About our Daughter

I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 17, 19, 21, and 23, and wife to the greatest husband on earth. God has given us a special child to raise one who was diagnosed with early-onset bipolar disorder at the age of seven, though she showed signs of it from the age of fifteen months. She also has ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder (sensory seeking), Dyslexia, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder-NOS, all typical comorbidities for a bipolar child. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running (finished her first marathon in October of 2014!), and reading and writing her own books. I will share with you the many joys and sorrows we have faced and will face in the future with the hope that you may find better understanding about this mental illness caused by both chemical and structural abnormalities in the brain. I desire that you will be encouraged by this blog if you are also dealing with a bipolar child. Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey.

How Did You Know She Was Bipolar So Young?

I wrote a long explanation of how we came to this bipolar diagnosis in a child so young under my post of March 19th of 2009. If your child or a child you know bears similarities, please seek out a good psychiatrist and don't wait for "things to get better." Often they will simply get worse, and the longer a child is unmedicated, the more damage their brain can accrue. Early diagnoses and treatment are key to providing these children with a chance at a successful life later as a teen and an adult.
Never change, start or stop a medication without the approval of your child's physician!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Medications: the necessary evil

I am so glad we live in this century, even this decade, because of all the advances of modern medicine.  "Caroline" would probably be in jail or dead by now without her bipolar meds.  And our insurance is really great, thankfully, because otherwise her meds would cost us thousands each month.  Right now she is on TEN medications.  We certainly did not start out this way. 

 When she was first diagnosed at age 7, she was put on Trileptal, an anti-convulsant that doubles as a mood stabilizer.  Then that stopped working after two years and she was put on Depakote, which made her gain five pounds a month.  It really didn't work either, so she was switched to Lithium, which she still takes.  She needed something else when it became obvious the Lithium wasn't enough, so she was put on Topamax, another mood stabilizer.  That petered out after a year, and  then she needed an anti-psychotic for visual hallucinations, so they started her on Abilify.  That worked for two years, and then stopped working, so during her last hospital stay, they switched her to first Geodon, which didn't work, then Seroquel, which is mostly working, but then she needed a diabetic medication called Metaformin to prevent diabetes because Seroquel can mess with your blood sugar.  And Seroquel gives patients severe munchies, so she has put on 10 pounds since early January. In addition, she takes sleep meds because without them she can't stay asleep (Trazadone and Clonazapem) and she takes Benadryl to counteract a nasty side effect of Seroquel called tardive dyskenesia, involuntary and sometimes permanent facial movements, which she had begun to show.  We also have her on birth control pills to regulate her hormones because the ups and downs of her cycle were making her moods worse.  In the fall her psychiatrist added Lamictal, another mood stabilizer with antidepressive properties because she always tends to be on the low side.  Prestiq, an anti-depressant, was also introduced recently because she was so depressed.  So, yup, that makes nine medications every day, totaling about 15 pills to swallow in one day.  Oh, I left out claritin for allergies.  

She HATES taking this many pills, and so do we.  The doctors tried to reduce the number of pills she was taking every day during the last hospital stay, but as soon as they would take something out, she would get worse.  At this point she takes whatever she needs to keep her life functioning, which, unfortunately, isn't even functioning so well right now.   We have been told that Caroline has been unusually difficult to keep chemically stable, so we are also looking at some alternative approaches to help her any way we can (food allergies, etc.).   She has endured a lot.


Laralyn said...

Hey there, niece here.

I've been reading all of your posts and really appreciating the opportunity to feel a little more connected to you guys. I hate that you are all out that and that our family is way over here.

Mom said that you are all coming out here in April for some Grammy and Grandpa time and some Disneyland. I can't wait to see you all, especially "Caroline." I really want to hang out with her while you are out here. Give her my love, and say hi to my awesome Uncle and the girls for me!

domandkat said...

Caroline has been through a lot AND SO HAVE YOU my friend! So have you. The emotional energy that you tear through in a day is astonishing. I again will say that I'm so glad you started this blog. You help us to pray for you, sympathize so much more with you, will be able to better know where you are coming from and where you are at when we see you, and be a blessing to you and your family (at least that's my hope) because of it.

I will pray that this time of so much medication will be a thing of the past over time...whether that's the meds improving and/or Caroline improving - even healed.

Bless you dear sister!

momofbpchild said...

I so appreciate my friends and family, large family, that support us so much!