Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brain Cyst or Vaginal Pimple? Which Has Greater Impact?

After I gave up on my 2nd psychiatrist, I consulted a neurologist that supposedly specialized in anxiety and ADHD. I figured I would try him out since I was able to just get away with paying a co-pay and after our first meeting, he ordered a routine MRI and EEG. I was annoyed because that meant more babysitting bills but otherwise, I thought nothing of it until the results came back that I had a tiny cyst somewhere inside my brain.

Yes. I have something in my brain that doesn't belong there. But after getting another MRI, I expected that my neurologist would tell me it's nothing to worry about as according to him, women develop cysts everywhere and they may never know about it throughout their whole lives.

However, when I got my results back, he told me to see a neurosurgeon because it was pushing against a sensitive spot. Great.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Standing Up to My Number One Critic

I wish I had a machine that lit up every time my husband and I disagreed but I was really in the right. Then I would know that I should pursue it and that my idea will prevail. Alas, I have no such machine and if I "put my foot down," I'd do it with trepidation, knowing that if the outcome was negative, he would likely throw it all back in my face with an "I told you so." Sometimes, he'll complain about something that happened when he never voiced any opposition to the idea in the first place. To him, not voicing consent is passive disapproval. To me, it's just plain irritating.

My husband is a good guy but like me, he's not perfect. Of his notable imperfections is his tendency to be conservative. Let it be said that it is also a gift and one that compliments my greedy a.k.a. ambitious nature. However these days, I have been pushing back his criticisms more often. Could I possibly be more comfortable with myself? Now, that's quite a fantasy.

Either way, I'm living on some sort of dream because lately, I have been obsessed with finding a setting for Logan to improve his social skills and have fun afterschool. I live in New York and so in the late fall and winter, it will be very cold. I am concerned for my own sanity because I just know the ADHD brothers will need some place to let off steam. I searched far and wide and called dozens of places but nothing seemed to work. Why?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ignore the Behavior, Not the Child

At Spencer's monthly meetings with his therapists, sometimes I end up feeling really ashamed and embarrassed because I just can not hide any of my flaws from these guys. They know everything and if I am failing to do something, it will eventually come out and be addressed. This month, we focused on Spencer's behavior which had been growing significantly worse and I was feeling powerless.

Talk to me about a four year old who doesn't listen and I'll give you some ideas on what to do because I have some experience now that Logan is five. However, if you ask me about a two-year old who won't listen then I can't help you.

That is because when Logan was acting "crazy" when he was two, I was still in my helpless mode. I was in denial that something was wrong and the professionals around me did nothing but blame me for his behavior. We then just sort of rode out the terrible twos which never really stopped even after he turned three. Thus, to this day, I still don't know what to do with a special needs toddler. Even though I have read books like 1-2-3 Magic and Toddler Taming, I do not believe it can apply to my toddler, not yet at least. If I recall correctly, even in 1-2-3 Magic, there is a part that says something to the effect like... if this method doesn't work for you, seek professional help...

So what to do? Well, how about ABA to the rescue? Again...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ADHD Awareness Week - What Does It Do?

I am wondering if ADHD Awareness Week is helpful.

The story of my judgmental neighbor sort of kicked off my own little awareness campaign. As a result of my yammering, I had at least one person write to me about how she suspects ADHD in her child. Like her, she keeps getting the "he'll be fine.. all kids are like that..." run around by "experts" who don't know anything or don't care.

I am happy to hear that any parent is willing to at least seriously question the possibility that their child may be different. However, so many people still misunderstand ADHD and unfortunately, those people have a powerful place in our lives such as our bosses, educators, journalists, spouses, parents, in-laws (ugh!), and government purse-string holders.

I have an ADHD child and I need help and understanding, not a cold shoulder or worse, misunderstanding. I am not alone. People have asked where to find simple information about ADHD and I found a page in ADDitude magazine' website with a bunch of links to help with awareness-raising.

However, for me, there is still a dilemma. To spread ADHD Awareness, there needs to be a clear message. This is where my public relations mind steps in: I will first ask when deciding on a campaign: Just what exactly are we trying to say? What's the message?

Thinking aloud---- These are the people I want to educate:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Can A Special Needs Family Be Good Neighbors?

How would you feel if you received the following email from your downstairs neighbors (in an apartment building).? To be sure, I have pads, rugs, and carpets in my home as the rules of my apartment building requires but they do run around and wake up as early as 5:00 AM. I do try to curb their running and jumping but it's not always possible because that is the way a 2 year old with PDD and a 5 year old with ADHD moves about in their abode. I've told my downstairs neighbors that they have neurological disorders but noise is still noise. Take a read and if you have any advice, feel free to send me an email or leave a comment.

The past couple of months have been rough in regard to the noise. It is not fair to have to keep a broomstick nearby just to have peace and quiet. I'm not sure what to do from here as I've been continuously woken up before my morning alarm and whenever I try to take naps. Not to mention the embarrassment we feel when company comes over.

To say the least, the noise level is by far the worst it has ever been. We are not sure what has changed but it's become pretty intolerable. This has influenced mine and CCC's* decision to move out when our lease is up. We both feel we have been fair and tolerant neighbors. We've never complained to management and always come to you first.

We are aware that you have 'no-running' rules for the kids to follow, but rules with kids do not mean anything if they are not constantly reinforced. It is not your fault that the walls are thin but please be respectful of us. We don't know who your new neighbors will be but for the past 4 years you've been lucky to have twenty-somethings like AAAA and BBBB, and CCC and I. Please do something about the noise.



* AAA and BBB are the masks of real names of former roommates. CCC and DDD are the current tenants downstairs. Also, the email did come in bold print.

** I think the person needs to take "naps" because she works at night.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is There An ADHD Awareness Day?

I have never heard of it but in any case, I declare today ADHD Kid Education Day. Could we all take a moment in our lives to figure out what a child with ADHD needs in school and give it to him or her? This includes parents, teachers, school districts, and soccer classes that charge outrageous amounts of money for "special needs classes."

I say this because I've had many enlightening moments today.

1. My son started school today and it was the most amazing school ever!!! He is in a class with other kids with varying special needs and strengths. He can learn from their skills and they can learn from his. Logan has an opportunity to be proud of himself. I feel truly blessed.

2. A mother of an ADHD child I know is not recognizing her child's needs and she is resistant to release her denial. I feel for her and her child. I wish things could be better for them. Even if she did acknowledge her child's disability, getting her the help that she needs is so hard. You are fighting for your child almost every day.

3. A report came out recently about how PET scans show signs that ADHD brains do not process motivation and rewards like non-ADHD brains do. These results support medication and encourages alternative methods to motivating ADHD youngsters. I had to read the article twice to figure out how this new report could be helpful to me and was really frustrated. Then, I watched a great news program and it helped me see it more clearly. Yes, using PET scans might be news but how can I apply this to my life? More importantly, as our children start school this week, can any of these mounds of research be used to improve the education of children with ADHD? How about an ounce of sympathy and maybe an educational dollar or two for a child who doesn't think a happy face sticker is worth his effort?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Can Mom Be Awake? Summer is Over

I can't believe how lazy I've been. It's crazy that I only had four posts in August! Where have I been? Have I relaxed myself to the point where I can no longer stand up? Is that what I was? Relaxed? I had to think about this for a while and here is what I came up with:

Reason #1:
I am more calm these days. Since checking myself into the ER with a panic attack 11 months ago, I think I may have finally found a medication that helps me stay calm. It's not perfect but it helps a lot and while it does have some side effects, I think I can live with them for now. It definitely beats not breathing well. No more big psychiatry bills! (At least for now... knock on wood)

Reason #2:
I went back to acupuncture. Why do I discontinue the things that help me? Why do I feel guilty about spending money on myself? It's ridiculous I know. My acupuncturist doesn't even charge that much but when I'm not feeling so great, I now don't hesitate so much to see her. I even brought Logan with me one day. She was so incredibly nice to him even though he's such a busy person.

Reason #3:
I am trying harder to accept the things that I can not control. I think when I started the GFCF diet and started looking for schools for Logan and Spencer, I was worried about two things:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good Friends Are Hard to Find

This summer, I was on a mission. At least I started out that way and like some of my "missions," it sort of fizzled into almost nothing but as the summer fades, my laziness goes with it and I'm reviving some of my goals.

One of them was to make friends for my kids. I really feel the need to make more socialization opportunities for Logan and Spencer. After all, that was one of the reasons I quit my job. When I was working, getting playdates for Logan was a lost cause. I think there were many reasons behind it. Some parents didn't want nannies to have playdates. Some parents didn't want other people's children in their homes when they weren't there. Moreover, no mom wanted to have a playdate with a nanny. The only time it was possible for me to have a playdate for Logan was during the weekend and of course, those were always spur-of-the-moment and skills could not be practiced on a consistent basis.

I quit my job when my kids entered the world of special needs services but unfortunately, it was still hard to get playdates for my kids. It was great to have special services for the kids but therapy takes time and keeps you locked up at home or a clinic. Moreover, Logan (and soon Spencer) goes to a special ed school and so he is not able to go to school with kids in the neighborhood. Furthermore, time spent on the bus, something neighborhood kids don't do, means less time in the neighborhood playground where he could be making and keeping friendships.

It feels so awkward to me to help my child "make friends," but it has to be done. I had already disturbed the "natural" order of things by putting them in tons of therapy and special needs schools away from our neighborhood. I have to intervene to make up for this disadvantage.