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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Little Girl Lost

Today there was laughter in my house. Giggles and deep belly laughs. My silly girl had us all laughing.

I cooked a big lunch today. The whole time I was cooking dinner, Carlie was helping in the kitchen. She was laughing and making up jokes. She was dancing and being silly. And every once in awhile she would hug me and say "I love you, mama!"

Today was the best day.

You see, we haven't had many.....actually we haven't had ANY days like today. Not in the last 2 weeks, anyway.....

Carlie started 3rd grade this year. It didn't take long for her to start falling behind on her schoolwork. She wasn't finishing assignments on time. Her teacher began sending several worksheets home each day that Carlie didn't complete for classwork. Worksheets that added to our already frustrating homework workload!

When Carlie was a few years old, maybe 2 or 3, my sister in law (who has a Early Childhood degree) noticed how Carlie would "hyperfocus" on activities sometimes. Especially activities that involves creativity or imaginative play.

As Carlie got older she had trouble completing many tasks at once. If I said, take your dirty clothes down stairs, get the basket and your shoes, and bring them back up to your room. She may take the dirty clothes downstairs, but I'd find her playing or doing something else rather than completing the instructions I gave.

We've always had to call her name several times before we can jar her from whatever currently holds her attention.

We've known for years that Carlie has ADHD tendencies. I guess we hoped it would "get better" or maybe we were just in denial....

But as third grade started it became evident that we had to do something.

So.....we took her to our family doctor who then diagnosed her with ADHD. He put her on a prescription medication. Vyvanse 30mg daily. She takes it once in the morning and that's it. It time releases over 12 hours.

The improvement at school was noticeable immediately. She began staying in her seat and paying attention the very first day. She is doing a better job of completing her assignments on time, and she doesn't cry and fuss over her homework anymore either.

We were thrilled with the progress, and were prepared for the usual side effects. They too, were noticeable immediately.

She had NO appetite for the first few days. And I searched for ways to get her to eat, or to get calories in her body atleast. One night I was scrambling eggs and slicing a banana at MIDNIGHT! That's the other big symptom. She wasn't sleepy. The medication, being a stimulant, kept her up. But that night...she was hungry....and I was anxious for her to eat! She asked for eggs. So I scrambled two. I added a banana, sliced with toothpicks in them for "fun" eating. It worked....she ate every bite. The next day.....same ol' "I'm not hungry". :(

Like I said, at first those were our two BIG side effects. We kept hoping as she adjusted to medication that the side effects would ease. Those side effects have improved. She's not "normal", but much closer.

As the days turned into a couple of weeks, we began to notice our BIG side effect wasn't eating or sleeping. The big problem was how reserved Carlie had become. She doesn't laugh, or act silly. She doesn't run and jump into her daddy's arms every afternoon when he comes home. She doesn't stop to hug me every 20 minutes and say "I love you, mama!" Our once boisterous, spirited, loving little girl is now quiet and reserved.

It breaks my heart to pieces. My husband's too. Carlie's funny personality is one of our lifes' treasures. She is such a joy to be around. We miss her hugging us, and telling us silly jokes. We miss her asking probing questions that exhaust us. We miss her talking about random things that we never would've considered. We miss our precious little girl.

So we are at a crossroads. We are praying HARD for guidance. Do we take her off the meds and homeschool? It's a possibility. I'm a stay at home mom. Do we keep her in school on the meds and hope that her personality slowly comes back to us? Do we take her off the meds and keep her in public school with behavioral training. Or get her an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and keep her in public school. We see a psychologist in November and it's possible. Or go to private school for smaller classes? Or just try another medication?


We just want our girl back. It makes this even worse that we are the ones doing it! We're causing her to be hidden inside herself.....



Tracy said...

my little (5th grade) boy has been on Vyvanse for about 2 years now. We also have the problem with eating/sleeping but our story sounds almost identical to yours as far as school/homework troubles. I can say, that without his meds, he had a hard time keeping friends as, as he got older, they didn't have the patience for him not being able to hold a true conversation without running off to another subject.

**as far as the food issues, ours eats a HUGE breakfast - and we let him. 3 packs of oatmeal, or 4 waffles, or 2-3 bowls of cereal.
** he doesn't eat lunch AT ALL. EVER. Even his favs. BUT, then he fuels back up at 3 or 4:00 like a full sandwich or mini-meal. And a regular dinner. The Dr. said as long as they are making up the calories, not to worry about skipping lunch.
**as far as sleep -- Melatonin. I did research on it first and it is completely safe. I use it because I toss and turn. The Dr. said up to 12 mg for him (he's tiny - 50 lbs?) about 30 min before bedtime and he is no longer up till midnight but out within 30. And it is a natural chemical your body makes to make you sleepy. I wonder if she is down as she is just worn out from lack of sleep and food??

just my gut would say that she may need her dosage decreased, we did have to play around with his some, but now have upped it back up. I can say Vyvanse is the best we have tried. And while he may be a little more subdued, it is so much more worth it, for him anyway, to see him laughing with friends, being able to have a real conversation with us, and making good grades. He wanted to quit school in first grade because he couldn't stand it. He said it was like he was constantly "hearing everything all around him when he was trying to work". Just my two cents. But I'd play a little more before going cold turkey. There are other meds out there and I no longer think that all parents medicate their kids just to calm them down. Ours was a life-saver for his socialization and education.

Jenifer said...

God love that sweet baby girl. I can't even imagine what you're going through...trying to do what's best for Carlie and at the same time not wanting to change WHO she is as a person. I love sweet, silly Carlie and want her to be around for a long time to come whatever the outcome may be. Praying for you and Britt both as you make these decisions. I love you! Welcome back to the blogging world by the way! I was so glad to see you pop up on my sidebar!!!!!