We just call him Ryan

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I love this picture. This is me and my son at Christmas 2010. This Christmas marked the change in his life, in our lives. About a month after this picture we finally found out what was really wrong with him. He has Epilepsy. But at the time we took this picture we didn’t know that yet. We were told my son was genetically defected and diagnosed with every mental disorder. ADHD(attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), PTSD(post traumatic stress disorder), depression, mood disorder and even bipolar disorder. All by the time he was 8 years old. He was on just about every type of psych med with 9 prescriptions. About a month before this Christmas photo was taken I was fed up and finally stood up to the doctors. I educated myself about any and every thing the doctors labeled him with, the medications and the side effects. I obsessed over it. I was fed up with them just throwing on another pill when his side effects got worse. I was fed up of him getting worse instead of better. I was fed up of believing those doctors and giving them all the power to do whatever to my son. If he was bipolar I was ready to accept that but damn it I was fed up with all their damn guesses. 9 prescription pills my son took each day and I was angry at myself for allowing the doctors to let it get to that point. After three attempts at partial hospitalization, we admitted him into the hospital. At eight years old my son was placed into the psychiatric unit in the hospital. He was in the hospital for two weeks and we even celebrated his 9th birthday there.

I look at this picture and realize there was a before and after. Before the diagnoses and after. I think back of all that has happened and there was one night that literally saved us both. 

My son had been released from the hospital and home for the first time in years without any medication. What was scary was we found out he really had Epilepsy but the hospital couldn’t get a pediatric neurologist to see my son. So after my constant badgering and bitching the doctor finally agreed to release him and gave me a list of appointments I needed to make. To get in with a neurologist was a 3 month wait. But I didn’t care, I was so excited to bring him home!! 

He started reading. He just sat in his room reading!! Now that’s just crazy talk…nope it’s true. I remember him telling me before he would look at the pages and it just looked like alphabet soup. But now when he looked at the pages the words came alive because he could read them. I think all those meds really messed with him but they also numbed the pain of our past for him. See three years before this we had moved from our home, the only one my kids knew and started all over leaving the past behind. The past being my son’s father who was abusive in many ways and we finally got away.

Fast forward. Extensive neuro psych testing found the rest of the pieces. No depression. No bipolar. He has Epilepsy, ADHD, non-verbal learning disorder(think high functioning aspergers/autism), and sensory processing disorder. But we just call him Ryan. 

Now Ryan is almost 16. He’s a sophomore in a regular high school with an IEP (individualized education plan). This year will likely be his last year needing the social skills class which will allow him to take an elective class like photography. Next semester he’s signed up for ROTC. He wants to be a police officer and help people. He has a girl friend and loves who he is. He is thoughtful and caring. Funny and still obnoxious. He is a great kid and I am in awe of who he has become. Somehow this amazing kid with a shocking past is beating the odds and this mom couldn’t be prouder.

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What about our plans?

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We were supposed to get a pedicure,  my first one ever! And dinner, and sit on the patio again venting & laughing over a bottle of wine instead of our usual margaritas. For some reason you wanted wine. I figured you’d tell me all about what changed your taste buds while we chatted. I was excited of our plans to do Black Friday shopping together. Something you loved to do but I just wanted to watch you work your magic with that big smile and laugh of yours. You know I wasn’t excited about going out shopping at 3 in the morning when I’d rather be in bed catching some z’s, but doing it with you made me excited about it. Something I figured we’d do each year together from this year on.

I worry that I wasn’t there enough for you, as you were for me. But you always told me “your a good friend Heather”. Did you not know how much I loved you? Or my kids,  how much you mean to us? I’m angry we couldn’t do holidays together like you wanted.

You knew I had no one, Ryan had no one, so you made yourself part of our life. When no one else did, you reached out to me and we’d talk all day! When life hit me too many times and I was ready to give up, you kept me up. You always reminded me of my kids and how strong I was and that I can get through it. You’d say “we’ll get through this, I’ll help you!” Why are you gone!  I’m not ready to let you go! I want to be selfish and tell god “NO! You can’t have her yet! We love her too much!”

Everyone lost a piece of themself the day you died. How did you not know how much you were loved?! I know you have been hurting for a long time, and I know you said it had to get easier or you couldn’t manage anymore, but I DIDN’T KNOW YOU MEANT THIS! Why didn’t you tell me! You said it was getting better! I’m so sorry I missed your last call. I was at work and couldn’t answer. I worried something was wrong and I meant to text you or call but I forgot, and when you didn’t leave a message or text I figured you were just calling on your break to check in and say hi. Why didn’t you tell me you needed me!! I want to rewind the clock so I can answer the phone! I want to remind you that I was still waiting to hear what your schedule was so me and Ryan could come see the new house. Most of all I want to make sure you really know HOW MUCH YOU MEAN TO ME!! I’m sorry you felt so lonely. I hate that you thought this was really an option! I’m angry and sad and hurt and confused and pissed off! I’m pissed off your gone! I’m pissed off you were hurting!  I’m pissed off god took you! I’m pissed off we kept putting off our plans! I’m sad and angry to think how you felt that day. I’m sad & angry you didn’t reach to me. I’m hurt your gone. I’m confused that this is real and not a bad dream.

What about our plans!?

I am trying to think of how I can see this differently. All I can come up with is I need to make sure my loved ones know how much they mean to me. And I need to stop saying “tomorrow” or “next weekend” and just do..just live now! I need to laugh more. I need to make sure I’m the best mom to my kids and learn when I need to take a step back. I need to remember nothing is final, life changes all the time. And I pray you will still be by my side pulling me through life’s struggles when it all gets too heavy for me. I pray you continue to look out for me and help guide (or push) me where I need to go. I’m grateful I still can hear you in my heart, I hope it’s really you giving me messages and not me going crazy thinking it’s what you would say. I pray your soul is at peace and your not hurting.  Please visit me, don’t forget about us.

Tweet from Heather (@momsfranticmind)

It takes its toll to always be the strong 1, especially when that person has to stand alone. Be kind & don’t judge their weaknesses
(https://twitter.com/momsfranticmind/status/318425141329661954)

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A mothers guilt

I have said those words to myself a thousand times, but typing those words out for all the world to see…(deep breath)..it stings a little…

A mothers guilt…this mothers guilt.

I can speak as a mom, and I by no means am trying to say ALL moms feel this way, or are this way, but I hope there are others who understand.

We have to make decisions that will affect our children’s lives. It will affect who they become, and there’s always going to be those stories they tell people about their memories of things, good, bad and in-between. I have stories about my mother. My mom lost her mother at a very young age, so she didn’t get the privilege (I mean that) to complain to her mom about how her own kids (one of which is me 🙂 ) were driving her crazy. Or ask her mom “how did you do it mom!” or to say what I have said a gazillion times to my mom “I’m so sorry for what I put you through”. Mostly I apologize for being a self centered, lazy teenager. And my mom smiles and says “you don’t have to apologize to me”. Yes I do. That’s how I show my mom how differently I see things now as a mother compared to how I saw them as that bratty teenager. And they are not just words to me, I truly mean it from the bottom of my heart. I’m sure my mom doesn’t want my apology because, well, because she’s mom. Mom’s understand their kids will make mistakes, lots of them in fact. Moms hope they can help avoid some obvious mistakes, but I’m learning sometimes us moms must sit back and let the rocks tumble. But when things go wrong and it hurts our kids we moms are always so hard on ourselves, that wonderful “mothers guilt”.

This is going to sound crazy, but I really got lucky with my girls. I was 18 when I got pregnant. I didn’t even know how to take care of myself let alone a baby or two!  Which meant I didn’t eat right, I didn’t sleep enough, or I slept to much, I skipped my prenatal vitamins a lot (they made me nauseous) I stressed myself to tears daily. I was unhappy. I was 18, unmarried, and my boyfriend of 3 years broke up with me after I got pregnant. I had to drop out of college, lost my scholarship. I lost my job because I got put on bed rest. I already felt the mothers guilt. I felt bad for bringing my kids into a single parent home, with no dad in the picture (at the time) and I had no money to take care of them. The depression I felt was actually my mothers guilt I’m sure.

As a kid I dreamed of a fancy future, a high paying career, I was going to be someone important! I always remember picturing myself in a loft downtown with an area for my art with paint brushes and a work in project sitting on an easel. Anyway, being an 18 year old unemployed single pregnant teen was the farthest thing from my dream. My dad was dying of cancer, my mom was in her midlife crisis and my best friend dumped me. I was a depressed wreck. But a miracle happened, well 2. I gave birth to two beautiful and healthy baby girls who brightened my world beyond my imagination. They had a few minor health issues as babies, but overall they were very healthy babies! By 6 months they slept through the night. They weren’t picky eaters, I just had to cut up the meat and hide it in mashed potatoes. They were full of smiles and giggles and they shined everywhere we went. I eventually got back to college. I didn’t think I could love anything or anyone as much I loved those girls! I was lonely sure, but I didn’t really picture myself with anyone. I accepted it was me and them girls forever. So I spoiled them, dressed them alike, gave lots of hugs and kisses, did their hair every day in pig tails, I enjoyed them because as far as I was concerned they would be my only children. Then life threw me a curve ball, well a lot of curve balls and with each of those came more guilt.

I met a guy, looking back I’m honestly mad at my mother for encouraging it. But she was just happy to see me happy again and the idea of me not having to raise my girls alone was nice. What a fool I was. I can’t express how much guilt I have locked away over this one, but it is what it is. Lessons were learned. I became a much stronger person from it all. And in 2002 I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. It was a very, very, very difficult and long delivery. I was in labor for over 27 hours and actively pushed for nearly seven hours, mind you this after having my twins by c-section. My son was 9 pounds and he couldn’t get out. I have guilt over picking that quack doctor.

From day one Ryan had health issues. He didn’t sleep, he was always hungry but like the girl from the exorcist, he threw everything up. It was awful. Jaundice, fevers, ear infections, acid reflux (I never knew a baby could have that!) eczema, sick all the time he was. The guilt over his birth still eats at me. I was again going through another pregnancy alone but this time also raising twin four year olds. The last thing I wanted was to be raising 3 kids by two different fathers alone, going through a divorce. What a catch I made my myself! At least I had a job this time. (there’s my sarcasm) Do I need to explain where the mothers guilt fits in this part of the story? God I hope not!

Fast forward through a lot of crappy choices that came with more of..you guessed it… mothers guilt.

Let’s see, I have no idea where to start on this part… Hmm.. okay, 2004 was the first time I took Ryan in for outside help. Ryan was always so much more work than my girls were. I’m sure I’m exaggerating but I honestly remember the girls always being so easy. You said “no, don’t touch that” they didn’t touch it. Shocking I know! I mean, they’d give me a poutty face, immediately followed by a big smile and a “shake that booty..uh uh..shake that booty baby” such easy kids. Ryan is a tester, a button pusher, he likes to test the limits and push buttons. He’s honery! Anyways, 2004 fast forward through alot of mis-diagnoses, therapy, behavior modification, medical tests and hospitalizations…and the overwhelming guilt that comes with all that… Ryan actually has Epilepsy, and ADHD. He’s a great kid though. He’s funny, charming, peculiar, artistic, loving, smart, jokester, thoughtful. But he’s had a rough road, course thank god he had me and his sisters because it takes a whole lot of love to get a person through what he was.

And the guilt over all the stuff I fast forwarded through? Well there’s just so much to explain, to sum it up, I learned how to be my child’s advocate. I learned how to navigate my way through the system. The medical, the insurance, the doctors, the school, IEP’s, I became obsessed with it all. Why? My guilt. It’s silly really. Most people don’t know about this stuff, we trust the doctors and the schools to do right by us and our kids. BUT I learned a very important lesson. We must educate ourselves too, moms (and dads if they are involved) are the most important person to stand and fight for our kids.

Spectacular Summer Seed Spitting War

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Goofball over stats and needs to know…..

Goofball blogger

Ok so I’m just quickly adding a little something for today. I thought I’d quickly share what a total goofball I was over my blog stats this week. So the highlight of my week resulted in me freaking out with excitement when I saw I had reached 52 views in one day! For some I’m sure it’s silly to get so excited over this but for a lady that likes to be heard, IT WAS AWESOME!!  Don’t judge me! LOL!

Then I realized…..

Wait a minute…I reblogged a few blogs from others on my page. Did my total go up to 52 in one day only because it counted how many went to my page and the other blogs? Or did I really get so much attention in one day? Can anyone help me out with an answer to this?

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