Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Grandpa Died & Hell Broke Loose

A teen boy is heartbroken. He was in the small, dark apartment when his grandfather breathed his last breath. He was distracted with the computer but he was fully aware of what was happening. We had only 3 weeks to say our goodbyes after finding out grandpa was so ill. Bobby visited grandpa several times before that sad Saturday evening when he took his last breath. Even that day Bobby had looked over at the couch and said, "Hi grandpa," and grandpa opened one eye, raised his weak hand and waved at Bobby. That would be his last wave. The next week is now a blur of activity. I remained in Seattle to make memorial plans with my sister & Bobby went home with Dad. He was facing deep pain and confusion and his mom wasn't around to help him face it. If we could rewind time we would remove Bobby from that apartment but it's not to be. What happens when you see the pain you've allowed your own child to experience? You learn and grow from it. Bobby understands deeply the pain of death. Death of a special relative. He didn't understand it at the time and withdrew into his own dark world. School, teachers & parents were enemies and nothing brought him to the light. Fairly speaking it was ugly. It became one discipline issue after another and ended with something pretty serious. That issue will not be spelled out here but suffice it to say we as parents had to take serious action & we did. This is where ADHD becomes more related to ODD & teen delinquent behavior. Not thinking, impulsivity etc are all related to behaviors so this is no surprise to any of us. Now what?
Here's what happened. We ran into some friends who said, "How's everything?" At the end of that 30 minute conversation in a local grocery store we were given hope. Our friend had recently retired from her therapist position of 20 years. Jen (pseudonym) was now life-coaching locally & wanted to see what she could do to help our son. A light flickered at the end of a very long tunnel. After session 3, Jen approached us with the idea of genetic testing. This is a well-studied scientific/medical area but still clouded with controversy in some minds. We talked & read up & decided we didn't want to know predispositions to diseases but we did want to attempt to better-understand our boy's brain function.
 We made the appointment with a trusted Psychiatric NP. Skip forward thru a lot of details, paper work, some investment (worth it) & doctor visits. There was a need to be patient and work with the process. I wasn't always patient but I worked with that process.
Six months later our almost 15 year old son is a happy, energetic, cooperative (mostly) young man. He is a teen who has opinions and expresses them. We argue. We argue loudly sometimes but not for long. I do not see the extensive ADHD symptoms Bobby once had. I see the ADD in academically-related areas. However, this summer he built his own computer from mostly used ebay parts! (And he's below grade level still in Math & Writing, mind you.)
My boy is smart. He is going places. An adult friend of ours recently said of Bobby, "this kid is going far in life. There's no question he will do big things!" Love this. Blogging now has turned a corner. Only now am I willing to go back and read blogs from several years ago. It was far too painful. But as we look toward the future it is bright.
I thank Bobby first for working hard for his own success.  I thank my husband for going the journey with me. I particularly thank Jen, Bobby's life coach for gaining his confidence, pulling him out of his dark corners & getting him ready for life! She goes above and beyond. We also thank his Psychiatric NP who opened up a whole new medical world to us that has been worth the journey. Adderall and Ritalin did nothing for our family like this natural treatment has.
Going forward. High School. More to be experienced. More to be learned. Freshman year likely a challenging one but hey, challenges bring growth. We're growing. I love this boy all around the world and to the moon and back. I will always advocate as I always have. Love you, Bobby!

Why No Blogging for 7 Months?

Let's jump right in. Last fall our world fell apart. The journey had never been easy but so many things began to crash around us. It was clear that our focus would not be on Bobby for awhile. To get the ball rolling, his grandpa was suddenly diagnosed with a terminal illness. Within 3 weeks of hearing this news we watched him pass. There will be a separate blog just about that experience. It was a very sad time. Then I was sick for 2 months & couldn't shake my illness.  Our sometimes reckless teen began to respond to the needs in his heart. He was acting out. His actions and words were heartbreaking. We then spent 3 very painful months addressing our son's needs from the inside out. Thankfully, those steps brought relief into our home. More on that later. Just as our world was beginning to feel a bit of calm, my dear friend and co-teacher in 1st grade died in a car accident. She was 39. The darkness that engulfed me for the entire winter immediately smothered my life. Every step was a challenge. We've all felt pain. Recovering from that pain takes time and baby steps. Now that time has begun to heal, I have to share the wonderful news about improvement in our Bobby's 14 (almost 15) year old life! Watch for the next blog post. And thanks for reading. I love this kid to the moon and back...forever!