About our Daughter

I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 13, 16, 17 and 20, 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.
Never change, start or stop a medication without the approval of your child's physician!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, Fresh Start, Change

I am really hoping for so many things to change in the New Year.  Of course, the biggest wish being that my husband lands a job soon.  He has a job interview tomorrow, but the job involves a lot of travel.  I am not sure if that is a deal breaker or not.  Having him gone a lot would be very hard on me, dealing with a bipolar teen and two others by myself.  And driving them all to their sports and dance activities, and school stuff.  But part of me just wants him to take the first offer, regardless of salary, benefits, travel.  When you have been dealing with unemployment this long, you really start to throw out "non-negotiables."  Could we live off of half of what he made?  I don't know.  Could we financially afford a health insurance plan that required us to pay much, much more each month for Caroline's medications?  I don't know.  I would have to go to work in some capacity if that happens.  Lots of people do this all the time, but with Caroline's many doctor appointments and her uncanny ability to suddenly not be able to stay in a school this is not something that would be easy in the least.

And we are leaning against putting her back into the school she started at this fall.  Honestly, we think she needs to finish the year out homeschooling.  I just ordered the rest of a World History curriculum from Sonlight.  We want her to have the full benefit of the Learning RX brain training program for the rest of the year without having to deal with homework on top of that.  Are we crazy? Maybe.  Nothing is easy with these kids, and as we have absolutely ruled out public high school for now (we would lose her to the wrong crowd in a heartbeat,) we have to find ways of educating her that work for her and for us.

Oh, and now we have introduced the Pill to clear up her skin, which is the worst it has ever been.  We took her back to the gyn, the dermatologist and psychiatrist to discuss this option as the estrogen based pills will reduce her Lamictal levels in her blood.  But now they have come out with a super low dose bc pill called Lo Loestrin, only 10 mg of estrogen.  So the hope is it will clear up her acne but not affect her Lamictal levels too much.  As a precaution we have slowly increased the Lamictal by a small amount.  The Lamictal is basically her anti-depressant as she has never been able to take any anti-depressant without mania as a side effect.   So far all is good.  Her skin hasn't shown big improvement yet, but it will take a few months before we truly know if this is working.

I hope your New Year brings peace for you and your bp child.

God Bless You.
Megan

5 comments:

Miz Kizzle said...

Happy New Year! My daughter's skin improved greatly with a product called Proactive. It can be ordered online. I have nothing to do with the company. It just worked so well when other products/treatments failed that I recommend it to other moms.

Megan said...

We did try Proactive but unfortunately it didn't work. She has got pretty severe acne so I didn't think it would. I think Proactive does work well on mild to moderate breakouts.

GB's Mom said...

Nothing is easy is an understatement! Praying for a better year for us both. {{{Hugs}}}

CC said...

My 17 year old bp daughter has bad acne right now. She was put on doxycycline, but for some reason she was angry and irritable while on it, so I stopped it. We've tried everything under the sun. The pill will be the next option.
Something you might want to consider (or maybe you already have) is trying to get Caroline on medicaid for disabled children. It took me about 4 months and lots of paper work, but she's finally on it and it's a blessing. Her medications alone were breaking me at over $500 a month - and that's with private insurance. I had her school counselor, teachers, doctors, and anyone else involved with her care write letters for the application. I went through the Division of Family Services to get this done. After a $17,000 bill from a 5 day inpatient visit I had to do something. Her private insurance didn't cover any mental health. The way the application was written was to make it 6 months retroactive to cover previous expenses, too.
My daughter had a late start at school this past semester due to her being so tired in the mornings. She went in at 9:30am instead of 7:45am. That helped some. This semester she's going to be at the alternative school to make up credits so she can graduate on time. I don't know for sure if she will be able to graduate with her class, but that's what we're aiming for. My daughter also has ADHD, a tic disorder (motor tics only), and mild asperger's, which complicates everything. It's bad enough having bp, but the others make it twice as hard. I'm just hoping that as she gets older she will stabilize and life will get a little easier for her and me.
Also, you might want to see if a school will write a behavior management plan in a 504 plan for Caroline. By law they have to do this with special needs children.
You may have already tried these routes, but just thought I'd throw some things out there that we have done. Hope you all have a wonderful 2012!

marythemom said...

Sometimes I think we live parallel lives. Hugs and prayers!

Mary