Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Vayarin Update

I was asked how Vayarin is working for my older son (age 17). Here is an update from my original post: Trying Vayarin For Older Son.

We did not notice a change but he is still on it. He eats no fish and lacks nutrients from his picky eating.

The insurance does not pay for it but the drug store runs it through them and they then give us a 20% discount. It's an odd arrangement.

It was $58 a month until last month when it jumped to $63.

We are having trouble finding an over the counter fish oil supplement that doesn't reek and make him gag and puke upon trying to swallow it. The Vayarin is tasteless.

I note that my son's health issues which were diagnosed in June 2014 may have contributed to a lack of focus, memory, and alertness. He was diagnosed with hypothryoid, very very low vitamin D, low calcium and magnesium. He's on all kinds of supplements now.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Posterior Vitreous Detachment

Today I consulted with my retina specialist group. My husband wanted to be there to hear and ask questions, so he left work early and drove me, which was helpful since it's too hard to drive after the higher level of dilation.

Two days ago I suffered an episode of posterior vitreous detachment. I am at high risk for this being severely myopic. The doctors always said there is a high risk of retina detachment but no one ever mentioned this precursor stage this is more common than retinal detachment itself.

So on Saturday I had a new bad floater that was clearly defined and black, a vertical line with zig-zags. When looking straight ahead it appeared as one line but when I moved my eye it would move to the side then open up like a tall oval and would shift around.

On Sunday when I woke up I saw that the black line was starting to fade and have fuzzy edges. It also seemed shorter. It had a new blurry center spot which made it harder to read.

On Monday when I woke up the area was more of a dark gray and it was much shorter, kind of like a crumpled up bunch of lines, resembling a wad of paper you bunch up before throwing away. I could see the edges but they were a bit soft.

Treatment Plan

I am not on restricted movement and can exercise fully. I am not on medication. The doctor said there is nothing to do but wait.

In the next two to three months I am at a higher risk of this occuring again and this time having it tug at the retina so hard that it tears the retina away and results in a retinal detachment. If I find new floaters, flashing lights, or partial or total blindness I was told to call them immediately and demand to speak to a doctor. I was told to wait no more than ten minutes before phoning the answering service  back and demanding an eye exam, no matter if it is a weekend or at night.

A retina detachment would mean a laser surgery is required.

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I still have this horrid headache that began Saturday morning but it supposedly has no connection.

There are no nerves in this eye area so there is no sensation. There is no pain.

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I am tired from not getting enough sleep lately. My hormones are probably off because I have been waking up hours earlier and unable to fall back to sleep. I feel worn down by the headache.

I do not fear death itself but honestly my most dreaded thing or my fear is living life with impaired vision or blindness. I began wearing glasses at age seven and have always taken great care of my eyes since I have been told since my early teen years that my myopia is so bad that I was at risk for retinal detachment. My great grandmother suffered with a botched cataract surgery and infection after surgery, and had impaired vision after that. One grandmother went blind in one eye overnight due to undiagnosed high blood pressure causing eye problems and my other grandmother had a detached retina that healed partially after surgey then suffered with old age type macular degeneration that left her almost completely blind, unable to read or watch television, or see faces of people right in front of her.

I don't' want to go blind.











Sunday, September 14, 2014

Retina Issues

In fall 2012 I had an eye exam for new contact lenses with an optometrist. I was offered a retina photograph that was a new technology. I agreed to pay out of pocket for it as a screening tool. Well, the test was abnormal and I was sent to a retina specialist ophthalmologist. I was diagnosed with splitting retinas in both eyes. The doctor admitted the technology is so new that the truth is they don't know how many people walk around with benign split retinas all their life versus the emergency split retinas that cause a tear and a detached retina. The course of treatment is an annual exam by a retina specialist to track the status and see if it get worse.

So I have had two visits to the retina specialists, one every twelve months. In August I burned my eyes with store bought liquid soap that clogged the dispenser so when I plunged it down it squirted directly into both eyes. This was real soap, liquid Castile soap and it was just awful. I had chemical burns in both eyes and followed up with an ophthalmologist the next day. He did an ultrasound of both eyes and said I had floaters. We discussed my splitting retinas. We made a plan that every June I will see him for a regular eye exam and new prescription for glasses and contacts then six months later will be my annual exam with the retina specialist. So my retinas will get checked every six months.

I have severe myopia and have worn glasses since the second grade. I have been told all my life that I am at high risk for detached retinas and may wind up blind some day. I surely hoped not, losing my vision is a bigger fear for me than dying.

Yesterday I got a headache and saw a new black line in my right eye. I was a jagged shape of an oval of sorts. When looking straight ahead it looked like a line. When I moved my eye the jagged line moved and opened up to a thin oval, moved around a bit then would settle into a vertical line. It is about half of my "height" of my field of vision. In a lit room the line was black. In a darkened room the line was silver and white and kind of flashing.

Eleven years ago I had half of my right eye go black on the right side. I had a very low grade headache. This was during a blizzard when the state declared a state of emergency and closed the highways. No doctor would see me as they were all closing for the day. My kids were little and I was home alone with them. I fretted. The best I could do was see an eye doctor the next day. I prayed to God right then for healing and I would believe if he cured me. The black lifted and I was left with only a wavy vision and flashing lights. My ophthalmologist diagnosed it as a migraine with aura.

I had a full physical and the doctor said I was perfectly healthy. I had that daily low grade headache and the repeating migraines with aura. I went to see a homeopathic doctor. She put me on the blood type diet. This cleared my headaches. I only kept it up for nine months. It was hard for me to never eat dairy, corn, soy, or wheat plus a long list of veggies, fruits and other whole foods. The migraines did stay away though, until now.

Anyhow yesterday I was thinking this was a migraine. I went right to bed to rest. I took Advil. Later I sent my husband to buy Excedrin Migraine. I rested all day. I drank more coffee for the caffiene. Then I worried I was dehydrated and pushed water fluids. The headache would not stop and the vision was the same. I had cancelled the daytime plans and backed out of a party that night. I rested and rested, no relief.

By nine at night I was getting worried this may really be my retina. I read online about vitreal tears and the risk of retinal detachment. I phoned my retina doctor and waited for a call. They never did call me back that night.

On Sunday morning, when it his the twelve hour mark I called the doctor's answering service again. The doctor did call me an hour later. As I suspected he is worried it is a vitreal tear.

Today the black line is more fuzzy and it is surrounded by an area of blurriness. It is hard to read and even looking at anything is strange as the vision is disturbed.

Best case scenario is this is a new floater which will fade over time or that my brain may get used to dealing with. It is typical that this will never go away. Worst case scenario is this is a tear that can turn into a detached retina and then need laser surgery. Worst case scenario for that would be partial or complete blindness in this eye, which is my dominant eye. Worse than that would be if the other eye starts.

I worried this day may come someday. I was not ready for it to start right now.

I have my first market to sell to the public in four days. I had planned to do last minute prep all weekend and to really cram in a lot of necessary work. I have been resting and now that work is not possible.

My younger son was given a project to do for homework on Thursday. He has to come up with a fundraising idea, flesh out pros and cons and hows and details. He needs to write this up in a trifold brochure. (He needs to learn how to use that format on the computer too.) He needs to develop an oral presentation to be given in front of the class.

We knew he'd put it off and indeed it's due tomorrow and he has not started it yet. He was busy with his sport and the fundraiser for the sport on Friday and Saturday. He has a sport team party Saturday night. But it's Sunday and he needs to do his homework. I just lectured him informing he and his older brother of what is going on with my eye and how my first priority is my health today. That their first priority is their schoolwork and not video games. That they had fun Friday night and Saturday, and now it's time to get their assignments finished up. That I will not be nagging them or helping them. It's about priorities, and today my priority is my health.

I'm scared to death.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

It Lasted 2.5 Years Exactly

When my older son turned 14 it was as if a switch was flipped. There was a lot going on that week: the 1800 mile move being the most stressful and he had just finished a course of antibiotics for Lyme Disease and not yet feeling back to his old self. Puberty hit big time and it was when my son began pushing us away.

I know what psychologists say about the teen years and the development of the concept of self. That was happening here. The worse stories in books of severe backtalk didn't happen but there was moodiness and brooding, an increase in anxiety and some holes punched put into walls and a broken hand from one failed attempt when he hit a stud.

The exploration of the outside world began with listening to music that is different than anyone else in the family had ever heard and the sneaking of watching TV shows via Internet that we would not have allowed if we had been consulted.

There was some pushback and a couple of declarations that we were the worst family in the world. Mostly there was a lot of being quiet and not sharing much. Being closed off and confiding in friends and the girlfriend of one year. This confiding in the girlfriend was a bit dangerous because it kept important information from us, information that would have helped us get better help for him.

The two most dangerous times were when he was having behavioral changes due to leaky gut from the daily antibiotics from the acne antibiotics and the psychiatric symptoms brought on by the trials of two different ADHD medications. When the teen confides in the girl not his parents it can get dangerous. Oh and there was the time he rode away in his bike in anger and I happened to be driving down the road and saw him cross the street and nearly get hit by a truck, who swerved to the wrong side of the road to avoid hitting him, which almost meant that I and my younger son were almost hit in a head-on collision. This stuff would seem too bizarre for a fiction book but it was our real life.

I was greatly helped by a therapist who does neurofeedback therapy who explained my son's qEEG scan and how the frontal lobe showed activity and ADHD type activity and how the best thing for our son would be to do what was possible to get him to remain alive until about age 24, when the brain would calm down and be functioning in a better way.

It has now been three years since that first switch and the various medical problems that we discovered along the way. Great gains have been made since he began taking thyroid medicationfor hypothryoid   and supplements to aid his extremely low vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium levels. The various medical doctors, ER staff, hospital staff and others have been consulted when necessary and second opinions have been sought.

When he hit 16.5, exactly, it was if a switch was flicked back on. He began turning back into his old self. He started treating everyone better, saying please and thank you, expressing gratitude for things. He began doing thoughtful acts, offering to do things for me, buying treats for me and his brother. He was smiling more and laughing more. He opened up and was back to telling me things. He asked for back scratches. He was sitting next to me and just talking. He asked me to watch his favorite TV shows with him. He wanted me around, he was not always running off and away. He also opened up to my husband after getting closer with me. He and his father began spending more time together talking about things like computers and the stock market and political current events.

I waited until this state of affairs was consistently happening for six months before mentioning it on the blog.

I have heard from parents with kids older than mine that teen boys go off and isolate themselves for a period of years. In some cases it starts in middle school and doesn't go back to normal until 12th grade or after a year or two being away at college. Some say their kids returned to their old self after college graduation. I am overjoyed that my older son's time in that phase was only two and a half years.

I love him so much and wish him good health and happiness in life. I think he is in a good place as he's been in 12th grade for about a month now. He's enjoying his life right now and it's so great to see.


Friday, September 12, 2014

More Talks About College

The other night my older son and I wound up going out to eat together at his favorite restaurant. Younger son refused to go, saying he was tired from school and practice. My husband was at a dinner for his volunteer job.

And so I decided to bring up the discussion again. I said if he is to apply to college for next year, especially if he will apply Early Action or Early Decision, he really needs to begin taking steps right now.

The declarations were:

1. He wants to retake the SAT in October and November. This is a sign he may do regular college applications and admissions procedure.

2. He wants to begin prepping for the SAT. He has resisted. I took that as a sign he was not ready for the usual college admissions game before but now if he moves in this direction it's a sign he is getting more and more ready.

3. He feels pressured to make a decision now that he does not feel he is ready to make. This is a sign he is not ready.

4. He asked again about spending one year living at home and attending community college to earn his Associates Degree. Dual credit admissions in grade 11 and 12 homeschool will give him nearly a full year of college credit by graduation time. With summer classes he could graduate with his Associates in June 2016.

5. He asked again about applying as a transfer student. In his mind he wants to attend a top college and those colleges do not accept transfer students from community college. Those top tier colleges take transfer students from similar rigor colleges.

6. He asked about the 2+2 plan the community college has with Texas A&M University. It is tempting for him, not just my husband and I to spend under $3K at the community college then $20K each year at A&M ($8K tuition, $12K room and board) to earn a Bachelors. The idea of spending less on a whole degree than one year at a private college is tempting.

7. He expressed that the (high achieving) teammates on the FIRST Robotics team will all be going off to four year university and he feels inferior not doing the same.

8. I asked him to narrow down his locations or school sizes if he is looking at four year college now. At this time he is interested in any college in Boston (his favorite city), his father's alma mater, the sister college to the alma mater, or Texas A&M University at College Station. I know he would expand his horizons if he only knew more of what was out there.

Other observations:

He is flattered by the marketing mail he has been getting. We changed his College Board profile last week with the new major so I think more mail will be coming his way.

He is looking at the mail coming in, and reading emails.

He does not want to apply EA or ED this fall. At this time he really wants to stay home for his Associate's Degree.

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My husband and I are not going to push him to do what he does not want to do. The only downside to doing the 2+2 or the Associates then apply as a transfer is it excludes possible admission to top colleges, but I am not sure he is interested in doing the work pace or level offered at those colleges right now. Perhaps with a year more of maturity under his belt he will be up to the task. He turns 18 in August so he's one of the young ones for that grade level. We should have red-shirted him from minute one...


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Geologist Meetings

I am not sure exactly what to call it because these are not mentor relationships. At age 16 my son began meeting with men my husband knows to discuss their careers.

Some of what my older son has said he wanted to do is what a geologist does but he insists he does not want to be a geologist. There is a lack of connecting logic happening there. After my son met with a mentor for petroleum engineering, my son decided that field was not for him. He kept saying he wanted to find the oil in the ground. He also wanted to have a job that included outdoor work, not all desk work, and to be able to travel to faraway lands. He did not want a job that entails sitting in the same office cubicle day after day. He liked the idea of living as an ex-pat. He also at this point swears marriage and kids are of no interest so he did not feel a need to be tied down to one location inside of the United States for a job.

So earlier in 2014 at age 16 he had a dinner with one geologist who my husband has worked with. My son was still saying he was not interested.

A couple of weeks ago at age 17 my son had dinner with another geologist. When I asked my husband how that went he said the man is very smart but is not good about explaining things at a lower level for a layperson to understand. He talked over my son's head for a good part of the time. My son still does not think he is interested in geology.

My son is interested in some other careers and in future posts I will talk about those.

We are trying to get our son to see what a job really is and then to realize what it takes to get to be able to work at that job. Our son is at the stage where the beginning part of the college education seems so utterly uninteresting that he may not go down that road. You know how the entry level college courses are so basic and boring that you think you hate the subject, but the upper level classes are much ore interesting? Well, some people quit at the stage of the intro boring classes and end that career path. That's what I did also.

My main point is I think that kids today don't have enough relation to real careers and don't really understand their options. I think more talk between adults and teens would really help teens find a career path. Internships are even better but they are harder to come by.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Husband's Identity Theft #2

In August 2014 we attended an outdoor concert. My husband had not used his oldest AmEx account in many months. Due to the last identity theft with his other AmEx account, he chose to use this old one. At stand one, for food, the wifi credit card was approved quickly, instantly. He then walked over to the beer stand to buy drinks and that station was taking forever to approve each credit card for each customer, him included.

The following week AmEx called to inquire about a grocery store charge since it was an area we do not live in. A new card had been created in his name and used multiple times at: McDonald's, gas stations, grocery stores and a movie theatre.

It is our firm belief that someone hacked the wifi at the outdoor concert venue and was stealing the account numbers. This venue is next to a grocery store, library, and a park. It would be easy to sit and work within close proximity to the venue to do this hack identity theft job.

It's crazy that within one month my husband had his first and second identity theft on two different AmEx accounts.