Monday, September 15, 2014

:: My Aidan ::

Deciding to relocate our family was not an easy.  The decision to move was not without a lot of prayer, tears and sleepless nights when it came to the kids.  Ultimately, we decided the timing was perfect and that God ultimately had a hand in all of it.  So we needed to just trust Him in where he was leading our family and try to support the kids as much as possible.

When we told the kids we would be moving, Aidan had the hardest time.  We were immediately met with resistance and sadness.  Totally understandable, coming from an introverted then-7-year-old whose world revolved around the friends, aunties/uncles and grandparents he saw multiple times a week.  All we could do was hug, reassure, hug some more and try to stay as upbeat as possible, ourselves.  He seemed to do ok when we arrived in Portland, but behavior challenges seemed to escalate as we settled into our new city and new school.  Inattentiveness, irritability, impulse control and insomnia.  So many "I's".  Sadness.  Phone calls and emails from his teacher led me to make an appointment for him at a local Providence clinic Pediatrician.  We'd had conversations about ADHD before, but it didn't always add up to Ryan nor I, or his previous pediatrician.  We're talking about a kid who can sit and read for hours, do his homework enthusiastically with no complaints, and build a Lego masterpiece nonstop.  He's always been a loving and affectionate boy, but something was just not right.  Add that to his new anxiety, insomnia and it was a nightmare.  The doctor spent about 5 minutes with Aidan before handing me a prescription for Adderall.  Now, I've never been anti-medication...IF it was necessary.  If I felt it was necessary for Aidan, I wouldn't have a moment's hesitation.  But something caught in my heart.  It didn't feel right.  I can't explain it...I just couldn't shake the feeling over the next 2 days as we administered his medication in the morning.  On the second day, he came to me, white as a sheet and said he didn't feel well.  He asked me what I had given him and I briefly explained about the ADHD diagnosis and the meds.  His eyes welled up and he said, "Mama, please don't give me any more of this.  I feel awful."  I called Ryan and we decided to stop the medication immediately - especially when I tried to get ahold of the doctor (who has yet to call me back....that's another story).  I decided we wouldn't be going back there.

Meanwhile, I prayed.  I felt hopeless to help my son.  I would park in the parking lot at the school at lunch and watch him slowly walk around in the playground, looking lost and sad.  This was just not my kid.  I really felt led to take him to this pediatrician I had found online - a Naturopath (NP) who specialized in ADHD.  I had the dates confused, however, and missed our appointment.  I quickly looked up a new NP, and found one close to our community who even took our insurance (the previous one did not - ouch).  We made an appointment.  On our first visit, we were immediately relaxed and encouraged.  This doctor was empathetic, dedicated and determined to figure it all out.  She immediately assured me that although she is not opposed to medications such as Adderall, she has found that most kids with an ADHD diagnosis have some deficiency or even food allergies that cause these types of behaviors.  She can usually "fix" kids with simple supplements and dietary changes.  What?!?!  Awesome!!  She wanted to try him on one particular supplement first - a natural one that mimics Adderall.  Basically does the same thing.  She warned me that it could go very well, or, if it wasn't what his brain/body needed, it could go very badly.  It went very badly.  Every horrible symptom he already had, worsened.  He couldn't eat.  He could not hold a conversation.  He couldn't stop shaking his arms and hands.  He became unresponsive to us when we talked to him.  He woke up several times at night and screamed at bedtime.  His teacher called me asking WHAT THE HECK did we do to him. And that was with 3 days of the new medication.  I emailed his doctor who immediately responded to take him off, but it could take 5-7 days to fully wean him off.  It took 10 before we saw a response in his behavior.  10 long, dark days.  I can't even tell you how hopeless I felt.  I would just hold him and cry with him.  It was awful.  

Meanwhile, we had a blood draw.  His labs came back extremely low on Vitamin D, iron and zinc.  His allergy test came back with severe internal (read IgG testing vs. IgG) reactions to wheat, barley, dairy and eggs.  His doctor suspects the wheat is really the problem and the eggs/dairy are "along for the ride", meaning his body was inflamed at the time of the blood draw and will pick up other allergens that aren't necessarily there.  She said putting him on the supplements for the low D, iron and zinc alone would probably make a drastic difference.  I drove home with the meds and more hope than I'd had in awhile.  That night, when Aidan was asleep, I went and laid my hands on him.  I poured my heart out and pled with God to aid us in our mission to heal Aidan.  I prayed he would wake up a different kid.

Oh, how God loves us.  Aidan woke up a different kid.  His behavior instantly improved, and even more so when we administered his supplements.  He is just amazing.  We're still exploring dietary changes.  Those will come.  But for now, here we are.  It's a beautiful thing.

Now, I have an energetic, well rested, well adjusted, well fed, smiling, anxiety-free, focused, eager to learn, friend-making, soccer-playing, compassionate, mature, HAPPY son.  I can tell you when I knew. Instead of getting frustrated and not being able to control himself or his emotions when he got upset over something, he looked at me and said, "Mama, I am SO frustrated!!!!!"  This, from a kid who had a hard time staying calm to articulate or communicate his emotions.  I hugged him and thanked him for telling me.  

It's not perfect.  But I feel like I have my Aidan back.  And even better than before!  I'm so thankful for a doctor who listens and cares.  And a God who loves Aidan even more than I do.  Our future is bright.  

This boy is AMAZING.