Thursday, September 8, 2011

Taking Big Steps

After 2 weeks of school, things are looking pretty good. My son is now doing homework without a fuss (crossing fingers that it continues) and he seems to be enjoying himself at school. What’s even more exciting is that he’s taken some big steps lately.

The first big step involved his blood work. After years of fighting to get blood drawn, we found success with a multi-step ritual that involved EMLA cream to numb his skin, headphones with relaxing music and hand massage to distract him during the actual blood draw and finally Ativan to help relax his mind and anxiety, so we could safely get him to the hospital. I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s taken all of this to make blood work even possible. The unfortunate part of this ritual was the Ativan, because as it wore off, it brought major mood swings that pretty much ruined the rest of our day.

So after our last successful blood draw, my son said he was willing to try his next test without the Ativan. To encourage this next step we threw in a bonus of five bucks for every test completed. I honestly wasn’t nervous, we’ve seen major changes with the Lithium, so I was excited to take this next step.

When the big day came, my son happily skipped the Ativan and walked into the lab with a smile on his face, even joked with me while the needle was in his arm. This may seem trivial to some, but to us, this was a major improvement. In the past, our son left my husband bruised and bleeding after trying to get him to the hospital, even attacking his Dad while driving in the car. So to have our son walk into the hospital on his own and complete the blood test calmly was a miraculous event and so worth the five bucks!

Then yesterday, our son came home with an application for an extracurricular activity in the technology field at school. This was such a big step for him. Over the years, his struggles with social anxiety left him uncomfortable in any group setting. Unfortunately, this has made him avoid any kind of activity in or outside the school. So you can imagine how impressed I was when he brought home the application and was excited to apply. I couldn’t help but smile.

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I’m just so grateful for every positive change in my son’s life. I feel blessed to share them with you because you truly know how meaningful this is to us. Thank you for always being there for me during the bad and good times. You’ve been an essential part of his progress, whether it be through your advice, encouragement or support, I know we are better off because of this amazing online community. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!


  1. That is just so cool. High five for your son & you of course.

  2. That is so wonderful! I do know how big a step this is. My son also used to freak out when we would tell him he had to have his blood taken. And with this gets taken a lot. We buy him a pack of Redakai or Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Like you's worth the money put out. After having his blood drawn many times over the last 2 months he also has gotten used to it and goes willingly. I'm so glad your family is also feeling this success!! And yay for him wanting to do an after school activity!

  3. Donna & Jewell-Thank you!

    Jewell-That's a great idea with the Redakai cards, my son LOVES them too, he just hasn't found someone to play with, too bad we didn't live closer.

  4. Mama Bear-This is great news and I hope it continues. Your family deserves many, more of these days. School is something for my daughter that we take one day at a time. I am so happy for you!

  5. Glad everything went so well--good ideas for making the blood workless traumatic! Bug's post blood-draw "treat" is breakfast at her favorite restaurant, Denny's. Having been through the experience a few times now, it isn't nearly as big a deal as it used to be.

  6. These are big steps. Yay! Our post blood draw treat is also breakfast (It was Denny's but I'm trying to see if I can steer away from that one because they serve such huge breakfasts...)