Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Getting Better Everyday

I took Bryce off the Adderall a little over a week ago. His emotions were so out of control. Even with the new medication for his depression, the outbursts were a constant thing. I thought long and hard about this, and I realized a few things. First, I actually feel worse about having my child on Adderall than I do on Zoloft. This may because I have seen and lived depression/anxiety. I was just having a hard time coping with the thought that my 6 year old body was been run through with amphetamines. Second, I just knew that all this emotional stuff was becoming worse with the Adderall, and I couldn't bare to see my son like that anymore. So I took him off of it. I called his doctor and told him "I am taking Bryce off the Adderall. I will pay close attention to watch for any withdrawal symptoms. I don't want him on this right now. I want to try other things." He said "OK."

So now over a week later and after no withdrawal symptoms and no real set backs, he is the same old Bryce as before, except one thing.....HE IS HAVING HARDLY ANY OUTBURSTS OR MELTDOWNS. The Zoloft is really working for him. He is happy about things, he is saying Thank you to us (which is huge, not having to remind him to say it!) He is falling asleep a little better (still needs some work). The main thing though is the crying, I am just so happy to see my son, well happy!!!!

We still take it one day at a time, like I am sure we will for quite awhile, but today was a good day and I am satisfied about that!

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Medication

Since Bryce has been started on his medication for ADD, we have seen an increase in his emotions. About a week ago we tried adding another medication at night that would try and help stabilize his emotions. After a few days of this new medication, I could see it wasn't working, he was only getting worse. Bryce was having "mental meltdowns" at least 10 times a day. I took him off that medication. Even after taking him off the medication, he was still having a rough time. With the Adderall XR it is making his brain slow down, in turn helping with his focus on tasks and school work. Unfortunately it is also making his depression/anxiety come to its full potential. Before any medication his brain was moving so fast that when he would have a depressed moment it would just come on, but then leave quickly because he didn't have the time to deal with it. He would become depressed or anxious over something but his attention would quickly turn to something else. Now that his brain is able to slow down and process, he is struggling with being depressed/anxious longer. This is tough on all of us. I have had a diagnosis of anxiety in the past, and even struggled with postpartum anxiety after Greyson was born. I took medication for this in the beginning but for the past 8 months or so, I haven't needed it. Now I feel like my anxiety is coming back, because I can't figure out how to help my son. In one way the Adderall is helping with his focus, but it is also triggering his depression. How can my 6 year old son have depression? It is really the worst feeling for a mother to watch your son go through something like this. If you have ever been depressed, you will know that no matter what anyone does, it doesn't help. You can't explain why you feel sad, you just do. Sometimes there is nothing to be sad about, but you are sad anyways, for no good reason.

So we saw Dr. Zollinger on Wednesday and discussed what our next step was. Since like I said the Adderall is working, we don't want to take him off of this, fearing that he may go backwards. We made the decision to start Bryce on a small dose of Zoloft, which is a depression/anxiety medication. Bryce will also be going to see a child's psychiatrist, which is someone for Bryce to talk to. They can also prescribe medication unlike the psychologist that he saw before. So hopefully after seeing Bryce a few times can help us better understand what medication might work best for his condition. Dr. Zollinger is also hoping that maybe having Bryce talk with someone, he might not have to be on medication for his depression for that long. He thinks that Bryce will outgrow this, or at least learn to control it.

This has to be so scary for Bryce, not knowing what is going on in his head. I can't imagine being a kid and feeling like this. This new medication will take about a week or so to see it's full effect, but last night we had family game night and Bryce LAUGHED!!! He laughed so hard!!! We played minute to win it, and Bryce was blowing a feather, trying to get it in a box, and it got stuck in his nose!! He was rolling on the ground, laughing so much. Ryan and I were busting up as well. I got tears in my eyes. It has been so long since I have seen Bryce that happy. I can't tell you how happy that made me.

Thanks for being there and taking the time to listen to our issues. We are praying that we are on the right track, and we know that God has a plan for Bryce.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Better yet worse

We started Bryce on Adderall XR two weeks ago. Ryan and I have seen a difference in some ways. Bryce talks to me more about his day, which before NEVER happened. When I would pick him up at school and ask about his day, he would say things like "I don't know" or "NOTHING!" He never wanted to discuss anything. Maybe because nothing was important about his day or maybe because he brain was spinning so out of control that he couldn't find words to describe his day? Who knows, anyhoo that is the past and today is a new day right? Well so NOW when I pick him up he tells me what he did, how lunch went and anything else important that the teacher tells the students to tell their parents. I AM SO EXCITED TO LEARN ABOUT HIS DAY! Besides that there is a tiny bit more of things I notice. When I ask him to do something, sometimes he does it right away! Also he has been a little better about remembering to say "thank you" without us having to ask him 3 times what to say. I haven't yet had a chance to sit down with his teacher and talk about if she is noticing a difference yet. I plan on going in there Friday and talking with her.

So on the downside, because there always is.....his emotions are totally out of control. I knew this could happen with the medication, but I wasn't prepared for how bad it was going to be. Adderall is an amphetamine which slows down the brain in people who have ADD/ADHD, but it also speeds people up who don't have that problem. That is why it is sold of the streets for high value, because people get high from it. They actually used it back in war for the pilots to stay awake. So since it is working in Bryce's brain, it is also running through his veins all day, making him a little more agitated and anxious. Of course since Bryce is already dealing with some depression and anxiety, we knew they might get worse. They have! Bryce is so emotional over everything, and it's not just crying it is straight up having a mental meltdown over something as small as not wanting to eat what's for dinner, or the rain is getting on his shoes. It is overwhelming not just for me but for him as well. Last night when he had this melt down because he drank some juice and he gagged and thought he might vomit, I ended up having to just hold him in my arms as he tried to struggle to get loose for a good 20 minutes until he finally calmed down enough that I wasn't worried he was going to have a heart attack. 45 minutes after the meltdown began he was fine, back to normal like nothing ever happened. The intensity of the situation is hard to explain. Some people will probably read this and say "oh yeah my kid does that if he doesn't get his ice cream." I have no idea how to drill it into peoples head but this is NOTHING like that!

So after discussing this with his doctor, we put him on another medication that is called Guanfacine. He takes this at night before bed and it will help calm down the emotions enough to get them under control, while the Adderall is still working to control his ADD. Hopefully with this combination Bryce can be a happy kid. That is what I want for Christmas from Santa, and God. I want my son to be happy, to live his life as a child does. I don't want my son to go through this anymore.

Thanks for listening.

Praying for another tomorrow, better than today. Praying for strength to guide us, and wisdom to know we are in the right direction.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I am sitting here today with so many thoughts running through my head. Today we will meet with Dr. Zollinger and discuss the next step in helping Bryce. I guess if I had to choose one word for the way I am feeling it would be "lost." Not knowing if the step we take with be for the better or worse. If we choose medication and it back fires, then my son might get worse. If we choose not to do medication and just therapy, how long will it take for Bryce to get better? Although I know God has an amazing plan for Bryce, I know God knows the outcome of this confusing time, I am still so confused. I am his mother, the one that God chose to protect him, to teach him, to heal him. I feel like I am losing. I feel like a horrible mother. Ryan gets so upset that I blame myself for this, but I can't help it, that is just how us humans react. I go over and over in my head, what if I would of stayed home from the beginning? What if I would of spent more time with him as child? I could go on all day with more "what if's", but it won't help. Nothing does. I literally have to make my mind turn another direction.

I know that every parent out there, or most anyway could tell you that they love their child more than any other parent in the world. It is so true. I love Bryce more than I could of ever imagined loving my children. When I was kid I could not wait to become a mother. I even bought baby clothes as a teenager because I knew someday I would have a little one. When Ryan and I decided to get married we did it because we wanted children, and we knew that was the right way to do it. Of course we wanted to be husband and wife, but we had already lived together for 5 years, we were already "married" in most ways. I wanted to have everything perfect for a new little person in our life, so I went to the doctor about a month before our wedding to get checked out. There I was given the news that I never expected to hear....I might not be able to get pregnant! Really? Of all the people out there having children and the Lord was going to deny me this? Well I wasn't giving up, I decided I would take fertility drugs to help better my chance. I tend to think God knew the mistake he had made by telling me I couldn't have my dream, because 45 days after our wedding, I was pregnant! So you see many people are so happy when they get pregnant, it is a wonderful thing. But for me, it was the greatest blessing. Bryce is my blessing. Bryce is my miracle. My sweet 6 year old son is the greatest gift God has given me. I also believe that having Bryce allowed my body to get pregnant 3 times after him. Two babies of course are my angels in heaven, then 1 little boy is currently dancing in my living room right now.

Bryce is more to me than just my child. Bryce is my entire world. I want so much for that little boy. I want life to be easy for him. I want him to not be afraid. I just want the best for him.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Learning more about Bryce

Well, today was the day. The day when my life was turned upside down. The day I learned more about my son then ever before.

Ryan and I were both so nervous going into this meeting with Bryce's psychologist. Of course we were excited too, we were finally going to get some much needed answers. So we took Greyson to my mom's house, and headed over.

Once we arrived when we went back to Dr. Fusek's office. She had about a 10 page letter, that was all information complied, from us, Bryce's teacher and from what she gathered after meeting with us and Bryce the first time. She went through it all with us. Some good news before the bad, is that Bryce shows no signs of Autism or Aspergers. The major concern that she has with Bryce is his inability to process information. Bryce is an excellent reader, but he is unable to process what he is reading. He could read an entire book with hardly any problems, except at the end of the book, you ask he what the book was about and he is unable to tell you. He was given a test at her office, that was on the computer, when the question popped up on the screen he had a button to push when he knew the answer but he was constantly late pressing the button. Although he knew the answer, his brain was not processing the information about the question/answer in the proper time like the average person. The weird thing is this whole time, Bryce seemed so smart, we were so excited to learn about his IQ level because we thought he was going to be outstanding in that department, unfortunately his IQ level is lower than average, only at an 87. This is due to not being able to process what he is learning. Now don't think that he is not smart, because he is, he just needs help teaching his brain to learn it. Bryce has the ability to learn this stuff, it will just take alot of patience from us and his teachers. So with this learning issue (I don't want to say disability, because I am not ready to say that), his clinical diagnosis is ADD. Not to be confused with ADHD, because he does not show signs of the hyperactivity. Which surprised Ryan and I both, but she is the one with the PhD!

Our next diagnosis is by far the worst of them. As I have said before, Bryce seems to be extremely emotional about a fair amount of things. He gets sad and then gets angry. We knew that he was having some sort of emotional issue. But I was not prepared for her to diagnosis him with a mild case of clinical depression/anxiety. At 6 years old, you don't expect that. As a mother, that is your worst fear. That something you have no control over, something that is a chemical imbalance in your childs brain, makes them sad. As she explained this though, it started to make sense. For the past 2 or 3 years I have been getting so frustrated with Bryce, when he does not do things he is told or I have to tell him a hundred times to do something and he still looks at me confused, like he isn't PROCESSING what I am saying!!! I broke down and cried, how could I not know this was happening to my son, how could I get so upset that he wasn't listening, but it wasn't that he wasn't listening, it was that his brain takes longer to process.

This is probably confusing to some of you, it is still confusing to us. We will take this one day at a time. Today is a new day, today is the day my life was turned upside down, today is the day I start a new path to helping my son lead a better life. Thank you for your continued support. I will keep you updated with anything new. We will meet with Dr. Zollinger (Bryce's PCP) this Friday to talk about where we go from here. The Psycologists recommendation right now is a small dose of ADD medication, this should help kickstart his brain into helping with the process of information.

I just want the best for my baby. I found this picture of him when he was about 3, thought I would share.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Update on Bryce

Yesterday was the day. We had an appointment with Dr. Fusek who is a pyschcologist in Corvallis that specialises in behavioral therapy. When they called me a few weeks back to set up the appointment, I was told that we would be there for about 4 hours. At first the doctor would meet with Ryan and I and discuss some concerns, then she would meet with Bryce and talk with him for up to 3 hours!!!! So paperwork was sent in the mail, one form for us to fill out and one form for his teacher. These forms were questions about how Bryce deals with certain situations, anxiety issues, ADHD questions, and much more. When we first went to the pediatrician we were also given forms, again one for us and one for his teacher. When we sat down with Dr. Zollinger we noticed that alot of our answers were different from Bryce's teacher. I was concerned and still am, mostly because his teacher said that Bryce sometimes feels sad and unhappy at school. That was so hard for me to read, it makes me want to pull him straight out of school and never let him feel that way again. So when we first arrived at the clinic, we went into Dr. Fusek's office while Bryce played in the play room. We talked with her for about 30 minutes, she asked mostly the same questions that were on the form. I explained my concerns. I said my major concern is how emotional he is. He will cry about anything and everything. Another big concern, is that Bryce does not get happy or excited about what most 6 year olds so be excited about. Like going to the pumpkin patch, he didn't want to go, but while we were there he had a great time, when we left he said it wasn't fun and he just wanted to go home. His famous words "I want to go home!" Also when he has playdates he will play by himself instead of playing with the other kids. Like I told Dr. Zollinger and Dr. Fusek, Bryce is our first child, so I have no one else to compare to. How do you know that another 6 year old that is walking down the street is "normal" and your son is not? As I was explaining these things to her, she did point out that it wasn't normal for kids at his age to not get excited about things, that from what she gathered there is something going on. She said that it is not a clean cut case, there is not one diagnosis that sticks out from what she is hearing and reading. It sounds more like a potential of a few different things. So after about 3 1/2 hours at her office, Bryce came out and she said that everything went well and we will come back in a few weeks for a follow up appointment. At that time she will go over everything that she put together and what her recommendation. I am praying daily that whatever the outcome is, Bryce will get better. You have no idea how much it pains me to see Bryce this way. I just want my baby to be ok. As a mom you want your kids to have the best life possible. I want him to enjoy life, not be afraid of it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

We were so excited to take Greyson to his first pumpkin patch this year! We decided to go to Fir Point Farms, which is located up in Aurora. They had pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, slides, corn cannons, and much more. Greyson was in love with all the animals, he is obsessed with any animal of any kind. At one point we were looking at a mama pig who had 5 piglets with her, Greyson was walking back and forth along the cage, when all of the sudden he turns around to this complete stranger and lifts his arms up, as if the guy needed to hold him (so much for stranger anxiety!) We all laughed and the guy (who I am assuming does not have children) picked him up and held him out in front of him as if he had the worst smelling diaper in the world. It was hilarious! We went through a small sunflower maze, and Bryce found our way out, he was so proud of himself. Then it was on to the 5 acre corn maze. The first 20 minutes of this was fun and exciting as we all went through the muddy path, then after about 30 minutes it was getting a little much. Greyson was tired and kept falling down in the mud, then I would stay behind with him so he could pick up dirt and look at the corn, and of course I would be lost and not able to find Ryan and Bryce so I would call out to them, and Bryce would start to get worried, thinking I was lost! Right towards the end Bryce finally yells out, "this is enough, someone give me a MAP!" Finally I used my compass and just kept heading West, and we were out of there!!! It was a great family day, after buying some pumpkin and apple cider donuts, pumpkin bread, a half gallon of apple cider and 3 pumpkins we were on the home stretch. Here are some photos from our adventure.

 This was Bryce's victory after getting us out of the sunflower maze!
 Ryan and Bryce shooting the corn cannon
For more photos of our adventure, please see us on Facebook!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Our Youngest

Where to start with this little monkey. Little Greyson is such a tiny little person, it seems like he never grows, although his growth charts do continue to go up. We think he is going to be really smart like his older brother, he seems to just catch on so quickly. He was a bigger mover from the start. Within the first few weeks of having him home he was already doing 360 degree turns in his crib, or scooting himself from one side to the next. So of course he started crawling by 6 months and was up on his own walking at 9 months!!! He was never my baby, he quickly refused to let us hold him or cuddle with him, it's so not fair!!!!!!!! On the other hand I am happy about this because I want that for my children, I want this to learn to do things on their own, to explore and have fun. He is constantly talking (as long as the binkie is out of his mouth), saying new words on a daily basis. He loves story time, mickey mouse, seasame street, he says lalalala for elmos world, blues clues, chuck and friends, cheese, bananas, yogurt, he will always try something once, but won't eat it again if you try, he is too smart for that. He will be 2 in May 2012 and I just can't believe it, I miss my baby.

About our Oldest

Bryce is now in 1st grade. He is an amazing reader, already in 3rd/4th grade level since last year. We are going through a little bit of a struggle with him as far as paying attention to detail, listening, staying on focus. I had some concerns over the past few years about a possible ADHD diagnosis. As many of you know I have worked in the medical field in Pediatrics and I have seen a ton of kids with this disease. Bryce is not so out of control that he is in some major need of help, but he is having some problems at home and at school. It is hard when you are dealing with this issue, because I do not want to just shove medication down my son's throat. I do believe that parents and doctors are giving this diagnosis out too frequently and too often, but I also believe that Bryce does have a chemical inbalance somewhere in that head of his. His doctor and I have also discussed the possibility of Aspergers, which if he did have it, it would only be a small section of this disease. The reason for this is because of Bryce's speaking and the way his mind has a very detailed memory. He is also extremely smart for his age (not bragging!) So I have decided to try doing the Organic way to see if this helps with his focus, outbursts, and anxiety. Wish us luck!!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Family Photos

Today we had our first family photos since  Bryce was about 9 months old. Really people I need to be more on top of this!!!! It's hard when you have a camera and you just take pictures as life goes on, and never really worry about getting your entire family in a picture. But I decided it was time, although Ryan wasn't too happy about the idea, since he hates having his picture taken, we did it anyway! Of course I was so worried that our oldest would be the one that we would have to deal with not smiling, or pouting, or what he does best (fold his arms together and put out his bottom lip!) Well I was wrong, Greyson was HORRIBLE!!!! He was a crab cake from the time we pulled in to the time we made it home and he went to bed!!! Thankfully the lady who did our pictures has 6 kids and she understood. And people wonder why I wait so long to get this stuff done!!!!!