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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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Fun Friday – Sombreros for Taco Tuesday

I just got back from a beautiful trip to Lake Shasta. The trees were so green. The water was so blue. I kayaked without killing myself. #Itwasasuccess.

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While the views were outstanding, there was something even more incredible that took place in that beautiful country. It was something that, if I’m not careful – especially in my parenting- I can overlook. It’s called “Fun.”

From a spirited conversation on the plane ride over, to dinner out, lunch out and some amazing home cooked meals by Farmer Stacey, I didn’t have much to do other than to relate my stories, listen to hers and laugh.

While vacations can’t truly compare to real life (especially when I was blessed enough to not pay for the trip myself) it did remind me that life doesn’t have to be such a bore all the time. I can get so caught up in what “has” to get done (cooking, cleaning, shopping, working) that I forget what I “get” to do (talk with my kids, chuckle at a show with my husband, call up my  mom and dish over the time my father’s pants fell off in a Costco parking lot while talking to my sister about a great deal on Diet Coke.)

One of the things we do every Tuesday is eat tacos. But not just any tacos. Boring healthy kid-approved vegetarian tacos. (The teens aren’t vegan yet. I don’t have to mortgage the house for Whole Foods “Looks Like Queso Tastes Like Crappo” cheddar. Our veggie tacos are a simple fix of tortillas, beans, rice, lettuce, salsa and cheese.)

And sombreros!

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A few years ago I scored 8 cheesy sombreros for $4 at a Salvation Army discount day. Do they go with my retro tan and cream checkered floors? No. But is it hilarious to watch an unsuspecting guest put one on before saying the blessing over our food? Si, senoritas!

Until we get lice, we’ll be wearing those ridiculous over sized, Mexican noggin’ covers. On the inside, my kids are secretly dying at the absurdity of their six-one mother rocking out to mariachi music while wearing a cone shaped hat over her messy bun. But on the inside, secretly, I think they want some shakers to go with it.

Because it’s goofy.

And ridiculous.

And it’s fun.

And sometimes, you just have to go for it, mis amigos.

“Our egos are not our amigos!” I say, “Let’s drop the perfect routine and act like dorks because we can!”

PS: I don’t really think lice would stop my tradition. If you ever plan on visiting, you might consider making it a Wacky Wednesday instead. On those days, we just talk about camels and shout, Hump Daaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy at each other. Equally as enlightening!

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What about you? What do you do just for fun? I’d love to know!

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

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That’s One Mother FTHR Gene – MTFHR and Tics

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(photo credit: Mommypotamus)

Welcome to Tic Tuesday!

I’m so excited you’re here! But… I won’t lie – I’m tired. I have been up since 4am and it’s almost midnight in Mt. Shasta – a beautiful mountain town in Northern California that I’m just visiting for the first time.

My dear friend Stacey, who I met when she read me over at BabyCenter, flew me out to the home she shares with her five boys. FIVE. That’s about as shocking to me as the original diagnosis of T.S. my son got 10 years ago.

The reason I’m telling you about Stacey’s boys? Irony of irony – one of her sons developed a pretty serious tic condition right after leaving my house 2 years ago. (Quick – get off the computer before you catch Tourettes!) Stacey has done a LOT to heal her son’s symptoms, including the GAPS diet and following an environmental doctor’s supplement plan. I’ll talk more about these things in my next posts, but for now I want to talk about the MTHFR gene which, when undetected, had prevented her son’s healing. It might be affecting your kid, too!

MTHFR – What is That?

MTHFR stands for the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene. Say it five times fast: methyl-ene-tetra-hydro-folate-reductase.

To be more simple, it’s an enzyme in our bodies. This enzyme adds a methyl group to folic acid which helps the body properly use vitamins such as B6. If the gene is mutated, your child’s body is not able to get the nutrition it needs. This can cause all sorts of problems from mood swings, ADHD issues, depression and, you guessed it, tics.

Treatment

Specific vitamins can be given to your child that will help him or her absorb the nutrients they need. I will ask my friend specifically about the brand she uses and post before the week is up.

How to Diagnose

The diagnosis for this mutation is pretty simple. You can request a blood test from most naturopaths or do a saliva test for $199 through 23 and Me.

Excellent Blog Post on MTHFR

The Mommypotamus blog does an excellent job explaining more about the MTHFR gene here.

I’d talk more about how a man ten years younger than me flirted with me for two hours on the plane. (Yes, I told my husband. Relax, people. We only made out at the gift store later talked.  And it made me realize, as nice as he was, I’m so glad not to be in the dating world. I have the personality of an outgoing New Yorker but the insides of a stodgy librarian. It’s fun being me!)

I’d tell you about how Stacey had to bolt from the couch downstairs because a black bear decided to dig through her trash can and eat some of her organic GAPS brownie leftovers.

I’d tell you about how my sweet husband was kind enough to get up at 4am to get his wife onto a bus to get me to an airport where I almost lost my breakfast waiting for the second shuttle to arrive at the airport gate where I could dodge into a restroom.

But if I do, I might start ticking, and it’s not from the MTHFR gene. I’m just bone crushing tired.

New to T.S.? Come back next week!

You are not alone. Your child will be fine, and so will you. I promise. I do.

Until tomorrow,

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

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Happily Ticked Off is Changing…But Not. Join Me!

For those of you who are used to me writing just about Tourettes, don’t leave me! I’m going to be devoting every Tuesday to Tics. But, along with the theme of Happily Ticked Off, I’m also using this site to share what I’m going to start doing to get truly happy in my every day life. And I hope it will encourage you to do the same.

Here at Happily Ticked Off You Can Expect:

  1. Mystery Monday – I will write what I want! (Book reviews, interviews with authors, recipes for Camel Milk pudding. It’s a grab bag for sure!)

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(It’s a real thing… I can’t make this up)

2. Tic Tuesday – What’s new in the world of tics, Tourettes and Special Needs? Let’s support each other in raising our special needs kids. Whether its Tourettes, Autism or any diagnosis you weren’t expecting, here you’ll find a place for hope, healing and strength to deal with whatever comes your way. (And laughter. Because if you can’t laugh, you’ll cry. And you’ve done enough of that!)

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3. Writing Wednesday –  This will be for you writers out there! Tips, questions, struggles and life related to art, writing and balancing what keeps our souls alive with day jobs, families, and real life stuff. (No, we can’t all sit in our skybraries all day and write the next Great American Novel or camel themed musical. But that’s the goal! And isn’t that couch amazing?)

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4. Fun Friday

These posts are going to be talking about how to put the fun back into parenting. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of freaking out over spending all this money I don’t have to provide fun for my kids that, at the end of the day, they don’t always need. It’s not about paying for fun that makes a difference, it’s being fun that kids remember.

EX: As much as I’d love to spend a week, all expenses paid, at the Great Wolf Lodge… obsessing over my 47 year old body while careening down germ infested water slides and bragging to my friends on Facebook who are sitting at home flogging themselves over having overdue library fines AGAIN and now their kids can’t find the books that are due in the first place darnit and… oh wait, that’s me… I’d rather focus on how I, as Mama, can bring humor and joy right back to my wolf pack at home.

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We’re Enough, Moms!

We can all get so stuck in what we think we should be doing for our kids, we forget that just being who we are is enough.

Yes, enough.

Even with the fridge missing the organic food.

Even with the running late to church. Again.

Even with the misplaced keys. Again.

Even with the career… or lack of career… or in between insanity of a career.

Time for Fun

I am no guru. There can be days when I’m feeling too busy to bring on the fun. But those days – especially those days – are when I need to be intentional about it. Otherwise, parenting is just one more thing on an already crowded to-do list. And really, that would be kind of lame. Lets support each other in the journey to walk on the lighter side of life. Wouldn’t a little more singing, a little less shouting, be lovely? Let’s do this together!

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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Today I was So Crabby I Could Die…

…like I wanted to poke a needle in my eye.

It was hot – so hot – like 100 degrees

And I got up late. And there was no coffee.

I was supposed to market for my husband’s job

But I was hungry… And tired… (I looked like a slob)

So I went to the YMCA instead

I threw stuff in bag… I figured I’d tread

On the jogging machine… and then I would shower

And so that’s what I did

And in less then an hour

I actually felt better… I felt pretty good

Then this sweet Asian lady… she asked if she could

Use the dryer next to me, so I said “Why not?”

And the two of us stood there… we started to talk

All 5’2 of her and 6’1 of me

We brushed hair side by side and talked idly

She told me she swam… she took ballroom dancing

“I focus on good stuff!” she said, “It’s enhancing!

“Why dwell on the stuff you can’t change anyway…?”

“Hi, my name is Yina.”

Then she bid me good day.

As I drove to my Starbucks to sigh at my work

I realized, quite clearly, that I’d been a jerk

That morning I felt stressed out…I felt overwhelmed

But it’s not always Andrea that stands at the helm

Life happens on its terms… they’re not always on mine

When I remember my place

Things turn out just fine

So I’m thinking about that, as I type out this blog

That I won’t always win clients… I won’t always jog

I won’t always have clean cups

My kids won’t always be happy

But I can change my perspective

And no longer feel crappy.

The End

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

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What Makes a Good Character?

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Last night I broke out my pilot. It had been about six months since I looked at it and I had a few reactions I wasn’t expecting:

  1. The first two scenes are pretty funny
  2. The second half of act one needs more work than the tile of my 1950’s wackadoo kitchen
  3. Act two is about as together as Sonny and Cher after a few blissful years of marriage

I’ve done enough writing in my past to not worry about the current state of my pilot. I just needed to go back to my outline.

So I did.

The story wasn’t clear enough. And then it became even more clear that in order to have a solid story I need to know more about the characters.  Who are these people, why are they in my script, and what makes them tic?

The Transformation of This Blog

As many of you know, this blog started out as a journey for Tourette Syndrome. Who was my kid and what made him tic? What would his life story be? Would it be a comedy, a tragedy, a giant mystery full of gluten free bread and neurologists?

I started this blog when my son was 4. He’s now 14 and doing very well. (He starts high school next year! He’s six two! Eeeegaaads!)

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The truth is, like most good scripts, his story came out when I gave him time. I wanted a cheeky basketball player. He wanted to be a Vegan animal lover. I wanted a straight A student with a perfectly clean bedroom. He’s an A/B student with a room that looks like Gravity Falls and Harry Potter threw up in it. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine.

When I didn’t force my kid to be anything other than who he was supposed to be, he was able to develop into the kid he’s supposed to be. He has limits and boundaries, but freedom to shine. I will extol that same grace to my pilot.

A Writing Schedule + Freedom = Great Characters (for me and my scripts)

With that in mind, I plan on giving myself some freedom over the summer to get off my crazy work train of a schedule and continue to write.

And read!

In addition to my morning spiritual books, I am toggling between:

one for the money

emotional intelligence

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What Do These Books Have in Common?

Amazing characters and insight. From a Jersey Girl bail bondsman, to an intelligent, fast talking orphan, to fascinating insight on the correlation between IQ and empathy, these books take me in. They make me laugh. And they make me think.

My Next Job Move

As I wonder about what next year holds for me at my current job, I can honestly say that whatever happens it will develop my character. Like the people in the books I am reading now, I will be forced to ask questions like:

  • Why am I making the choices I’m making?
  • What is my definition of success?
  • How can I be me while still contributing to a group? (My family/finances)
  • How can frustration be transcended into personal growth?

In the end, as I develop the character of Andrea, I will pour what I’ve learned into the characters of my pilot. And that, my friends, is really exciting! It’s my favorite kind of script – one where the lead character goes into the unknown with a bit of courage, sass and, hopefully, some humor.

Knock Knock!

Who’s There?

Your Life.

Your Life Who?

Whoeever you want it to be. You got one shot. Make it worth it!

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

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Special Needs, Dropping Trou and TV Writing

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You may or may not know that I’m a special needs aide for a public middle school. I’m not sure what is further from my Hollywood writing days of yore – working at a middle school or working with kids like Midu, who only know 50 words of Hindi, no English and are more comfortable dropping trou in front of me than the time “Actor Who Won’t be Named” thought it was perfectly acceptable to unzip his pants while I was handing him pink rewrite pages.

Checking out the package (and not the one I was delivering) I almost said,”Not the pink I was expecting to see.” Instead I went with, “Craft service has mini hot dogs! See you on set!”

Back to Midu, who is just learning his ABC’s, I can’t help but think of my days on set. Similar to my days in the writers room, there’s a beautiful synergy that happens over the lunch tables. We laugh a lot. We tell stories. We trade food. “I’ll give you my apple slices for your tahini!” Granted, I can’t understand a word this kid is saying, but half of the director’s notes went over my head also.

The facts are, when it comes down to it, there’s nothing some hand movements, head nods and a good dose of humor can’t solve. At the end of the day, like with a brutal rewrite, as long as no one has wet themselves in the process and we’ve all had a good laugh, it’s a day well done.

As I dip my toe into the water of teaching higher level special ed next year, I’m excited about the possibilities of having even more impact with kids. Like my home for my own kids, the classroom will be a safe place for my school kids… a place to know that… for a few hours a day… they can take a break from whatever is going on in their own houses and rewrite their life script. Some kids I’ll reach, some kids I won’t. (One kid I work with uses all day to sleep. As long is it’s not someone I’m pitching a show to, I don’t take it personally.)

In the end, though…when thinking about teaching… there’s also this 47 year old kid who has a small fire inside her gut. It’s a desire that says, “While you’re helping your kids achieve their dreams, don’t forget yours.”

What’s mine? I want to get into TV again. It’ll take time. I will need to use summers to write my scripts and school nights to network here and there. But I’m ready. I’m setting a goal to apply for a Warner Bros. Writing program 2018 – 2019. I’ll need two spec scripts. Grace and Frankie, here I come! (I’ll get Grace into rehab even if it’s only on paper!)Wish me luck!

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And after dealing with the Midus of the world, I will have stories.

Until next time, tell me about you. What is your dream?

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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Shame, Peace and Ostrich Eggs

In my last post I talked about shame. You might be familiar with the feeling.

“I’m not doing enough for my kids.”

“I am not making enough money.”

“My house isn’t clean enough.”

“I used to be a contender.”

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If you’re anything like me, you can do a pretty good job at keeping the tiger in the cage. You exercise. You pray. You keep a schedule. You try to let things go.

But sometimes you just have a day.

And that was my day Friday. Sure, I had missed the ONE day to test into full time employment – putting full time insurance off another month – but I gave myself grace. (“If the kids lose a leg, there’s always the county hospital.”)

Yeah, my bank account was running perilously low, but a check was going to land in my box on Friday. (“The kids are vegetarians now. A few cans of beans will sustain until pay day.”)

Alright, a huge vacation wasn’t going to happen this Spring Break, but I was blessed to have a friend give me a two night stay at her time share for $64 total. It was something I was looking forward to all week.

LOTS OF GRATITUDE!

And then I got a note – a terrifying note – from a friend I work with regarding permission to attend an out-of-district school that Stink had also applied to. Both our kids were accepted into the school, but it wasn’t in our district. We needed permission to transfer out – and that would take some work.

No worries! In true Andrea fashion, I pulled out all the stops to apply for this out of district permit – including gleaning a personalized acceptance letter from the high school secretary, to tracking down a fellow mom who had been through this with her own kids.

Based on fellow mom’s adventure through hell the Los Angeles school system, I knew in advance that I would be denied a permit and would have to appeal. I was nervous, but trusted the process. I told my friend at work that this would happen and, to save her the headache that the fellow mom from that school saved me, I told her what to do.

Only problem? Her kid got approved on the first go around. No appeal needed. This was not the case with Stink. Yup, lucky me – Not only was he denied a permit, I found out the lovely news an hour before my trip that Stink probably would not get the appeal approved because they are only taking theater kids this year. Stink applied for tech.

I was totally calm. Just like this!

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I calmly and rationally trusted in the Lord Jesus with all my heart, soul and strength. My heart hit my knees, I pooped a brick and belly cried like a drunk seal to my unsuspecting sister on the phone.

In my heart, I know that this is just high school. It’s not that he has cancer.

But in my head, it was the old shame tapes that played with his diagnosis. “You did something wrong,” they taunted me. “Your kid isn’t good enough.”

In my book, I recall a scene where all but one kids from Stink’s preschool got into a prestigious Catholic grade school. Stink was the one who didn’t make the cut. Which, well, sucked.

In fury, I made an appointment with the principal. (Note: In the book, I refer to Stink as Nicky.)

Excerpt from Chapter 3 – CinemaTIC

After finally being lead into the principal’s office, I was informed that Nicky didn’t grasp his pencil correctly in the interview process.

“You’ve got to be kidding…” I started to balk, but before I could continue she added, “He seems a bit immature.”

After peeling myself off the floor and holding back my urge to scream our Lord’s name—and not because there was a lovely oil painting of Christ hanging behind this woman’s head—I told her how disappointed I was. “He’s five. He’s not supposed to be mature. And why does it matter if he can grip a pencil correctly? Isn’t this what he’s supposed to learn in kindergarten?”

She gave me a fakey-compassionate half-smile. “His lack of coordination is disconcerting. It implies he’ll need some special attention that we just can’t give when there are thirty kids in the classroom and only one teacher.”

To which I responded, “With a ratio like that, why would I want to spend six grand a year on his schooling?”

To which she responded, “For the Christian education.”

“Oh, yeah, I can really feel God’s love here.”

And with nothing but a few cursory closing statements, I walked out of that office, enrolled my son in a public charter school, and have never looked back. It’s not as fancy as the private school of my dreams. But behind peeling paint is a structure built on joy that fosters creativity, self-worth and joy beyond my wildest expectations. And guess what: It’s FREE. Plus the student-to-teacher ratio is twenty-four to one. Jesus would be proud.

After firing off yet another letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District about why my son deserves entrance into that high school, it dawned on me that perhaps going insane was not the answer.

Perhaps my shame did not have to run the show.

Perhaps this “amazing” school for my kid is not to be, despite my best efforts.

Maybe, just maybe, if I can let go of the expectations I have for sweet Stink and allow what God wants for him, life just might be a bit more manageable.

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I can confirm that this thinking is correct because two things happened this weekend.

  1. My son told me quite calmly, “Mom, it’s not a big deal. If I get in, I get in. If I don’t, I’ll just to Big Scary Neighborhood School and I’ll survive.”
  2. We went to Ostrich Land over our weekend. It’s hard to live in shame when you’re feeding prehistoric beasts and sticking your head in germ infested wooden cutouts.d.jpg

The Moral of the Story

What we think has to happen for our happiness and security keeps shame front and center. Letting go and letting God direct the show keeps peace and laughter in the forefront.

The second option is so much better.

May your joy this week be like an ostrich egg: large and nourishing! (Did you know ostrich eggs are the equivalent of 30 chicken eggs? It’s true!)

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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Special Needs, Shame and Growing Up

By the title, I’d love to tell you that this post is all about my son. That I’m this awesome mom of a kid who tics and, despite his twitches and occasional shakes, I’m helping him work past his shame. You see, he’s growing up. In Stink’s case, literally. (He’s 6 foot 1. I’m in heels. He’s estimated to be SIX FOOT NINE. Um… I’m so okay with this no big deal sheesh dying on the inside a little bit each day.)

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You see, a well balanced mother… one with a full time job and freelance side job and a walk with Jesus and recently turned 37 47-year-old mother should be happy that her son is healthy.

Oh yes, he still tics. He does this head jerking up down/up down/arm thrust/arm thrust shaky shake every minute or so. He warbles a bit when he talks. But most people don’t notice it. And, more importantly, he doesn’t care.

I am quite certain many of you moms of tickers want to slap me. I know that many of your kids suffer from worry about their symptoms. I can say two things about the Tourette Syndrome diagnosis over the past 10 years:

  1. I can’t take credit for his confidence. I’ve sometimes been a real jerk.
  2. Sometimes I wish he were bugged a bit. It means I could offer him some supplements… some CBD oil… some new diet or medication or meditation or unicorn sperm to just calm. it. down.

But that’s not the real rub (not the unicorn sperm). The real rub is that when I can’t focus on changing tics, my husband, my daughter, my mother, my neighbors or my entitled pit bull, I can only focus on myself.

for robin

This takes on a lot of different forms.

  • Manic busyness
  • Too much concentration on work (work I have, work I want, work I’m behind on)
  • Picking fights over stupid things (“The way you chew that food. Is it necessary?”)
  • Obsessive thinking (Most people have 4000 thoughts 4 times/day. When I’m anxious, I get 4 thoughts 4000 times/day. I’m lucky that way.)
  • Mood swings (8am – My job is awesome! 8:03 – Oh everyone can suck it and die!)
  • High highs and low lows

Lest you think I’m possibly bi-polar, one of my other amazing qualities is being neurotic. I’ve been down this road before, and anyone who knows me, or read my book, knows that I saw a shrink for anxiety. I’m definitely not bi-polar. I’m just a fairly intelligent writer who thinks to much, feels too much and is a bit on the shock controlling side. (I have lots of great qualities, too, but rather than see the prior list as “bad” and my generosity, humor and love of people as “good,” I’m attempting to see both sides as simply part of me. It’s the way I’m wired. God made me this way, so it must be good enough.)

Sorry, Mom

I write all this not to have my mother sit in her home office and shake her head with sighs of “Dear, Jesus, how did a calm Bostonion like me give birth to such a transparent wacka-do?” I say this because I’m pretty sure the only difference between someone like me, and others who don’t say it like it is, is that I’m attempting to be brave enough to admit I don’t always have it all together.

  • I worry about money.
  • I worry about not spending enough time with extended family.
  • I worry about my kids growing up too fast.
  • I worry about what other people think about me.
  • I worry about my husband’s job.
  • I worry that I shouldn’t worry about any of the things above this bullet point and I still do which means all these years of therapy and AA must mean I’m really more screwed up than I realize OH MY FRIGGIN A THIS SUCKS.

Oh, Wait, There’s Good News!

Yes, there is Good News on a biblical level. (My faith walk is so helpful. But this is not a Jesus post. Especially with a half naked woman in a cone bra right below the good Lord’s name. Though I’m sure Jesus would find her cute. He was a man after all! And don’t give me the “He’s gay he hung out with 12 men” speech because I call about 20 women/day and that doesn’t make me a dyke on a bike but, thanks to my obsessive mind, now I have something new to concentrate on. Hooray!)

SSSSSSS

The good news is, like a random blue sock in a pile of white laundered gold toed stallions, I see the source of what ails me and drives my need to focus on others instead of myself.

The bad news? That sock is nothing but good old fashioned shame. Shame that reminds me that there’s this wee wee piece left of “you’re not good enough” left from some random experiences I had who knows when back in my childhood.

The good news is that, knowing I have old tapes in my head, there is healing. The good news is that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I’m not the only one. My friends admit their shame. My close family members share it with me. Heck, random people in Costco tell me about it while we’re in line for five dollar rotisserie chicken. “I’m sorry I got so cranky just there,” one woman told me. “I have terrible anxiety about being late for dinner as a kid on the farm and it manifests itself in hormone injected poultry.” (I can’t make this crap up.)

Not Admitting It Doesn’t Make It Not Real

I don’t want to admit I have shame anymore than that blue sock feels comfortable in a pile of crisp white matching show off socks. (I hate them! Their perfect pairs! Their no hole perfection! Damn them all!) But knowledge is the first step toward freedom.

Tourettes – My Ticket to Freedom

Maybe like me you have a child with Tourettes and you’re scared. Maybe your child has a different disability. Maybe you have no children with disabilities but you think that maybe you might relate to my big “I have issues” proclamation.

If so, you’re welcome here. April is Shame Month on Happily Ticked Off! And that’s no April Fools joke! Lets talk about it. Lets support each other. And let’s have a few laughs.

If my ticking, estimated to be 6’9, goof ball son can deal with a disability shame free, then we can, too!

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(I hope Luna, the dog my son pets over the fence every day on the way to school, doesn’t have a “No Media” policy.)

Lets use our “special needs” as a ticket to stop focusing on what isn’t the issue (the disability) and get to the root of what is.

Until then,

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

book cover