Medication Adventures

A family works to get the proper medication for their children.

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Christmas card picture 2011_rI’m back from a little break which I took because I was dangerously close to having to home school my sophomore. With mom’s vigilant attention to every assignment, he squeaked out with two A’s, a C, a D, a D+ and a D-. But hey, like Gavin said, “It’s passing.” Now we’re on to much more fun stuff, like a brand new term and that spring of eternal hope.

We have been having medication adventures left and right over the last few months. My 13-year-old daughter, who was doing really well on her ADHD med (Vyvanse), dropped 20 pounds and started looking like an Auschwitz survivor. It was painful to hug her, or really even to look at her, she was so painfully skinny. See-through, I called it. So we took her off the Vyvanse about a month ago and I am very relieved that she’s already gained 11 pounds. The fact that we’re back to crying jags over nothing and daily fits of anger and defiance around limits is just how it has to be for now. First we keep her alive, then we work on behavior.

My nine-year-old’s medication adventure started last summer when we decided he personally was suffering too much to remain unmedicated. Forget that he was barely tolerable to us, his loving family, he was always in trouble, his friends didn’t want to play with him and he desperately wanted to follow the rules but couldn’t control his impulses. We tried him on two stimulants before we realized that they made his type of ADHD worse. We switched to Strattera, which was minimally effective but gave us all some breathing room, and he seemed fine on it until about a month ago. When he started having severe stomach pains, nausea and diarrhea, and missing the first two hours of school every day, we first thought it was acid reflux. Then the doctor said maybe lactose intolerance. We took him off milk and no success. Then it was suggested he had Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but no. Finally after all this time, we realized the Strattera had built up some sort of toxicity. So…he is now off everything and back to being a live wire that never goes out. We’re so desperate, we threw away any food that had high fructose corn syrup or was processed in any way. My kids are thrilled that they get pure maple syrup now (too expensive!) instead of Mrs. Butterworth’s, but they’re a little upset that the Ranch Salad dressing and Hot pockets are gone.

The good news is that my 16-year-old is actually going off of his Zoloft and seems to be doing fine. Woo-hoo!

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