Friday, October 23, 2015

My Boy

I hate to even type this out, for serious fear that I'll jinx us and things will go back to "before", but here it is anyway.

About 6 months ago I realized the kid had gained a lot of weight. Like 30lbs in a year. And his behavior was off the charts. It had been cyclical before (for example, take a look at the last several years this time and you'll see me complaining) but over the previous 6-12months, it had been near constant. He was having a horrible school year and the thing I'd dreaded since he started at public school in kindergarten had finally happened - the school thought he needed to be diagnosed with ADHD and put on medication. I eventually relented and agreed to do testing, but it showed, like I knew it would, that he did not meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. I talked with our behavioral health social workers, the MDs who run the ADHD clinic, and the child psychiatrist at work and they agreed with me that he didn't meet the criteria.

Cue the appt with the pedi. She did the whole "he needs to eat better foods and get more exercise" talk. I did the whole "we rarely eat junk food - heck even processed food - and this is about the most active kid I know" response. She talked about sending him to a "program" (for overweight kids). I told her where to stick that idea and that I'd follow up with the High BMI MDs and Peds Endocrine MDs at work and let her know what they had to say.

I had a sneaking suspicion that this all (the behavior and the weight gain) all stemmed from some allergy medicine prescribed about 11 months prior by the allergist (who is an awful B, but that's a story for another day). Pedi disagreed. BMI MD and nurse practitioner disagreed. Endo MD at first disagreed. But then she took a really good look at his growth chart (shot up from a consistent 75th% over the last many years to >99th% in weight and BMI in just a year!!), ordered some labs and a hand xray, looked at some pics of him from a year prior, then stopped into my office a few days later. She thought, just maybe, I might be right. She couldn't tell me what to do allergy medicine-wise, but suggested I call the allergy MD to see what else they could put him on.

I refused to have anything else to do with that allergy MD, so just stopped the med on my own and did some research. (Actually, I had had already stopped it a few weeks prior, because I was that convinced it was at least part of the problem.) After talking with another of the BMI MDs, who actually agreed that something was seriously amiss with my boy - and not something that had to do with diet or activity - I asked the pedi to order a different, non-steroid medicine.

And, don't you know, that since then (about 6 months and counting), my boy hasn't gained an ounce. Nothing. And the whole year before then, he was averaging a gain of about 2.5lbs a month.

My kid, who had been displaying some concerning symptoms of anxiety, in addition to the impulsivity and distractability, well, he's a different kid. Gone are all symptoms of anxiety. Gone is the distractability. Gone are the angst-y, middle school girl-esque throw-myself-on-the-floor-and-sob-over-who-the-eff-knows-what fits.

Now, my kid is still there. He's still not perfect. But it seems like the essence of who *he* is, well, it's finally back in the forefront. My fairly easygoing boy who smiles and laughs all the time, who is so damn smart and loves to learn. That kid is back. And I realized he's been buried beneath a mist of steroids for years. It may be the allergy med that awful MD prescribed a year ago (well, a year and half now) that pushed him over the edge, but I realized this all started when he started on Qvar for his asthma when he was about 3yo. And, man, do I feel shitty about that.

All this time I've known something wasn't right with my kid. I've blamed the fall behavior issues on the allergies. And, yes, the allergies which lead to the asthma, which lead to him not sleeping as well, that is part of the issues. But, really, it was the allergies, that lead to the asthma, that led to us giving him the Qvar and nasal allergy medicine that caused the problems. They're what caused the problems.

Now, the MDs all tried to say that those steroids are inhaled, thus won't cause issues. Well, they were wrong. Every damn one of them. So, so very wrong. At least with my kid. And a couple of the MDs wanted to "write this up" and publish it "because that's how pediatricians learn". But, well, my kid, so I get to write it up my way. Especially since I'm the one who made this medical "discovery". Me. Not the 4-5 MDs I consulted who are "experts". Me. Just the mom. Just the lowly social worker with limited medical knowledge. And while I'm proud that I figured this out, I'm also pissed that no one else did earlier. And I'm pissed that no one - including me - figured this out years ago. I'm pissed about the difficulties my kid has had, the difficulties in our relationship we could have avoided.

But, it is what it is. We know now and we'll never allow him to be given steroids again.

And, for the record, his allergies and asthma are now so much better controlled anyway than they were with those other meds. So go figure.

Today's Lesson: For the mamas, listen to your gut. Don't let the "professionals" blow you off. For everyone else (MDs, dads, grandmas, etc...), just effing listen to the mama. Research even shows she's probably right.