Thursday, July 16, 2015

Adventures in Feingold, Pt 1, the beginning

I know it's been ages since my last post! We have had some pretty huge changes in our house.

Background- I have five children. Xman just turned 11, JB is 9. Puppy just turned 7. Miss PG is 3. The Captain is 9 months.

When Xman was 3 or 4, I noticed that he was different from the other boys. Naturally, 3 and 4 year olds are hyper, happy, goofy kids. And naturally, kids these age don't always listen the first time they are told. Xman, though..... he could run CIRCLES around the other kids. And he did. Other mom's would call their kids 3 or 4 times and then their kids would come. Xman you'd call 8 times, he'd finally come, run a literal circle around my legs, and then take off again. Everything he did was rough. Hugging was rough, kisses were rough. I found myself bracing every time he came near. He didn't sleep and he was ALWAYS moving. I was exhausted.

We suspected that ADHD might possibly be the case, but he was SO young that we didn't want to discuss it too much. We learned that red40 often contributed to hyperactivity.  We took it out of our house and it was hard, but behavior improved. Did it fix everything? No. But at least we weren't in a constant state of insanity. When Xman started kindergarten, his teacher and I were talking and she mentioned that her nephews always calmed down when they had caffeine. We tested it. I was SHOCKED. Giving him 4 oz of diet Mt Dew actually helped him chill!!! Granted, it only lasted an hour or two, but still!!

As I started researching ADHD, all of the symptoms seemed SO familiar to me! I felt like I was reading all about my childhood. I decided to go to MY Dr. She prescribed me Vyvance and for the first time in my entire life, I felt NORMAL! I could think a thought and then my thought would tell my body to move to action. This had NEVER happened!! Before meds, I would watch Biggest Loser and think to myself, "I should do jumping jacks during commercial breaks" or "I should walk in place during commercials" and then just sit there and do nothing. This was not out of laziness, there was just no connection between thought and action. I could look at a pile of papers and think to myself, "That would take 30 second to clean up" and then walk past it a million more times until anything happened. Once I had my meds, I was flabberghasted! I could look at a mess in my living room and my brain would tell my body, "First, put away the books. Now put away all the dishes. Putting a bucket as a catch-all would keep the mess down." For the first time in my entire life, I could keep house! I felt like a new person! How could I not give this gift to my child?

It was time to go back to the Dr for Xman. I told him about my experience with meds. I told him about our experiment with caffeine. He kind of chuckled and said that he had written down ADHD on every set of notes since he was 3 years old (by this time, he was just about 6). His birthday was in June, so school was already out at this point. I asked his teacher to fill out the paperwork/questionnaire and she did, but two weeks after school was out had mellowed her memory and the Dr didn't feel comfortable diagnosing him with those answers. He said to wait out the summer and once he started first grade to wait for 6 weeks. If the teacher hadn't called us by then with issues, call her and ask how we was doing.

Six weeks in, exactly, I got a call. Now, I absolutely ADORED his first grade teacher! She was so kind and gentle when she called about his behavior. I told her what was happening and she readily agreed to do the paperwork. With this new, fresh set of eyes, we were able to get a proper diagnosis and get him started on meds. Because I was impressed with Vyvance, we tried that first for him, but he developed a tic, so we switched. We got him on generic Adderal and he has done fantastic with it since.

Things went well for a while. We had Puppy and he was the EASIEST baby! He was happy! He slept through the night early on! He was a champion nurser! We didn't really run into any struggles until he was 2. We discovered an allergy to lactose. We switched him to soy milk and that did NOT work. Finally, we settled on Lactose Free milk and it was ok. When he turned 3, he was QUITE the character. He had a mind of his own like you wouldn't believe. The Dr said to me once, "You know he probably has ADHD as well, right?" and from then on, we kind of assumed. We knew we didn't want to talk about meds until he was at least 6.

As time went on, though, I noticed some red flags. See, there are many, many things that can cause ADHDlike symptoms- lack of sleep (often caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils), allergies to foods, parasites, and more. So, I studied. I learned as MUCH as I could about ADHD and I just wasn't convinced that his was Puppy's deal. We tried the caffeine experiment and you know what? It was like you gave a 5 year old caffeine!! He was bouncing off the walls and SO out of control! He also didn't seem to struggle with focus. The biggest one, though, was how he acted around other adults. His kindergarten teacher told me how WELL he behaved in class and how well he listened. This was NOT the case at home. He fought me on everything. Not exaggerating. Getting ready for school in the morning was terrible. It was a fight to wake him up. It was a fight to get him dressed. He sometimes even fought me on going potty even though he was doing the peepee dance in the hall. It was a fight to get him to eat breakfast. It was a fight to get shoes on. It was a fight for absolutely everything.

I should probably mention that there were a few big changes by this point. I had taken both Xman and JB out of public school. We had switched Drs (after commuting to the Dr an hour away for so many years). The new Dr agreed that if I didn't feel he had ADHD, because I was living with it myself and because Xman had it, I probably knew best. He did agree, however, that it sounded VERY much like Opposition Defiance Disorder. He recommended therapy to help him work through some anger issues. (this kind of happened around the same time as THIS post). Therapy helped, but we still struggled daily.

Towards the end of first grade, I had Puppy's teacher fill out the ADHD questionnaire because things at home were still NOT pretty at all. The only part he fit was the H. He did not sit still at all. We had officially hit rock bottom. I was out of options, Something had to change because I had stopped loving being a mom. It was too hard. I was too tired.

And then we found Feingold......

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