Welcome to "Me, My Son and the Cat!" I hope you enjoy reading about my family! Life is never boring and each day brings a new surprise!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Coping with ADHD

Sometimes there is nothing more difficult than being a single mother of a son with ADHD.  As a teacher, I know that ADHD is grossly misdiagnosed.  As a mother, I recognize that my son has a medical condition that is often misunderstood.  I had no idea the long journey involved in diagnosing and treating my son's ADHD.

Jimmy was evaluated for ADHD in kindergarten when he repeatedly got up and wandered around the room, had trouble calming down, did not transition well (if at all) and was coming home day after day upset and broken because he did not have a "green" day at school.  The evaluation came back borderline/inconclusive.  He was still a little young to be correctly diagnosed and the line between typical 5 year old behavior and ADHD was very small.  He had rough patches in first grade, but it was easier than kindergarten, so I was naively optimistic.  Then came second grade.  What was typical behavior for a 5 year old was not typical behavior for a 7 year old.  He was wandering around the classroom, not writing down his assignments, and could not focus on anything!  We went back to his pediatrician and had him re-evaluated.  It was blatantly obvious that this time he did, in fact, have ADHD.  This is when our journey really began.

I really, really did not want to medicate my son.  The turning point is when he was not only diagnosed with ADHD, but a high degree of anxiety and depression as well.  Being as I have been battling anxiety and depression for 15 years myself, I wouldn't wish that on any child! Our pediatrician suggested that we medicate him to break the cycle.  If we took care of the ADHD then the anxiety and depression could resolve themselves.  This seemed reasonable so I decided to try it.  I also borrowed a lot of books on ADHD and with my pediatrician's help, found and implemented a behavior modification plan. I have also looked into counseling, but so far that hasn't worked! 

We started medicating Jimmy with Vyvanse.  It was traditional ADHD medication; newer on the market.  It had a lot of great reviews and my pediatrician had many helpful things to say about it.  It worked immediately.  It was like having a totally different child..one who was more focused and happier because of it.  I had tears in my eyes the first time he built with Legos! He was never able to before the medication. He would eat the Legos, throw the Legos, hide the Legos, but was not able to concentrate enough to build anything.  He was so proud of his first Lego creation! He said to me, "Look at what I did!  I built this all by myself!  I didn't know I could do that, Mom!"  Now he is my little Lego maniac!  The Vyvanse did have its bad points, though.  First, it made him zombie out.  For about an hour in the morning, he would just sit and stare.  It really freaked me out.  Second, it made him very emotional.  He was like a lady who was 9 months pregnant watching a Hallmark commercial. He would cry at everything.  After a few months, we decided that Vyvanse was not for him and the doctor moved him to Concerta.  Jimmy was only on Concerta for a week.  It gave him severe migraines so we switched it immediately.  The doctor then prescribed him Metadate.  It was one of the "tried and true" ADHD meds.  He was on this medication the longest...probably for about 8 months.  It was working great, but he started getting migraines again when he would miss a dose.  The whole thing with ADHD meds is that they do not stay in the body.  You don't have to build them up in your system.  You can choose when to medicate your child.  There is supposed to be no adverse effects if you wanted to medicate your child on Friday but not on Saturday.  The Metadate was staying in his system too long and he was going through withdrawal if he missed a dose.  Both the pediatrician and I decided that this was not what was best for him and once again changed his meds.  We put him on Adderall, which he has been on for around 6 months. We have had very few side effects with this medication!  He is not emotional, does not get migraines and does not zombie out!  It seemed the perfect fit until recently.

My son is one of those kids whose ADHD presents symptoms such as extreme hyperactivity, inability to focus and major impulse issues.  When he is medicated, most of these symptoms are greatly reduced.  Lately, however, he has been having an increase in these symptoms.  For example, my son knows it is wrong to take things to school.  It is a school rule and one of our house rules.  Leave the contraband at home!  He has been sneaking things to school, knowing full that it is wrong and that he will get in trouble for it, but he really can't help it.  This is hard for me to understand.  If you know it is wrong then don't do it!  This doesn't connect in his brain and it frustrates me to no end!  He is also not writing his homework down, not keeping his school things organized, etc.  I think it may be time for another med check so I made an appointment for Wednesday.  I hope it all goes well for my son's sake!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Decision

Relationships and I don't mix. I haven't had many relationships, but the ones I have had all ended badly.  It has been a while since I was on the dating scene, and the whole thing is just a bit scary.  I have no idea where to meet people!  I have tried Match.com, SingleParentMeet.com, Plenty of Fish and ChristianSingles.  So far, I have had no luck!  It seems that most men are looking for skinny/athletically toned women who have never been married and who have no children.  This is obviously not me!

Today I came to a realization and made a decision.  In the past, I have prayed that I would find that special "someone."  The lessons at church have taught me that God wants us to be happy and that there is someone out there for each of us.  This is all well and good, but it seems to put me no closer to finding Mr. Right.  I have realized that I am not putting my full faith in God.  I am asking Him for help, but I am not sitting back and listening to what He has to say.  I pray, but then go out there and keep trying, all the while not having complete faith in Him.  My decision is to leave it in God's hands.  I am going to stop trying so hard and start listening and paying attention to what God has in store for me. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Knee Pain and Legos

The inventor of the clear Lego was a sick, sick puppy.  My son is a Lego fanatic.  He is constantly building and playing with his billions of Legos!  I like to encourage this, because before he was diagnosed with ADHD, he was unable to play with Legos at all. He was unable to concentrate and would get frustrated.  Now that he has been diagnosed and is receiving treatment you can't get him away from his Legos!  He is usually very good at cleaning up after himself when playing, but it is very hard to see clear Legos.  Whoever created this toy obviously had no children, especially not one with ADHD! 

When getting up to go to bed the other night, I accidentally stepped on the clear Lego which I obviously didn't see! It was hidden in the carpet waiting to attack, which it did, with relish!  I stepped on the deadly, clear brick of pain and twisted my knee.  I heard the "pop, pop, pop" of my kneecap and stood there as it immediately swelled thinking, "Well, crap!"  Now I might need surgery, as the unsuspecting Lego did major damage to my leg.  Great.  Now my son must play with his Legos at the table only and just looking at the teeny, tiny, bricks makes my eye twitch.