Tuesday, January 8, 2008
I enjoyed yesterday's health and family related post so much, I thought I'd do it again today! Mostly because I had a really good day yesterday, all the way around. And my Little Guy played a big part in that. Some of you know that he was diagnosed ADHD this year, after a year or two of behavior and diet modification, as well as Sea Buddies Concentrates vitamins.
He's always been a challenge to parent and to educate, but yesterday - well! Yesterday he made dinner for us all. Pork chops, corn on the cob and baked beans! And he read a book while he sat in the kitchen stirring the beans! For those of you with ADHD kids, you know how miraculous that is. And it's all made possible with the intervention of drugs. :) I kid you not.
My brother and his wife have beautiful daughters, and one of them happens to lack focus, just like my Little Guy (and like me). So, as they were going through the agony of facing the whole "something's wrong with our daughter" (nothing is WRONG about ADD - we just lack focus), then a slew of doctors, and finally the ups and downs of medication, I wrote them a letter, walking through what we'd experienced with Little Guy. I thought maybe some of you could relate. Without further ado, the letter:
Hey! Did Cutie Pie have her doctor's appointment this week? If it's anything like any of mine, she was diagnosed and you were sent home with 2 or 3 weeks worth of medicine? I hope so. I wanted to chronicle for you the last month with Little Guy, just as an encouragement. The first week on meds (Strattera) was tough. Little Guy was on 25 mg the first three days, then upped to 60. For the first week he had an upset stomach and was lethargic. His whole personality just kind of down shifted. He hated it. We hated it. It was awful. Two days in I was looking at the holistic alternatives very seriously, thinking this was the worst thing ever to happen to my boy. When his dose was upped, the symptoms were worse. He was very angry at the little blue pill and didn't want to take it. I kept telling him that the stomach aches took a week and a half to two to go away, and that if things weren't better in three weeks, we'd take him off the meds and try something different. He grumbled, but kept taking them. The second week on meds was a little better, but the stomach was still upset, his focus was still a little off and he was lethargic and edgy at once. Weird combination. But better than week one. Relatively uneventful until the weekend of the second week. We forgot his pill on Sunday and the difference was tremendous. We IMMEDIATELY noticed a difference in focus, self-control and behavior. I was all too eager to give him his pill Monday morning. By the third week the stomach aches were gone. He began to really settle in and focus. And his handwriting dramatically improved. His teachers were only noticing slight focus differences, but were impressed with the handwriting change. Evidently that's an early sign the meds are working. But they were still unsure of the full benefit of the drugs. Week four was Thanksgiving - company, a short school week, lots of excitement. Hard to tell, really. Week five is OH MY GOSH. It's been a week of very good days. I spoke with his teacher today and she was glowing. She showed me a poem he's working on and said that pre-meds he would never have gotten it done. He's finishing projects, getting homework done when he gets home, succeeding in ways he couldn't before. Night and day difference. He's been taking timed multiplication tests this week. The first test he got 66 out of 100 wrong. Wednesday was 23 wrong. Today was one wrong. He's a new boy, seeing light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. So it really does take awhile for the meds to work. For Little Guy they were progressive, which seems to be the norm when you read other people's stories. I just wanted you to have this when you're on day three, in case Cutie Pie goes through Little Guy's experience. Persevere. It's SOOOO worth it.
Me again. The way I describe ADHD to my Little Guy is that his personality pre-meds is fractured. He is a great guy, loving, determined, brilliant, but he can't focus. With the meds, he's no less himself, but more. They put Humpty Dumpty back together again. He gains confidence he never had. How do I know? I was diagnosed ADD a couple of years ago and meds have made a big difference for me as well. They work because we need them. (I take Adderall XR, by the way) Feel free to ask questions. This is all still fairly new to us, but we're excited about the future!
Until I write again ...