Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blood Work Gone Bad!

My son needed to get 8 vials of blood drawn for the tests required by the psychiatrist and the nephrologist. If you’ve been following our story for some time, you might remember that drawing blood was almost impossible and usually lead to explosive behavior.

Fortunately, thanks to his current medication, therapeutic steps and relaxation techniques, we’ve arrived to a place where our son was willing to get his blood drawn, no longer using ELMA cream to numb the skin and Ativan to relax him. But after friday’s blood draw, we may be taking a step backwards.

My son started the appointment with a great attitude, feeling pretty excited that he was missing out on a spelling test. When the staff brought us back, I explained that he had a history of anxiety when it comes to blood work and that we needed to do a few things to help him relax.

The first step was getting my son plugged into my iPhone where he could listen to relaxing sounds like the ocean and forest. As I was preparing the headset, I asked the nurse to wait until he was listening to the music. The nurse responded, “Sure, no problem”. But it was taking me a little longer than normal and I apologized and told her that I was hurrying as fast as I could. Then to our complete surprise, the nurse stuck the needle in his arm. Both my son and I were stunned, I immediately told my son to put his focus on his DS game, but then I noticed that the nurse was having problems getting blood into the vial. So the other nurse began moving the needle around, twisting it in different directions hoping to get the blood to flow.

It was then that I realized that the nurse was probably in training, thus requiring the second nurse to supervise. I tried to keep my son calm, seeing the anxiety rise. Then the nurse announce that we needed to try a different vein.

Oh crap! That’s all my mind could think. I could feel my own heart racing as I tried to keep my son calm, reassuring him that we would be done soon. As they stuck the needle in a different vein, the blood started to flow, but after about 4 bottles, my son looked at me as his face turned pale and mumbled, “I feel sick...”

Then a moment later, he fainted and slumped down into the chair.

Of course I freaked out, but the nurses calmly said, “Oh, don’t worry, this happens all the time,” as they pulled the needle out of his arm with 4 empty vials still remaining.

If you have a child with a needle phobia and a mood disorder, I don’t think I need to explain the panic I was feeling at this moment. Yes, my son would recover from the fainting spell, but how were we going to get the rest of the required blood?

After a moment too long, my son started to awaken, realizing that he had passed out. His cry was heartbreaking and the look in his eyes told me all I needed to know. He was done with the lab.

I instantly began the work of calming him back down, asking the nurses to give us a moment, trying my best to make him feel safe and avoid a public rage. I also had to explain that we weren’t done and that they needed to stick his other arm to complete the blood test.

As I tried my best to reestablish a calm state in him, one of the nurses in a very loud, rude voice popped her head back into the room and announce that we needed to hurry this up because they had a lot of other people waiting.

It was then that my Mama Bear claws came out.

I calmly walked up to the nurse and in a very low, stern voice said, “You need to lower your voice right now or he’s going to go into a violent rage. We need more time and you need to leave us alone because you’re stressing him out!”

To my surprise, she quietly whispered, “ok.” and walked away.

Once he was calm and the color returned back into his face, I carried him to a bed where he could lay down. This was no easy move since he’s now as tall as me. I then told all the nurses to leave us alone and I would let them know when we were ready. From there, I put his calm music into his ears and began to massage his feet and legs, coaching him how to think happy thoughts to help his mind escape the next blood draw. Several times I kissed his forehead and whipped the tears that quietly fell from his eyes, this was killing me inside.

After a short time he bravely said, “Lets get this over with.”

Thankfully we got the head nurse to take over and she drew the rest of the blood in less than a minute. Before we left, one of the original nurses apologized to both my son and I saying, “I’m so sorry, it was all my fault that you fainted, I should’ve waited until you had your music ready.”

After that, I took my boy home and told him that he didn’t have to go to school since he suffered enough stress for one day. Myself included.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Doctor Update

Last week was a very busy week for us. We met our son’s new nephrologist to evaluate his kidney condition (a birth defect) and I met with our son’s new therapist. I’m happy to share that both were very successful appointments.

After a very thorough evaluation, our nephrologist decided that we should not do the kidney biopsy after all. He felt strongly that there was a 99% chance that we wouldn’t gain any new information from the biopsy. He explained that we already know his kidneys are scarred from the kidney reflux and it wouldn’t be worth the risks associated with a biopsy to confirm what we already know from the ultrasounds.

He felt confident that the protein in his urine was not from any medication taken for his mental health, but rather, this protein and it’s measured volume is typical and expected for an 11 year old child that had scaring on his kidneys as a baby. He also reassured us that these meds aren’t as dangerous to the kidneys as most would assume and if there was ever a problem with the Lithium, we would know by the blood and urine work that we’ll be doing on a regular basis. He said that he has numerous patients on Lithium with previous kidney damage and they’re doing very well. So at this point, our plan is to check his kidneys every 3 months and monitor the protein levels while continuing with his current medications.

Next, I met with our new therapist. I chose to meet with her alone this time to avoid my son listening once again to all his past symptoms and episodes. I have a feeling it was stressing him out.

I will admit that I was apprehensive in meeting with this therapist because I read a bad review online, but since I was told she was good with bipolar kids from a local psychiatrist and I figured that all therapists have at least one bad review, I thought I would give her a try. After an hour long visit with lots of questions and serious note taking on her behalf, I felt pretty good with this therapist. She seemed to really understand that my son wasn’t a bad kid, but a child who has serious symptoms from what she believed to be bipolar disorder. She appeared compassionate for all that we’ve been through and was able to relate to our experiences. She even shared that she had to hold a child down in a rage for 45 minutes once, agreeing that once their trigger is turned on, you have to wait it out. At the end of the appointment she asked if I had a photo of him, which of course I did and proudly shared how adorable he is with his bright smile. I appreciated this moment because it made me feel like she really wanted to know my son.

Whether or not you label my son with “bipolar disorder” or some other new diagnosis (we’ll leave that up to the DSM guide), what matters today is that the therapist understands that my son’s symptoms are real and that she has skills to help us. So far, I feel like we’re off to a good start!

The next step is having my son meet her later this week, wish us luck!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Something to Sing About

Check out this amazing girl, Shelby Tweten, who appeared on American Idol this 2012 season. She shared how singing has helped her through her bipolar disorder, especially when hypomanic, her mom would help her by having them sing together. Way to go Shelby, thank you for being brave in sharing your challenges and encouraging so many other young kids who need something to sing about. See you in Hollywood!!!

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Video Source:

Uploaded on YouTube by  on Jan 25, 2012

News Article from Mail Online:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2091985/American-Idol-2012-Bipolar-sufferer-Shelby-Tweten-explains-singing-helps-condition-makes-Hollywood.html

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Love and Chocolate


After a rough few days, my sweet husband surprised me with a card and a bag of my favorite chocolates last night. Yes, he really is that awesome!

The card says, “It sucks!”,

then on the inside, it says, “I wish there was something I could do.”

Then in his own handwriting, he wrote,

I can pray with you,
I can love you,
I can support you,
I can do the dishes,
I can take over when you tap out,
I can give you a night off,
But most of all I can just plain love you!

My husband knows just what I need when things get tough, I feel incredibly blessed to have him by my side through all of this. By the way, he really did do the dishes and made the kids’ lunch after a rough night with our son. And the chocolates, well that’s just icing on the cake!

(Love you Papa Bear)


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tell Me More!

First, I have to thank all of you who responded to my last post, Have You Been Scared of Your Own Child? I can’t tell you how much you helped me, especially since it was such a vulnerable post, I was nervous about sharing it with you, but I felt so encouraged to see so many of you that could relate.

But now I need your help. Since we’re still in search of a good therapist, I wanted to know if any of you could share how you deal with your child’s threatening behavior. I’m trying some different things out. Such as Meg’s insightful post about asking my son, “What can I do to help?” If you haven’t read it yet, go there and see for yourself, it’s pretty good stuff! I’ve tried this technique twice now, the first time it derailed his anger, allowing me to redirect him, but the next time I think he was already too revved up and wasn’t able to respond.

I’m also trying to keep in mind some advice I got from follower “Betsy”, who shared with me long ago that anger is a secondary emotion and that I should consider what emotion preceded it, then acknowledge it with my son. If you haven’t noticed yet, he seems to be quick with his anger lately, I had another incident tonight. I think we need to go get his blood levels checked. I’m afraid his growing body is affecting things.

In the meantime, please share any techniques that have worked with your child. I would also be interested in hearing about how you discipline them. Not for rages of course, but for regular defiant stuff. How does your child respond? Are you finding success?

Please tell me more!


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Meg’s Post at Raising Bipolar:
http://raisingbipolar.com/2012/01/18/what-can-i-do-to-help/

By the way, I have 99 followers, who wants to be #100???


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Have You Been Scared of Your Own Child?

Last week something disturbing happened.

I’ve been torn as to whether or not I should blog about it. At first, I knew I couldn’t because I was still licking my emotional wounds and didn’t think I could write without being overly emotional, then I wasn’t sure if I should write because some things are just better left unsaid.

But then I thought about that other mom. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you have experienced this same thing and are scared to talk about it, like me, yet still live with the pain. So I decided to be real and expose my experience because I know that I’m not alone.

Last week there was a day where my son’s moods were off. Even his teacher emailed me to warm me that he was struggling about his homework assignments. When I picked him up at school, he greeted me with growls and sharp words showing his dissatisfaction.

Once home, things naturally escalated. I tried to encourage him to do his homework, even reduced the amount of problems but his behavior was escalating faster than I could keep up.

At one point, he ripped up his homework, then I taped it back together, which he responded by ripping it up again and even eating part of it so he could guarantee it’s destruction. Then he was in “the mode”, even using profanity for the first time. He walked around looking for things to mess with. He began throwing away my important notes for a job I was working on. I was still calm and in control, asking him to take my papers out of the trash, to leave my things alone and to please go to his room to calm down. But he continued to push and then I lost it.

I screamed at him, “LEAVE MY STUFF ALONE!!!!”

As you can imagine, my reaction was like throwing a match on a pile of gasoline. My son exploded, screaming at me in a wild manner while I screamed back. He then began grabbing clementines off the counter and launched them full force at my head.

I chased him up into his room where he grabbed a large stick (like a thin baseball bat) and then he began chasing me around the house while swinging the stick at me.

He never hit me, but scared me none the less.

As I was running from him, I was overcome with fear, I began crying and begged him to stop.

But without hesitation or any emotion, he continued to rage.

It wasn’t until my middle son came armed with a plastic toy sword yelling, “LEAVE MOMMY ALONE!” That my son became distracted, allowing me to grab the stick and tackle him to the ground.

I held him for at least 20 minutes, most of which he fought and struggled to get away. Thankfully my husband was on his way home and was able to take over from there.

The episode was over, but the pain lasted into the night as I cried myself to sleep.

I felt guilty for escalating the situation. Had I remained calm, I could’ve diverted him, even found a better way to mange his moods, but I didn’t. I let my emotions take over.

I was also deeply disturbed by my son’s unrelenting behavior. Especially when I began sobbing in front of him, begging him to stop. I was completely caught off guard by his reaction. I thought he would’ve pulled back and that he would’ve recognized that he was terrifying me.

The fact that he didn’t, shook my core.

When the episode was over, he returned to his loving, sweet self, though deep down I know he was dealing with his own regret, even sharing that he was God’s mistake. How does a child recover from this?

As my husband tried to comfort me, he reminded me that though he appeared threatening, he never hurt me and he clearly had the opportunity if he wanted it. But for me, I was feeling anger and hurt and had a hard time wanting to be around my son in the remaining hours of our day.

This made me feel like a horrible mother. To think these things and to feel these things.

I will always and forever love my son, nothing will ever change that, but I was scared of my own child.

How does a mother cope with that?


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trusting My Gut Instinct!

Well I did it.

I trusted my gut instinct and cancelled my Thursday appointment with the therapist that I wasn’t happy with. I called him today and asked if he had reviewed my son’s case yet and he said he was only half way through. About five minutes later he called me back ready for questions.

I asked him, “So what do you think is going on with my son?”

He said, “Well it looks like he’s dealing with some OCD, impulse issues and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), possible ADHD and maybe bipolar disorder.”

I then explained that yes he does have a problem with impulses and being defiant, but this is not all the time, only when his moods are off. When he is stable he has self control and obeys us and wants to do well. As for the OCD, I don’t now how he determined that being that he has no OCD tendencies.

Then I asked him, what about him seeing monsters? (Information I provided in the documents he read.)

He said, “For some kids this occurs because they are scared of monsters or of the dark and think they see things. It’s pretty common.”

Then he mentioned that the voices were not typical and that they weren’t coming on gradually so he didn’t think it was schizophrenia. I told him that I agreed and explained that the monsters were not a result of him being scared of the dark.

I then went on to explain the episode that lasted over an hour where he started feeling deep despair followed by seeing monsters. He then experienced quick changing moods of laughter, to crying, to thinking his parents were dead and to him seeing a white bunny with a pink scarf under the bed with his bloody ears cut off, holding a knife and growling at him. After that, my son vomits (from all the adrenaline ) then takes a bath. Once done, he goes down to have dinner and acts as if nothing happened, almost no memory of the episode.

To further demonstrate that these were clear episodes, I then explained a similar thing happening when he left Legoland. While driving home, he sat up with eyes of terror and thought I was a monster in the car trying to kill him, this lasted for about 30 minutes, also occurring after a drastic mood shift into depression.

The therapist responded with, “Is it possible that he just wanted to stay at Legoland and was sad?”

I explained, “No, he was happy to leave, in fact he had a brand new lego in his hand that he couldn’t wait to open once he got back to the house.”

From there I knew he wasn’t getting it. All good questions, but after the materials I provided him, I didn’t think these type of questions would follow.

He then said, “well it’s possible these episodes are mania and in that case I’m leaning towards bipolar. If that’s the case, there’s no way to end the illness, so we can only address his oppositional behavior and impulses. He would need to learn that they aren’t acceptable.”

The fact that he was separating the symptoms had me concerned. Just addressing his oppositional behavior will only lead to him feeling like a bad kid. We need all of his wellness addressed. He needs to learn how to cope with his struggles. Not be punished every time he fails.

So after getting off the phone, I prayed about it, I talked with my husband and I imagined what it would be like if I called him during one of my son’s rages and my gut instinct told me that he wouldn’t be able to help us.

So I cancelled our future appointment.

In the meantime, I have calls out all over town, even our old therapist helped out by giving me names of doctors outside of his HMO that may know where to refer me. It may be a long process, but I’m willing to do the hard work. I’m also approaching this from a different angle, I’m treating this like a job interview, asking them the tough questions, making them explain their experience and theories of practice. I’m making them earn this very important job of helping my son!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Not Impressed with the Therapist

At the end of last week we met with our new therapist for the first time. My reaction... I’m not impressed. He was nice and gave us 50 minutes which was great, but as my son said, “He went off topic a lot”.

Throughout our meeting the therapist would stop the discussion to quiz my son about his knowledge on stuff, such as the function of the kidney, then for the next five minutes go into great detail about the kidney, another time it was a lecture about doing homework, but ending with him discussing how in the future we will be watching tv with actors in our rooms outside of tv screens. The list goes on and the minutes slowly passed. Unfortunately when we finally got to what I needed to talk about, we were out of time and my son was terribly bored. I can understand that he may have been trying to connect with my son and make sure that he understood what we were discussing, but for our preferences he spent too much time talking about stuff we don’t care about.

What also bothered me was that he expected my son to just sit still on a couch, facing him and just listen. This seemed to be torture for my son, at least he could have let him build legos or color, he had the supplies around him, but it was off limits to my son. It was also annoying that he started to scold my son if he tried to hold his toy he brought. I think he would’ve had a better response from my son if my son could’ve actively done something while they talked. Our old psychiatrist was great about this. Usually he would play catch with my son while they talked, it was a great way to get my son to feel relaxed and willing to participate.

So at the end of the appointment, my son and I left feeling disappointed but we’re willing to give it another shot when we meet next week and he reveals his plans for us on how to help with homework triggers, explosive behavior and discipline. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my eye open for someone else if this doesn’t work out. I have to say, I really miss our old therapist, we had a good thing going.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our New Psychiatrist

This week we met our new psychiatrist for the first time. We had to switch doctors due to our recent insurance change. With careful consideration, we chose a doctor that a personal friend recommended and our old psychiatrist approved of, so I was feeling optimistic about how things would go, but never imagined it would go so well.

The appointment lasted an hour and we never felt rushed, which hasn’t always been the case with previous doctors. I really appreciated that he started the appointment by connecting with my son. He asked a lot of great questions and seemed interested in what he had to say. Next we ran through family history and symptoms. As always, I provide the doctors with condensed details from my charts and journaling with a few typed pages. In the past, the doctors seem to care less and at one appointment a doctor actually handed it back to me and said that it wasn’t necessary. But our new doctor impressed the heck out of me when he sincerely seemed to appreciate all the information and promised to review it all. Per my request, he even said he was willing to look at my son’s entire case from beginning to end to evaluate if any of his medications have brought on symptoms. His initial response was that it wasn’t likely. From there he asked us a lot of questions covering everything I could imagine. By the time we were done I was pleased and felt like he was more than capable of helping our son.

As with every first appointment, I ask the doctors the same question, “What do you think my son has?” Without flinching, in a tone that said “obviously”, he said, “Well bipolar disorder”, as he gestured toward the list of symptoms. He then asked, “why, have you been told differently?” We explained that previous doctors hesitate to label because of his age and one doctor told us that it was statistically impossible for my son to have bipolar disorder since only 1% of the population have it. We also explained how our first psychiatrist declared that our old HMO will no longer be labeling kids with bipolar disorder, but will use the new label once released with the DSM guide. In response, our psychiatrist shook his head and said, “it sounds like politics, I’m glad I don’t work there.”

The only downside was the long commute to get there, on the way home my son started to panic in the car because we were in an unfamiliar location far from home, it was a rough reminder of how fragile he is. Thankfully every other aspect of our new doctor was great. Both my husband and I were enthusiastic about how positive the experience was and my son gave us the “thumbs up”. After all we’ve been through, I wanted to give the psychiatrist a big hug after the appointment, don’t worry I didn’t get weird on him, instead I settled for a hand shake, but I was smiling ear to ear.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Getting Ready for the First Appointment

Tonight I’ll be keeping this post short, I’m completely exhausted. For the last 2 days I’ve been prepping for my son’s first appointment with his new psychiatrist. It feels like I’ve been prepping for a final exam. I’ve been creating summaries of all his symptoms based on the charts I’ve kept. In addition, I created timelines for all his medications by listing all reactions and symptoms that followed and even watched old videos of my son experiencing episodes of psychosis. If that wasn’t enough, I spent some time reviewing old posts to accurately document what my son has been through over the past 4 years.

About halfway through the material, I started to feel sick to my stomach. It became overwhelming and just plain sad. Seeing video of my boy 2 years ago, looking so young, screaming that he wanted to kill himself was enough to bring me to tears.

My son has been through hell and back. He really is remarkable!

Today I felt pleased with all that I’d pulled together. I was surprised about some of the details I’d forgotten, it was proof that documenting your child’s symptoms can be a valuable tool. With so many details, there was no way I could’ve kept it straight on my own. What’s interesting is that when you start seeing symptoms, you never think about what will be coming in the years ahead. It was more than I’d imagined and tougher than I remember. Thankfully, my son has forgotten most of it.

Check back for my next post when I share how our much anticipated appointment went. It’ll be worth reading!




Sunday, January 8, 2012

Missed Naps and Mood Disorders

A news article about naps and mood disorders caught my attention this weekend. The article claimed that a new study indicates that toddlers who miss daytime naps are at an increased risk for mood disorders later in life.
“This study shows insufficient sleep in the form of missing a nap taxes the way toddlers express different feelings, and, over time, may shape their developing emotional brains and put them at risk for lifelong, mood-related problems,” explained study leader Monique LeBourgeois.
This study made me laugh a little because my first thought was, doesn’t the child miss naps because of a mood disorder. It’s the whole “what comes first, the chicken or the egg?” I tend to think that if a child missed their naps, it was because they couldn’t sleep. There aren’t many moms that would purposely deprive their child of naps, I mean let’s be serious, in motherhood, the nap is the golden hour. But if your child has mood issues, this hour can be robbed by your child’s inability to sleep.

When I think back to when my son was a toddler, I have unpleasant memories of trying to get him to take a nap. The challenge went on for hours sometimes. I would try different techniques, different times of day, you name it, we tried it and still couldn’t get my son to nap.

But I don’t think his missed naps caused the mood disorder, instead I believe that the mood issues were already underway in his brain making napping difficult for him.

It wasn’t until I had a second child that I found out that toddlers really do nap and it isn’t always such a monumental task.

What about your child, did they have trouble napping as a toddler?


Missed Naps Could Put Toddlers at Risk for Mood Disorders:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Getting Back into the Game

It feels so good to have the kids back in school!

Can I say that again?

It feels SO GOOD to have the kids back in school!!!

Everyone is doing great at getting back into our daily routine, the rhythm of our family just feels “right” once again. My son seems to be tackling his homework well, this is after tearing up his Christmas homework packet and informing me that he was not going to do it EVER during his Christmas break! But now that he’s back in school, he’s working hard and complaining a whole lot less. Things aren’t perfect, but it’s been manageable.

As for me, I’ve gotten back into the game. I’ve increased my workouts and I’ve removed the excess junk food from my diet—sorry but I just couldn’t resist all the yummy Christmas treats around the house. Did I tell you that my husband came home with a huge gift basket of Godiva Chocolates! I couldn’t help but splurge everyday during vacation. I’ve also committed myself to going to bed earlier, I tend to stay up past midnight when we’re on vacation and after a few weeks, I started to feel run down. And spiritually, I’ve recommitted to my bible studies, yes they too have suffered over the holiday season. So now that I’ve gotten back on track, I’m excited to share how great I feel. I have so much more energy, I can cope with stress better and just feel happier overall. I guess there’s really something to taking care of oneself, the rewards are worth the sacrifices.

How about you? Have you made any changes or committed to a New Year’s resolution?

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Here’s a sweet treat that’s loaded with antioxidants that my son and I love!

My Blueberry Pie Smoothie:
Mix in blender:
1 bag of frozen blueberries 
Add milk (to the level of the blueberries or a dash more to allow the berries to blend)
Add vanilla yogurt (several large spoonfuls)
Add 1-1/2 graham crackers (sounds strange but trust me, it’s very yummy)
Add cinnamon (I like a lot—about 3-4 dashes)

Blend and enjoy!



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Correct Bipolar Diagnosis in Teen

Last week I came across an article in the Star Tribune about a teen who was correctly diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I thought it was interesting that the media wrote about such a case. The article points out that many children are wrongfully diagnosed, but there’s a group of kids that really do have the illness and need proper treatment. As I read the story, I was struck by some of the similarities that my son has with the teen.

In the article, the mother explained that her son was very irritable and would bow up at people. She described him as an “angry child”. As he got older and became depressed, he would pull his hood over his head and try to shut out the world.

This is the same thing that my son has done for years. At school, the teachers would describe my son as looking tired, withdrawn and always wearing his hood when he was in his depressed mode. He would even have it on during circle time and recess. At one point, the kids started calling him “the hood boy”.

The teen also saw things that weren’t there and heard voices calling him, just like my son.

As the teen got older, the illness progressed and he started to self harm and tried to commit suicide. But the article doesn’t end there, instead, it offers a message of hope. It shows that medications can be successful, allowing this child to improve relationships, finish school and even pursue higher education.

Included in this article is a video of the boy that is definitely worth watching! Check it out!!

Teen’s correct diagnosis was exception, not rule:
http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/wellness/136409283.html

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References:
Star Tribune
By Jeremy Olson
http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/wellness/136409283.html
Published: December 29, 2011
Consulted: January 3, 2012


Monday, January 2, 2012

Starting a New Year

There’s something magical about watching the ball drop on New Years Eve, it feels like a fresh start, like the calendar alone can make a shift in our life’s path, giving us a better outcome. This year as I watched the countdown, I was surrounded by sleeping boys, all who were committed to staying up until midnight, but couldn’t fight their sleepy eyes. As I looked around, watching their little bodies resting peacefully, I felt so much appreciation.

When I think about our last year, I can’t help but be grateful. My son has experienced his longest run in stability in over 4 years. We have enjoyed peace in our home and have been able to focus on things outside of our son’s mood disorder.

Even better, our son got to experience being a 10 year old boy.

As for our healthcare, I really grew to appreciate our psychiatrist, I was sad to see him go with our insurance change. He even emailed me this month to let me know that he ran into our new psychiatrist at one of the hospitals and pulled him aside to brief him about my son’s case. In a final email to me, he encouraged us and wished us the best. I felt he truly cared for my son, something we had never experienced in the past.

As the new year begins, we face a lot of changes with all new doctors and a kidney biopsy in the near future. I feel excited to meet our new team, but a little nervous that we’ll face unexpected challenges. The first one hit us last week when we were notified that my husband’s employer forgot to assign us our medical group, so we were assigned to a default group outside our planned care. Which meant that we wouldn’t be able to see the pediatrician, psychiatrist and kidney nephrologist that we had appointments for in January. To say I handled this gracefully is a long stretch, after dropping an “f-bomb” under my breath, I immediately ran up to my office to call the insurance company, thankfully we were able to make the switch into the correct medical group and receive new medical cards just in time.

I’m sure the year ahead will bring many more stress filled moments, but a part of me hopes that as each year passes, I will become wiser and more capable of handling stress. I’m still trying to focus on being present and enjoying the moment, knowing that as puberty approaches, stability may become more difficult for my son. This may be one of our best years yet, and I don’t want to waste it on worry.

And as I watched my son sleeping next to me with the sound of fireworks outside, it became easy to feel optimism for the future, because my son deserves at least that!

Happy New Year my friends! Thank you for being by my side, giving me a place to heal and hope. I wish you and your family the best and hope to hear from you throughout the year ahead.

2012, here we come!!