If 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!