And We’re Off…

…to our another UCLA meeting today at 3. Wish us luck!

Since nothing is easy with Stink, I have been reminded over and over by him that he “focuses just fine!”

This makes me feel a bit guilty. As I’ve shared with you all, and one personal friend quite a bit, I know that Stink would probably have been fine without any intervention. I don’t want to give my kid a complex!

But there’s something deep in my gut – a voice I’ve learned recently to not ignore. It it is not a passive voice. It’s loud and clear and persistant. It is screaming, “You’ve done everything for five years by yourself! Why not try this study for 8 weeks! You’ll know if it helps Stink or it’s just overkill! More important, Stink will let you know!”

So while Stink might not 100% understand why we are trekking into Westwood once/week for eight weeks, his mother understands. His mother needs a bit of support. She needs to get off the rollercoaster of “could” something else work and know once and for all.

I’ll let you know how we do. Worse case the drugs turn him into a zombie like robot who is devoid of joy, we’ll take him off. At least we’ll have had our fair share of delicious cafeteria meals. Stink loves that place. “I could live there!” he said last time we visited.

Compared to the way I cook, who can blame him?

Talk soon.


I Changed My Mind on Meds – Because I Can

I’m back.  I’ve missed you all. How have you been?

I’ve been busy Ebaying and organizing my office. I’ve been swimming in Great Grandma Stella’s pool. I’ve been attempting to get in shape and get more sleep and pray and laugh and maybe, just maybe, I’ve been obsessing a teeensy bit more than a boatload of elephants at a circus parade about my decision to keep Stink off focus medication.

To be more specific than last time – because it’s just easier to not be cagey (like those poor elephants in the previous paragraph and shut up about that joke it was funny) – the idea of high functioning Aspergers came up at our last UCLA meeting. As I mentioned also, combined with many visits with teachers over the past few years, I decided to look into it more via a UCLA diagnostic study.

Shock of all shock, Stink fits the description for being “on the spectrum” and is a candidate for their drug study – one that uses Intuiv.  Intuiv is used for ADD and UCLA wants to see if it helps kids deal with Asperger symptoms. Continue reading “I Changed My Mind on Meds – Because I Can”


No Meds For Us – Back To the Drawing Board

After a week of highs I’m hitting a bit of a low this week.

UCLA, for all its fabulous sounding accolades and support, is not going to be for us.

Turns out that yes, Stink qualifies for a certain study involving focusing issues. But we were led to believe we’d have a real diagnosis of some sort for his school files. This was a big plus for us, considering diagnosing a kid with anything can cost thousands of dollars. Also, Stink wasn’t eligible for an IEP based on his social and academic performance. He’s doing well. It would have been nice to have paperwork in place should we need to pull some strings later on in his academic career and not go through this crazy testing again.

While Dom qualifies for a certain diagnosis to make him eligible for the study, this diagnosis is not complete. Turns out it was just enough testing to qualify him for the study. Given that this study is being funded by the NIH (National Institute for Health) I’m left with a yukky taste in my mouth. My thoughts go something like this: “You mean I’m going to drive my son one day/week for 8 weeks to UCLA to give him drugs (or maybe a sugar pill, depending on the luck of the draw) to help a big university get $?”

Sure, it could help Stink focus a bit more.

It could also kill his joy.

I’ve got a kid who loves life, has more friends than I can count, is doing amazing in school and loves his tics.

I’m thinking I’d be on drugs to give him medication at this time.

More later. It’s time to lick my wounds and start again on this long road to accepting that my kid tics. MY KID TICS. MY KID TICS! This drug could eliminate a bit of his focus issues and almost all of his tics, but I’m not willing to eliminate Stink’s soul in the process.

And so, we move ahead again. One step at a time. Thanks for being there for me.


Weird and Wonderful: It’s a FantasTIC Way to Live

Just to be clear, I am not normal.

On Monday I met my old writing partner’s wife at the park. I had yet to meet their baby, and boy am I glad I did. She’s lucky I did not eat her. I just didn’t want to take the chance if she wasn’t gluten free.

While waiting for Ay and Miss M to arrive, I made sandwiches while the kids played in the sandbox. (God forbid I made lunch in advance as opposed to dragging peanut butter and jelly bottles in a “Total Wine” bag to a fancy zip code play area. I’m just too unorganized to accomplish this feat and too cheap concerned about Stink’s diet to buy drive-through.)

While waiting at the park, I struck up a conversation with a woman at the bench next to me.

“Your son is so sweet playing with that baby and his mom over there. Does he even know them?” I inquire.

“No, he doesn’t,” she smiled back. “But he can get along with anyone.”

I detect an accent in her voice, she tells me she’s a transplant from Arkansas, my kid starts playing with her kid, I get her life story, and Friday we are going to the beach together, along with 10 other mamas from my kid’s charter school who gab as much as I do. (Oh, Little Miss M is coming along, too, for her first beach excursion. If she dumps sand on her mom’s banana or lets a roving seagull snatch it out of her cute little paws, causing screams and mayhem to ensue, my life will be complete. Well, that, and if I had this bathing suit.)

I could go on and on, from my penchant for thrift store 1960’s tee shirts or my ability to extract family history out of old folk at Costco who simply want to hand me a mini taco sample and be 8 bucks/hour closer to their next QVC purchase. But I can’t help it. I’m happiest when I’m chatting and laughing and open to new people, ideas and road side treasures. (Sunday I found an Ethan Allen table on the side of the road that some lovely Spanish men tied up on the roof of my car. They wouldn’t take a penny, but I did shower them with thank you’s. “Muchos Gracias, Te Amo!” I gushed, proud of my ability to tell them I adored the table. Upon retrospect, I realized I said, “Thank you, I love you!” but in Andrea plain English, “Who Really Gives a Shit?”

I bring all this up because life works best when I embrace the fun stuff. I am far from perfect, but I’m living my life, not someone else’s.

For a long time, I couldn’t say this was true. I thought I’d only be happy when my son didn’t have T.S.. Ummmmm, that didn’t work out so well. Instead, I made a committment to start having joy on a daily basis.

The things mentioned above give me joy. Talking to you folk via this blog gives me joy. Connecting with best selling author David Finch and reviewing his book gave me joy.

As I mentioned here, being diagnosed with Asbergers at 30 was not in Finch’s Top 10 Goals. But saving his marriage was. In finding out what made him tic (no pun intended due to this blog) he was able to live the life that he was meant to live. He was able to reconnect with his best friend and wife, Kristen, as well as be present for his kids. Aspergers or not, he found joy.

I’m sure Finch won’t mind that I mention that he, like me (and probably like you) is weird. I mean, WEIRD. The fact that he can write about it and live it makes him wonderful. YOU all are wonderful also.

While you might not meet strangers on a Tuesday and go to the beach with them on a Friday, make sure that you encourage your inner weirdo to rise to the surface. T.S. doesn’t stand a chance next to that.

What makes you weird? I’d love to know.


Off the Wii for a While

I took Stink off the Wii as of last weekend. Perhaps it’s only Mario that poses the real problem. Perhaps he would tic less if we all played tennis or baseball as a family. But then, here’s a concept: Since we live in sunny Los Angeles, perhaps we could actually go outside and play tennis or baseball if we wanted.

It was a hard decision to make. Like when I pulled the D.S. plug, I waffled between “Am I doing this for me?” or “Am I doing this for Stink?”

Honestly, for now, it’s for my sanity. His tics had gotten so bad, despite weekly acupuncture, herbs and a good diet, that even a mom friend from school reported her daughter saying, “Wow, I have never heard Stink’s tics so loud before.”

Really, is that a good way to live? It can’t be.

I suppose I am asking for a little back pat. A little, “Hey,  you’re doing the best you can with this, Mama.”

I know I am. It just sucks sometimes.

I suppose I know that even with all my good cooking and non-video games my little dude is still going to tic sometimes. But it’ll be less. (This weekend we’re down 50%.) And does a child need a bleeping computuerized plumber flooding dopamine into his brain to live? I don’t think so.

But I worry.

I do.

And now, I’m done.

Happy Spring Break! More soon. Love to all of you. LOTS OF LOVE!