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MTHFR Gene Post #2 – Got Tics? READ THIS!

Happy Tic Tuesday!

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As you can see, my pit bull lab mix is terribly excited about this topic. And you will be, too! And so, my friends, I give you….

More on the MTHFR Gene!

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No, it’s not translated as the Mother Fxxer Gene (though if your child has a defect in this gene, it may cause tics, Tourettes or a variety of other issues, which could cause you to curse in frustration. But there’s hope! Just read along.)

MTHFR stands for Methyl-Tetrahydrofolate Reductase, an enzyme which is in charge of the process of methylation in every each and every cell in your body. Methylation is a fancy way of saying “absorption.” If your body isn’t absorbing the nutrients, your body can’t function at an optimal level.

A Faulty MTHFR Gene – 2 Types

There are usually 2 types of MTHFR variations that can cause issues:

  • Homozygous
  • Heterozygous

Oh no! On top of being a mother fxxr we’re also dealing with gay vs. straight genes? Peace, people! It’s less confusing than it seems.

2 Genes Broken Down

If your child is Heterozygous (AKA: A1298) this means that he or she has one affected gene from the parent and one normal gene. It means their enzyme function will run at approximately 60% compared to a child that has no mutated MTHFR gene.

If your child is Homozygous (AKA C677T) it means they have 2 mutated copies of the gene, and their enzyme effience/absorption abilities plummet to 20 or 10%.

Vitamins With Optimal Absorption Are Key

Here’s where hope comes in. Once you know if your child has a gene mutation that is not processing his or her vitamins, then you can treat it through methylating vitamins. They are often much more expensive than regular vitamins, but the idea is that your child’s body will function at a much higher level than before as it’s they will finally be absorbing the fuel they need to run. Farmer Stacey uses these for her son. Again, you’ll want to wait until your child is tested and talk to a doctor about the correct dosage!

 

How to Test? How to Proceed?

You can test your child with a saliva test through 23 and Me 

Apparently the results are really hard to read, so you need to run it through another source. It can best be explained at Dr. Lynch’es website here. It’s worth checking out his site as there are also blood draws that you can do and run through labs. Here is a cut and paste of what he says to spell it out for you. Again, see link above to get more info!

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So What’s Next?

I am obviously no doctor – I’m just a concerned mama who is going to get her teenage boy tested. I advise that once you get the test results from a lab of your choice (blood or saliva – see Dr. Lynch’s site for better details), talk to an integrative doctor or check back with me in a few months and I’ll tell you what vitamins I am using.

Dr. Jill Carnahan on MTHFR

Dr. Jill Carnahan (image from her site) is another great source on the subject. She breaks it down with a good dose of science and layman’s terms.

Update on Stink’s Tics

And on that note, I’m off to watch an episode of Gravity Falls with my son. For those that have followed me from the beginning, Stink is doing amazing. He’s no longer dairy free and on no vitamins. Some shakes and tremors, but happy to be a ticker. I don’t push him toward any treatment, but if he does have the MTHFR gene I will be insisting he take a folating vitamin every day for his health. I will do so not as a controlling “I’m going to fix your tics” teenage mom. I honestly don’t believe it’s my business to do that anymore. I will insist due to his health. After all, he’s his own person. My only job is to keep him safe and love him like a MTHFR.

And I do.

Until next time,

Andrea

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Teenagers. Detaching with Love. And Tacos.

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You might notice less cute pictures these days on my blog. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. My kids aren’t that cute anymore. They are teenagers.
  2. These teenagers don’t want to be photographed and put online anymore. They are certain some predator will track them down and kidnap them.  I try to tell them that no one but me would take the time to put up with their half done chores or pull vegetarian recipes out of my butt for dinner because they’re more worried about saving chickens and cows than their library book reminders, but I digress.
  3. I’m too tired from waking up at midnight thanks to them stomping around upstairs, to bother with a camera.

I’d like to say that I’m my cheerful self, despite the challenges of raising two kids, one of who is 6’3, 14, and eats more food than a baby cow. I’d like to say that balancing a day job, a little book marketing, some freelance gigs and the occasional conference doesn’t throw me for a loop. But nope. This about sums it up.

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And yet…

Here’s the deal.

When I get cranky, like I did in my last post, it reminds me that I’m not Super Woman. It reminds me that I need to pull my drooling head off my chest and remember that it’s not what my kids do but who they are that’s most important. This means me – their imperfect, sucks at cooking, over commits, running late mother gets to breathe life into them. Not just on Christmas or birthdays – but every day. I can be boring and angry (and sometimes I am) or I can choose to be playful and encouraging (which is what I strive for.. but not yesterday. Yesterday? #epic fail.)

Bottom line: Fun is everything. If I can’t have fun with the little things – like dancing in the kitchen to Maroon 5’s “Sugar” while neighbor kids stare at my wooden spoon microphone and wonder if I’m adding doobage to the cilantro – then I won’t have fun with the big things.

My kids are growing up… fast. I better enjoy it while I can… because the hard stuff… the “Oh My GOD you’re keeping me awake AGAIN” stuff is the stuff I’ll miss in … gulp… four years… when they are out of the house.

Or, let’s face it, still in the house. (My kids are not like other L.A. kids. They don’t take music and language classes. They aren’t winning sports trophies or modeling for The GAP. They  specialize at cracking jokes, begging for snacks and getting a degree in Sarcasm 101.)

I’d say I feel like a bad mom. And sometimes I do. But most days – even when I’m wondering what the hell I’m doing – I have to admit…

I adore ’em.

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The top note from my daughter reads: “Doing chores is doing something, relaxing is doing something, therefore relaxing is doing chores.”

The bottom note from my son reads: “Insert clever comeback here!”

Until next time,

And eat tacos. They always help.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Know What You’re Doing? Neither Do I!

As I type this, our wacka doo pit bull mix is running through our office wagging its tail faster than Twitter blowing up over Trump’s golden shower incident.

By “office” I mean a small box of a room we carved out of our living room so my husband could jump start his I.T. business at home while I Ebayed, wrote and looked for full-time work.

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The good news is that my husband’s business is slowly gaining momentum, and I landed some work as special need’s aide at a public middle school while my own book starts to generate a bit of income/ freelance work trickles in.

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(Don’t scoff at the total. It’s only $59 for October, but it’s $59 from total strangers’ pockets based on someone searching frantically through the internet for “My kid’s tics are driving me batty Dear Lord HELP ME” and… based on my book… they’ve been mildly satisfied. See below!)

Shameless plugging? Perhaps. But truly, this book was my heart and soul. It was written before the pressures of having to go back to work for pay. I’m grateful beyond belief I had the ability to write it… to help other parents not feel so scared and alone at what might seem a daunting diagnosis. But truthfully,  life has seemed a hell of  a lot more stressful since.

Much of this has to do with the physical space of our house. As in… I have no space to myself anymore.

As I mentioned a while ago, my bedroom is actually a dining room now that my daughter has taken over our room. In theory it sounded amazing. Kids in puberty… their own space… we’ll simpify!

In reality, it’s meant my husband shoving his things into the front hall closet. I’ve used an old armoir for storage in the living room. We put our essentials under the bed in plastic buckets and our extras in shelves along the long wall of our makeshift bedroom. (Oh, wait… we don’t have those shelves yet! But it’s going to be amazing when it happens!)

Sometimes I’m irritated about sharing space with a renter, a husband, a dog, two kids and more neighborhood kids than a line at a Hamilton discount ticket drawing.

The other side of it, however, is that it’s only as frustrating as my acceptance level. Less physical space has its benefits when it comes to good old fashioned soul work. Cramped quarters in my home has translated into larger mental space. I’ve had to add new footage to my old ideas about what I needed to be happy. I’ve had to come to grips with what success really means. Is it a paycheck? Well, yes, in someways. I’d like to do more for my kids. But in the end, it’s how I answer the following questions that’s truly money in the bank:

  • Am I happy that my kids have such lovely folk to hang with? Yes.
  • Do I like my job with these special needs kids? No. I love it.
  • Have I learned more tolerance and patience? Yes.
  • Am I sometimes still a jerk? Of course! But I’m getting better.

In the end, these “things” I used to want so badly have become less important to me. They are, in the end, not hallmarks of a happy life. They are lovely toppings, instead, on a sundae that must always begin with a woman who is content and grounded based in the things that matter most:

  • Time with my children
  • A good book
  • Forgiveness of the past
  • Hope for the future
  • Better communication with my spouse
  • A life not based on what makes me happy but what makes me purposeful
  • A faith that God hasn’t brought me this far to drop me on my butt

If my 26-year-old self had heard my 46-year-old self describe my life this way, I’d have a quick translation for her: Loser.

But in reality, what more is there?

What About Goals? Do They Matter?

You betcha. A road with no map will certainly lead me somewhere – and that somewhere can be the difference between a suite in a New York plaza or an Idaho truck stop. (I’ll take the hotel, thanks!)

But this year is about being a little less controlling about the drive, the destination and even the passengers. I’m letting God steer a bit more. Who does He want me to be? What purpose do I need to fulfill? Who will be part of the road trip? Will I be earning my money through writing? A degree in special needs? Sharing my Doterra Oils or my book? (Ooooh… let’s not the pilot that I’m not half done with.)

Complicated Mama – Simple Life

I’d love to say I have it all figured out, but I’ve learned trying to manage, manipulate and control my future is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic.

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Maybe it’s okay, just for now, to take this job I have one step at a time, come home to my family, cook a dinner, watch Once Upon a Time as a family, and see where everything else pans out.

(And maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll have an extra box of Trader Joe’s gluten free Joe Joe’s and Ghost Pepper chips on hand. OMG – so amazing!)

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What About You?

What about you? Do you know 100% what you’re doing? I’d love to hear from you. And you’ll hear from me, too.

Next Time – Tic Update – Stink is Doing So Much Better!

Andrea

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Life Will Get Better: Simple Solutions for Parents of Children with Attention, Anxiety, Mood and Behavior Challenges (New book by Dr. Nicole Beurkens)

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Dr. Nicole Beurkens, founder and director of the Horizons Developmental Resource Center, has written the book I wish I had read when I was first struggling to find a pathway for treating Stink’s Tourette Syndrome.

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Let’s face it, if you’ve read this blog, you know I was overwhelmed with fear, anxiety and worry about what a Tourette’s diagnosis would entail. Would I be able to help manage my son’s tics? Would Stink be able to self-regulate? How would I work with teachers, doctors and family? How could I help with diet and exercise? Beurkens’ book answers all these questions with the brain of a doctor and the heart of a mother.

In her own words, “My philosophy is that first and foremost these are children – they are not symptoms, problems or diagnoses.” Knowing that Beurkens not only has children of her own, but a background in special education and psychology, made me trust her.

A Road Map to Special Needs

Life WILL Get Better serves as an easy-to-understand guide on how to navigate complicated behavior and emotional issues ranging from ADHD to Autism, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Bipolar and more. What makes this book so appealing is that Beurkens provides an overview with takeaways in every chapter. Just some of the items she covers in her book includes:

  • Nutrition
  • Sugar and artificial sweetners
  • Chemicals and allergens
  • Sleep
  • The importance of movement
  • How to stay calm as a parent
  • The importance of connection
  • Coping skills (for the parent and child

Helpful Anecdotes

Peppered throughout the book are anecdotes of kids (ranging from very young to out of high school) who have used Beurkens’ simple tips with great success. Just a few techniques that Beurkens suggest include, but are far from limited to:

  • Going gluten and dairy free
  • Including fatty acids into the diet
  • Taking out all food dyes and harmful additives (buh bye MSG)
  • How to get your kid to listen without nagging (from bedtime to exercise)
  • The importance of drinking more water
  • The value of meaningful connection
  • How to set limits with screen time

Beurkens’ book is not preachy in the slightest. This is what I’d consider a “starter” kit to the beginning of your child’s personal journey.

Find the Chapter That Best Suits You and Dive In!

My suggestion to you as a reader would be to find out what you relate to most and then dive deeper into that area. (Chapters are self-contained so it’s easy to skip around to topics that most relate to your situation.)

For example, at one point in the book, Beurkens discusses the connection between the gut and brain function. “In fact, the gut is now referred to as the ‘second brain’ because of how intrinsically the gut and brain communicate. The gut comprises the bulk of your immune system, and also is the location where serotonin and other important neuro chemicals are produced. The microorganisms in your gut play a critical role in your mood, behavior and cognition.” (page 16, Chapter 2)

Given that Tourettes is an immune disorder, this strikes a chord in me as I’ve been toying with the idea of a GAPS diet for quite some time. (More on GAPS later!) Because she and I are on the same page when it comes to the connection between the gut and my kid’s behavior, I felt more inclined to trust her tips in later chapters, even if these weren’t tips I’d normally have thought of myself. (Example: How to establish better bed time routines or incorporate movement into a teenagers screen time without being too tyrannical.)

Dr. Beurkens is the Real Deal

Having also spoken with Dr. Beurkens over the phone, I can personally testify to her warmth, smarts and knowledge on everything from the stress special needs can place on family dynamics to her science based approach to alternative healthcare.

If you want a book that discusses the crazy ride it can be to go from freaking out over a special needs diagnosis you weren’t expecting, read my book! If you want the correlating game plan to managing it –  a plan that does not include drinking a bottle of wine every night and picking a fight with your husband every second over going into debt over Amazon essential oils known as Tic Tamers – I’d highly recommend Dr. Nicole Beurkens’ book, Life WILL Get Better. Think of it as a trusted resource to getting a handle on what might otherwise feel like an overwhelming situation.

Dr. Beurkens is available for phone consultations. You can find out more via her website contact page.

Prescription  from Dr. Andrea

Your kids are amazing.

There is hope.

You are not alone.

  • This review was provided in exchange for a copy of Dr. Beurkens’ book

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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The Mommy Show – It’s Back in Production!

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A few days ago I was standing outside my kids’ school, chatting with a grandma about the logistics of she and I getting our respective teenage boys to youth group. My Hermione of daughter walked up to our conversation, her arms holding a Trojan Wall constructed entirely of sugar cubes (which she got 100% on…of course) and said, “Mom, can we go now?”

To that I responded, a bit irked, “No, I’m talking.”

Apparently she misunderstood me the first time, because she went on to say, “But I’m tired. I don’t want to stand here anymore.”

To this I responded, “Are you kidding? I’ve been up since 6am working and ran home to go over the floors because I can’t handle ADHD and tics and begging for after school snacks on top of a house that has more paw prints than a kennel I understand you’re tired, sweetie, so go wait in the car.”

Before she could start in again I turned on my heel and barked under my breath, “NOW.”

With that she set sulked off to the car while I finished my conversation.

After channeling my inner project manager to coordinate the simple task of getting sweet boys from Point A to Point B post dinner – but before the oh so important start of ga-ga ball (because who doesn’t think of Jesus when they see 30 boys thrown together in wooden circle?) I walked toward the car.

It was a cool fall day but I was boiling inside.My daughter… my sweet, Anne of Green Gables meets Laura Ingalls Wilder of a daughter… was truly morphing into a sullen tween.

 

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She was acting entitled.

She was acting pouty.

And it was all my fault.

Who, but me, jumps through hoops to make sure kids get places on time and eat well?

Who, but me, is always considering “how they feeeeeeeeeel” over how I feel?

Lest you think I’m sounding like a martyr, I do things for my kids because I love them. But at the same time, letting them think that they are the center of the universe isn’t love. It’s enabling them. And more important than that too often thrown around buzz word, it’s hard as hell to live with under the same roof.

And that’s when I remembered a little mantra I used to live by when they were little. It was time to resurrect it. To use some of my sitcom writing skills from yore, let me paint you a little picture.

Fade in:

Int. Rolling Landfill of an SUV that smells like a cross between El Pollo Loco chicken legs and essential oil.

Cue Theme Music:

Mommy loves you Stink and Pip

But here’s for you a little tip

Your attitude, kids, need to go

Let’s tune in The Mommy Show

The Mommy Show! (ba ba bum ba bum) The Mommy Show! (ba bum bum bum) It’s exciting please stop fighting here we go (Here we go!)

No more talking no more squawking shut your pie hole no more balking

Let me say it one more time, The Mommy Show!

(ba da dum dum dum)

A tired mom sits in the front seat of the car. Her two hormone raging children sit in back. She turns to them, takes a deep breath, and slowly talks.

Mom: “Kids, I love you. I think you’re awesome. But it’s time for you to remember that, as much as your individual stories are important, this is, indeed, The Mommy Show.”

(The kids give blank stares. Eye rolls and sighs are optional.)

Mom: “I’m the main player. You are the supporting cast members. While your role in The Mommy Show script is very important, it wouldn’t exist without the main player. With that in mind, you will need to start taking a back seat to the main star so this production can run smoothly again.”

Man child: “Um, Mom, that sounds nuts. Besides, you are not the director.”

Mom: “Oooooooh, yes, my son. I am. You see, I am not only the main character in this show, I direct the shots AND I am the producer.”

Woman child: “The producer? What does that mean?”

Mom: “I produced you by having sex with your father. Producer Credits ARE MINE!”

Them: “EEEWWWWWW… too much! We’re going to walk off the set!”

Mom: “Go for it. Find some other set to live in. But you might be back to sharing a bedroom again and I can guarantee you that NO ONE makes a finer taco than me.”

Man child: “You’re the cook, too?”

Mom: “The technical term is Craft Service. And you, my friend, have just been hired onto the Clean Up Crew.”

Woman child: “I think we better stop talking about this now.”

And so they did.

And instead of feeling guilty or tyrannical, the tired mom just laughed to herself. And, well, it felt amazing.

Fade Out.

Roll Credits….

And the kids did NOT live Happily Ever After because life isn’t about happiness all the time so they can suck it and be more well rounded adults in the future.

The End.

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Duck! I’m Getting Out!…

… of my own way.

I must be getting used to this T.S. thing… or maybe I’m so busy having a life I love that that things that used to rip my heart out no longer do.

Such as a conversation with Stink’s teacher on Thursday.

Teacher: “Hey, Andrea, I noticed that Stink’s tics are really loud lately.”

Me: “Hmm.”

Teacher: “I thought you might want to know.”

Me: (Plain mattered… no heart in my throat… no “Oh my God I’m going to die that other people hear my son’s noises”) “Does it bother other kids?”

Teacher: “Not at all. They don’t seem to notice.”

Me: “Does it bother you?”

Teacher: “No. I am simply telling you because it’s a change.”

I say nothing, so she goes on.

Teacher: “Has anything happened that might have caused this swing?”

Me: “Pubic hair. Not really. Just the regular stuff of life. I’m working again, but I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s just the syndrome.”

Teacher: “Okay, well if it doesn’t bother him…”

Me: “No, mam.”

Teacher: “Well, then, God love him! That’s that!”

Me: “Indeed!”

I left that meeting with a few things in mind only:

  1. I’m so lucky to be in a school where teachers really know my kids.
  2. I’m happy that at almost 14 Stink is content with who he is – duck quacks at all.
  3. I’m relieved that (*enter self-obsessed mom) I’m finally learning to separate who I think he should be (on meds or a diet that keeps the noises down so he is more socially accepted) and who he wants to be (a kid who has tics and the friends he wants, regardless of social status.)

For the New Mom!

If you’re new to this T.S., please don’t think I don’t understand the fear and worry about tics. Please don’t think there is nothing you can do to minimize tics – I 100% know there is. But for me, it has finally become crystal clear that what my child believes about his true self is more important than what I believe about his potential self.

Who my kid is.. right now.. is what matters.

What I thought I wanted?

A quirky but fairly popular Tween Gap model who plays on the basketball team and plays piano.

What I got?

A quirky, fairly unpopular (but adored within his own circle) mesh shorts wearing xilophone playing, Hump Day loving, musical theater geek who just landed the part of the farting warthog in the Lion King.

He’s ridiculous.

He’s smart.

He’s his own person.

He’s entertaining as hell.

I adore him.

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Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Happily Ticked Off – The Book Preview

Hello friends!

Between my new very fancy all important writing job new barista gig at Starbucks, as well as a few writing gigs on the side/Ebay/kid wrangling, I’ve been neglecting the one place that always brings me contentment no matter what. So I’m back – and this time – I bring a video.

 

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

bookcover profile pic