Next stop on the road to healing: Genesville

  
Things are never dull in our house.  This week we’ve launched into an entirely new realm, something I know very little about. It’s genetics. On recommendation from our doctor, we had our son do a saliva DNA test.  The reason was because the supplements we were giving were causing more adverse reactions rather than improving things.  When we already walk on eggshells because of my son’s aggression and abuse, having this get worse not better, is frightening.

The results of the test have blown us away.  It’s confirmed his diagnosis and also our suspicions of histamine and Oxalates intolerance.  I’m so impressed with the test. It’s painted a clearer picture of why the aggression is happening too.  Those unhelpful people who believe ODD and ADHD are result of bad parenting can really just go and stick it. This test has revealed otherwise. Hopefully knowing this, seeing the results for myself, will help calm my farm on days when I feel like a failure as a parent. This defiance is because of his wiring, not all because of me. Phew!

What’s next?  These results have shown the doctor what genes are muted. She now knows which Enzymes he needs and which supplements will better support his body. Can you fix muted genes? Many of them are treatable, some will remain weaknesses but with supplements they’ll be barely noticeable.  This gives me hope.

I’ve recently been working my way through a wonderful Youtube presentation by Dr Russell Barkley (here). He believes in a few years time, when someone enters the doctors office with suspected ADHD, the doctors first step will be to do DNA testing.  If this test comes back positive for ADHD, the doctor will be able to better choose medication that targets the particular gene that needs supporting. I just find this idea fascinating and AMAZING. 

If you’ve been sick for a long time and not sure why, or your current treatments aren’t effective, see a Biomed doctor (so they can help you interpret it) and get your DNA test.  If you’re nervous about having your information out there, you can give them false names etc. I guess we will have to see if the supplements and treatment work, but for now this has given me a clearer picture of my son and his needs, and most importantly, the hope that I need right now.

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The vaccination debate…in my head!

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There comes a time when you’ve read WAY too much in life. 8yrs ago when we had our first child, giving vaccinations was something we felt needed barely any consideration. Of course you give them, why on earth wouldn’t you?!

8yrs down the track, all of a sudden on vaccination day, I’m questioning, feeling guilty and relief all in one.  Many parents have testified that vaccinations changed their child. It gave them Autism. Parents know their kids so well that I can believe that statement. For some, genetically Autism was already there, but maybe hadn’t become apparent yet, so perhaps a coincidence. For some, maybe not. For some, the vaccinations absolutely caused their child to change. Vaccinations are full of heavy metals etc that can do that. Now through extensive treatment with a Biomed doctor, some are slowly getting their child back, some are not.  All these testimonies and arguments, I can believe for sure. I have a child on the spectrum, I understand the grief, stress, and sadness these parents can experience.

On the other hand, vaccinations save lives. That’s the reason they were made. Simple. My world came crashing down in 2015 when my 7 week old got Whooping Cough. It was a devastating time seeing my little person struggle so much.  Thankfully she had a milder case, so didn’t need hospitalization.  Turns out part of the reason it was milder was probably because I had been vaccinated prior to the pregnancy, so I was passing antibodies through my breast milk.  THANK GOODNESS!

Can you see why I sit on the fence and feel guilty and relief at the same time on vaccination day? Do I choose Autism, particularly when severe, can rob someone of their life? Or, do I choose to vaccinate and prevent life threatening illnesses? Whooping Cough or Autism? Whooping Cough or Autism. It’s not an easy choice, especially when you’ve experienced both!

Tornado Max: Embracing the storm

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I wake each day wondering what the weather will be like in our house.  We have a particular little person who is the weather man in our house.  For reasons beyond our predictability, he will wake angry at everything and everyone, defying EVERY single request, or he may wake peaceful.  Even he doesn’t know why the weather is the way it is. But, one thing is for sure, the second you know it’s a stormy day with a chance of tornados, you have to embrace yourself, put on your armor of God, yes, but also equip yourselves with your storm gear, or else the tornado will whip through the house leaving nothing but debris and emotionally exhausted people.  I try and stand strong but sometimes I get swept up in the tornado and spat out once it’s done.

When I write it down, the reality of the intensity of our day to day life living with an emotionally unstable and intense kiddo is apparent.  The hard part is, when the storm is raging and the tornados are coming, I know this isn’t my kid.  The anger, aggression and defiance is not the child I gave birth to.  This is the extremely frustrating part. It’s devistating. I don’t get the super calm, chilled, summer vacation kind of weather in our home often, but when I do, it’s divine.  It makes me teary because I get to see a glimpse of my actual son. Unfortunately it only comes a few times every three months or so.

There are a few things that I’m doing to try and help him with some success which I’d like to share in hope they might also give anyone experiencing our challenges with some tools to use:

Detox that stuff out 

Straight to a hot bath with Epsom Salts.  I put on some candles, an audio book and leave him be for about 30mins.  Goodness, maybe I should lock myself in the bathroom and give myself a calming bath too.  How good would that be?! With 5 kids, it’s something I can only dream of doing.

Supplements

We have started working with a Biomed doctor. She has really helped so far.  He is definitely slowly improving with her help. Citrate Mag and Zinc helps his farm to be more calm.

Emotional control

We use the Zones of Regulation for our son.  It’s a wonderful tool to teach children to recognise their emotions and how to get them to their calm, happy place.  They learn what each zone is like (ie, in the Red Zone my body is angry. My hands get sweaty, my words are loud).  They then decide on a few activities they can do to get out of that zone back into their calm and happy Green Zone.  This tool has been really helpful, especially in my husband and I having a common language to use with our son, and pre established activities that can be used when he is struggling in the red zone (the chart is on his wall for quick reference). I highly recommend this.

Diet

Histamines are his ANGRY foods.  Especially Cocoa, bananas, anything with starters like yoghurt or cheese, probiotics and tomatoes turn him into a beast. We have to watch his diet very carefully.

Exercise

Being out in nature without any boundaries or expectations help because to add to the fun, when the storm is about, oppostional defiance accompanies it.

Hugs

During the storm, aggressiveness and impulsivity kindly join us alongside the ODD.  We have a ‘no excuse for abuse’ rule in our house.  Whether it be a verbal or physical abuse incident, its consequence is timeout and making amends.  It’s important that he takes responsibility for his actions, even if he didn’t mean to.  But, there are some days he is struggling so much that when he is in the midst of a tornado, when asked ‘do you need a hug?’, it is usually met with a ‘yes’ and sob from both of us. We usually spend some time in prayer together at this point too.

It’s our heartbreaking reality.  I keep praying for my calm, happy guy to hang around more consistently. Our Biomed doc is giving me hope this may just be around the corner. I sure hope so, as it’s this kind of hope that keeps me going.


Happy New Year: Pressing stop and restarting the year.

I don’t normally write the title first, but as I was reaching for my IPad to write this post, I couldn’t help but feel excited about the year ahead.  It indeed feels like a new year.

The past 18mths has been the hardest yet of my expat adventures.  I thought leaving behind Jerusalem was a brilliant idea.  It was.  Living in Jordan has been like a vacation in terms of the change of countries.  We definitely left behind intensity, insecurity and uncertainty in our day to day living, for a place of peace and hospitality.  But I also left behind some very dear friends who I miss so much.  I didn’t really take into account having to make new friendships and a new life.  Not sure why I didn’t, but I didn’t.  With a hardworking husband travelling most of this year for work, it has left me utterly burnt out.  Trying to homeschool an extremely defiant, aggressive kid whilst taming my awesome toddler and other two lads, whilst pregnant, had drained my inner being.  What’s worst? I haven’t made a close nit group of friends.  To be honest, trying to homeschool and just survive, I haven’t had a huge opportunity to get out there and make friends.  This made me feel pretty lonely and down at some points and resentful of husband at times, even if he was going out for work dinners.  I wanted in too!

It’s nice being able to type this in reflective mode, knowing that a massive change is coming through, hence the beginning of a new year, or new season.  I feel light, enthusiastic and happy.  My homeschooler has gotten a place in our top school of choice.  He is sooo happy there, in fact, thriving.  Homeschooling him was an important time.  It was a time of growth for him, particularly in his love for learning, and confidence as a learner.  It’s nice to be able to send him back off into the world knowing that he is thriving.   Considering school used to be a high stress point for him. This homeschooling time wasn’t light and fluffy though, oh no, no, it wasn’t.  Trying to teach a defiant child was sometimes like hell.  I had many inward and outward tantrums, many of which I’m not proud of.  But, some of the battles he put up were beyond ridiculous!  Homeschooling really did put a strain on our relationship.  We needed the space from each other, it was way too intense. School is the perfect breath of fresh air that we needed.

Anyway, we have a newborn in the house again.  Three kids have started back at school and a toddler at home. The world is my oyster, so they say.  I’ve started arranging play dates, Bible Study, and in a few months will begin playing sport again.  I’m thrilled to have a piece of me back that was missing for so long.  Not to mention, my hardworking husband has got a new position which has barely any travel too.  See why I call this a new year?  It sure feels like it. It’s time to thrive rather than barely survive.  It’s time to laugh and smile again, rather than frown and cry.  It’s time to press ‘go’, moving forward to a place of joy and contentment with where we are and where we are going in God’s grand plan.

Juggling

My navigation of life continues to be a juggle in the Hasmite Kingdom.  A juggle of spending quality time with all kids, homeschooling my intense and sometimes aggressive little man, attending play dates where I barely understand what is being said, enduring constant illnesses as our little one gets used to the new bugs, raising our kids alone most days while Joel also juggles his hectic work life.  Why am I here again? Yep, the honeymoon period of the expat has come to an end.  It’s never nice when it does.  Thought it would also be fun to throw in some low iron, low vitamin D and lazy thyroid, why not?  I must admit though, life is tough enough without that level of exhaustion, but throw in those extra things and I was EXHAUSTED!  It’s nice now that the fog has lifted and I have some bounce in my stride.

Another thing that eats away at me, or keeps me humble really, is the fact of having a kid with extra needs thrown into the mix.  Even though my head knows these kids need different approaches when it comes to teaching, guiding and disciplining them, I still can’t help but feel like a failure.  It’s an unhealthy way to be, I know, but a perfectionist can’t help it.  When you have a kid with oppositional defiance tendencies, you can’t help but think maybe this is happening because Im not being strict or consistent enough.  These thoughts smash me everyday.  Thank goodness for God’s grace and strategies.  After a LONG time, I’ve come back to His feet, smashed and humble, but ready to be carried.  Nothing like the ouchiness of humility, but the freedom and strength in God is so refreshing.  As I type this, I can say all my kids have taught me SO much about love, grace, patience and humility.  I’ve also learnt so far, so much about parenting a child with extra needs, so I know one day I will be able to hopefully help others that have children with special needs on a more personal level.  Hmmm, I guess this is the thing I lack too.  We have a diagnosis and some medication waved in our face, but then left to our own devices.  I’m madly reading most days trying to work out how to teach our kid the executive function skills he is missing, not really having a clue of what I’m doing.  Anyway, I’m sure God will use all of this that I’m learning now for my own family but others too.  

Jordan can be a challenging place to break into and make friends with the locals.  The locals have big families which consume most of their social life.  One of the ways for my kids to feel at home is of course by making friends.  So, I decided to invite the mothers and kids from my son’s class (in a local Arabic school) over to play.  Play dates are not something they do a lot of here, so the mothers were super excited by the idea.  We had about 8 come and all up about 20 kids.  It was awesome.  A challenge for me with my little bit of Arabic that I have, and hosting in a respectful way (they have lots of customs I had to remember),  but it was fun.  The mothers liked it so much that we’ve started a Whatsapp play date group for my son’s class. This is great.  We meet often to play.  Tick!

My heart continues to break for our neighbours across the bridge in Palestine (and the nice Israelis who want peace).  It’s sad to see this place in so much trouble but inevitable if you continue to try and solve problems by killing people or oppressing people even more, and not allowing some mothers access to attend their childrens funerals.  How inhumane can you be?!

Anyway, my life continues to be full, hectic, reflective and enjoyable in a funny kind of way.  

A rocky river

I’m thinking I may be feeling slightly like a rushing river, unable to keep up with the flow.  I’m getting swirled around and around, getting very disoriented.  The rain is getting heavier, the river rushing at a faster speed. That’s my week so far, and it’s only Wednesday.  Oh boy!

The possibility of an upcoming surgery has been confirmed. Looks like for xmas I’m getting some new and improved ureters (classy!).  I’ll be in over Christmas getting this reflux business under control so I hopefully won’t cause further scarring on my kidneys.  This has been interesting.  Every time I’ve tried calling and emailing to confirm the surgery, nobody has been getting back to me, until today.  That’s right, the day before my pre admission day of tests etc.  The day before! Thank you again Israel for your magical customer service.  It was really hard trying to prepare for a surgery that I didn’t even know I was actually going to happen. Thankfully, I have confidence in the actual surgeon!  Whilst I feel peaceful about the surgery, my teariness today may have something to do with.  I then, had to put the teariness aside (hence, the river getting faster and faster, ready to explode ), inform the kids of the upcoming events of surgery, an early Christmas ‘party’, and then mummy’s 4 day stay in hospital.  Jimmo was impressed that I’ll be where all the ambulances go.  At least someone is excited!

My other part of my teariness, oh my other part! The parent teacher interviews that we all look forward to….not really.  Well, even though I’m a teacher and know what to expect, I still get pretty tense going in.  There’s good reason why.  When you are a parent of a child with special needs, it all becomes so much more.  I know he is a genius, we generally skip over academics, it always goes straight to his ‘struggles’.  I also thought that when my kid’s teacher started to say she see’s the struggles that I see in my child, it would be a relief, but it wasn’t, in fact I almost cried in the interview.  Ever since Maxi was 2, I have had my suspicions of what was happening with him.  Some people agreed, a psychologist gave a different diagnosis, but I still thought he was experiencing difficulties in other ways the psychologist didn’t see.  I guess I’m glad his teacher is now seeing what I see in him because Maxi can get the extra help he needs.  All very important stuff, but why am I still sad? I guess no mother wants to see their kid struggle, and he does!  I’ve also been warned that he will struggle even more next year when he has a teacher with a totally different teaching style.  Oh, I hope not!

And that ladies and gentlemen are the reasons for my rushing, unstable river.  I need to go and get on my knees in prayer, then soak in a nice hot bath and enjoy some water that is calm and supportive.