To say that I am happy to put 2013 behind us would be an understatement. I can only hope that next year will be better. With much less medical stuff going on. Here are the high lights from this year, or more or less, high LOWS.
January: Things started off crappy. Right on January 1st we found out about a death in the family. Way to welcome in 2013, I should have known right then that this would be a year to be reckoned with.We made the decision to look at buying a house, and started the process with the VA. January 25th, 2013: We went to look at a house around 4pm that evening. Nick was absolutely fine. Running around, giggling, having a grand old time exploring the open house. 30 min after we got home all hell broke loose. Screaming, jerking, screaming again, jerking more, becoming aggressive, self injurious, etc. This continued for three solid hours before we took him to the Emergency Room. Something had to be wrong. Nothing came up. We took him home after speaking with the hospital psychiatrist under her orders to decrease his risperdal. We thought that could be the culprit. Thought it was just a fluke thing and it would be over. WRONG. We endured these episodes all weekend. Every 15-20 minutes. By Monday, January 28th, we had a prescription for Ativan. It seemed to work, although, temporarily. He went back to school January 29th.
February: Nick had a new morning ritual of screaming and swiping everything off the bathroom counters. It now takes two of us to get him ready for school. In between scream fests we dress him and brush teeth. His psychologist makes a 2.5 hour housecall and sees one of his episodes first hand.
February 12: Nick turns 9 years old!! February 14th: He starts Depakote. The Ativan along with risperdal were not cutting it any longer. Still having 30+ episodes daily. February 16th: First day in a MONTH that he did not wake up in a complete rage.
March: Start it off on the 1st with a double ear infection. Yay. Start the process to get referrals to Pittsburgh Children's Hospital for neurology. Still having 20+ episodes daily with increasing jerking movements. Self injury is also through the roof.
April: One early morning rage fest leads to our second broken flat screen tv in two months. Increase his depakote since he is now back to waking up at night in a rage. After the increase he is once again sleeping though the night and jerking less.
May: May 1st, Michael turns 14 years old. We celebrate it in the Emergency Room. Why? He broke his arm in two places by falling during his soccer game. Get home close to midnight. Wake up hours later to take Nick down to Pittsburgh. Depakote is increased again because we are still dealing with these violent episodes. 24hr EEG comes back normal. Schedule his MRI.
June: After a few e-mails to his neurologist with videos of Nick doing his odd movements, he wants us to see an epileptologist.
July: We get a miracle! A few days without any jerking or twitching!! Good days at school as well!! Did not last long though. Start inquiring about a protective helmet for his head. The bruises he had were scary looking. Close on our new house!
August: Move into our new house. Things with Nick are going along okay at best. We will take it. But it never lasts long. Michael starts his freshman year in High school and is on the Varsity soccer team. He starts complaining of trouble breathing when he is at practice. We think it is just because he is out of shape. School starts for both boys.
September: Nick's team at school urges me to get a second opinion at the Cleveland Clinic regarding his outbursts/jerky movements. Yes, we are still dealing with them. Although it seems to have stalled out around 20+ a day.
October: Psychiatrist starts him on Clonidine. We HOPE this works. I am alarmed at how tired this new medication makes him and voice my concerns about possibly taking him off it to his team at school. I stick it out, waiting for a miracle. We go to Oktober fest and take the kids out for Halloween. Nick makes it an entire 30 minutes trick or treating! He is even excited about it. Progress at last!
November: We finally start seeing the benefits of Clonidine! The Wow factor has come! Nick goes to Cleveland Clinic and we get a more *definitive?* diagnosis of severe anxiety. (With Nick, everything is rather *severe*. The kid goes BIG with everything :) ) ALL of his behaviors are down to SINGLE DIGITS!! I am talking that we go from 60 episodes daily in Jan, hold out at around 20+ for months, and now are LESS than 5 daily!!!! A true MIRACLE! His self injury is also GONE. November 12th: Take Michael to the pediatrician because he has had a cough for a while, and on this day he goes to the school nurse unable to catch his breath. Turns out to be asthma. He now carries an inhaler everywhere he goes. We have to educate ourselves on a whole new health issue now. We get through Thanksgiving without any major incidences. Hardly even a minor incidence. All of us actually ENJOYED the holiday!
December: Nick continues to do rather well on the Clonidine. He will still wake up sometimes at night, and tends to wake up early in the morning, but he is happy. I am not being attacked by a raging child while I sleep anymore. His bruises from near constant head banging are gone, and his rage attacks are short lived. He is easily redirected, and able to calm down. The Clonidine calms him and after his morning dose he will usually nap for a bit. Which is ok. He is happy. His personality is once again shining through. Our days are no longer filled with attack after attack. They are filled with him saying he wants to hear "Roar", or "Best", being mischievous, laughing, smiling, and being "social". He wants to go places! He is enjoying life again! I can only hope that this lasts for 2014 and that we are done with medical issues for a long time! I don't know what next year has in store for us, but I certainly hope it is better than 2013. Happy Holidays everyone!!!