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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Birthday Blessings, And Only One Throw Up

Today is my birthday. Here's how my 24 hours of celebration began: as each of my three sons came downstairs to where Ella and I were slumped on the couch, they each exclaimed, one after the other, "EWWWW!!! Is Ella THROWING UP?? Happy birthday, Mom."

Nice. Motherhood is so glamorous.

My little sweetie had a fever, tummy ache, and threw up once today. Once I can handle. Plus Ella is the best vomiter in the crew. She knows exactly when to demand "BOWL." She aims, she fires. No muss, no fuss. Then after she throws up (I was informed by said sickie today that she prefers to say 'throw up' instead of 'vomit,' 'barf,' or 'puke.') she is almost manic- giddy with relief. She talks a mile a minute until she collapses from illness. So one throw up isn't too bad.

I had a wonderful day. I only got sworn at by my boys a couple times. And, NO RAGES!!! What?!? Do the happy dance with me, people! No rages. I went to the psychiatrist yesterday to talk with him about what our Boy Plan should be. Our psychiatrist is brilliant when it comes to psych-ish things, but not so warm and fuzzy. Not a hugger.

So it was with great embarrassment that I dissolved into tears on his couch as I was trying to explain the challenges we're facing right now with our sons. To my surprise, our psychiatrist was very understanding and compassionate, and really 'got it.' We talked for a long time about what our next step should be and decided some medication tweaks were in order. I'm scared- I always am when we change any meds. But I'm also desperate, so we've got to take a step forwards no matter what that step is, and even if I'm scared.

I worry because both of the meds my boys take specifically for their anger can cause weight gain. Ben has been on his med for a couple months now, and he has gained weight because of it. Jonah no doubt will also, because of the medication he started yesterday. On a Facebook page I belong to for parents whose children have Tourette Syndrome, a mom asked if other parents struggle with giving their kids meds that cause weight gain. A whole host of comments followed. As I read these comments from desperate, passionate, wonderful parents, clinging to the hope that THIS medication will help their kiddo, I thought how absolutely unfair this is. As a parent who is desperate to survive their children's rages and emotional problems, our choice is to give our child medication that can cause weight gain, prediabetes, high cholesterol, and a host of other health problems, OR--live in a home with screaming, raging, out of control children.

That is not a choice! That is not fair! There's no good answer here. Make your kid fat and unhealthy or just deal with the violence and abuse your kid can unleash on your entire family. Not fair. My sweet, smart, beautiful boys deserve better than either of those choices. They are being betrayed by their brains that are malfunctioning, and it's not fair.

I console myself with the thought that I am sneaking up on the boys' mental health and neurological issues. I'm coming around the back, all in black, in the middle of the night, and those darn diagnoses won't know what hit 'em. I'm working with our nutritionist to get all the kids' bodies healthy from the inside out. I feel that medication is a bandaid. It helps us in the moment, or for many years of moments. But it's not healing the body that it is put into. I'm working to help the kids' bodies heal so that they won't need the medications someday, or maybe will need less of them. My hope is that someday we will be able to slowly peel off all our bandaids and expose the newness, the whole-ness, of my healed children. That is my goal. Therapies, supplements, essential oils, healthy diet, chiropractic care...everything we do is so that someday, the bandaids of medication can come off.

I took Aidan to see our nutritionist this week. She's the one that does the "Voo doo," as Alex calls it. She hooks you up to a computer and is able to test your entire body and all its organs by using a probe on one of your body's natural energy paths- a meridian. I love it. On the computer screen, you can watch the nutritionist work through each body part and organ, seeing which ones are enflamed or clogged or in need of support. It's incredibly interesting.

Aidan's little body is a hot mess. He's just one big clogged-up blob. It takes time to slowly help a body heal and clean out toxins, but it is possible. I'm living proof of that slow recovery. Aidan is taking a few supplements to start his body in the direction of healing. Each of us goes to see the nutritionist every 4-6 weeks to see how we are progressing with our nutritional protocol and to tweak the process as needed. It's fascinating.

So that's my plan. I'm sneaking up on all these little brains. Suddenly they're going to wake up and realize huh! We just got healed! Then I will laugh and say "Take THAT, you rotten old brains! We fooled you!"

It isn't fair, but it is what it is and we're trying the best we can. My brother lifted my up yesterday with his words. He said that a physical side effect, like weight gain, can hopefully be combatted sometime in the future. We can work on that. We can try to do the things necessary to reverse that side effect. But the anger and rages- that's something that is tearing our family up right now, and it's something that can't be changed with diet and exercise, or any of the other strategies and interventions we've tried. Living this way is changing the way my non-raging kids see life. It's exhausting Alex and me. It's hurting the souls of my ragers. It can't continue. My brother said he thinks we've made the right decision with our medication changes, based on all that.

It's important to feel valued and uplifted and supported, especially by the important people in your life. Knowing that someone I value as much as my brother thinks Alex and I are making the right decision for our kids means the world. When you're in this position as a parent, scrambling in the dark for a tiny beam of hope, the love and support of friends and family means everything.

I know the med changes haven't kicked in for the boys yet, but we did have a good day. Friends and family took time out of their busy lives to make sure I felt loved and appreciated. My chiropractor and her office assistant did "The Birthday Song and Dance" for me all the way down their hallway. Friends from, literally, far and wide made sure to show me how much I'm loved. Goodies found their way into my mailbox! Facebook posts went bonkers with all the birthday love! Alex worked from home and took care of Ella so I could keep the appointments I had scheduled today for exciting things- like a blood test! And lunch with a dear friend.

I'm speechless and humbled by the love of my circle of friends and family.

The kids and Alex made me feel so special tonight. We actually ate dinner TOGETHER, and there were NO fights! It was a birthday miracle. (Or maybe just that fact that there is one meal in this world that we all love to eat--tacos. It was Taco Night. Even though everyone eats their tacos differently, we all agree, we love tacos.) Everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to me as my candles burned to waxy stubs in my cupcake because it took so long to figure out who was eating which flavor of cupcake and the candles had already been lit. Jonah asked Aidan what flavor of cupcake he wanted: caramel, vanilla, or chocolate. Aidan looked over at him. Aidan paused a long, full, Aidan-Pause. Minutes of silence as we all watched Aidan and waited in suspense for the answer...then he said "I'll have Gatorade." Classic Aidan.

Ella, Ben and Jonah had to have candles on their cupcakes along with me, and we had to sing the birthday song to Ella also. We went on a scavenger hunt, led by Ella, to find all the presents she and Daddy had wrapped. She was so excited, even though she was sick. They would say "hot....cold" whenever I got near or far away from a present. I'd find the present and then Ella would snatch it out of my hands and rip it open. I hope by the time I turn 80 that I'll get the privilege of opening my own presents! But by then I probably will have great-grandchildren who will want to open my presents, and it is so fun, who can deny a child that gleeful experience?

My last present of the day was listening to the rain storm outside. That was a beautiful gift. I love rain.

I adore birthdays. Mine, other people's, doesn't matter. I don't know what it is, I just get so filled with excitement that someone special was born on this particular day. Each life should be celebrated and cherished! I don't understand people who don't want to have birthdays or don't get a huge kick out of them. I LOVE them! I embarrass the people around me with my birthday excitement. Too bad. You only get a You Day once a year. Enjoy it. I even told my phlebotomist that is was my birthday. She had my Driver's License in her hand, so she already knew, but I told her anyway. She and I go way back (I've had many, many blood tests) and I thought she had the right to celebrate with me over my 6 tubes of blood. And get this- me dear lunch date friend? She snuck a GLUTEN FREE chocolate cake into Panera for us to eat after our gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, meat free, soy free soup! (We laughed like crazy when my friend read the ingredients in the cake. Pretty much everything on our Do Not Eat list was in that cake. Except for meat and gluten. You have to live a little, especially on your birthday.) Now that is my kind of birthday celebration!!

Here's to a new year of my life. I can't wait for the changes and adventure that are coming my way. I'm so grateful to all the people who fill my life. Thank you for knowing me and loving me anyway. Thank you for sticking by me during my dark moments, and holding the flashlight so I can see my way out of the tunnel. Thank you for letting me know you're there, you understand. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for reassuring me that I'm not a bad mom. Thank you for walking through this life with me. Thank you for making my special day so special, just by being in it.

And most of all, thank you, God, for only one throw up today.

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