Sunday, October 31, 2010

a medication rave from the anti-medication lady.

Having been a pharmacy tech, I hate medications. Don't get me wrong, I loved my job. I did not love the number of patients that would come in and get 12 scripts at a time (I'm not exaggerating) for things that diet and exercise would be more beneficial. Drugs to counter affect drugs. It's a vicious cycle and apparently there are doctors out there that have no problem being apart of it. That in itself is for an entirely different blog post though. Long story short, I don't like medications and unless we're sick or feel like we're dying we don't take anything.

Even when I was suspecting Kassidy was Autistic I always told myself I wouldn't medicate her. I didn't want to "change her". I'm sure we all know people who have taken behavior medications and it almost seems to suck the life out of them. I did not want that to happen to my child. I didn't want her to be some zombie that went through the motions of the day. She's hyper and sometimes one might even say overbearing, but that's Kassi and I love her that way.

The last couple months, however, Kassidy's meltdowns have been so frequent and explosive I haven't known what to do. If you'd try to talk softly to her she'd scream bloody murder at you. If you got near her or heaven forbid tried to touch her she'd hit and kick you. I'd look in her eyes and it wasn't defiance, this was complete loss of self control. She's normally very sweet and I know she did not want to hurt us. Anything and everything started causing meltdowns. If I drew a 4 wrong, life as we knew it would end. If I gave her a different brand of chocolate milk it'd be an hour before she would calm down. If her baby brother was near her when she was having one I'd have to run to separate them so she wouldn't start blowing punches at him. Not only was this getting dangerous for us (let me tell you that little 4 year old is strong!) I can't imagine the amount of stress this was putting on her.

I agreed to try Risperdal because I felt I couldn't calm her down during her meltdowns anymore. Sometimes after an hour of her screaming and kicking me I would just cry and feel so helpless. Not only was this stressful on me this wasn't fair to her to have her keep going through this. After about an hour of her first dose I started noticing an improvement. I gave it to her at 8pm and by 9pm she was telling me she was tired. Kassidy has NEVER told me she was tired and bedtime was a battle every single day. She fell asleep around 10:30pm that night, instead of her usual midnight with a fight. The next morning she woke up in a great mood. I decided to brave shopping with her. Usually I have to take my husband with us to the store and we'd have at least 2 meltdowns anywhere we went. All by myself I took her and my son to Target, the pet store, and the grocery store. Not one meltdown. Throughout the day she would get upset but it never turned into a screaming fit, I never got hit or kicked once and her displeasure ended rather quickly. She's been on Risperdal for about 4 days now and we've only had one real meltdown and it still wasn't as bad as pre-Risperdal. Also, usually she'd be jumping on the couch all day long and she's not hyper anymore, just normal. I've noticed her sentences are better too. I think it's allowing her to slow down and say what she wants instead of trying to spit it all out really fast. I'm sooo glad we gave the medication a shot and it really does seem to be helping her tremendously.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

one bridge crossed.

On October 11, 2010 Kassidy was diagnosed with Autism. I write that date down, because for some reason I don't want to forget it. I have this weird obsession to look up bible verses that might have to do with certain dates of importance. Naturally I looked up something for this date as well. Here is what I found:

Romans 10:11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame."

When we're out in public everyone instantly falls in love with Kassidy. It's always the same thing, she tells you "Hi, I'm Kassi" then proceeds to introduce you to her baby brother, her mama, and her daddy. Always in that order. Of course off the bat she just seems like a very polite outgoing little girl. She'll then go back to either dancing in circles or reciting Wonder Pets songs. The next question is always "What is she about 2 or 3?" When we tell said stranger she's 4 they always get this look on their face like they just realized something isn't right, but they aren't quite sure what. That look... I hate that look. Kassidy doesn't understand that look, I'm not even sure she's ever noticed it. But with everything else she goes though, I'm so thankful she has never felt "shame" from that look. It's disheartening to me as a mother that we live in a society that can look at an innocent little girl and judge her. When she has a meltdown at the grocery store or a restaurant, I now recite Romans 10:11 in my head, and suddenly it's as if everyone with the darting stares has disappeared.

We had suspected Kassidy was on the spectrum for almost two years before she was diagnosed. Time after time we'd have to fight her pediatrician to send her to a specialist because she felt it was just a speech issue. Finally I took her to a specialist myself. Once we got the diagnosis of Autism something snapped in my head. All the sudden I started going through denial, even though I've "known" it to be true for so long before this. It took me a few weeks to cope and understand because before, there was still that chance it was something else. Now that it was confirmed it was like, wait this is something permanent... something concrete and that freaked me out. Of course it doesn't really change much, she's still Kassi but no one wants to hear anything is wrong with their child, even if they know it's true.

Now that I've had time to come to terms with everything, it's been all about working with her and getting her the help she needs. Her case worker said something that's really stuck with me, "Kassidy doesn't need to adjust, everyone else around her needs to." It's so true, she's not doing anything wrong. Now instead of fighting to have them find out what was going on, we can focus all our energy on positive progress and I'm so excited to see what the future holds for her.