We had an appointment with a sports medicine doc yesterday who specializes in concussions. He gave Caroline a neurological test and she didn't do so great on it, quite poorly on two sections. The doc expressed concern about these results and also concern about how many psych meds she is taking. Most doctors who are not psychiatrists express alarm about how many meds Caroline takes, but what they don't understand at first glance is that A. we didn't start her out on all of these meds at once, and B. that this med combination took YEARS at which to arrive after much trial and error and residential treatment, and
C. she is the most "normal" she has ever been on this combination of meds and can actually do things she couldn't do before like stay in school and learn, play a team sport, write a novel, attempt friendships. I always cringe when I have to go through a meeting with a non-psych doc because trying to convince them she needs all of these meds can be a chore. I find myself feeling defensive and going into "I will show you that I am a smart, capable, intelligent, caring parent who has done her research" mode which probably comes across as a little bit showy. I want to intimidate when I feel intimated.
Anyway, he would not clear Caroline to return to lacrosse yet or any intense form of activity. She can do walking and light jogging, but nothing too strenuous. Bummer. But until we determine if the neuro test results are just her or the concussion, we have to play it safe. He has referred Caroline to an neuropsychologist next week to do more tests. I will bring all of the psych-ed testing we have had done over the years to bring evidence of her lifelong struggle with working memory and processing speed, both of which are in the gutter as far as test scores go. I am concerned this neuropsych doc is going to try to convince us to take her off some of her meds or greatly reduce them. I know we are doing the right thing med wise based on her stability over a long period of time, but I still feel intimidated by "experts" who don't know my kid as well as I do. We shall see.
My oldest comes home from Young Life camp this week, and I must say it has been a nice break to have even one gone from the mix. I miss her though and look forward to her many crazy stories of camp antics and adventures.
About our Daughter
I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 13, 15, 17 and 19, 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. She is in the very challenging teen years, and she is attempting a big public high school for the first time. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running, 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.