Sisters, Wine, and Rusty Kuntz

BeckyOnThanksgivingWhat do you need when the world gets a little too crazy to deal on a daily basis? That’s right….your sisters! My mom got a lake house again this year and we all finally came together. I have to admit that we don’t do it often enough, but when it happens it’s always right on time. Now to address the title, my middle sister thinks this makes us sound old, crusty, and desperate….but the story will explain it all.

 

After my youngest sister, pissed my dad off (no surprise there) telling him what he should know about the Ferguson situation, the three of us went outside to spend some much needed girl/sister time together. After a ton of silly stories and catching up, my middle sister decided to show us the 25 worst/funniest names. After a couple of bottles of wine this lead to much needed laughter. P. Ennis, Jed I. Night, Rusty Kuntz, Long Dong, Brownie Shytles….WTF were their parents thinking!!!!

 

All I know is that tears through laughter is one of my favorite feelings with my sisters and I’m so thankful that I get the opportunity to tear off the mask and just be myself with the people that I love most in the world. Take a few minutes to reflect on the things that matter, the challenges that make you better, and the path you are laying for the future. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Grab a glass of wine and laugh with the ones you love, life is too short and you deserve it.

 

Hacked by her youngest awesome sister, Becky!

ODD, ADD, SATs…oh my! part 2

OCDADDWordleHey y’all. I didn’t lie when I said I was back. I just needed a little while to process the rest of what I want/need to write. At the end of part 1, this was where things stood…

While the actual schooling was going ok. Marty was feeling like the odd man out. He wasn’t comfortable telling any of his friends about the panic attacks Because he was worried the panic attacks were caused by something weird and unique to him. We all know how teenagers are when the feel weird. Well, Marty sort of withdrew from life. He spent all his time that wasn’t occupied by schooling alone in the den. He didn’t want to see his friends. He didn’t want to go to youth group. He didn’t hang out with the family.

Once again, life was full of the suckage…but, it did eventually get better.

Earlier this year, when Marty was entering the second half of his junior year, he started thinking about the future. The reality of his dwindling time at home was staring him in the face. He started worrying about all the things he had missed out on during his reclusive phase and this started him onto a stressful path. We had many late night talk sessions because he had worked himself into a panic about the future. All his insecurities were rearing their head and nothing I said seemed to make it better. Because he was feeling so insecure and out of sorts, he started needing to control everything in order to deal with it. For example, the thought of spending the night away from home was overwhelming because I wouldn’t be there to remind him about all the things he needed to do and because going away meant packing and he might not remember what order everything belonged in when in his dresser. Marty started freaking out badly about things being dirty or things getting him dirty.  For example, he would totally wig out if one of the animals rubbed up against the back of his leg. I truly was at a loss as to how to help him.

With his permission, I talked to my mom about everything he was dealing with. My mom told me about this really wonderful program my sister and niece had used called the 21 Day Brain Detox by Dr. Carolyn Leaf. This sounded like something thhttp://dragondreamerslair.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpat would be perfect for Marty because it combined hard science with strong faith and it taught him how to reprogram his brain to follow positive trains of thought instead of negative trains of thought. While Dr. Leaf’s brain detox helped incredibly to teach him that he could handle the situations that led to his freak outs, he still had major issues with cleanliness. He couldn’t just be told that something was clean. He either had to see it being cleaned or have knowledge of it being cleaned. He developed very precise routines that he needed to follow to quell the worries about germs or dirt. It was exhausting and frustrating because I didn’t know how to help.

Throughout this time, in an effort to be able to help Marty with something…anything…I started researching migraine treatments and preventatives. I found a natural treatment, feverfew, that works for all of us and, as a result, have been able to wean Marty from the beta blockers. I also found out that chronic migraine sufferers have a much higher risk for anxiety disorders. At the time, that information didn’t set off any warning bells but I filed the knowledge away for future use.

Although Marty felt good because his migraines had been eliminated, his germaphobia seemed to be holding it’s own…maybe even growing in severity. About 2 months ago, after a particularly trying day dealing with his germaphobia, I started to wonder if the germaphobia could also be more prevalent among migraine sufferers. Dr. Google lead me to a fascinating interview that Howie Mandel had given back in 2009. Mr. Mandel talked about his germaphobia and his obsessive compulsive disorder affected him. As I read the interview, it was a definite light bulb moment. I could see Marty and his issues throughout the article and, when I showed the article to Marty, his first response was “That describes me perfectly.” I was relieved that he saw what I saw…Marty has OCD. Discovering this and finally having a name for what Marty is dealing with has made a world of difference. He no longer feels like he is the only one dealing with a germaphobia. Finally, because he has a name to what he is dealing with, he feels safe and able to share what he has been experiencing with his friends. As his comfort level had grown, he has been able to relax some of his smaller germaphobic restrictions and he has developed routines. Over all, life has gotten a lot more relaxed and it feels like things are going to be ok.

This seems like a good stopping point. There is some more to tell and I promise it will be soon. Once again, huge, unending thanks to everyone who has read this far.

ODD, ADD, SATs…oh my! part 1

OCDADDWordleIf you look back at my archives, I use to post regularly. Hell, you could say I use to write almost constantly. Most months had 20+ posts and, every now and then, I would go over 30 posts. Then I hit the Fall of 2012 and my writing shriveled up and almost disappeared. That was when the story that wasn’t mine to tell kicked into high gear. That is when Marty’s panic attacks started.

To understand all that happened, you have to look back at his freshman year of high school. Classes were good. He loved the crowd in ROTC with him. Then the health problems hit. In the late Fall of 2011, Marty had a bizarre, screwed up reaction to his allergy medicine…his over the counter allergy medicine. The reaction was so rare that it wasn’t even mentioned in the warning labels included in the packaging. Marty had sudden muscular weakness in his legs and was unable to support himself to walk. Thank goodness we have a sharp doctor and he was able to figure out the cause. Even after we eliminated the allergy medicine from his system, it took a while to get him back on his feet. Even though the chlortrimeton was no longer causing muscular weakness, hi brain didn’t believe his legs were going to work and, therefore, they didn’t. It was kind of like a mini case of PTSD…at least that’s what the neurologist called it.

We finally had Marty back on his own two feet by the beginning of 2012. He came back from Christmas break walking and was ready to conquer school. Then, the migraine hit. Shortly after his 15th birthday, Marty got hit with a crippling migraine. We were experiencing typically volatile late winter/early spring weather with one weather front after another rolling through. Unfortunately, my sons all seem to have inherited weather induced migraines from me. It sucks. Marty’s migraine that struck at the end of February 2012 sucked even more. That migraine lasted 2 months…that’s right, two fucking months with complete light and sound sensitivity. Once again, he was missing school.

We spent two months going to the neurologist multiple times a week trying to conquer that migraine. We tried inhaled meds. We tried pills. We even tried IV pain relief. NOTHING WORKED. It was absolutely soul crushing seeing my vibrant, wonderful boy just paralyzed by the pain. We finally tried beta blockers and that seemed to be the magic bullet. Over the course of about 4 days, the pain and the overwhelming sensitivity to light and sound receded. But, by this point, any attempt to catch up with his school work would have been almost futile. We decided to finish out his freshman year through homeschooling and planned to have him reenter public school in the fall of 2012. The homeschooling went smoothly and he was prepared to reenter school in the Fall.

My relief was short lived…very short lived.

Marty’s first week of 10th grade was fabulous. He was really clicking with his teachers. He had a core group of friends. I just knew it was going to be a better year.

I have never been more wrong.

Vic, my husband came home from work with the illness du jour. It seemed like the flu. Of course, Marty caught it and missed the second week of school. When the following Monday arrived, he got up, got ready, but, when the moment came to walk out the door, the panic hit. He had all the classic signs of a panic attack.

  • Shortness of breath or hyperventilation.
  • Heart palpitations or a racing heart.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Trembling or shaking.
  • Choking feeling.
  • Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings

It was terrifying to watch but I have never been so thankful that my undergraduate degree is in psychology because I recognized what was going on immediately. I tried all the techniques I knew to help him with managing the panic attacks. They didn’t work. We tried meds. They didn’t work. We tried one psychologist. Marty love him but it did nothing for the panic attacks. We tried a nationally renowned expert on panic attacks. her techniques didn’t help. I felt so helpless and so scared. I can’t even begin to imagine how Marty must have felt. Since the only thing that induced the panic attacks was trying to go onto the campus of the high school, we decided to look into alternative schooling.

We found a wonderful online high school. The program was affordable. It was both regionally and nationally accredited. I felt good about the schooling option we selected and I was once again hopeful that the rest of high school would go smoothly.

Only part of my wish was fulfilled.

While the actual schooling was going ok. Marty was feeling like the odd man out. He wasn’t comfortable telling any of his friends about the panic attacks Because he was worried the panic attacks were caused by something weird and unique to him. We all know how teenagers are when the feel weird. Well, Marty sort of withdrew from life. He spent all his time that wasn’t occupied by schooling alone in the den. He didn’t want to see his friends. He didn’t want to go to youth group. He didn’t hang out with the family.

Once again, life was full of the suckage…but, it did eventually get better.

 

Y’all, this tale is way to freaking long for one post. I feel like I’ve already written a book. Thanks a million to all of you who made it this far. I think y’all earned a virtual gold star. Come back later…probably tomorrow…for the next installment of ODD, ADD, SATs…oh my!

It’s his poop-day!

Joey14Yesterday, any time someone wished Joey a Happy Birthday, he insisted that “No, it’s not my birthday. It’s my poop-day.”

Yes, he is 14.

Yes, he still thinks potty talk is hilarious.

No, if you have boys, it never ends.

This witty repartee lasted until I pointed out that it wasn’t his poop day. That, in fact, he didn’t poop for the first time as a baby until the 16th. That makes today, November 16th, his poop-day. As a result, we were still celebrating. After church, we rushed home, grabbed what we needed, and made it to the 1 pm showing of Big Hero 6. AWESOME movie, by the way.

I went from the movie theater to a location across town to drop Gabe off for his God and Me class for cub scouts. Once I dropped him off, I dashed home, picked up Joey and his birthday gift card, and took him to Game Stop to spend his money. By the time he finally decided what to buy, we had to go back and pick Gabe up from his class. This left me with just enough time to bring Gabe and Joey home, cook dinner (thanks Mom for the box of Bubba Burgers), feed the kids, and take all three boys back to church for youth group. I dropped them off, came home and ate, and had about 15 minutes to spare before I had to pick them back up from youth group.

I barely had a moment to breathe let alone form a thoughtful post about the the whole tale of the craziness that has been my life this past year and a half to two years.

I promise I’ll tell the tale tomorrow…or, at least start to tell the tale.

Until then, Happy Poop-day, Joey!

 

Tomorrow comes the beginning of ODD, ADD, SATs…oh my!

I’m baaaaaaack…and he’s 14

That’s right y’all…I AM BACK. I have finally, finally figured out what has been causing my humongous case of writer’s block. It finally dawned on me that the reason I wasn’t writing is the one thing I wanted to talk about wasn’t my story to tell. But, I now have permission to tell that story (probably starting tomorrow) and my writing muse has returned. The best thing is that I figured out the damned thing in time to wish my fabulous middle son a very happy 14th birthday.

JoeyBecky14

Aunt Becky (my baby sis) and Joey at Buffalo Wild Wings

I don’t even have the words to explain to you what an awesome kiddo Joey is. Sure, he’s a pubert and can be obnoxious as hell. We all were at some point while growing up. But, Joey has such a kind heart and is more than willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to help people out. There have been so many times this past year that he has been a lifesaver.  It has also been so cool watching him develop a real social conscience over the past year. I am so impressed that he truly has a heart of gold despite the rough and tumble teenage boy exterior he maintains. So many of the things that make me so proud of Joey are tied into the story I’m now freed to tell and I can’t wait to tell these stories to you. I am so lucky to be the mom of such an amazing kid. I love you, Joey!

Please join me in wishing my fabulous so a happy 14th!