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, December 20, 2011

New Therapist in the New Year

Caroline thinks that she has found the new therapist.  We met her today for the first time and she loved her. I thought she would just by the look of her:  young, sporty, kind of funky.  She will start seeing her in early January, and during same time slot in which she used to see her other therapist, so it is perfect!  Yay!

Still no job.  My husband has aged so much in the past year.  I wish I could wave a magic wand and make a job appear tomorrow.  Unemployment is no fun.

Hope your preparations for the holidays are going well.  I think I have done everything except shop for Christmas Eve and day dinners.  I am so tired that I am seriously thinking about doing Chinese food.  Ok, just kidding, my kids would kill me.  But they do love the movie "A Christmas Story."  So maybe....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Medical Mystery Child

This is what I am beginning to call Caroline, half jokingly, half seriously.  Today she had a kidney scan as a follow up to her initial nephrology consultation a few months back after way too many UTIs month after month.  Well, today they found a lot of fluid in her abdomen that shouldn't be there, so they are doing another scan tomorrow to get more information, a clearer picture as to what is causing these ascites.  My fear is always concerning liver or kidney failure because of all the meds she is on and the lithium in particular.  We have always had to walk this fine line between keeping her stable, and keeping her healthy.  I have often feared that we are unknowingly choosing quality of life over quantity of life for Caroline.  Not that we are giving her drugs expecting her liver or kidneys to fail, but knowing the possibility is there invites guilt.  She is the most stable she has ever been since about the age of 3 on this med mix, but if her organs begin to react negatively, we will obviously have to reduce or eliminate certain medications and that means instability and who knows what.  This poor kid can't seem to get a break!  We pray that the fluid is completely benign in nature.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If I Could Erase a Day...

It would have been yesterday.  Ever have one of those days when your kids fight all day, you find out some really bad news about one of your kids, your husband looks completely lost, and you fix a dinner you hate?  Yep, yesterday would qualify.

My husband and I met with Caroline's present therapist, which went well, and we agreed to bring Caroline back the next week to either say good bye or to agree to keep going.  We know she will say she is done.  But I have some great recommendations on new psychologists from the owner of Learning RX, which is helping Caroline tremendously with her processing speed and memory issues.  

Caroline is giving us her phone.  As much as we want her to be able to have a phone, she just can't handle it right now.  She has been associating with the wrong people.  Time to move.  Really.  I know a family who moved from a neighborhood because their daughter got mixed up with a boy and it was pretty bad and they needed to get her away from him.  So they moved to a new neighborhood and their daughter was able to cut ties and turned out to be a wonderful kid who is now in college and doing great.  I think we need to find a new environment for Caroline, away from the folks that are bringing her down.  Maybe a new job will be the impetus for real change here.  

Today is a new day, and hopefully a better one.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Might Be Looking for a New Therapist

Yesterday's counseling session revealed how much Caroline is feeling resentment towards her present therapist whom she sees every week.  Apparently the issue is that the therapist doesn't believe a certain event that Caroline insists really happened two years ago, something rather traumatic.  So we are meeting with her therapist, whom we really like, to discuss this whole blow up and figure out where to go from here.  Finding the right therapist for a bipolar teen is so essential and I dread having to find a new one if Caroline simply won't feel comfortable with her.

Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation Conducting Family Study

JBRF is looking for families with a history of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder, i.e. not only your child, but maybe you, your parent, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc.  If you are interested just click on the above link.

Monday, December 5, 2011

So We Start Again: Homeschooling

To make a long story short, we have embarked on homeschooling Caroline again until we feel she can handle the private school thing again.  With the Learning RX brain training in full force, we hope that she can return in the third quarter.  She is quite anxious to return (as are we) and isn't at all happy about not being in a school, but this is best right now.  I made up her daily school schedule using mostly the books from the private school, supplemented with Rosetta Stone French, my own Bible curriculum, an online typing course, and Homer.  Yes, Homer.  She loves all things Greek and Roman, so I thought I would throw that in.  I am starting slow this week, and then really increasing the load over the next few weeks.  She will likely need to double up lessons in Algebra and French so she doesn't fall behind.   I hate their Algebra textbook with all of that superfluous info so I will likely go back to Saxon or Teaching Textbooks.

I feel good about the plan, but it is the implementation of it that makes me nervous.  She promises she will work hard for me, and maybe with the carrot of re-entering this school in front of her, she will make good on them.

No job yet.  Caroline is really stressed out about this, as she revealed in her counseling appointment today.  I am sure all of the kids think about it all the time even if they don't talk about it.  I keep praying that God will bring an end to this very long journey.  His timing often isn't our timing.  At all.  "Come thou long expected Jesus" is what this brings to mind.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm Back

I am back because I just can't keep silent.  I need this outlet .  Especially now, with still no job for my husband, making this a total of 13 out of 16 months without a paycheck :(, and Christmas approaching, and medical bills to pay and deductibles and copays to meet until January 1st, and paying for our own health insurance now ($$$$$), and on top of this having to pull Caroline out of yet another school, this time because concussions have impacted her memory to the point that she needs intensive cognitve brain training.  She is being homeschooled through this private school as they will keep her transcripts and grades for me.  She can re-enter this school next quarter or the next if we think she can keep up.

I am weary and depressed.  Pray for us if you pray.  We need it.  This has been a long painful journey and we need light at the end of this tunnel.  Thank you.  Megan