just barely beginning to understand them at this point, so it will be a long road. :-(

That episode was far removed from how things have been on Lamictal, and for that we are very grateful. We believe it was triggered by tiredness, which triggered aggression, which triggered memories, and on it progresses to the meltdown point... Our focus right now is to try and ensure (somehow) that he gets a good night's sleep -- which hasn't been occurring with multiple wakings in the night. He seems to be back on track though.

A really great thing happened at a school event I was working at last night, however. For the past year or so, Dallas has been too embarrassed and cool to hug or kiss me good bye or hello in front of his friends at school. The most I usually get is a very slight "I love you" hand sign down by his side so only I see it... hehehe.

Last night at this school event, he walked up to me several times, without any prompting whatsoever and hugged and hugged me and said "I love you so much Mom". Right in front of his friends, students, parents and the whole world! One mom even remarked to me that was something you don't see every day, and she was glad to see that some boys still did that to their moms in public, and how sweet and loving he is. It was so nice and just melted my heart.

I was just beaming inside. And secretly?.... I kind of laughed to myself thinking, you have no idea that he kicked me, threw his DS game at me and told me he hated me 3 days ago, so this public display of affection among his peers was pretty MAJOR for him. And for me.

He told me later he did that because he wanted to prove to me how much he loves me and that he doesn't mean to say and do the mean things he does. Pretty profound for a 7 year old with so many mixed up emotions to even look beyond his own feelings and needs.

I know he really does love me. I so wish I could find a way to make the pain, hurt and torture in his mind stop. All I can do is show him I love him, and keep looking for answers.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Teach a Man to Fish....

Labor Day fishing trip. Just sharing a few photos... because I can ;-)

I hope yours was a good one too.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"You're stupid, Mom!"

That's as bad as it's gotten. Heh. The words of choice during meltdown used to be "I hate you, I'll kill you, I'll kill myself!"... now I'm just stupid.

Can I say how happy hearing this (in comparison anyway) makes me, without letting my kiddo know, and without

In a typical household, a child calling a parent "stupid" would be the worst of the worst. In my house, it's nearly a gift.

Seriously though, my husband and I came to the realization last night that since being on the right medication, our son is looking more and more typical of a normal, albeit slightly oppositional, spirited 7 year old boy. Everything is tempered down and on a more even keel in our household. It's more like living with an ornery teenager at times, but that's manageable, and hopefully just an early preview of things to come. Not only that, he is also quick to apologize and show remorse. REAL remorse, and real emotions, not the forced and fake attachment-disordered brand he once gave us for show. The frightening lows and violent highs don't exist right now, and that's making life so good for everyone, especially for our son. His teacher reported that he's having NO issues in class and has had perfect conduct for the entire two weeks straight that school has been in session. And NO ADHD meds still! Surely she thinks the intro letter explaining his special needs we gave to her was all made up, and she gave me a look like I had two heads. Dallas? Why he's doing perfect in class. One of her best kids. Wow. At home he's laughing and smiling and enjoying life with his usual enthusiastic zest and infectious personality and smile, with just a sprinkling of dare-devilry and mild opposition thrown in to spice things up. I can totally do "stupid" if that's the trade off for having my son be a normal kid.

Matter-of-fact, I think I'll embrace my stupidity today. In my family, that apparently means all is right with the world. :-)

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Boy Interrupted

In case anyone missed this HBO documentary, it has been posted to Youtube in 10 parts, and I've linked them here. It was written, filmed and produced by film maker husband and wife team, the Perrys, and documents in video, photographs and interviews, the short life of their own son, Evan Scott Perry, a child who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 7, and who took his own life at age 15 after going off his bipolar medication. Have lots of tissues nearby if you decide to watch. This is the most frightening reality of childhood bipolar disorder. I cried most of the way through this, because I saw my own son in Evan Perry. It's scary, and it's not fair. And it can kill your child.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My oh my, what a wonderful day...

Well friends, we are now in the middle of the second week of school, transition back to school has happened, and I am thrilled to report that we've not had a single issue about getting up, getting to school or being tardy or any misconduct in class. Not a single one! He's made all Es on his daily citizenship and I couldn't be prouder of my son. After school the last couple of days have been... lets say... a bit hyper and euphoric, but not in a bad way. Yesterday, after school, we had to do a Publix run, (a huge source of stress and stimulation) and he was PERFECT in the store... well, other than skipping down the aisles singing "Zippity Do Da" at the top of his lungs... but at least he's HAPPY. After school! What a change from just three months ago when he'd fall completely apart the second he was in my car, kicking, yelling, nasty oppositional words and actions, sometimes violent and destructive rages, rude behaviors, and have that mood sometimes last until bedtime - whenever that might happen to be. It's amazing, the change in him since he's been on bipolar medication. He has handled this transition and the stress of new bedtimes, new wake times, new teachers, new friends, new routine, and school as if it was nothing at all. Like any typical kid would... maybe even better. He LIKES school this year. Actually LIKES it!

So, to those people who have harsh criticism for parents who choose to medicate their young children and even label us lazy or ineffective parents, I say, look at this face:

This is the face of a child who has struggled so long to feel good, and to feel good about himself and is finally getting there. With proper medication and good therapy, he is finally getting to that impossible place he's worked so hard to find. And it shows in every smile, every moment of every day where he starts to fall into that hole, catches himself and manages to pull himself back out before he gets to the point of no return, mostly all on his own. This is not to say that his, or our struggles are over by any stretch of the imagination, but we are in a "good place" right now and we will relish in it as long as we can.

I love my son. And I am so stinkin' proud of him. I can tell him all day long how I feel, but one day, he'll really understand what that means. But for now, it's enough that he is proud of himself. Actually, it's everything...