Wednesday, July 22, 2015

On Straterra (month 1)

Maybe it's all of the driving I've been doing. I have had lots of time to ponder and I've pondered a lot. I'm thinking I should drive around the Cities for an hour every day just so I force myself to take a break and think! I have a handful of topics I'd like to explore through writing. Somehow writing helps me sort things out.

First topic...Straterra for anxiety for Elijah (month 1)!

Straterra is typically an ADHD med, but can also be used to treat anxiety. Since we have tried a handful of "true" anxiety meds with no success, Dr. M thought this would be a good "family" to explore. I was hesitant because of E's history with having adverse reactions to meds. June was a rough month behaviorally...really rough at times. We were kind of at the end of our ropes and felt like we were becoming stretched again (almost to the point we were at this past winter) and we were doing everything humanly possible to make Elijah happy/rested/peaceful, but to no avail. None of us were sleeping and we were all feeling anxious and impatient, so we decided to give these new meds a try.

Within 24 hours of giving Elijah Straterra we noticed a significant change for the better. His behavior was WAY improved. He was handling stress better, wasn't as agitated with little things and was obeying without a fight when we asked him to complete tasks. After almost a week on 10 mg, things weren't AS good. Still better, but not as good as those first few days. I called Dr. M and he suggested upping the dose to 20 mg. This coincided with the dawn of our road trip, which worried me, but I did it anyway. After a few days on the new dose, Elijah was seeming more agitated and he was also complaining of arm/shoulder/muscle pains. I consulted with Dr. M again and he suggested going back down to 10 mg. Sometimes it takes kids a while to adjust, he said.

We went back down to the low dosage and really, ever since he has been MOSTLY even-keeled. We have our episodes for sure (and when they happen my head usually spins), but they are SO much less extreme and they happen WAY less often. It has to be the meds.

I believe that without the meds, this road trip would not have been as happy/successful. We visited the same exact people on last year's trip and all of them told me that Elijah was much much much different this year (for the better). 

Before Straterra, one night of poor sleep put Elijah (and therefore the rest of us) out for an entire week. He does still have poor nights of sleep, and the next day is still rough behaviorally. But now, he rebounds much more quickly. The day after a poor night of sleep stinks, but the next day he is back to his happy self. Yesterday was ROUGH on our ride home because he didn't sleep well the night before. He got a decent night of sleep last night, and today was...AWESOME! Aside from potty talk, I did not have to correct a single thing ALL. DAY. LONG. That is a miracle!

He has also been much more affectionate with me since starting these meds. He wants to be physically close to me a lot...hugging, snuggling, talking about how much we love each other, etc. This is how things used to be back when he was, ohhh, three! His desire to be close to me has strengthened our bond, which has sadly negatively affected my relationship with Sammy. He sees this new change and acts out. I'm hoping he will adjust and our bond will grow again.

On good days like today, Elijah's patience with Sammy is stellar. Before meds, when Sam upset him, he would either head butt him or scream at him...or both. Today after Sam yanked a toy out of his hands I heard E patiently say, "Do you want that toy? How long will you have it?" !!!

From what I've read, Straterra (just like any med) does different things for different people. Whatever this medication does to Elijah's brain seems to be very good. Side effects are minimal at this dose. We may eventually want to increase the dosage again, but for now things are good. I am so happy I stepped out into the scary unknown and gave it a try.

To be continued! Pray with us for continued GOODness! 

I have THREE more hours in my thirties! Tomorrow is a big one. I think I'll handle it well but for three more hours I will wonder about it possibly being tough. We'll see! Thanks for peeking in!

No comments: