Tuesday, August 19, 2014

4.5 years Since my Fucking Horrible post

Out of no where I began to think of this blog I have neglected for many years. Months and years passed and I found it too painful to relive our struggles with Ava. 

Many have asked - does it get better? 4.5 years later, 2 hospitalizations, numerous behavioral therapists, 3 pdocs later, a confirmed diagnosis due to mania triggered from an antidepressant increase, death threats from her, physical abuse by her, violent rages, police visits, Child Services investigations of me and NO, not a bit easier.  Life with Ava is as it has always been, a tireless battle. But my husband and I refuse to give up. We tell her we will never give up and therefore she never will either. I view myself as a mother of a child with special needs. She will never be "the norm" - our lives with Ava will never be "the norm."  But there's a reason she chose me as her mother and I refuse to let her down. My mom used to tell me, "This too shall pass." I'll pass this down to my children. I'll never be able to fix her but damn if I'll ever stop trying. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Almost a year

And I fear typing this - will I jinx our spree of normalcy? Heh - what IS that anyway.

Almost a year has passed and wow - here we are. Ava has been quite stable for almost a year now. We have done little to her meds outside a tweak of mgs here and there. Intuniv was her life changer a year ago and now that we're at 4mgs - the highest dose - I do hope it continues to keep her symptoms at bay. We have noticed more than anything in the last year that the importance of TIME, right down to the minute, of WHEN her meds are taken is THE MOST important thing. Meds taken EXACTLY on time, day after day after day, proves the best possible outcome for her. We have an alarm clock next to her meds in our kitchen cabinet to insure this.

I've been battling my own depression as it's been almost a year that my mom suddenly passed away. As I read my previous posts, I'm amazed at my strength and see so little of that in myself anymore. I wake up each morning, fighting, to stay a part of this world. Interestingly enough, I'm now seeing Ava's psychatirist - she's an amazing doctor. I have hopes we'll find the right cocktail for me as well.

Faith, my friends, faith. I'm not a religious person by any sort of the definition but I believe in faith and the thought that all things happen for a reason, one well beyond our control. Hold onto hope that your child will triumph over this disease and that you will too.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nahhhhh

Didn't end up cutting off all meds. We did some tweaking to Ava's cocktail med and added some Trazodone. Her biggest issue is bedtime, more specifically going to SLEEP. She claims over and over that she's NOT tired. She'll follow us around the house, stalking us telling us this, pacing and yelling, she'll come into our room over and over screaming at us to "DO SOMETHING" yet when we offer, she'll accept zero help. If my child just had insomnia it would be different but I have a child who THINKS she has insomnia and stalks me like a lion, erupting and attacking as often and as much as possible. IF we are lucky and able to talk her into letting us lay in bed with her, then things settle down. Because, we lay with her for literally, no more than 7 minutes (yes, I have timed it) and she's O U T like a light. I'd have to say she feels the worst right before laying down, getting still, closing her eyes. I have no idea what it is but as soon as we get her to do the latter, she's out so fast it's ridiculous. It's like my 70 yo father in a recliner, fast! So anyway - adding the Trazodone has helped curb that feeling for her. At 50mgs she's gone 7 straight days without a fit, without arguing, without much pushing at all to get to bed. A couple of nights she's even just gotten herself ready for bed and told us she was heading there and then fell asleep! JUST LIKE A NORMAL almost 8 yo child does sometimes, I bet! My husband and joke that at least for a week, we've known what the other half must live like. She's given us a touch of trouble tonight by coming into our bedroom over and over telling us she can't sleep so we'll see if the streak is over shortly. At that point, maybe we'll still get another week of pleasure by up-ing her to 100mgs.

My poor sweetie just got over a heck of a case of some sort of stomach bug. She slept in our room for 3 nights and I have to say she's an incredible sick patient. Not overly emotional, very cooperative, very sweet, very thankful and so low key. I never ever like to see her sick but boy was it a nice break from the pitbull we know when she's healthy.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Honeymoon is over. Maybe it's just time to give up.

I'm very seriously considering no meds. None. Zero. Zip. There has YET to be a single drug (regardless of type) out of the 10+ that we have tried that works and works consistently. The Intuniv was great for a few to many days. Days. That's it. Not even a week. I just feel like there's no point anymore in trying and trying, hoping and praying and failing and disappointment. We meet with Ava's pdoc next weekend. I'm going to talk of weaning. Nothing does more than take the edge off for more than 4-5 days. There just seems to be no point in medicating anymore.

The more I look at what I've written above the more I think it would appear as though Ava's behavior would then be considered a behavioral issue. One would think. One would WISH. And I would often probably convince myself of this but time and time again, Ava shows no concern for consequences. NONE. I've taken away her going to playdates, birthday parties, kept her from dance class (her one true love), grounding - you name it, we've done it. Rewarding her, praising her - nope. She doesn't care. There is no single consequence and no reward that can return her from the dark side. So, in my opinion she's defenseless against the dark side. And so am I.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Holding our breath

Wow - as I type, I imagine I'll jinx us but Ava's doc added Intuniv to her cocktail and she took the first dose last night. She went down to sleep last night (usually our WORST time of day) with very little arguing and today was a fabulous day. She's a bit tired but we had a great day at the pool today as a family. She had her 2nd dose this evening and two hours later she went to be again with very little pushback. Could it be? Could we have found THE one?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Understood

I found this blog a while back and it comforted me.

I know you'll find yourself feeling the same upon reading it.

http://open.salon.com/blog/hells_bells/2009/04/07/why_i_wrote_why_i_hate_my_bipolar_child

Thank you, Hells Bells.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hot

Exhausted. Bitter. Embarassed.

WHY?

Why is it so hard to see the little girl everyone else sees. They look at me like I'm insane when I describe what she's really like at home. For those I dare indulge with the truth. No, at home she doesn't call the little ones "sweetheart", open doors for them, kneel down and help them figure out a toy. No, at home she doesn't sit back quietly, her hands folded in her lap with a sweet grin on her breathtakingly beautiful face. No, at home her brillant blue eyes do not sparkle when she laughs because she doesn't laugh at home. No, at home she doesn't ask others who look lonely or sad to join her in play leaving them smiling from ear to ear with silly games and play. No, at home she doesn't charm with "pleases" and "thank you's". No, at home she doesn't come to me for a quick embrace in between giggles with friends or as she flies happily by me between dance classes.

At home - there are no redeeming qualities. I find it hard to sit in the same room with her. Because at home she screams and kicks and lashes and slaps and grins an evil grin. She heckles me and her dad and her 3 yo sister. She screams she hates me. She screams I'm the meanest mom ever. She runs away and the next second she stalks. She envokes tears of hot rage and anger and saddness from me. She embarasses me beyond belief. I don't raise children like this. I'm a strong woman. A strong mother. A mother whose 2 other children behave well. Who after an outburst of average length settle down and return to themselves. I'm a mother who was raised by parents that stressed respect and honor and self control. To treat others as you'd like to be treated. My children know these same rules. But Ava does not follow them.

I'm typing between hiccuping tears. Hot tears of embarassment. My amazing brother in law is here for a week. He has brought the new love in his life. A woman he met in China while on business. She's a phenominal woman. And she's now witnessed the monster of a child I have. Do you know this child? Do you know the child you await to appear but hope with all you have in you that she won't? Do you know the pain of parenting a mood disordered monster? One that rages in front of people you hardly know. And how do I explain? And how do I not look like the one who is the monster? I asked Ava to clean her room and hours. Yes, literally HOURS later she is still raging in her room. So, do I just let the room go? NO! I cannot, it's actually to the point of dangerous it is so messy. So hours go by and her rage builds until it's time for a "garage time out". The only place we can put her where she cannot break a door from beating on it. A place where we can escape her physical and verbal abuse. All the while here my brother in law and his lovely girlfriend sit, confused and uncomfortable. She ruins everything. Everything. And this is just another example of that.

But this is not the girl you see. No, you're not one of the lucky few that get to see my real child. Or is it rather my real child that you DO see? Perhaps the animal I see is not really my Ava. And if that's the case then what logic can explain to my heart the reason as to why I get the raging animal? I understand what is said - that mood disordered children treat those they love and trust the most, the worst. And while my mind my fully understand that - my heart and my soul never will.

A mood disorder is not an excuse. It's a suitcase full of shit that some lucky folks carry around their entire lives. You lug it and you learn to accomadate for the space it requires and stink it expells. We all have our own suitcases. None of us are free of baggage. And now I carry not only my own suitcase, but Ava's as well. My heart hurts. My heart aches for peace.

I love my daughter far, far beyond words could ever express. I would give my life for her in seconds. I would take away all of her pain and confusion for years, decades of my own torture. But my daughter, I do not like. I dig deep. So deep - every morning when I wake, I dig to remember the little chubby toddler that loved me. Who reached for me and melted into my hugs. Who bloomed with love when she heard my voice. Who smiled from ear to ear and threw back her sweet blonde head laughing to run to me. I remember her because right now - anymore - my reality - these days - my 7 yo old is so far from the girl I thought she'd be. So far from what I hope she will be.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The best that I could

I worry so often about the mother I am to Ava.

Do I favor the my other children?

Do I passively punish her in ways I don't realize for the terror she puts us through?

Do I cut her short of the true emotion and love I could give her? I worry keeping myself open for raw emotion between the two of us is far to dangerous for me.

Do I yell to much?

Do I blame her personally to much?

Do I measure the fine line between mental illness and normal 7 yo behavior as incorrectly as I feel I probably do?

Do I love her, fully, completely, unconditionally the way that I love her siblings despite of her disorder?

I worry so often that I have prepared a speech in my head for the day she comes to me as an adult and wishes to discuss my parenting. That day will come, I know it will. And when I tell her I did the very best that I could, will that be enough?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thank you

It's been months since I posted. And actually many weeks since I've even checked into the site.

But I am in tears. I have read feedback to my post "Fucking Horrible" and am swept away by your comments. Thank you so very much for your words. I began this blog in hopes of other parents of bipolar children finding me - finding us, a family deeply affected by this disorder - in our constant torrential storm of early onset bipolar, who could find solace in the knowledge that we are not alone. It goes without saying that I wish this disorder on no one, but to know that there are others out there, who 'get' what it's like to have a child with bipolar - can sometimes bring you back from the line that crosses you into deep, deep darkness.

Ironically enough, shortly after writing this post, I recounted Ava's rage to an amazing therapist my husband and I see for couples therapy. I told her that very soon after Ava's rage, I retreated to my blog and poured out my emotions. I told her point blank what I had written. She looked at me in complete shock. I knew, no matter how much I respected this woman, no matter her experience as a therapist, no matter her experiences as a mother with a troubled son with ADHD, she would never, ever understand. I hold strong in my beliefs, my opinions, my morals, my insight and in myself as a human being. I KNOW despite what others show or say or do in the presence of others - there is just no way that you don't hate your child during those off the chart rages. Granted, there are days when I can brush it off, I can go to her calmly and hold her, talk softly to her, assure her it will pass, allow her to feel my chest rise and fall slowly and persuade her to breathe deeply with me. But there are those times when I break - and I scream with her, I cry with her, I slam doors with her, and I hate with her. I am only human.

One of you said that you had googled ill feelings toward your bipolar child. Would you believe me if I said I'd done the same so many times?! Pardon my sick sense of humor but OMG! I wish we could all find one another and have a hay day! What a support system we would have. Makes you wonder how many of us are out there, struggling, holding on by the tips of our fingernails.

Ava has not raged quite like that since they day I wrote that post. Perhaps she has been close but I've somehow been in a place where I was able to handle it better? I take her rages anymore with a grain of salt, though it worries me as I wonder how much I need to disconnect from her in order to save myself? That thought, in itself, brings on more horrendous feelings of guilt and concern. I just never know where the line is - I never know who to be or what to do - it's an endless battle and at the end of the day, I realize - I'm fighting to keep all of us in this family 'ok' knowing that it's never a battle I'll win. Me vs. BP = loss, always.

I have heard recently talk of a differential diagnosis for children like my baby. It's one that says that these rages will manifest into depression as she matures and the rages will slowly disappear. I hope for this and often think perhaps we're seeing this the last couple of months but feel even now as though I may jinx us all by typing those words. It sounds horrible, doesn't it? To wish depression upon your own child? But when you think of only one side of this disorder as opposed to both sides - I'd gladly take one and I'm sure Ava feels the same way.

And for anyone curious - I did end up with that fabulous job, a dream job for which I worked ONE day. The commute was an hour drive and on the way home from that first day, I realized I could not leave my babies. It just wasn't time yet. So, I'm back to a SAHM, pinching pennies and keeping the scene calm for the five of us. So far, so good.

I'm thinking of all of you who follow this - know you are in my thoughts so very often. And in those dark moments please know, you are not alone.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mix and Match

"Life is like a box of chocolates, you just never know what you're going to get."

A dorky quote, yes I realize. But I find myself thinking this often lately. The last couple weeks have held some interesting events.

I was called by a recruiter I used to work with regarding a temporary position with a pharmaceutical company that manufactures CNS drugs. He said they had come to the end of their list of possible candidates to submit when he came across my CV. He had hoped I'd had a change in heart on wanting to 'semi retire' my career. Now, I've been out of work for almost a year and previous to that, I worked strictly from home for another pharma company for 3.5 years. It had always been my dream to stay home with my kiddos and we were finally able to handle it financially. It's been amazing to say the least. I'll be forever grateful for the time I've been able to spend with each of them while they were infants/babies/toddlers. I really had no intention of returning to work before this call. I was even tossing around the idea of going back to school for a Master's in counseling. But then this call came and something really struck me about the job and the company. How could this not be fate? To think that I could be a part of the research that goes into the drugs that have saved my daughter's sanity over the last few years is beyond my wildest dreams. And to boot, we have a fantastic nanny waiting in the wings who my children know and truly love. I feel pretty lucky this has fallen into my lap.
I interview tomorrow afternoon and while it will be a huge and initially heartbreaking adjustment, I feel as though this is some type of calling I must answer. It's just meant to be.

In Ava news, she's developed a new odd behavior pattern. She's been having BM accidents at school! My poor girl. She refuses to change into the extra underwear she has tucked away in her backpack and so has dirty underwear for a few hours - until she arrives home from school. We've chatted with the therapist about this and she's not really sure where it's all coming from - perhaps a control issue? Ava claims she is afraid to ask her teacher (whom we love dearly and is a sweetheart and beyond understanding always) to go to the restroom as she feels as though she asks too often. Ava is such a perfectionist - it just kills her to imagine that someone is disappointed in her or is thinking she's not perfect. I emailed her teacher to let her know what was going on and she and Ava have developed a code phrase that Ava can tell her so she knows Ava must go to the bathroom right away without Ava having to blurt out "I have to poop, Mrs. S!" Since this has happen, Ava's not had an accident but I feel like we're just on borrowed time here. On one hand, I'm of course heartbroken for her and on the other hand I'm so frustrated with her because I cannot understand - I cannot fathom what is holding her back from just going to the bathroom when needed?! Wouldn't that be worth it so you don't have to feel horrible with poopy underwear? Ugh, my poor girl and this horrendous illness. I know behavioral patterns such as this will just continue to evolve as months and years pass, but it is beyond exhausting as a parent to constantly find it within yourself to trudge through it all. There is no option to throw up your hands and say, "OK! I give up! I can't figure this out, I have no idea what the hell is going on! I can't fix it so just forget it, I give up, can't do it, you try now, ok?" And all the while, the previous is what drives me to continue to fight until she feels good and is stable. I made her a promise about a year ago, that I would never give up on this - I would never ever ever stop fighting for her to feel better. That she should always know that no matter what happens, I'll be here, right next to her, fighting this disorder along with her as long as she needed me. I realize at 5 years old that may not mean a whole lot to her, but I hope at 25, at 35, at 45 she looks back and realizes I never left her side.

On another note - I wonder if anyone has seen much of the publicity surrounding the upcoming revisions for the DSM? There is obviously a huge need to address Early Onset BP as there is nothing of its type in the current DSM IV. Studies are showing that Early Onset BP is actually grossly overly diagnosed and that perhaps a more suitable diagnosis would be "Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria". It's been found that children that were incorrectly diagnosed with BP actually end up as depressed adults, NOT BP adults. Take a look for yourself - very interesting stuff: http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=397#. Be sure to click on the tabs just under the words Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria on the page for lots more detail on the rationale behind this disorder's addition to the DSM. Of course, I can't help but wonder where Ava fits into all of this. I look forward to discussing it with her pdoc soon. As horrible as it may sound, I'd be thrilled if my baby girl ended up with ONLY depression as an adult versus Bipolar Disorder. Thrilled that that would be all she had to deal with.

Ava's rages continue about once a week despite increases in meds. My girl finds it completely IMPOSSIBLE to play alone. Or really to play at all. It seems as though it is impossible for her to concentrate or keep her mind on anything at all. She used to love tv, her DS, the computer - it was worthy of a tantrum to get her off any one of those things but in the last several months she find virtually NO interest in anything. She's taken to following my husband and I around ALLLLLLLL day long (on non school days and after school). Its heartbreaking and maddening all at the same time. I watch other children her age an younger who play quietly and contently by themselves and I'm in awe. Ava has virtually NEVER been able to do this. She relies on someone else always to entertain her or spark her interest, imagination, motivation for everything. She is completely debilitated because of it. We work on this with her therapist as well but feel like we're really getting no where with it. At the same time, I worry it is a side effect of her Abilify as it seems as though it really became a huge problem as she began taking it. Yet another issue to discuss at her next pdoc appointment.

And so it goes - never a straight shoot sort of road in our house - always twisting and turning unexpectedly. I say this all the while teasing my husband often when he says this sort of thing. He honestly believes that we live a much harder life than compared to most. I question him with - what constitutes ours as hard as compared to the next family? Who is to say that we endure more than others? You cannot compare apples to oranges. Life is not easy and anyone who tells you it is - is lying!

I spoke to a clairvoyant recently who told me that some believe that unborn children choose their parents. She told me that Ava had specifically chosen us based on her issues in this life and our ability to handle them. On the days I want to give up and wave my white flag, I think of this and know in my heart that it is true. And I reaffirm to myself, what I have promised Ava -- I will not give up, I will not give up, I will not give up . . .

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ava's med history

I thought it would be helpful for other parents to see Ava's med history. I wrote below in response to a fellow blogger but thought others may benefit from it as I always learn so much in hearing the details of other kiddos' stories and histories. I hope this leads someone else in the right direction - even if brief.

The pdoc we've been seeing for 2+ years now has just done trial and error type of prescribing for Ava. She and I really really work together as far as symptoms and theories as to what psychological issue is causing which behavior. Ava takes the following:

25 mg Zoloft, in the AM
5 mg Abilify, in the AM
27 mg Concerta, in the AM
5 mg Abilify as soon as she walks in the door from school at 4pm

Just to give you an idea of how we've figured out her latest med cocktail, here is a very brief history of Ava's meds throughout the last couple years of trial and error: Ava was first on Lamictal and we noticed slight improvements regarding her mood/depression/rages but it did not touch what seemed to be anxiety issues. We up'd the Lamictal slowly and saw no improvements. Then she began to have the rash! We stopped dosing, waited 2 weeks (to clear all out of her system) and tried Risperidol. Nada improvements or negative behavior from that - nothing. I researched and read a ton that said that Lamictal could be reintroduced with 85% rate of success without the rash. Dr. Lee agreed since we did see slight improvements so we restarted Ava on Lamictal - very, very slowly titrated up. Again, slight improvements but nothing significant. I suggested that Ava may need something for anxiety so we tried Prozac initially. This increased her rage and irritability tenfold. Stopped dosing. Waited 2 weeks. Started Zoloft and saw GREAT improvements as far as anxiety issues/sensory sensitivity issues. Her rages still continued and I felt like Lamictal wasn't really doing anything significant. We switched to Abilify as my mom is on this (BP Type II) and has had amazing results. Ava started with 5 mg in the morning. We saw improvements again but nothing super significant. With all of her meds we saw significant improvements for about 3-4 days and then they all sort of 'level out' for lack of a better term and she then will show just average improvements, meaning rages still continue but not for hours and/or not daily. I REALLY have felt since the beginning that Ava has shown signs of ADD/ADHD but was told over and over that BP can present as that but once the BP is pretty much under control, those ADHD symptoms disappear. But Ava's did not. I really stressed this to her pdoc. The big issue was that Ava showed no signs of ADD/ADHD in school. But Ava is a complete ANGEL at school, always. Her pdoc and I decided to go for it with the stimulant - if it wasn't what she needed, then we'd know immediately. Ava took her first dose and about an hour later, fell asleep while reading a book quietly on the couch. WE WERE FLOORED! It is true that stimulants can cause issues for those with BP, as can antidepressants (like Zoloft) but it really depends on the individual. And Ava is a crazy complex case. The tweaking and trial and error we've done will probably go on forever but I'm willing to do whatever it takes. We did notice a significant improvement in Ava's behavior overall upon starting the Concerta. There was suddenly a peace within her - the restlessness, jump-out-of-her-skin feeling you could feel just being around her was gone. However, we noticed HUGE flare ups about 4pm (hence my post before this last one!!!). The pdoc suspects this is because this is about the time the Concerta wears off and so we added 5 mgs of Abilify to balance out the mood swing there in the afternoon. This 4pm dose has done WONDERS. Before this dose we were having HUGE HUGE meltdowns for hours every day for about 2.5 weeks. My theory (take it with a grain of salt!!) with meds is that you treat the symptoms despite what literature says. We are all individuals and so things effect us all differently. My background is actually in research so I'm a huge advocate of it but when it boils down to treating MY child, I'll do what I feel that little voice inside my head is telling me to do - my intuition rules. And if one drug doesn't work, rest assured there are many more in that category that may, so we just keep trying. It's taken forever and I know that with growth spurts and puberty around the corner it will be a never ending battle but I don't care. I'll keep up the fight. Go with your gut, above all else. If your pdoc disagrees, tell he/she why you feel the way you do, ask for a trial period, find another doc, don't give up.

The psycho therapy sessions for Ava have been beyond wonderful. The part that Ellen stressed, more than anything is the importance of Ava knowing that she is NOT a 'bad girl'. She's a wonderful little girl who has a mood disorder. And as Elle tells her, "you are like a great big yummy pie. you have all these pieces that make up the pie and one piece is your mood disorder but that doesn't ruin the rest of the pie, it just makes it you." She stresses her strong characteristics above all else which helps with Ava's depression and anxiety and gives her the boost she needs to fight her BP. I wish we could have started earlier but no one would see her at age 4! And perhaps that would have been too early but I've always figured, the earlier she is educated and introduced to something she'll live with for the rest of her life, the more power she'll have to fight it!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tiptoeing on egg shells

My last post, I enjoy saying, is a distant memory now. And as I type, I curse myself in fear that I will jinx our current smooth sailing. Ava's extra bump of Concerta and the change in timing for her second dose of Abilify in the afternoon rather than evening seem to have kicked in for her. We are so grateful.

We had a second session with Ellen, Ava's own psychotherapist. Ava and I talked with her together and then Ava had some alone time with her and then we chatted briefly again the three of us. Wow. What support and goodness comes out of those sessions. Ellen stressed to her the importance of distraction as we've realized, much like our 3 year old when she begins an age-appropriate tantrum, Ava can be distracted out of her rages. The timing, however, must be exact and is becoming a learned art by her father and I. So, we're still treading thin ice many many times a day but Ava knows that her rage is sometimes a choice and that often she IS in control. Ellen also stressed to Ava what a wonderful mother she has. Sounds silly to me to type that out but her saying that brought me to tears. I try so hard and so often feel so beaten down by Ava's behavior that it felt like a boost to the clouds to know that she and Ava had talked about this and to see a twinkle of acknowledgement in Ava's eyes as Ellen elaborated on that part of their conversation. I smiled through my tears and thanked Ellen. I had no idea how much I needed to hear that. My husband can tell Ava that all day long but it means nothing until someone outside the home, outside our close circle of family and friends, someone Ava respects and enjoys, says it to her.

Ironically enough, her positive behavior has coinsided with Chiropractic care we have just begun for her. I met a fellow mom, Amy, who is a friend of a friend. Amy's little boy has Asperger's and when I asked if he was medicated for his bouts of irritablity and rage Amy told me how very close they were but his teacher suggested a Pediatric Chiropractor in our area. Amy gave me his card and I must say that I am amazed by the Chiropractic theory on mood disorders. Ava is a textbook case as she was Frank Breech my entire pregnancy, was colicky beyond colicky until about age 4.5 months. Theory is that the vertebrae are not encasing the spinal column properly (due to her in-utero position and a 'traumatic birth' as a c-section baby) so nerves are misfiring, not firing, firing too much, too little, etc etc etc. When looking at xrays with Dr. Tony of Ava's vertebrae - it was very obvious she was completely out of alignment - her very top vertebrae, C1, was not aligned with the rest of her backbone. And theory is that this causes serious issues with mood and emotion among a long list of other issues. She's had 3 adjustments and who knows what the future holds for her there - but Dr. Tony's hope is that she'll be able to kick all meds by the end of the summer. What a dream. I asked him - "if it's this easy, why doesn't . . . " and he finished my sentence, "I know. Why doesn't everyone with issues like this come in and get adjusted?" YES! He agreed and told me that it's because the majority does not believe in Chiropractic care on our side of the world. I'd have to agree and I may be part of that majority but I'll take a chance on anything at this point to help my child. Anything.

I feel amazingly blessed today to have the support system we do. My husband was laid off due to budget cuts from a fabulous company the day before Halloween. There is often talk of relocating but we push it away as we both know what we have here in regards to doctors, therapists, and friends that cannot be replaced. I have faith that we'll be able to stay in the area and peace will continue to surround us. After our last couples therapy session, I have really considered returning to school for my Master's in Counseling. I have always hated the fact that I didn't continue with my degree in Psychology and imagine I'd have much to give others as far as experience with mental illness.

I'll take today and the peace we have this moment. Hold onto it and hope it spreads to others I know I struggling with this disorder. If times are rough for you, hold onto hope and know that 'this too shall pass.'