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Sunday, March 4, 2012

The four letters that changed our lives forever

Hi everyone. First off, I'd just like to warn you that this is going to be a personal post. It's been on my mind for almost a month now and I felt like this is the rigth time to share it with family and friends. So if you are expecting a paper or crafty share today, this won't be it. BUT I will have some great projects to share with you tomorrow so I hope you can come back for that. :)

Our son Marcus was diagnosed by a pediatrician early February of this year with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or as we all know it...ADHD! Ever since Marcus was young, I've always had a small hunch that he was not like all the boys in his class/age group. But then I had the hopes that he will grow out of his issues. And then 3rd grade came and for some reason, this year has been quite rough for us. He was just not transitioning easily like all of his peers. I prayed and worked with him and tried to find the balance but then an incident happened in school two days before Winter Break was to start that made me think that this issue is beyond my control and I needed to seek medical help for him.

and so that's what we did. After spending the holidays in California, I called our pediatrician, made the appointment, told her of our concerns and we started what would be one of many tests that we will have to go through for him. The result was the ADHD diagnosis. We still have to meet with another doctor and see if we can rule out Autism in this situation and I'm crossing my fingers that we can.

The whole month of February was a blur to me. Not only because there was so many events, activities and obligations that I needed to take care of but mostly because I was finding out anything and everything I can learn about this diagnosis. Mitch and I strongly agreed that we will not put Marcus under any medication because we fear of what it might do to him in the long run. (If by any chance I have readers that are going through this or something similar in their life and are in medication, if it works for you great but please don't bash me for the decision that I have made in behalf of my son.)

Instead we are finding ways to help him in the nutrition and education aspect. I have been in contact with his teacher and the school councilor and we have made some arrangements for accomodations for him. We have also got his homework down to a manageable size. That was a major deal for us because there were nights that we would spend 5 hours on homework because of the shear amount of things to do plus his inability to sit down and focus on his work. I had about cried on the first day that we started his new homework plan bec. in the 4 years that he has been in school,we've never had homework in one day that only took 45 minutes. That was a happy day for all of us.

As you can see, our battle with this issue has just began and that's another reason why I decided to finally come out and speak about it here in the blog. I know I'm not the only one out there that is experiencing this and if you have any tips,tricks, techniques, books, websites or any information that you think might be helpful for me, please don't hesitate to comment on them. Right now I'm feeling overwhelmed but having the knowledge that God doesn't give us challenges without Him knowing our capabilities to act on these trials makes me feel hopeful that we can survive this or at least find a solution to better manage it.

Marcus doesn't even know of his "condition" and diagnosis. Everytime we talk about it or have to go to the doctor, I just tell him that we are there to help him focus. I don't want him to think that he is different from his peers and use his challenges as an excuse to not work hard and push through his adversities. This will not be his crutch!

I love my son and today, I think about the blessing he is to our family. We know that he is given to us for a reason and that we all chose to be a family here on earth while we were still living with our Father in Heaven. Our family will get through this and all I pray for at this time is that the Lord can lead us to the path that will best help Marcus. However hard that road might get sometimes.

So that's what is been really going on in the Tolman home. Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I wish you and your family a blessed day.

I might also add that eventhough we all have the right to express our feelings and opinions, I will delete comments that I find not helpful for me at this point. You can judge me all you want and how I have a hand on how my child is growing up BUT if it's not going to help me, I will not let it stay on this blog. Please be considerate when you leave a comment.

Till next time,

*Photos of our son taken at the Huntington Beach Pier, California in December.


phamil said...

Grace, I understand what you are going through. Our now 30 year old son was diagnosed ADHD around 3rd grade also. We did the medication thing for a short while, but it changed his personality too much, we dediced we'd rather have a little harder to handle happy child than a sedated non-feeling child. He did struggle in school, but he is exceptionally smart. Teachers understand more today than they did then, we went from public school, to private school to christian school to finally home schooling. That worked the best. He has a good job today, he's still a little socially akward, he's really shy, but I'm glad we went the route we did also!! Just know you're not alone!!!

Mary Ann Jenkins said...

I don't have an words of advice, other than it sounds like you are already on the right track to do whatever is best and whatever you can to help Marcus and for that you should be proud.

Mary Ann

Lani said...

My brother was diagnosed with ADD at about the same age. Now he's graduated from BYU and beginning pilot training in the Air Force. So, just know it won't be hard forever! I know he was on medication for some period of time, and it was a really difficult decision for my parents. But, I also know it was A LOT of work for my mom. She kept him in public school, but took him out a few afternoons a week to give him more one-on-one help. All the school was willing to do was put him in remedial classes- NOT what he needed. I think there is more understanding from schools and teachers now than there was then. I know you guys will be able to find what's right for Marcus to help him become who he's meant to be. You're a great mom!

Aly D said...

I was browsing through your blog and just found this. Two of our 5 kids have been diagnosed, and I'm sure our 2 year old has it too, but it'll be a while before she's old enough to be diagnosed. It can be frustrating, sad, exhausting, and amazing all at the same time. Each of our kids that has it has so many amazing abilities and talents, but it can also be so difficult sometimes knowing how to best help them be succesful. One of ours is on meds, and the other isn't. There are a lot of other factors that went into making that decision, but I absolutely believe that there isn't one right answer that fits for every child and family. Parents need to found out what the best option is for that particular child and do that no matter what any one else thinks. Our job is to be their advocate in life. We've done therapy for both of them and that has helped a lot. We've also done some self help programs, and read a TON about how to teach children with ADHD and that's helped a lot too. My best wishes for you as you travel down this road. Thankfully there are a lot of great resources out there for support and help. Your son is blessed to have such caring parents. Hugs!

Katie Bolinger said...

My 13 y.o. Was diagnosed with ADHD in February of this year as well. He is fully aware of his diagnosis. He is on medication for it and the depression that often goes with it. He also gets educational assistance - that he HATES. He was only diagnosed because he was failing and refusing to do his school work. He was worried that meds would make him "weird" in the eyes of his peers. When they discovered he had ADHD they all identified him as Percy Jackson. Now that his friends know, his school is helping and he is on meds our lives are calmer, he made the honor role (and he is in honors classes) and the future looks brighter. I hope your efforts with Marcus are successful as well.