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!

Our Minor, Major Disaster

RubyOn Friday, we added a cute, furry member to our family. Ruby is a great dog but we are still learning to read each other. She is trying to adjust and start to believe that this will be her forever home. And, we are trying to learn to read her communication. Ruby is good about asking to go out but, one time, I misread her signals and barely caught her and got her outside in time. Right after I got her outside, I noticed that the floor in the den was indeed wet. In fact, there was a HUGE wet area and this suspiciously wet area was under the window air conditioner.

Oh dear God, our window air conditioner had been dripping and, due to the ungodly loud noise it makes, no one was able to hear the dripping. Also, the toys baskets that were against that wall were filled with the toys that were rarely played with, toys that were slated to be sorted through and donated to charity. By the time the near miss with Ruby’s bathroom break occurred, the mess was unbelievable.  When I found this mess, it was already late at night. Cleaning was put off until Sunday. I shut the window air conditioner off, moved the nasty toys onto the back porch and turned a fan on under the deluded fantasy that the floor might dry off. I knew the air conditioner was toast.

We had our first stroke of good luck in this whole disaster when a friend from church offered us a window air conditioner that she just happened to have stored from her own past  air conditioning issue. I tried to pay her for it but she insisted that she wanted to give it to us. After church, we came home and tackled the disaster area. We spent hours cleaning the baskets of toys that had been drenched by the leaking air conditioner I also checked the floor area. Sadly, it hadn’t dried at all. I then decided that area of the rug had to come up ASAP. Let me tell you, cutting through that rug and getting a starting point to rip it up was a bitch. Even a 15+ yr old rug that has been drenched is still unbelievably strong. I finally had a long cut made and decided to cut through the padding so I could see how bad it was down underneath everything. I thought I was cutting through to take a look at the cement slab floor, a floor that would require an almost immediate purchase of a large area rug.IMG_1304.JPG This was when we got our second stroke of luck. When I got all the way through, I found this…
Remember the heavy duty linoleum (commercial grade) that was around in the early 80s? Remember when they came out with the faux wood heavy duty linoleum (prior to Pergo flooring)? Well, that is what was under the nasty old oatmeal colored rug in our den. If I had known that was under there, that horrid rug would have come up long ago. While it isn’t nearly as nice as Pergo or hardwood flooring, it is a million times better than that rug.

Tomorrow, the rest of the rug is coming up! I can’t wait to be rid of it. While this was certainly not how I wanted to spend my time today, in the grand scheme of things, this was a minor disaster. It could have been so much worse.