Thursday, July 21, 2011

Some Medical Updates

While we were in Georgia, there were a number of people asking for medical updates on our family. Most of Clara's stuff is here already in previous posts, but I can tell you that she is doing well, considering it is such a hot summer. In August, we will celebrate one year without going to the hospital! Woo-hoo!! We have had some days lately when I was a little concerned that we may be heading that way, but with lots of rest and Gatorade (I'm telling you, I should have bought stock in the stuff), she has bounced back fairly well. Not 100%, but not bad. We are thankful for that!

Jeff is doing well, also. He went to his regular doctor last week and will be going to a GI specialist soon. There are some tests being run, but overall, they don't think that he is dealing with anything serious. We are hoping the GI specialist will give us more information about how to prevent another attack like the one he had on the way to Georgia.

As always, Emilie is the hardest to talk about, but here goes. We had our first visit with her new psychiatrist today in St. Joseph. Since we have moved, she has had some really rough days. In the last three months, there have been days where we wondered if she even took her medicine, but we knew she did, because we watched her. It had been a while since she saw her doctor at home, she has been through the stress of a move, and we wondered if hormones were playing part in all of this that may not have been present a year ago.

We were very, very impressed with this new doctor. He was very business-like and to the point, but he was very thorough and very good with Emilie. (And he looks like Michael Douglas.) :-) He explained to us that there is a part of your brain called the amygdala, latin for 'almond', that is shaped like an almond and controls all of your moods and emotions. Basically, if the amygdala is healthy, then your moods and emotions are healthy. However, if your amygdala is unhealthy, than your perception of the world is not that of a 'normal' person, which would cause overreactions, seeing and hearing things or people that are not there, feeling like you are always being picked on, etc. Right now, Emilie is on two different meds, one for ADHD and one for her mood disorder. Basically, the one for the ADHD makes your amygdala unhealthy. He said a lot, but the bottom like is this: Her mood disorder has to be priority #1, before her ADHD because a mood disorder can be fatal, but bad grades (caused from schoolwork being done poorly as a result of ADHD) cannot. Furthermore, if we can get her amygdala healthy now, it could prevent her from being bipolar when she is an adult. That is our greatest concern, especially with our family history. We drastically reduced the ADHD medication and greatly increased the mood disorder one. This is a good time to do that, since it is summer, and in 6 weeks we will see how she's doing. In addition to that, he recommended Omega-3 (which we are already doing) and a consistent schedule (always working on that), so with the combination of all of these things, hopefully we will see some improvement. He said that ADHD is the most complicated combination to treat, but one he sees frequently.

It is always interesting to me how many people have such great advice for you when you are not around. If the last four years, dealing with Clara's medical issues and Emilie's mental issues, has taught me anything, it is that being talked about behind your back hurts, especially when it is being done by "friends". It has made me so much more aware of the things I say to others, and has made me very aware of being careful not to talk about other people, or the way they are handling their children, when they are not around. People can be so judgmental, but that fact it, we are all doing the best we can. The world would be a better place if we all realized that.

In the coming weeks, we would really appreciate your prayers as we get all of this regulated. I have no idea (well, I have some idea) of what it will be like with less ADHD medication, but I am praying that, since it is summer and I am not requiring much of her right now, that it will not be a problem, and that our home will be more peaceful with the mood disorder under control. I would appreciate your prayers, as well.

Otherwise, we are all healthy! We are trying our very best to enjoy the summer, knowing that the 's' word (You know, starts with 's', ends with 'w', and rhymes with 'blow') will be here before we know it.

I pray your day is GREAT!

Much Love,


  1. I am so very happy to hear that you have found doctors that you are happy with in MI. I am confident that will make such a difference for you. You are not alone either with people saying things and making suggestions regarding your child's health when they have NO IDEA what you are going through or dealing with!! I had one friend here tell me that Wm's ADHD would have NEVER happened if I would not have let him walk so early. (He walked at 10 months). If that logic were true than I why can't I just push him on the ground now and have him crawl around the house to "heal" him? It did bother me, so I asked he ADHD doctor about it for him to only make a strange look and pretty much tell me that was crazy and walking was just part of the child developing, not whether or not Wm had ADHD. Hang in there and just keep do what you are doing!! The BEST you can for your children. Love you friend!!!

  2. Jeannie,
    I have been following your blog and talking behind your back to my friends. I have been telling them that you are AWESOME, that this is the best blog that I read, that you have been dealt some tough hands but that you are giving God the glory. Thank you for being so real, so broken and transparent. I pray for you and your family frequently and although I don't really know you, I am so blessed by your journey.
    (I played French Horn at JCCHS and Jeff did brass clinics there, so I vaguely knew him and met you at some point, but now you are totally on my radar.) I wish I'd had the opportunity to get to know you when you were in Athens. Much love and admiration,
    Amy Smith Wheeler