week one.

Jordan has been on a minimum dose of a common stimulant treatment for ADHD for one full week. Jim and I just keep looking at each other shaking our heads in disbelief. The child we see is such a dramatic difference than the child we are accustomed to I can’t even tell you. The positive changes are really remarkable. The side effects are actually very minimal to this point.

I decided to keep a log of all of this for two reasons. One, I want to be able to look back on this for us and for whatever use we will have. Two, once we are comfortable with where we are in this process and how Jordan is doing, I want to be able to share our journey with other moms and dads and caregivers. As we sat in our IEP meeting today, one of the counselors told me I should keep notes so I can share one day with others. I just giggled. She doesn’t know about my compulsive writing of all the details. Ha.

So, as I said, week one has been mostly euphoric for Jim and I. The doc told us we should see results of the meds within around three to five days, but that some effects could be seen right away on day one. So we were hopeful that we’d see some little something on day one. We didn’t expect it, but we said we thought it’d be great if there was something.

I gave him his first dose, told him of all the things I wanted him to pay attention to in his body while he was at school, and I put him on the bus. Just like any other day. HA! Then I emailed the teacher, his primary counselor and anyone else with a pulse at the school and asked them to be watching him closely. “Watch for tics and increased stuttering. Watch for fits and aggression. And for God’s sake please let me know if he looks like his pulse is racing.” Or some version of this.

Jim stayed close to home and worked on some projects. I think he mostly just knew I was going to drive myself nuts all day worrying and wondering. I walked to the bus to meet the kids and waited anxiously for him to do his usual descent from the steps and run my way screaming and wildlike. He sauntered down, strolled my way and gave me a nonchalant “Hey mom, what’s up?”

What the WHAT?!?! Who was this child?

He spent the better part of the last week being himself, but a little more chill and a lot more “I can’t put my finger on it but something/almost everything about that child is different in a very good way.”

We were around 5 weeks worth of homework behind. It’s not that we don’t work on homework with him every night, it’s that it takes so long we just can’t keep up with the class. This week, we did one week’s worth of work each night. Yes. We are now caught up. And he wanted to do homework. He asked to do it. He was proud of his work and he mostly understood what was going on. It honestly felt nothing short of miraculous.

The downside? He can’t sleep as well. At least the first few nights he really couldn’t fall asleep for hours. It took its toll on him. He has been taking Melatonin to help him fall asleep for a few years. We made sure with the doc that this would still be okay and continued as usual. Night one I had to triple his dose to get him anywhere close to falling asleep. No biggie- he wasn’t taking much to start with. It’s still a healthy level. The last few nights, it hasn’t taken as much.

The last few days have had a few changes. He’s still pretty level. The only difference I’m seeing is more of a “sensitivity.” He’s a little crankier than usual. He has had a couple of meltdowns when he doesn’t get his way, which wasn’t happening the first few days of meds. It is pretty typical from before meds though. I almost feel like his body/brain are getting used to the meds and they aren’t working as well. But, he also has a cold and it’s been a very long week of working double time on homework catch-up and his body getting used to this new normal. So I could be wrong. It could be anything. That’s why the doc has asked us to wait a month before re-evaluating his dosage. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of ups and downs.

So far, I’m glad it’s mostly ups! No side effects except the decrease in appetite (we are not concerned about this one!) and the sleep thing. So far, so good.

the decision.

{This post was written a few weeks ago and is the first in a line of “we choose meds” posts that I’ve been writing since. ¬†We wanted to get through the initial stages of medication privately before we told anyone. Without spoiling the ending ūüėČ I can tell you our life is forever, fabulously changed.}

 

This time last ¬†year, as we sat down with the professionals at Jordan’s school and learned their take on his “setbacks,” the first words out of my mouth were, “We will pursue all lines of help possible, but we will not be drugging our kid so don’t even bother going there.”

Last night, at 5:45 pm we sat in our pediatrician’s office and said, “Yes. ¬†We feel like it’s time to look into the medications that could help him.” ¬†It’s as simple as that. ¬†It’s time.

I won’t be publishing this post for quite a while, if ever, but I do want to write it today. ¬†It’s important I write it now both for me and so that eventually, if I do decide to share this, it will be the way I actually felt all the way through it. ¬†Today, as he takes his first 18 mg dose and heads out the door for school, I feel like a nervous wreck. ¬†He knows he’s taking special medicine that might help him slow his engine down and make it easier to listen to his teacher. ¬†He also knows it might make him feel funny, which Mommy needs to know about right away. ¬†He knows his heart might feel like it’s beating really fast and he needs to tell his teacher.

What he doesn’t know, is that Mommy is praying her face off that this special medicine only gives him all the benefits and none of the side effects. ¬†Is that too much to ask? ¬†I honestly don’t think so. ¬†I don’t want him to get a nervous tic or to begin stuttering worse than he ever has. ¬†And that’s just the beginning. ¬†I don’t want him to have heart¬†palpitations¬†or fits of aggression. ¬†I just want him to have a good day.

I just want him to be able to sit in his chair and complete a worksheet that kids half his age can do without a problem. ¬†I want him to be able to sit on the floor with the rest of his friends during carpet time rather than in a chair next to the teacher to keep him from rolling around on the floor. ¬†I want him to walk down the hallway rather than jump and fall and roll down the hallway. ¬†I want him to learn to read and understand that numbers are more than just a symbol on the page but they mean the same thing as the blocks he has stacked up in front of him. ¬†These may seem like silly things to care about. ¬†But they aren’t.

They aren’t silly because that’s what’s important to the seven year old giant child that crawls up on my lap and tells me that today he wants to put the plastic bag on his head and stop breathing because he’s stupid. ¬†There’s nothing silly about feeling so different and so stupid than everyone else around you that you just want to give up.

And that’s why, at 5:45 pm I sat across from our doctor and told him that yes, we are ready. We choose meds. ¬†Not because I’m a lazy parent that just wants the meds to turn my kid into the perfect child without me doing any of the work. ¬†Not because I want to appease the teachers that expect too much of little boys these days and don’t let them be “boys.” Because in 2013 society expects seven year old little boys to be able to read and count to 100. ¬†And 85% of seven year old boys do know how to do that without any problem. ¬†And trust me, seven year old boys know if they can’t do something that “everyone else” can do, and it makes them feel stupid and for some of them, it makes them depressed at times.

We aren’t telling anyone other than his teachers about our decision right now. ¬†Someday we will, but he certainly doesn’t need the added pressure of being in a fishbowl as it gets figured out right now. It’s time he’s just allowed to be a seven year old little boy.