Dr. King has been touted as "the" leading expert here in the Seattle area on child psychiatry. He is the expert psychiatrist for children with autism. He is the last word on diagnosis as far as the state is concerned (legal, educational, etc) and we are beyond honored to be able to see him tomorrow.
That also comes with some sense of getting a definitive answer or diagnosis. It is hard for doctors to want to label a child with Bipolar at such a young age, but in this case, I think they will. Actually, I will be surprised to hear anything else given that Gabriel's birth mother is reported to be Bipolar.
I am a little overwhelmed at the sheer thought of getting the diagnosis because it truly is a life sentence. A life of medication, hospitalization and continued psychiatric care.
I think it is fair to say that having a child with SPD, and High Functioning Autism is enough to keep me back and forth to doctors for the rest of my life, but this Bipolar thing is another beast all together.
The Bipolar Monster is something that will require the utmost dedication by our family to just keep Gabriel safe--alive--and out of jail.
My sweet boy, with the toothless smile, who really wants to be a great kid and has the most golden of hearts, will continue to fight this battle in his brain for the rest of his life.
I am just being honest when I say that this impending appointment has me grieving this (potential) newest diagnosis in what feels like a never ending string of letters.
As a mom of a child with special needs I often question my ability to do this. Sometimes I feel the stress is too great, sometimes I feel I am not qualified or educated enough, sometimes I feel like the worst parent on the planet for not being more patient, more saintly or flat out happier for what I have. Not every day is roses. Not every day feels like a blessing.
I find strength through other parents out there--those who I read about on their blogs, and those who I have the pleasure of meeting in person. But, no matter how much I fill myself up, and find support for me, I am still not positive I can do this for the rest of my life.
Don't hear me wrong -- I WILL do this. Yes, we special needs moms never quit, and this isn't the time I will either, but really, how much can one person (kid) take?
Grieving is a process. It has steps, which must be followed. And although I am no grief expert, I have charted this territory before, time and time again, with each new thing that I am faced with in response to my son's treatment or prognosis and this will be no different.
The 5 Stages of Grief
Each step means something different for the person experiencing the loss. Each acronym may represent grieving the loss of a dream or perhaps the loss of what you *thought* your future or your child's future would hold. But each of us has to experience this grief in our own time, careful not to get stuck on one step for too long (that is when you need to seek counseling for yourself), but sure to go through each step.
I think my tears come from being on the cusp of Acceptance. I have been grieving this diagnosis since we first heard it when Gabriel was 4. I believed that since he could successfully be on anti-anxiety meds that he wasn't Bipolar--a suggestion that the meds might push him to mania if he was Bipolar (which apparently is common, but I am NO expert) which didn't happen--meant he wasn't Bipolar in my myopic view. So I shelved the diagnosis.
But, then that word kept surfacing during all my late night Googling sessions -- you know what I am talking about -- where us moms start to enter symptoms into a Google search box with the theory that Google is the best MD in the world. I learned a little more, a little more, a little more and all of those light bulb moments brought me to Dr. Stobbe (which is now Seattle Children's Autism) just over a year ago and again the word Bipolar was used. Carefully.
I was told he didn't have the traditional two cycles a year--that he was only NOT stable in Spring. But, they still opted to give him Trileptal which is a mood stabilizer used for Bipolar. And it has worked wonders.
Then this last year Gabriel had his first manic cycle in fall -- anger and aggression that started around October and peeked the first week of December (read that post here). I thought we would have to hospitalize him, but we got an emergency appointment with Dr. Stobbe and the term Bipolar came up again while we increased his meds.
I am no stranger to the idea that my son could be Bipolar. But the Acceptance of him being Bipolar is another thing all together.
Gabriel is excitedly anticipating meeting Dr. King tomorrow. With a name like "King" Gabriel is really hoping this man can perform miracles and I'd be lying to say I didn't have the same hope.
Gabriel recently told me he couldn't wait to see Dr. King, and when I asked him why, he said,
"I want to ask him how to stop the fits from coming."
"You could go to your room and calm down." Nick says, obviously smarter than Dr. King.
Gabriel got angry, "NO NICK! That's not what I mean!"
"You mean that you want to not have the fit at ALL, right? You don't need to know what to do when you are having a fit, but rather want to stop them from happening." I said.
"Yes. I don't want to have the fit EVER." Says Gabriel.
He is in mental pain--mental agony from this. It takes over his brain and he can't shut it out. It worries me. To. No. End.
So I will leave you today, wishing you all well in your grieving process, no matter which step you are on. Take a minute today to think about all you have accomplished with your child, and allow yourself to move towards Acceptance while I do the same.