OCD, ADD, SATs…oh my! part 3

Y’all, I’ve been a bad blogger. When I started writing about the alphabet soup that now describes my family, I had every intention of writing regularly. Then, we went away for Thanksgiving and there wasn’t any reliable WiFi connection. My newly revived blogging habit died a quick death. I am trying again.
OCDADDWordleY’all know where the OCD in the title comes from. Marty has been officially diagnosed and is on meds. Slowly but surely, we are beating his OCD into submission. It is hard. It is really hard when you have to push your kid outside their comfort zone. But, even with the meds, the habits and routines of the OCD/germaphobia are so ingrained, pushing him beyond his comfort zone is the only way to to help him overcome it.

The rest of the alphabet soup comes from the other kids. I’ve known for a long time that Joey has ADD…he truly is Vic’s mini me. However, we do need to get Joey officially diagnosed because his ADD is affecting his standardized test scores and I want accommodations in place before high school. Also, we’ve come to the firm conclusion that Gabe has ADHD cause, you know, we have to have the extra letter in there. We are also pursuing an official diagnosis for him because he gets so distracted during the standardized testing that his test scores suck and he desperately needs the intellectual stimulation of the gifted program. Sometimes a mom feels just a wee bit overwhelmed. I know that no one ever promised parenting would be easy but there are times I think my fortitude and ability to cope have been vastly overestimated.

The one part of the alphabet soup of the title that is completely resolved in the SAT part. Marty took the SATs back in December and, despite nerves and the OCD gremlins, he kicked butt. Marty scored well enough on his one run at the SATs that he got into his first choice college, Lenoir Rhyne University, and he has a substantial academic scholarship in place.

Life is good. Life is hard. I’m happy. I’m stressed. I’m worried. Basically, life is normal and things are pretty good. How are y’all doing?

Goodbye, sweet Jolie

Jolie1 One week ago, we said goodbye to our beautiful Jolie girl.  Jolie lived a long life and passed away at almost 15 yrs old. It took me this long to write about it because it just hurt too much.

It is still surreal to walk in the house and not see her here. She was with us for so many milestones. We got her when Marty was only 4 and Joey wasn’t even a year old. She was here to greet Gabe when he came home from the hospital. I can still remember heading in to Greensboro almost 14 yrs ago. We were headed to the animal shelter to find a dog to join our family and we found her. Jolie girl was in the last cage we looked at and she was the only dog there that felt like an instant fit for our family.

Like every other member of our family (2 legged or 4 legged), Jolie gave zero shits and bent life to fit her agenda…never changing her agenda to fit what life threw at her. She was such a good girl. When Marty and Joey were little, she did not let them leave the house to play without following closely behind. If you heard laughing and playing outside, all you had to do was look towards our hill and you would see Jolie at her post, watching over her kids and keeping them safe.

Jolie adored her family and was always available to comfort us if we were upset. She let the kids love and hug on her whenever they were upset about something. And, she was an incredible source of comfort and frequently listened to me rant and rave and cry when we suffered miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her furry coat drying my tears.

Jolie girl lived a long and happy life but she had been slowing down for a long time. Recently, however, her decline became more pronounced. Although she didn’t seem to be in any pain, she also wasn’t able to enjoy life. It hurt to see my girl like that. Selfishly, I hoped she would go to sleep one night and never wake up but she was too damned stubborn for that. She was determined to stay with her family to the bitter end. Vic and I always promised that we wouldn’t watch any of our animals suffer just because we didn’t want to say goodbye. So, last Monday morning, the kids all said goodbye to her and Vic and I took our Jolie girl on one last car ride.

I simply can’t say enough about the wonderful staff at Mayfair Animal Hospital. This was the first and only time they saw Jolie (I had a major issue with our former vet office and couldn’t bear to take her there) and they were wonderful. They let us stay with Jolie through the whole process and I was holding her as we said goodbye.

I will miss you forever, sweet girl.

Jolie2

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When The Time Comes

If I should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this–the last battle–can’t be won.
You will be sad, I understand
But don’t let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes,
Please, let me go.
Take me to where my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved
Don’t grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We’ve been so close–we two– these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.

Author Unknown

 

 

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!

OCD, 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.

OCD, 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!