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In like a lion, out like a lamb….right?!?!

I know that is normally said of the month of March, but I am hoping it applies to years, as well. Since Christmas we have dealt with the following health-wise:

Meagan – mono

Matthew – bad asthma flare, requiring a round of steroids

Mike – sinus infection that spread to his lungs very quickly

Me – sinus infection

Matthew – sinus surgery

Matthew – flu

Me – flu

 

We haven’t had a single day in 2013 yet in which even half of us have been enjoying good health! I’m really hoping that means that by the end of the year we will all be doing super well! =) Meanwhile, I think I’ll go get the ice pack out of the freezer and take a nap with it on my head again. That was sooooo nice yesterday!

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Moving the Caseys

Today is technically Monday (as it is after midnight), but it’s still Sunday night for me. Meagan has already gone to bed, but Matthew is still up. He’s supposed to be getting his meds… what he’s actually doing is up for debates. Friday morning he had sinus surgery. He was really nervous, but did good overall. He was up and back to normal by Friday night. Yesterday he went to the park and hung out with his friends.

I’m hoping the surgery will bring an end to the icky health month we’ve had as well as improve his sleep. Just after Christmas, Meagan came down with mono. About the same time, Mike and I both got a bad sinus infection, and Matthew’s asthma flared up too. I’m ready for some HEALTHY Caseys!!

This year – 2013 – my biggest goal is moving the Caseys. I’m determined that with the Lord’s help, we’ll be in a new-to-us house sooner rather than later. Mike is retired now, so it is my ‘work history’ that we will need to use to get a loan if we need one, so I’ll keep working with my best friend (at least the company is good!!) at least until we get moved. I just know that a new house will help us all health-wise. Just the change to central heat and air will do wonders for everyone’s breathing!! I can’t wait!

When it rains, it pours! BUSY day today!

Ok, so my best friend’s mother was admitted to the hospital last night after having a mild heart attack. This is the friend that I work for, so I knew today would be somewhat hectic since I would need to get orders packed up for her and then tonight Meagan was having her Un-birthday party. I did not expect it to be SO busy, though. LOL  We’ve had a veritable downpour of difficulties in the last 24hr!

This morning I needed to take Matt to get bloodwork done before his endo appt next week. Since he was staying the night with my mom last night, and I knew I needed to go in and pack orders today, I arranged for my dad to drive Matt back into town today. That didn’t go as planned. My mom called and said that my grandfather (dad’s dad) was in the hospital with what they thought was a ruptured gall bladder. Dad and my youngest brother were on their way to the hospital. Mom was staying behind because she’s been having some dizziness the last few days. Probably her Lyme flaring up after a very stressful week last week when their one and only car broke down and she had to hurry and find a new car to buy.

So Meagan and I went to my mom’s to pick Matt up around 9:30am or so. We still had several things we needed to do to get ready for her party tonight and of course I was going to have to get the bloodwork done, and go in to work, and go to the store! On the way, we prayed and asked the Lord to please help us to get done everything we needed to get done.

It’s been a loooooong day, but God is faithful! =)

First of all, my grandfather is doing great and should be able to go home tomorrow. Turns out his gall bladder had NOT ruptured, but was severely infected. They were able to remove it laprascopically so the recovery time should be very short as the incisions are only about an inch long.

Mike took Matthew and got his bloodwork done. I was able to get all the orders packaged up, AND was there to accept a new delivery of product, AND got that delivery documented, AND got a ton of other work-related stuff done (invoicing, etc).

A young lady from our church (actually, our church pianist) was such a blessing to me today! She took both my kids after Matt’s bloodwork was done and went shopping for me for the party. She also baked Meg’s cake for me, and then she came over and set up the decorations, too!

As for my best friend’s mom… the scheduled heart catherization this morning revealed she needed a triple, and possibly a quadruple bypass. =(  For awhile we thought they were going to be doing the surgery this afternoon, but finally they decided to schedule it for Monday at noon. While we are all glad that her situation has turned out to NOT be an immediately dire, life-threatening one requiring emergency surgery, we regret that now she will have the whole weekend to be worrying about this surgery. =/

In between about a jillion different work-related things popping up all day long, I was babysitting my best friend’s youngest until her other grandma could get off work and pick her up. My phone jangled more than a dozen times with additional prayer requests, as well. At least 3 other members of our small church’s congregation are also in the hospital today, and a couple more are sick and needing prayer as well.

Things are finally quieting down and I’m able to take a deep breath for the first time in about 15hr. LOL Meagan has two overnight guests and the three of them are in the living room watching  movie. I’ve made a batch of cookies for them, and there are chips and sodas and ice cream. What more do three teen girls need, right? LOL

I’m so looking forward to taking some Benadryl to get rid of my allergy-laden nose and climbing into bed!

This coming week will be busy, busy too with tdoc appt on Tues, an endo appt on Wed, Mission Conference Sun-Wed with meals Mon-Wed, FBI class on Thurs, and a bunch of burp cloths needing to be made for my new little nephew.

Even in the midst of the storm, though, life is good because God is good! =)

We live in perpetual chaos…that’s our normal.

So it’s Easter already! Wowsers!

Things are still out-of-whack here, but for new and different reasons. I think the only thing that stays the same for any length of time around here is the fact that things are ALWAYS changing! LOL

My kid brother, my first best friend (and my first enemy as well…haha) is officially an honest to goodness DADDY! =) My snowbuddy spent 30hrs in labor before they headed in to the hospital, where they went from being told they would be sent home if she didn’t progress in an hour as she was only dilated to a 2, to being told they would have a baby within the next few min via emergency c-section in literally 10min. My brother had gone downstairs to get her robe out of the car, came back in and found half the hospital staff (or so it seemed) surrounding the bed and the head doc panicking because little bit’s heart rate had dropped too low for too long.

As it turns out, little bit was being strangled with every contraction since the cord was wrapped around his neck twice. It also turns out, that little ‘bit’ is a little ‘bot’. His name is Blayne Owen and his last name starts with a T, making him B.O.T. He’s fine and so is my snowbuddy, thankfully! God was looking after them both last week, and now I have an adorable screacher of a nephew to spoil rotten while waiting to get pregnant again. LOL

Meanwhile… Mike is off work again. Going on 3wks now. This time for a reaction to the medication the docs put him on for his heart procedure back in Feb. He got horrible blisters covering the entire soles of his feet. Both his feet were twice the size of normal and he couldn’t stand to have anything touch the bottoms of his feet, let alone stand on them. The blisters are gone now, but the doc wants him off work till all the peeling has finished apparently. It’s ok. I like having him home. =)

We’ve also started a once a week trip into Dallas for Matthew to see a therapist. It’s not actually the guy I was wanting to get him in with, but this gal works very closely, in the same office, with him…and she costs half as much! Matthew actually really likes her. He looks forward to going and seeing her every week because she plays games with him and doesn’t make him feel like a specimen under a microscope.

I think his pdoc is going to work out ok, too. At least for now. We go in once a month, so we just had our 3rd visit. Saw the nurse practicioner again and she ok’ed our moving the Seroquel back to 200mg in the am and 300mg in the pm. Whew! I’m hoping by the time we go back, we’ll be in a much better place stability wise than we have been since the first visit! This last week was real rough compared to our ‘present normal’ (though NOTHING like a year ago, or even 6mo ago). It seems Matthew is not going to be able to handle missing even one dose of his lithium or getting his sleeping hours delayed by a few hours at all. It just throws his body so badly off-center it’s unreal! I am seriously going to have to keep a dose of his meds in my purse for those times when we end up out later than expected.

As you can imagine, all this excitement has left school hanging kinda in limbo. I’m staying relatively cool about that, but at the same time I want so badly to get school back up and running. I know Matthew still isn’t truly stable enough that he can handle an ‘ordinary’ school-day, but I’d like to see him doing at least a little reading or math each day. Meagan is just not currently motivated enough to pick things up on her own, but she would do the work if I actually gave her a specific list of what to do and then was available for answering questions. Mostly it’s been a case of I’ve been so distracted with other things (whether ER trips, dr appts, work, etc) that I haven’t sat down and mapped out her coursework, so she’s been coasting because of me.

I have gotten a fair amount of work done around the house, but still have a TON to do to get caught up from basically being gone all day every day for so long. Meagan was a huge help this week helping to get things actually accomplished. She cleaned and tidied the entire hall by herself. That probably doesn’t seem like a lot to most people, but our house is a very old one, and the hall is essentially 2 separate rooms right in the center of the house. Both the front hall and back hall contain numerous bookcases, and in the back hall there is also a dresser. All were overflowing with junk and stuff that needed to be put up. All the drawers were hanging out, stuff was piled on the floor in front of everything. Really it was a HUGE mess. One that extended right to the front door and literally made it hard to get in and out of the house. So REALLY, she helped a LOT by getting that massive chore tackled for me!

This is the month we have her unbirthday celebration, and as usual for the past few years, she is wanting to have a big sleepover party. If I actually can rely on her to help clean house properly, not just shove stuff in a closet or under a bed, (and it looks like I can), then I’m pretty sure we can do that this year and not even be ashamed of the house when the girls arrive! I told her tonight that we should schedule it for the weekend after next, so that we would have enough time to go shopping and get everything ready. My little planner is wanting to make pinatas for each girl to take home as part of their party favors, and that’s going to take at least a week in and of itself.

Once the house is in mostly clean condition (I know that no home with kids is ever perfectly clean for more than a nanosecond at a time), I have about a million and one projects to get started on or to complete. Since I started working I’ve had to put all the projects aside due to lack of time…and guilt over not having the housework done. That’s beginning to improve finally. Sure, right at this moment every room BUT the halls, looks like a tornado hit it, but really it’s mild compared to where it has been. The living room is covered in Easter eggs and candy, and the dining room justs needs its desks tidied. One of the kitchen counters was scrubbed down a couple of days ago and now just needs to be tidied back up from the last couple of meals. The laundry situation is lots better than it was a couple of months ago… in part because we’ve gotten rid of 4 trash bags full of clothing/linens. We still have a lot more to go through, too. The Christmas decorations are all put away in the pantry/storeroom which had a thorough going-through and cleaning done about 3-4wks ago, and the yard has had its first whack-job for the year. Its taken $80 to get it that way, but at least it’s done!

Tomorrow, in between church services, I am planning on getting this week’s school goal cards filled out and maybe some more laundry, too. Monday night, we’ll have our last Theology class of the semester and so this week I will need to fit in studying for the final, on top of everything else.

Never dull around here, that’s for sure!

So many changes…

I’m sitting here waiting for some medicine to kick in so I won’t feel so icky. I have a million and one things to do, but right now I don’t feel well enough to do any of them. Since I have neglected this blog for the last 5mo in large part because I haven’t had time to dedicate to it, I thought right now might be a good time to try and do some updating.

Right now our little Chiweenie, Bluebell, is curled up with me in the chair. This is her favorite spot in the whole house…curled up with Mommy. She was supposed to be Matthew’s ‘therapy’ dog, but the ‘newness’ wore off or she started to aggravate him or something, because lately she’s been staying about 3in away from me at all times. That is, unless Matthew is actively playing with her. That’s ok, though, she helps keep my feet warm. LOL

Meagan and Matthew are out with a friend of ours feeding her horse. She started picking them up and taking them with her to go feed about a week and a half ago, and the kids are eating it up. They absolutely love it! Meagan has even gotten to ride Red a little bit. This same friend has kinda taken Meagan under her wing and is having her help babysit a couple of days a week. Meagan thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread. She adores little kids and is really good with them, but I don’t feel she is mature enough to handle babysitting solo yet. This arrangement is perfect for her, though. Not only does she thoroughly enjoy the idea of having a job and a babysitting one (her dream job) at that, but she also has an older girl who is befriending her. She needs that desperately!

Matthew has been tagging along to go see the horse, and he loves visiting with the human babies, too, but he is not ‘working’. lol He’s able to work off a fraction of his energy by helping feed and take care of the horse, though, and he is always in need of ways to work off excess energy. Plus this arrangement also gives me a motivational tool that I can use with both kids. I tell them that they can’t go see Red if they haven’t gotten their school or chores done. =)

So what’s happened in the last 5mo besides the addition of Bluebell and trips to see a horse? A lot! My best friend’s ‘make-a-little-money-in-her-spare-time’ has turned into a full-time job. It pretty quickly became a full-time job for me, as well. Things grew that fast! Keeping up with orders has been tricky, to say the least. In the last month, we’ve been working hard to try and arrange things such that I could work from MY house at least 3 days a week, since Nov-Feb, it’s taken us both working (at her place) 5 days a week to keep up. That was fine for her business, but not so fine for our families. Her little one, my little Sweet-Cheeks had grown to resent her Aunt Chris being there every day when she got home from Kindergarten. Poor little mite just wanted her mama to herself. Oftentimes, we would end up working to about 4pm, which meant that her older kids would come home before I could get out of there, and that meant they felt like they didn’t have an attentive mama, too. Meanwhile, Meagan and Matt were (in a sense) eating it up that Mom was working full-time. To them that meant they could sleep all day, and then play video games and watch TV all night after Mom finally crashed.

I tried to ‘do school’ when I’d get home, but more often than not, I’d be waking the kids up when I got home around 4-5pm. It’d take an hour or more just to get them up and their meds in them, then I’d have to start fixing dinner. Mike would get up around 7-8pm, so it wouldn’t be until after he left for work around 9pm that I could really start any schoolwork. After a couple of hours of trying to figure out where each kid was in their work and trying to referee the complaining and bickering, I would start wearing out. Listening to them read out of their literature books would put me to sleep, of course, and so would waiting for one or the other to finish up the next bit so I could check it or what-not. I’d end up dozing for awhile and then around 2-3am manage to get their meds in them and then I’d go crash in bed, only to wake up around 8am to start all over again. The kids wouldn’t be anywhere close to ready for bed at 2-3am, of course, since they’d slept till 5pm or later, so I simply could not outlast them and that would leave them up watching TV or playing while I slept. Certainly they weren’t working on their schoolwork! LOL

That’s starting to change, though. We’ve been working towards getting things set-up where I can do what I need to for work from my house and only go over to my friend’s maybe once or twice a week to give her an extra pair of hands to help with packaging and shipping. This past week was the first week I was able to work from home, and it helped SO much! I still have massive amounts of catching up to do on housework, and the kids still aren’t fully re-adjusted to being up and doing schoolwork during the day, but I can definitely see a difference, already. We still have some kinks to work out, but this arrangement is going to work out so much better for both our families!!

Matthew’s sleep hours getting switched back to something closer to normal is paramount in managing his “mood disorder” according to his new psychiatrist. I’m not sure yet what to think of this doc. He wants to remove the BP diagnosis, which I do not agree with. On the one hand, I don’t care what you call it as long as it is treated properly, but on the other hand knowing what we’re dealing with is KEY to treating it properly. There’s no doubt in my mind he has BP I. I’ve done enough reading and research, there is simply no question this is what he is dealing with. Knowing that, I hate to lose that descriptor and go back to a vague “mood disorder” diagnosis. This doc on the very first visit without knowing any of Matt’s history, took one look at his med profile and said he was on way too much medicine. Ummmm…. no. While I would dearly love for Matt to not be on so much medicine, the ones he is taking we’ve determined through trial and error he NEEDS to be taking. Same thing for the dosing. The doc immediately (first visit, knowing nothing about Matt personally) decided to switch his Seroquel from 200mg in the am and 300mg in the pm to 400mg all in the pm. We’d tried that set-up before and it hadn’t worked. We’d come to the 2x/day split through trial and error for a reason…he needs it split up. I couldn’t get that through the doc’s head, though, so we switched.

The 4wks between the 1st and 2nd pdoc visit Matt slipped further and further into mania. No surprise, since his Seroquel dosing was messed with and the total dose decreased as well. God is still on the throne, though. We arrived an hour early for his second appt and so the Nurse Practicioner saw us instead of the pdoc. During the 10min or so we were with her, Matthew talked about random things and was talking very quickly (a sign of mania). He also got up out of the chair more than once and I had to physically put him back in the chair. In other words, he was very obviously manic-ky. I told her this was why we had split the Seroquel into 2x/day. So, the NP added the missing 100mg back in…in the am! She also gave us a script for Trazodone to help him get to sleep at a more reasonable hour.

The Trazodone is working well, but we haven’t seen any  improvements otherwise yet. It’s early still, and even though he is back to his full daily dose of the Seroquel, he is still getting only very little of it in the am making it available in his body during the day. Hopefully we’ll start seeing some improvement in the next week or two.

Also, I have found a therapist that I think would be really great for Matt, and I am trying to get an appt set up with him. We’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for him, but if he’s as good as he appears to be, it’ll be well worth it. He is a Christian counselor who works with teenage boys and his biggest focus is on encouraging them. This is exactly what Matt needs! He needs a godly Christian male influence in his life, someone who will encourage him in the Lord and help him with the managing of his emotions God’s way.

As for myself, since I am not pregnant yet, I think I am going to try and make an appointment with my old Lyme doc to get back on treatment. He just came out of retirement last week, and the timing could not be better! In the first few months after I ran out of the meds he had prescribed, I gained 60lb. The last 2-3 mo the babesiosis symptoms have been flaring back up with a vengeance…

It’s going to have to wait another month or two at least, though, since we just received the bill for Mike’s hospital stay back on Valentines. He has a thing for holidays. My first mother’s day (also the day we found out we were pg again) he had a massive heart attack and was Care-flighted to Dallas. He ended up getting two stents put in his heart. This time he went in for a stress test on the 13th because of some arrhythmias and other symptoms that had landed him in the ER the week before. The docs decided they didn’t want him even walking down the hall, let alone getting on the treadmill, so the took him down to the cath lab and he got another stent put in. At least this time things were caught *before* it turned into a heart attack!

Well, the kids are back now and my nose is telling me I need to go find some Benadryl, so I guess I’ll go try to hunt some up.

We’re still learning…

It’s not quite the end of October, so fall has only just begun, so really I shouldn’t feel so defeated when I look back at my last post and realize that since then things have only gone downhill. I know this thing we call life is a marathon and not a sprint, I know that the goodness of the seasons both of the harvest and of life are not determined within the first trembling weeks. Still I can’t help but wonder just how long before the “lookin’ up” mentality takes back over my attitude. Oh sure, I put up a good front for everyone else, telling them that it WILL get better, we just have to trust God and be patient, but the reality is I wonder if all I’m saying is just empty words.

I don’t guess things are really THAT bad, certainly not as bad as they’ve been in the past. Actually things were much, much worse even just this past summer. Maybe I’m just now settling back into ‘normal’ rather than ‘crisis’ mode, and so the adrenaline let-down is clouding my senses.

We did go camping and we had a great time, despite Matthew having a couple of very emotional days. He went through the whole rainbow of emotions within hours (more than once) and that did dampen the fun somewhat, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. The first week we were back home was way worse. The rage came back with a vengeance. There was a lot of destruction of property that week. We followed that with a trip to the ped and an increase in both of his bipolar meds. The next week was better, and the rage has not come back to the extent it had been, but neither is he the ‘sweet, golden, little boy’ he was for those 2-3 wks of May when he was taking the same amt of Seroquel. THAT is the part that’s dragging me down, I really think. I had so hoped we’d see that level of ‘good’ again. =(  I’m trying so hard not to lose hope, though. I know that the mood stabilizer needs a good 8wks at therapuetic level (which he just hit this last week) to reach its full potential, and I know that the last week he hasn’t been feeling all that great physically as his asthma has been acting up. I’m REALLY trying to hang on to the hope that as he gets well physically, the emotional/mental will ‘catch up’ as well.

Meanwhile, our school experience has been VERY relaxed. In years past this would have had me in an absolute frenzy of guilt and even anger at the kids (and myself!) for being so far ‘behind’. The title of this post explains my feelings on this situation now, though. True the kids have not completed vast amounts of written work each day. True if you go by the recommended schedule given for each course, they are quite behind, but no it’s not the end of the world. For one, they ARE still progressing in everything, just not at the ‘recommended’ pace. For another, it’s finally beginning to hit home that neither one of my children are destined for the great academia life that I’d always secretly hoped (and pushed) for them. Oh, they’re both highly intelligent, no doubt, but the academic ‘way-of-life’ is not a strong suit for either one of them… for different reasons.

I’ve always known that academics was a good fit for some people and not others. For instance, a child born with Downs Syndrome absolutely CAN and will learn, but would not be expected to be able to soar through standard schooling and college with As in every subject no matter how difficult those subjects may be. A child born with legs that will never be able to hold their weight wouldn’t be expected to win all the events at a track meet. A child who loses their sight due to illness would never be expected to ‘find Waldo’ or excel at ‘I Spy’, nor would they be thought less of because they were not suited to those kinds of activities. Each person is born with different abilities and God has a different plan and will for everyone. We’re not all supposed to be neuro-surgeons, or chemical engineers. We’re not all meant to be athletes. We’re not all meant to mechanics. Some people have natural affinities for these things… others do not.

I’ve always thought it simply cruel for parents to expect their children to excel in athletics simply because they did themselves in school, regardless of whether the children were physically CAPABLE to or not. I’ve certainly seen that exact scenario often enough! “How selfish and simply ridiculus of those parents to just assume that the child would be great at something just because they wished it so. Don’t they realize that some kids just aren’t CAPABLE and if not they should not be punished or denigrated for it? They can’t help the way God made them.”, I would think to myself. Some kids have athletic ability, some do not…and that doesn’t even take into consideration the possible physical limitations the child might have.

It humbles me to say so, but I was guilty of doing just exactly the same thing! =(  Just because I managed to sail through school and always wanted to learn more, wanted to study more advanced subjects, wanted to soak up the academic lifestyle does NOT mean my kids will want or be capable of the same thing. Yes, both kids have high IQs and for a long time it was that and that alone that I looked at as a factor for whether or not they were achieving what they should be academically. The Lord’s been working on me about that, though. Especially the last couple of years. When I’m honest with myself and with God, my first priority as their mother is to teach them to fear and love the Lord. After that it is their physical, mental, and emotional health that I am to attend to. ONLY after those things have been taken care of am I to worry about teaching them the ‘academics’. Yes, learning to read, write, and do basic math is important. Yes, I am to train them and teach them to take care of themselves and live as a member of society, so yes school is important. It’s NOT, however, the be-all, end-all that I used to think it was. So what if they don’t study calculus and make straight As doing it? So what if they don’t graduate from college at the top of their class (or at all, for that matter)? A person is so much more than just their school grades. LIFE is so much more than just the next A or getting better test scores than everyone else.

Yes, it’s a pride thing. I admit it. I never took the SATs because I couldn’t stand the thought of getting a less-than-perfect score like my cousin. It would be open knowledge to the whole extended family that I was not as ‘smart’ as he is, then. (As if they couldn’t tell without that precious test score! HA!) I set out to homeschool the kids so that I could ensure they got the absolute highest level of academics possible. By that I meant that they would be the smartest, the brightest, the most advanced students in the family. Maybe not in the world, I mean I didn’t expect them to be graduating university by 8 or 9, but certainly faster and with better grades than anyone else in the family.

It’s been tough, I admit, but I’m learning that high grades in the most advanced courses at the tenderst ages are NOT what God had/has planned for these two precious children He’s entrusted to my care and rearing. It bruises my pride to think that my kids aren’t ‘the smartest’, honestly. That’s MY problem, though, not theirs. I’ve pushed them too hard for too long in this one area.

So… the schooling has become much more relaxed. Neither kiddo is behind by any means, not even compared to the ‘typical’ student their age. If they were, though, so what? I wouldn’t think ill of another child (or their parents) with mental or even physical (say months of chemo treatments, for example) limitations being ‘behind’ their age-mates. The important thing is not what honors course they take at age 12yo, but how well they are being prepared to be an adult… a Christian… a husband/wife… a father/mother… even an employee and citizen. All kids, the A students and the F students, the ones that skipped a grade or two and the ones held back a year or two, have the same ultimate educational need… to be prepared to live on their own and support and care for themselves and their families.

To that end, regardless of what limitations and difficulties Meagan and Matthew have in any aspect of life, I’ve been far too rigid in the way I’ve approached school with them…certainly with what I’ve expected of them. I’ve told them for years that I only expect them to do their best, but the truth is I’ve been expecting them not to do their best, but to do the best compared to all other kids their age…at least in SOMETHING. I’ve allowed that Meg is weak in spelling, “but she is a math genius”, I’ve thought. And Matthew? Well ok, so he isn’t the top math student, but he is THE best speller and SO intellectually mature. “He’s my language kid”, I’ve always said.

I’m learning that academics are not ALL that’s important in a child’s life. I don’t believe either of my children are destined to excel in academics. They are solid A, B students, yes, and do indeed have ‘genius-level’ IQs, but that does not mean they are meant to (or SHOULD) study college-level courses in their early teens, as I’ve been wanting them to for so many years. Truth be told, they may never study college-level courses, and not because they simply don’t *want* to, but possibly because they won’t be *capable*. How can that be if they have such high-IQs?? I used to hang everything on those high IQs, but the truth is they are so much more than that!!

Meagan has severe social struggles. Right now she needs more practice in learning self-hygiene, and good conversational skills than in sentence diagramming. Matthew has severe emotional struggles. Right now he needs more practice in learning to deal with his extreme emotions properly than in finding the square roots of 4 digit numbers. If I focus on the academics, they are in danger of becoming adults who still don’t understand how to act around other people or how to live peaceably with others. When all is said and done those skills are more important than being able to list all the countries in Africa or describe in detail the structure of a plant cell.

I haven’t completely abandoned academics, though. No! To swing that far from the wrong thinking I had, would *also* be wrong. Instead, I’ve relaxed my expectations, especially in regards to the *timetable* I’ve been expecting them to progress by. Meagan is still taking high school courses, some of which *are* advanced compared to the public school system, and I do still expect her to complete them. I don’t, however, expect her to complete them by a set date. If she needs to move more slowly (and in a lot of areas, she definitely does as her reading comprehension isn’t strong), then so be it. So what if she’s 19 before she graduates high school? Is that really any *worse* than if she graduated at 16? The same is true of Matthew. I haven’t given up academics altogether, I’m just not harping on them so much. His emotional (and lately physical as well) health has really made it difficult for him to focus on and do well with school, so he hasn’t gotten as much done each day as I would’ve demanded a year ago, but he IS still learning. So maybe he’s focusing more on learning how to deal with emotions this month instead of learning algebra, he’s still learning. And the math is still there, waiting for his brain to become more settled and able to focus without the frustration he currently experiences.

So the kids are still learning, and I’m still learning. It’s been a hard lesson for me to learn, I must say. It’s very humbling to accept that my children aren’t ‘cut out for academia’. I don’t really know why academics have been of such huge importance to me, I just know they have been, and they shouldn’t have been. Had the Lord blessed me with a child born with Down’s Syndrome I wouldn’t have expected *that* child to excel academically, and I shouldn’t expect Meagan or Matthew to, either. Both of them have ‘special needs’ and are ‘differently abled’ than they ‘typical, normal’ child, so it’s not fair to them or to me to expect of them more than they are capable. Even if they don’t have the ‘special needs’ or ‘different abilities’ I would have picked to deal with or live with. It’s true I would have always absolutely adopted a child who I knew had Down’s Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis or half a dozen other limitations… in a heartbeat. I’d have PICKED those special needs, but I never would have picked the special needs these kids have. Bipolar? No way. Not touching that with a twenty-foot pole. Socially awkward and immature? Nope. Also not ‘glamorous’ enough for me.

I’m learning that it’s not up to me to pick and choose what kind of kid (or what abilities that kid has) for me to train up for the Lord. It’s the Lord’s choice, not mine. He knows best, even when I think He doesn’t.

Fall Is Shapin Up to Be Better

July and August were spent recovering from the ‘toe thing’ of May and June. Matthew spent 10 days in a partial hospitalization program, supposedly to get his meds straightened out. That didn’t work out so well, but the 2 weeks we stayed at the Ronald McDonald House while he was in PHP was like a vacation of sorts. Both of the pdocs that were assigned to him (one replaced the other) turned out to be real duds. The first was focused only on the fact that Matthew “doesn’t like to be called Matthew, he prefers Ryan” (NOT true, a HUGE mistake on her part) and that “he is happy with being a boy” (good, ’cause I wasn’t about to ‘fix’ it if he wasn’t!). The second one flat-out refused to do anything for Matthew, medication or otherwise. This despite Matthew and I both giving him detailed descriptions of the problems (mostly rage) he’d been having and after a middle-of-the-night call (that the on-call doc never responded to!) because his meds were not helping him stay in control. In between we had a horrible week plus while on the Abilify. Made him very physically sick. Our trip to the zoo was spent pushing him around in a wheelchair because he was to weak to stand.

After the 2nd pdoc told me he had no suggestions as to what to do for Matt and that he would not do anything himself, I called the ped from the elevator. I got him an appt within the week and also got the verbal ok to increase his Seroquel dose from the miniscule 50mg/day the pdoc had him on. The dose of 400mg/day was a golden dose, one we worked up to when it was evident the 200mg/day wasn’t working. It was a no-brainer that the 50mg wasn’t doing any good!

After the PHP, where nearly every single one of the therapy team members voiced their opinion on Matt’s dx as being bipolar disorder, I bought some books and started my homework. Researching yet another new health condition. This time one that falls under the mental health umbrella, which I must admit I never would have even considered learning about if it didn’t ‘happen’ in my own family. I used to think that bipolar was just a cop-out dx that people who didn’t care a fig newton about their actions or reactions came up with to get out of having to face the consequences. Boy did I have a lot to learn!

One thing about it, after all the reading I’ve done, there is no doubt in my mind that this IS what Matthew has been dealing with most of his life. I really knew it before I did the ‘heavy’ research, though. I knew it back in the spring when I scanned that first childhood bipolar book. The small, still voice of the Holy Spirit told me back then that I’d finally gotten to the answer He’d been leading me too.

That first appt with the ped after the pdoc fiasco was about a month ago. Since then we’ve seen her twice for med ‘consults’. She asked to borrow one of the books I’d purchased so she could read it, and also said she’d be doing a little research herself. She’s MORE than willing to continue managing Matthew’s meds, which is AMAZING! In her practice of about 2,000 kiddos, she says there are only 3 that she knows have bipolar disorder. Of those, Matthew is the only one she is managing meds for! She has always gone out of her way to research things when something comes up with one of the kids. If she doesn’t know how to treat it, she learns. She’d still like us to find a good pdoc if possible, of course, if nothing else than for a “for-sure” dx, but given our recent history with pdocs and the limited list available under our insurance… not sure that’s gonna happen anytime soon.

Based on our research, we’ve decided to add a mood stabilizer to Matt’s meds. The PHP discontinued his ADHD med, and we’ve left it off. Taking that aways seems to have allowed us to keep the Seroquel dose down to 300mg/day. Then a little over a week ago we started him on Trileptal. He’s currently on 600mg/day, and doing really well. Once we got the Seroquel back up to 200mg/day we started seeing the rage withdraw, once it hit 300mg/day we haven’t had a major rage episode, and very little irritability even! He’s even doing his schoolwork without a fight.

So for Matthew, fall is definitely looking to be a better season than summer. Of course, that means that it’ll be better for everyone!

Meagan has had a personal upswing as well. She dropped a bombshell on us right before school started and told us she wanted to be homeschooled again as the stress (and lack of help/friends) at the school were just too much for her. After looking at her standardized test scores from the first year she was there and this past year, her daddy decided I would teach her through high school. She has been NO END of excited ever since. She’s loved every minute of her school work and is more than eager to get started on the subjects we hadn’t been able to start yet because of waiting for all the materials to come in. She’s super excited about Spanish, especially.

Mike is in the middle of a 2wk vacation, and I think we’ll probably be headed out to Arkansas for 3 or 4 nights of camping tomorrow. He’s actually been taking his antidepressants (well most of the time) for a few weeks now, and I think they are starting to take effect.

I’ve been busy helping my best friend with her cosmetics business. Thankfully I do the behind-the-scenes work… bookkeeping, software/website maintenance, order pulling/packing, etc. My favorite part. =) I’ve always liked doing the behind-the-scenes stuff. I LOVE it! Plus the ‘office’ is her dining room, and my ‘boss’ is…duh, my best friend! haha I keep telling her I would totally do it for free, but she has been insisting on paying me. That means that *I’ve* been able to to tithe and give to missions!! YEA! She purchased all the school curriculum for the kids this year! Most of it was actually for Meagan, since Matthew is still in the middle of 7th grade, but he even got a couple of new courses.

Besides having WAY too many cats (5 adults, and 8 kittens) things are lookin pretty good for Fall. And next spring? We’ll get to welcome a new little one into the family! No, *I’m* not pregnant, but my brother is. Well… not my brother, technically, but still… my kid brother’s gonna be a daddy!!


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