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.
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,