Monday, July 27, 2009

(for my ONE follower...if you read my family blog...
this is almost the exact same post from that site, too)

jacob started on medicine 2 weeks ago. focalin to be exact. 5mg. with any medicine for adhd we start out at the lowest dosage and hope the medicine works. if not, maybe we change the dosage, maybe we change the medication. it's kind of a trial and error, if you will.

so we started on this 2 weeks ago, and the first day was the BESTEST ever! the next few days were also really nice, but then they started going downhill. back to where we used to be. he would be in everyone's face. he would take the Golden Rule to mean "get even." jack hit me, so he must want me to hit him. retaliation was key in his day. he was loud, busy and sometimes downright mean. there weren't genuine smiles and happiness. there was much yelling and timeouts. it was very depressing to be in our house.

forward to today...i was supposed to call in 2 weeks to let doctor know how it was going. that would be tomorrow. it was all i could do to wait until today. i called as soon as their phones opened this morning. talked with the nurse and she said that since there was an improvement in the beginning, doctor would probably just change the dosage. she called back about 30 minutes later and confirmed that. i'm supposed to check in with her on friday again.

so today went very well. it went almost exactly how i would expect a day to go with 3 children. there was some fighting, there was some yelling, there were some timeouts. emphasis on the word SOME. it was minimal. we played. we cuddled. we loved. we smiled. we joked. most important...we had FUN! we went to bed on awesome terms. lots of kisses and laughing. just the way i think it's meant to be.

i know there are supposed to be struggles. siblings will fight. there will be anger. there will be sadness. there will be unhappiness. but you know what...above all, there will be love and happiness. THAT'S what i'm looking for. and today, we achieved it.

please pray that we have found the right dosage and it doesn't dwindle again. i tormented myself over whether or not to medicate him to begin with, but i don't like the idea of continuing to increase the dosage...but we will do what we have to do. and of course, we will be informed when it happens.

my life has become all about my children. that started back on october 1, 2003. the day i found out we were pregnant. someday's i question what God was thinking. i always quote "God will only give you what you can handle" to make it through the day...more so lately. but you know what...we are handling it. it might not be the "right" way. others might be more patient, and others just might be more mentally equipped to deal. but we're doing the best we can....and you know what...we must be doing something right because tonight (at VBS-Good Shepherd Little Lambs) jacob made an octopus and asked someone how to write, "I Love You Mom."

Saturday, July 25, 2009


so many times i find myself so utterly confused by my son. i'm saddened and heartbroken and just don't know what to do. i'm so very sad that i'm a horrible mother. many times i wish i wasn't here, just so they had a shot at having a normal life. i feel like i'm screwing everything up. then i think about them growing up without a mother and i just can't do that. i had a 'physical' mother, but not anyone emotionally there for me. not someone who was raising me to be a good person and a God fearing person. i learned most of that stuff on my own, and through the help of my best friends parents. i realize i was the "ooops" baby in my family, but i have one of those too...and i couldn't love her any more or less than my non-oops babies.

back on target to troublesome one.

we started Focalin nearly 2 weeks ago now. i was SO very excited that immediately i saw results. the first day was AWESOME. and the next couple days were good. then they started going back to exactly how they used to be. we're upset all the time. there's lots of yelling, lots of tension and lots of sadness. i feel absolutely HORRIBLE to even say this (this is what makes me certain i'm a bad mother), but i just can't stand to be around him. i feel like a failure of a mother. i'm lost. what do i do? how do i fix it? what did i do wrong, and is it too late for my other 2 children? would they be better off without me? maybe someone else raising them would be better. so many stresses would be gone from our house if i weren't here. but you know what....jacob would still be jacob. he'd still need the love and support of his family. he would need help coping with the loss of a parent. everything in my life is a toss-up. there isn't a win anywhere it's almost all loss.

so what do i do? how do i cope? where do i turn?

we are financially BROKE. i can't afford to get all my meds filled. (i make sure i get my anti-depressants filled and my bowel meds filled...the rest i can deal with the pain). i know i take a lot of our financial problems out on my children, not just jacob. but he is the one who asks for more toys and things CONSTANTLY. and we did spoil him. but spoiling is not going to happen any more.

let me tell you a little story (and yes, i know this post is completely out of order):
a couple days ago our main floor bathroom smelled horribly of old urine. like if your toilet wouldn't flush and you had urine in it for days (i know this smell from growing up with a mentally handicapped brother who didn't care that a toilet didn't work, he'd go in it anyway). i emptied the trash can that night (after SCRUBBING the toilet and surrounding wall and floor with bleach) and found a soaking wet toilet paper roll (almost empty). i told my husband what i had found and i figured it was something that had fallen into the toilet (we have to keep the TP on the counter because jordyn gets it and unrolls it completely if it's on the holder). cleaned out the trash can with bleach and put it back.

yesterday i empty the trash can again and there's some liquid on the bottom. not much. so i figure, obviously the liquid didn't absorb into anything and it must be the bleach from the day before. so i emptied it and wiped it clean with a clorox wipe.

tonight i go in to go potty and happen to look down into an empty trash's got about an inch of liquid in it. i smell it, it's urine. now....there's only ONE person in this house who would do such a thing. jacob.

i call him over and ask him about it. he says it's not him. i tell him that he can lie to me all he wants, but that God will know the answer and He would punish him. he said, "fine, it was me." totally non-caring. i LOST it. i mean, where does someone learn to do that? who thinks of this. can this possibly be normal? really? can it? i am so angry about this.

you know, i think being ornery to your siblings is normal. i think talking back is normal. i think not wanting to change clothes is normal. fighting to brush teeth, being picky about food, demanding about a toy....all normal. peeing in a trash can? that's NEXT to a toilet?

i asked him why he would do such a thing and he didn't have an answer.

we quickly got into the car and returned the movie we had rented only an hour ago for him. he said he hated that i was returning the movie. on the way i called his dad. we both told jacob how disappointed we were in him. we told him we love him...but we are disappointed. i told him he was also going to be saving his money (and having to do chores to earn it) to buy a new trash can. i told him that when we got home, he was going to go straight up and get ready for bed, then go to bed (he never goes to bed before his brother and sister). i also said, while on the phone with his dad, that he was grounded for 2 days from his friends. he would not be able to play with our neighbor friends for 2 days.

on the way home he is mad at me for returning his movie. so we got into a yelling match. i know, not too mature on my part...but i have never been this angry at him. i ask him what in the world were you thinking doing that? he finally said, "i was just tired of going potty in the toilet." really? where in the world does that come from? seriously? uuuuggggghhhhh!

so i told him that i was tired of using the toilet too. i've been using it all my life since i've been out of diapers, so maybe i'll start going potty in his bed. of course he doesn't like that idea.

he never says sorry. he never says he won't do it again. nothing. the kid has no feelings. this TERRIFIES me. how is he going to be when he gets older if he has no feelings? what kind of trouble is he going to get into because he doesn't care? where are his emotions? what did i do wrong? where did we go wrong? do i not cuddle him enough? do i not sit with him enough? would that even make a difference? i've not seen it. i've made a conscious effort to be closer to him, and it had never worked. he still was mean to his siblings, jealous of anything they might get, any time they get with me, and games that i might play with them, and not him (no matter how babyish).

i'm just at a total loss!

so now...i'm going to lie down and think about what to do. where to go. what to change. because i just don't get it.

sorry for the super long post...(which no one will ever read). i just had to vent, and this is not a story i'm going to share with any family or friends. i'm embarrassed by my parenting skills that this would happen. this one will be taken to my grave.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

losing effect....

so...the medicine seems to be working pretty well. wednesday when we started it, he was fabulous. he was a different kid. sometimes throughout that day i found myself missing my "old jacob"...thinking, he's just not himself, he's losing sense of himself. i was deeply saddened for this loss.

but, by the end of the night, i knew this was not the case. instead, he has "found" himself. he has found a person he can love and be happy with. he has found the person who can listen, follow directions and get into less and less trouble. he has found the person he can live with, i think.

i can't believe that a little pill can make such a difference. we are SOOO much happier here throughout the day. we still get into trouble. we still make our siblings mad. we still have a short temper (but i think that was inherited). but it's not every 3 seconds (and don't even think i'm joking about that time frame)

i was worried about a lack of appetite. it seemed the very first day that this side effect rang true. but as of today...he has a normal appetite, in addition, he sits through his meals. this morning, he had a pudding and 2 pieces of toast. that's a good breakfast for him.

here's my question (and based on some other ADHD websites that i'm following, i think i already know the answer): is it possible for a medicine to work well at the beginning and to slowly stop working as well? and how quickly can this happen? he is still quite more well-behaved than he was a week ago, but i see subtle differences of the "old jacob" coming through. i'll still take who we have now over who we had then (but i'd never give either one up...ever!!!)...but, at what point do i question it? at what point to i talk to the doctor?

i know these questions are too early for me...but i'm preparing myself. we talk back with the doctor in a week. i'm charting how the day goes, and really, it's still so much better than it was...but i'm just worried that it's slowly losing it's effect.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


there has been a LOT of thoughts going through our minds for a while now. we met with our pediatrician this week and his recommendation was Focalin. i had spoken to him on the phone a couple weeks ago and asked him IF we chose medication, what one would he try first. this is the one he highly recommends starting on. and of course we would start on the lowest dose possible and only increase if we had to.

so daddy and i talked and talked. and while medication was our last step, after speaking with the doctor, i really felt that this was the way to go.
our doctor spent a lot of time talking to us (over an hour-sorry to all the people behind us), and if i haven't mentioned before, I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE our pediatrician. i truly would follow his advice every time (maybe with a little research if needed). i have the deepest trust with him. we are very fortunate to have found him.

anyway, our pediatrician spent a lot of time talking and answering our questions. i asked him about non-medicated treatments and he said there are dietary changes that people insist work on their children (as they bounce around the room like a ping-pong ball). he stated that there has been little actual research done on dietary changes for ADHD.

i went over jacob's ADHD testing with him and asked questions about some of the other results (mild bipolar, high impulsivity, etc) and he said that most of the "mild" issues stated were the result of the ADHD and if we get that under control, the rest will follow.

i asked him about side effects, and the information on the internet stating than any of the meds i looked up weren't recommended for those under the age of 6. he pointed out that most medications are that way...take for example Prevacid. and we gave that to 2 of our children. a good point. why wouldn't i have looked up that medication before giving that to our kids? why is this one any different? i had 3 pages of questions to ask him, most of which i had answered before i even asked. i'm sure i'm not the first parent to ask a load of questions. i know i'm not the only one who doesn't want to medicate their child. but truth be told, the first time i took him in to the counselor i told her that either he or i would have to be medicated because i was at the end of my rope. i was medicated shortly thereafter...and it wasn't enough. i still couldn't deal with the problems all day long.

side effects are mostly the same with all the ADHD medications:
lack of weight gain, height gain
lack of appetite
inability to sleep
stomach pains (usually due to lack of sleep)
high blood pressure (which is why it is monitored closely by the ped)

i asked about the high blood pressure and his heart. he told me that we could request an ekg to be done before he started the meds and have one done after he's on the meds and that he would prescribe one, and that the insurance would pay for it, but that it really is a non-issue with children/adults that have no heart problem history. daddy and i will talk about this to decide whether we'd like to have one done. right now, i'm leaning toward "no".

i asked about the depression as a side effect and how do we actually tell when a 5 year old is depressed, and he told us that we would definitely know. he'd be really lethargic, talk about hating himself, hating life, etc., not eating at all, not caring about anything else. i showed him some of my research that stated that Focalin is actually used in some patients as an ANTI-depressant. he told me that this was true and should not be an issue with this medication.

he'll be checked in a month for blood pressure and height/weight. then in 3 months.
our ped told us to call him in 2 weeks to let him know how it was going. i asked him how long for it to take effect, and he said immediately. it lasts 8-10 hours, so night time might be back to the way things usually are.

i just have to say, after all the deliberation and questions about medicating him, while i'm glad we tried many other things first, the first 2 days have been AWESOME!!!

i'm so happy, as long as it stays this way, that we (hopefully) won't have to change or up his medication any time soon. he has been a delight the last 2 days and has been completely focused on things. the first day i was worried about his appetite. but really, he did eat normal. except he didn't eat breakfast. lunch and dinner were the same.
today was about the same. he had his milk (which i have switched to whole milk) and then had a snack, a big lunch and big dinner. so far, not much of an appetite change.

he has not gotten any "x's" today, and at this rate we'll have to re-examine his rewards (as he has the ability to earn $.50 every AM and PM) so that we don't go broke paying him and he have too many toys because he'll be buying them every week. maybe we'll start a savings program with him and he'll have to save 1/2 of it and he can spend the other 1/2. hmm...thoughts thoughts thoughts. also, i have only had to "count" to him 2 times (both were after 6pm, which his medication was probably starting to wear off). and both times, he didn't make it to 3.

his frustration still shows through, but that's normal i think. it usually passes and he's fine again. what i LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE best is that we get along. he smiles and laughs way more than he has in a long time (so long i don't remember). tonight he told me that he "hated this part of life." when i said, "what are you talking about?" he said, "i have 2 new toothbrushes and i hate that i can only open one of them." then quiet...then, "but my favorite part is that i get to choose!" a few days ago, he would have been bent out of shape for the rest of the night over not being able to open both.

he's more cuddly, and loving toward all of us. he's more appreciative, thankful and polite. and it's only DAY TWO!!!

yesterday, we went out to lunch and he asked me, "can i be excused?" he knows he's supposed to ask that...but he NEVER does.

i am simply amazed by my little boy who was there this whole time and just needed help to come out. yesterday he also said, "i guess this medicine really does chill me out."

seriously, i just can't believe the immediate changes. and there's no zombie. he still plays, talks and interacts. just now he loves his life and i love that he's loving it. i love that smile....the one i didn't see every day all day like i do now.

dear God,
thank you for pointing us in the right direction.
thank you for making me realize that it's okay to help my children through medicine. thank you for the creators of this medicine. please, keep this medicine safe for my son to take and keep him healhty for his life. do not let this medicine, which is providing us with a wonderful life together now, cause any problems with his future.
i ask this in your Son's name,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

how do you know...

how do you know if it's adhd? just a simple test. a few symptoms that match. things tend to point in that direction...but what if it's not? then what?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

jury is still out...

so after we got the results from the adhd testing counselor, i immediately called my pediatrician's office. i have spoken with him in the past about jacob's behavior. he has given me suggestions. they haven't worked. so he is aware that there are issues.

i tried to make an appointment, but the nurse wanted to wait for the results to come in and she stated, "we really don't like to give meds to someone so young." i thought to myself...neither do i.

so i called back the next week. spoke with a different nurse and told her that the results were on their way, do i need to make an appointment? she said that she would just have doctor call me when they received the results.

he called me just after 6 that night (which was 2 nights ago). he said, "i have jacob's test results right here in front of me." then hesitation.

i said, "what do i do now?"

we made an appointment to see him in a little over a week to sit down and talk to him about medications. i told him i've done a ton of research online and that so far i've only found straterra to not contain a stimulant. he advised me that there are so many drugs on the market, there are others.

i asked what he typically starts children out on. he said we need to weigh all our options, but he likes to use Focalin. i thanked him for the information, wished him a good vacation the following week and told him that i'd be doing even more research before our appointment.

so...on to research. want to know the first thing i read that concerns me (not the ONLY thing...the FIRST thing)? it said "not recommended for children under the age of 6."

now what? most of them say that??????!!!!!!

so yesterday i spoke with a friend of mine, who is also a psychologist and she informed me that sometimes that more geared toward weight (i guess how tylenol and motrin is, too). so as long as he's of normal weight, then it should be fine.

but he's not. he's always been on the skinny side. he's FINALLY gotten an appetite after 5 years. so, that's just another worry.

so my list of questions lengthen. i'll let you know what my questions are when they are done (probably not until the night before our appointment).

i don't want my child "labeled". i HATE that. i taught PSR at school this last year and there was a child who was ADHD, bipolar and another thing. i hated that i knew that about him. i also haven't liked that he reminded me so much of jacob. many times i looked at him and said, "jacob, i need you to sit in your seat." only to remember, that wasn't his name.

in the beginning...

God created the heaven and the earth.
genesis 1:1
this is where all struggles began, isn't it? if there was not life, there'd be no struggles. so i thank you God for my struggles. for life is not without matter who you are.

my son can quote that and many other verbatim. as much as he didn't like his most recent preschool...he learned a lot. he seemed to be a good student. his teacher really seemed to like him.

i had to have surgery at the end of september. we had a new baby (about 6 months before). he already had a baby brother. my surgery was going to be a major recovery. no holding anyone for 6-10 weeks.

so when the behavior was even worse than it normally was, i blamed it on that. it was a major change in his life.

here we are nearly 10 months later and it has not gotten better. if anything, it's getting worse.

i have "charted"
i have bribed
i have read many books
i have looked up information online
i have talked to the pediatrician
i have read magazine article after magazine article
i have talked with friends
i have talked with a friend who is a psychologist
i have taken him to see a counselor

nothing is any better. nothing is working. no discipline is working...nothing. so what now?

i have taken him for ADHD testing, and other "disorders" testing. he came back with ADHD severe, severe implusivity and attention problems (among other more "minor" things).

what now? where do i go?
well...that's what this blog is about. our struggles with what is to come.
i know i'm not alone. there have been millions before me, and there will be millions after me. i'm am not alone. i just keep telling myself that.

then how come it feels like i am?

welcome to our world. this blog is only going to be about my one son, jacob. he is 5 and will begin kindergarden this fall.