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An Olympics Kind of Year

An Olympics Kind of Year is what 2016 is and boy for the past year plus we have felt like we have been tried as if we are preparing for one.

Although we aren’t in Rio

we feel like we have been competing to win for the last year or more. Between deaths in the family, surgeries, illness and other health issues, personal challenges, professional challenges and depression to name a few, its been challenging to say the least.  The good thing is, no matter what we face, even if it is An Olympics Kind of Year, we face it head on. We know that the only way we fail is if we don’t try so we endure what we must and keep on keeping on.

My son Christian

has had a challenging few years.  It’s been An Olympics Kind of Year times two or so. I have learned a number of amazing lessons from him and one of which is, If not now, when? With that, I have posted the above video. Whether you are a Mother, Father, Aunt, Cousin or a just an everyday caring human, no one wants to see anyone in harms way. Well, my son wanted to challenge himself. He wanted to bungee jump. Not JUST bungee jump but to bungee jump off of the

TALLEST BUNGEE JUMP IN NORTHERN AMERICA.Bungee j

How about a little perspective on what that looks like, right? I know… I felt nauseous too!

Yes. He did. Yes, I said OK and worse… We even paid for it. I hated the idea because I am his Mom but really loved the idea that he wanted to challenge himself and conquer something of his choice. And BOY DID HE!

Here are some of the pictures of his adventure. If you want to see the video, be sure to check it out above!

Bungee e

Getting harnessed up to jump!

Bungee f

He’s READY! No, I am NOT!

Bungee i

I don’t think I even watched him jump… I was really scared!

Bungee g

He jumped and is coming back up! Phew! I can breathe again!

Bungee

Almost at the platformBungee a

Getting back onto the platform..Bungee b

Bungee d

Gotta get him unhooked.

Bungee h

He did it and is safe and sound!Bungee c

I think he is a little proud of himself… AS HE SHOULD BE! LOVE IT!

The lesson? If not now, when?

Can you imagine if all of the people in the Olympics said I can’t. The Olympics themselves is a testament to what can be accomplished through hard work and dedication. The only voice you have stopping you is YOURS. No one can tell you no unless you allow them.

What are you waiting for?

What do you want to do? What’s on your bucket list? I challenge you to create a bucket list and accomplish just two of those things in 2016. Well, what are you waiting for? I would love to hear what you are going to put on your list.  Just remember no matter what challenge you face.. YOU CAN DO IT! And again, what are you waiting for?

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ADHD The Struggle is Real – A Personal Journey with Melissa Part #6

For Part 1 of the series Click Here

For Part 2 of the series Click Here

For Part 3 of the series Click Here

For Part 4 of the series Click Here

For Part 5 of the series Click Here

 

Sorry, it’s been a while. Had some important family stuff going on and everything just about came to a halt. Things are getting back on track slowly but surely so here I am… I’MMMMMMM BACK!!!  So last we left off I heard the horrible sentence….”Mom, my feet are cold again” …………. Needless to say I was FREAKED OUT! I looked at his feet and saw they were white again so in a matter of seconds which felt like hours these thoughts went through my mind –

  1. We now know that he isn’t cold-he is inside the house
  2. He hasn’t been riding his motorcycle all day like he had last time
  3. WARM HIS FEET
  4. THIS CANT BE GOOD!
  5. CALL THE DOCTOR

So that’s exactly what we did. We warmed his feet up, color came back and immediately called his doctor. Dr. A is an AWESOME pediatrician. She has known the boys since we moved here in 2000 and really listens to the boys/our concerns. Some people may call their doctor a lot or may be whiners but I am not one of those people. So when I called the pediatrician about this issue (obviously it was serious too) I got a return call back within a half hour. I explained the situation and she wanted to see him so we went in to do so that same day. She checked him out and said although she can’t be sure, he is presenting with symptoms that are consistent with Raynaud’s (ray-NOHZ) disease/syndrome. She suggested we see a specialist and I said we will go to UCLA. By the time we got back home it was too late to call UCLA for an appointment. (Side Note: Jon has gone to UCLA for kidney issues and they are WONDERFUL so there wasn’t a question in my mind where we wanted to go) The next morning I called and tried to get in for an appointment. I told them that it was under the pediatricians recommendation that he be seen asap. They didn’t think he could be seen for a week. Yes, I know that is pretty quick for UCLA BUT it was MY BABY (again, yes I know I know) and I didn’t want to wait. The lady was so sweet at UCLA. She said if I could have the doctor call them, that would help. I am sure tons of people say the same as I did to do the same as I was hoping for. I said I would call the doctor. I called back to Dr. A’s office and spoke to her nurse C. C was so sweet she took my info and had Dr. A call within 15 minutes. I called back and we had an appointment in two days. YES TWO DAYS!!  SO BLESSED AND GRATEFUL BEYOND WORDS!

In the meantime, I started thinking about what could it be, what has changed, what was different? Like a brick wall, it hit me. Christian was having a real hard time concentrating with school back in October. When we talked to his psychiatrist in October, Dr. S., he had suggested that he take focalin along with his current medicine for his ADHD which is strattera. Strattera is actually what both he and I had been on for quite some time for ADHD. I got to thinking and called Dr. S. I left a message and he called me back. I asked him if he thought there could be any correlation between the two meds and this incident. He said no. We hung up and something was still pulling at me but I figured I would just wait until we talked to the doctor at UCLA. Maybe they will know of something or have better insight? Of course it was the longest two days of my life… as I am sure you can understand.

So on February 23, 2012, both of my boys, hubby and I drove to UCLA. We felt it was important that Austin go along as well because it is his brother,  we knew it would help Christian to have him there to support his brother and most of all – Austin would be worried sick about his brother and wouldn’t be able to concentrate at school anyway. Besides, we don’t have any family that lives really close by – it’s the four of us.. Do you hear a Fantastic 4?? LOL Anyway, that’s just how we roll. We left early in the morning to go to the doctor because well, we live in California. Our traffic is AWFUL. It worked out really well. We had an extra hour to spare so we parked and walked a block or so to a local coffee shop and got some coffee and breakfast. We talked and laughed… A LOT. I am sure it helped to keep Christian’s mind from worrying.. I think it helped all of us really. After breakfast we walked up and checked in. We then were called and we went in to see the doctor. They took a history, asked questions and really did a thorough job of trying to figure out what was going on. We started talking to the doctor about the focalin / strattera situation wondering if this was an issue. The Doctors eyes lit up and she said she had a patient last week that had the same type of issues, symptoms and YEP! You guessed it.. Focalin/strattera were involved. She suggested C stop taking Focalin and see what happens and also ordered blood tests which we went to get after we left her office (those results were fine.) Christian hasn’t taken Focalin and doesn’t seem to have any issues like that anymore. His feet get cold, they turn colors but do not lose circulation and trust me, I check.

Here are some pictures from our UCLA trip. They aren’t the best but I thought I would include them in here anyway 🙂 My how phone picture quality has changed just in a few years!

On our way...

On our way…

Comic relief for Christian

Comic relief for Christian

Best Friends and Brothers

UCLA

UCLA

A Sigh of relief and now let the fun begin!

A sigh of relief and now let the fun begin!

Oh geez!!!!  I forgot to tell you the best part. When we got back, we called Dr. S to let him know what happened and we told him about the Focalin/Strattera issue. He said “No, that’s not the issue.” I said, “The doctor said she had the same type of issue with a boy around C’s age and had the same results with the same meds.” He said, “UCLA doesn’t know what they are talking about.” Yes, I know what you are thinking and yes I thought it too but rather than argue with him (I KNOW A MIRACLE, RIGHT.. SHE CAN BE TAUGHT!) I just let it go… The thing is…. I should have trusted my gut at that moment…. I should have known better…………..

This is what my kids call foreshadowing……. to be continued

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ADHD The Struggle is Real – A Personal Journey with Melissa Part #4

#ADHD The Struggle is Real – A Personal Journey with Melissa Part #4

For Part 1 of the series Click Here

For Part 2 of the series Click Here

For Part 3 of the series Click Here

As I drove my son to school a few days before his 5th grade year began, I asked him if he remembered why he was going to help Mrs. E this specific day. He said he did. He remembered he threw a rock and it hit her car so he was going to help her get ready for the first day of school as a payback for him throwing the rock. Oops, never told the first part of the story…I think I have gone a bit ahead of myself… I do that too often.. So let’s back up a second. My son threw this rock and it hit Mrs. E’s car. Mrs. E was going to be his teacher for the next school year. Unfortunately, she was on a field trip and wouldn’t be back until later that day or maybe fortunately? LOL We waited until after school and came into her room. She didn’t know anything about it. Needless to say, she was taken back by the story and not happy. Christian apologized and truthfully, I have no idea how she was so gracious just finding this out because I don’t think I could have been. The three of us walked to the car, she did see a mark on the hood of her car and said she would talk to her husband and let us know the next day how to proceed. Our kids are going to do things. Things that no one is proud of but unfortunately, it’s part of the journey. Sometimes it’s worse than others but there really can be lessons with each incident. Mrs. E was an awesome example of this. The next day we met with her and she said she talked to her husband and they said not to worry about it. It was a small spot and with driving she was sure there will be others so she accepted his apology. I said he needed to do something to try to make amends and this is how we came up with the helping before school started. It was a few days before the end of the year and granted, I didn’t want this hanging over my son’s head but ADHD or not, I also wanted to be sure there was a lesson there and consequences. Regardless if someone has ADHD or not, there are always consequences to ones actions whether it be positive or negative. Rules to follow, responsibilities, etc. Even though his impulsive behavior may have had a lot to do with his actions, one still needs to understand that there is cause and effect. Mrs. E could have been livid, been very stern with my son, refused to teach him, insisted on further punishment and oh the list goes on and on. She didn’t. She was so gracious, compassionate and understanding. She really was the true meaning of a teacher. I will never forget how she made this a teaching moment and not a demeaning one for my son. For this I will forever be grateful. He helped her for three hours with books, getting things organized and moving things around for her. She said it was helpful and I am glad it was handled the way it was. Not every person or teacher for that matter, will handle it as well as this was. One can only hope. Teachers can mean the difference between a child feeling important and a child feeling useless. It’s important that our kids have teachers to lift them up. Mrs. E really rose to the occasion and encouraged my son to do the same. She specifically said before he left that “This is over. You have helped and now it’s over. We are starting fresh when you are in my class.” Again G R A C I O U S!!! I couldn’t just let it be though. I still felt compelled to give her a gift card for Barnes and Noble with a card telling her how much we appreciated her kindness and graciousness. Christian had a really good 5th grade year with a few bumps in the road but overall, he did well with Mrs. E’s help.

As a parent of someone with ADHD and someone myself who has it, dealing with ADHD can be a struggle. MANY things are in life though right? Many people don’t understand or truthfully don’t care to understand. SOOOO many people are wrapped up in their own stuff (me included sometimes) that I tend to forget where someone else may be in their life and what challenges they may be facing. Everyone has challenges in life whether it be family issues, school issues, sick loved one, procrastination, and the list can go on and on. Try to focus on the good qualities and improve on the challenges you face. If you have a hard time finding those qualities, ask a close trusted friend your top three qualities. See how you can use those as a jumping off point for your success. If you have a hard time doing a project, write a list of what things have worked for you in previous successful projects. See how you can use those successes to create more successes. If things don’t work, you don’t have to do them again or you can try to do them on a different project that it may work for. You don’t have to make it all or nothing. Everything is NOT black or white. This is something I am working on myself. There is A LOT of gray… and GRAY IS GOOD! Everything through life is an ongoing challenge. Your job is to try to get the most success throughout the journey. BE HONEST with yourself. ASK FOR HELP! Ask those with similar struggles that have success what they do to keep on track or follow through. Don’t take NO as an answer for yourself. There is an answer out there but it’s not going to fall on your lap. YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR IT. YOU ARE WORTH IT. YOU GOT THIS!!! If one door closes… maybe you need to look for the window that’s open 🙂

So the story continues…. At this point, Christian is about to start 6th grade and just graduated from 5th grade-elementary school. Normally one would still  be in elementary school for sixth grade however in our community, we have a middle school that goes from 6th – 8th grades… So in MY reality as a Mom, Christian starts Junior High….. I think I am going to throw up….to be continued…

 

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ADHD The Struggle is Real – A Personal Journey with Melissa Part #2

#ADHD The Struggle is Real – A Personal Journey with Melissa Part #2

When I last left off from the beginning of the story (you can read it here if you haven’t already) My son was just placed on medicine for his ADHD in fourth grade. It was definitely the most heart wrenching decision we ever made but we believe it was the best one. Medicine is not for everyone. There are numerous other interventions that can be helpful. Medicine was the one that we chose to be the best option for our son. It didn’t work perfectly but it worked. Trail and error. Again, you can always change and adjust from what you have been doing. Nothing is concrete unless YOU make it that way.

After a few months of my son being on medication, I had mentioned to the psychiatrist that both my son and I had similar issues and wondered if there was a connection. In not so many words he basically said I was next. After tests and conversations, I too was put on medication. It was actually quite amazing. It was getting to the point where I couldn’t carry on a conversation without me getting lost in three hundred other thoughts and then would lose my place. Just imagine you are literally in the middle of a sentence but you can’t for the life of you try to remember what you were just talking about because you are already 5 thoughts ahead of what your mouth was. Anyone who knows me knows.. THAT IN ITSELF IS A TASK!! I am from Chicago.. I talk.. a lot and fast… I guess it is one of the skills I have achieved to keep up with my brain!! So when I was put on medication I didn’t notice anything right away but I would say within a week or so I noticed a difference. It was nice to carry on an adult conversation rather than one interrupted by a child which was actually my brain not allowing me to finish a thought. Both my son and I were put on Straterra. The pill wasn’t that big.. like a Tylenol so it wasn’t that bad. My son however HATED IT. Partly because he didn’t like the idea of having to take medicine to feel “normal” and partly because he hated swallowing pills. I remember he used to say he would get bubbles in his stomach. Sadly, not the best Mom moment for sure, I thought he was making up excuses to not take the meds because he was being defiant…. Until it happened to me. I can not describe to you the pain I felt with this awful air bubble in my chest. My guess is this is what babies feel when they are colicky or need to be burped but it was A W F U L!!  For over two hours I was banging on my chest and back trying to get rid of it. It was so painful.. I then felt HORRIBLE because I knew this is what he had been talking about… Yep, Mother of the Year over here.. NOT! So I went home and told him over and over how sorry I was and that I didn’t get it until it happened to me. I told him how proud I was of him to take it anyway even though it really SUCKED to feel that. We also tried to solve the problem of the meds issue so he would eat before and after he would take his medicine. Not a big meal, just something so that it would clear the way before and make its way down after. It seemed to work… For a while anyway…. Then one day in 5th grade….

To Be Continued….

 

 

 

 

NOTE: I am not a doctor nor do I pretend to be one. I am only giving you the information that I have which I have been directly effected or experienced myself.

ADHD The Struggle is Real – A Personal Journey with Melissa #1

I remember as a kid I loved to be creative. I think back now and I think it was because I wanted to be in my own world. A world without ridicule, condemnation, disrespect and the blatant disregard of my feelings… Really, a blatant disregard of who I really was.

My name is Melissa Langford Mueller and I have ADHD. My oldest son does as well. It has been said that it is hereditary. Usually one of your parents have it… There are a NUMBER of facets to my life journey but my ADHD journey has been interesting to say the least. You may be used to going on A Creative Journey with Melissa…. Now you will be going on A Personal Journey with Melissa too. I think any journey you take has meaning-even if it’s a lesson to be learned.  Whether it is about strengths, weaknesses, what to do, what not to do, how to cope, what to tolerate or just share with others your experience so that they feel as if someone understands. If I can help just one person, mission ACCOMPLISHED.

How my journey started. I remember when my oldest son was around 3 and in pre-school.  Being that he was my first child, I really didn’t have much to go on so to me, everything he did was normal and of COURSE EXCEPTIONAL because all of our kids are, aren’t they? We took him to a psychologist and she said he was too early to diagnose with anything but we would continue to watch him and see what transpires. The other thing she said was it was the first time in her over 20 years of practice that she had seen a 3 year old read a second grade level book to her. She wished me luck with that. Yeah, thanks A LOT! LOL He really loved to learn and was like a sponge! Time passed and challenges followed and he entered Kindergarten. He had two teachers. One was awesome and the other.. well not so much. The other teacher was more concerned with any additional effort or time she may have to make in order to challenge my child sadly, in many ways including intellectually. He challenged her much more than she ever did him. Then there was his other teacher-Mrs. W… Now this is what I would call a real Kindergarten teacher. She went above and beyond to ensure he was not only challenged but that he wasn’t moved up as was suggested by numerous others… that didn’t know him.  She did ask if I wanted to do that and I told her to give him six weeks and if at that point she still thought it was a viable option, then we can talk further. In a week she said he isn’t ready and nothing more was said. You can teach intellectually but kids need social maturation to happen organically. You can’t teach that. It comes with time and experience. I felt as if I pushed him ahead I would be feeding him to the wolves.. and it would have been. He is 17 now… it was the best decision my husband and I ever made-more to come on that at a later date. Mrs. W challenged him by having him go to 1st grade to see Ms. M (LOVE HER TOO) for Language Arts but stayed in Kindergarten.  As time passed he had another awesome teacher Mr. R. TALK ABOUT PATIENT! They really liked to joke with each other and he really got my son. They had a great relationship and my son says he was one of his favorite teachers. Still thinks of him quite fondly now at 17. Fourth grade came and things were changing with him. He was always a wiggly kid but it got to the point where he couldn’t sit down to save his life and when benchmark time came around (benchmark tests are tests that are given to see where the child has progressed throughout the year) he did worse in January then he did entering fourth grade. We took him to the psychiatrist and the decision came to where we were going to decide whether or not to give him meds. Heartbreaking, tear filled, horrified, saddened and all of the emotions you can imagine-this is what my husband and I felt. We decided to take the leap. It was one of the best decisions we ever made next to not putting him forward in grade levels. The day that we realized we made the right decision was when he said he felt normal and seemed to be progressing much better in school than he had been. Feeling normal as someone with ADHD is a huge deal. TRUST ME. You never really feel normal, like you fit in, like people get it and are harder on yourself than anyone could ever be on you. EVER.

There are a few things I learned with the previous discussed experiences:

  1. TRUST YOUR GUT- YOU KNOW your child. Period.
  2. Not everything is a cookie cutter situation-ESPECIALLY NOT KIDS WITH ADHD
  3. Boys mature later than girls. You won’t go wrong holding them back or keeping them from moving forward. EVER. Period.
  4. YOU are your child’s voice. USE IT
  5. If it doesn’t work, try something else. You can ALWAYS STOP.

As you can imagine this is a very long story with many experiences. Unfortunately, I need to go to a doctor appointment but I will be sharing more experiences in the future. Until then, if you have any input or questions please feel free to comment. This was published with my son’s permission as I wouldn’t want to disrespect him as so many have.

Here is some information to check out for statistics, studies and other info. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/index.html

TO BE CONTINUED……

Have a wonderful day!