We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Diagnosis

This post is not a flowery, poetic post. It's a flat out, facts and my opinions only post.

Valentina was diagnosed with ADD this week.

I have suspected that she had it for about a year. I asked her teachers last year if she had any problems concentrating at school because she sure does at home. They brushed it off as simply Kindergarten age behavior. Ok fine. Great. I was placated and figured she was just not applying herself. Then first grade started and she began to struggle in school and with homework at home. There was one evening where it took me a full hour to make her do her homework. It was exhausting because there was a lot of screaming, kicking, tears (on her side, I kept mine in check but inside I was sobbing with frustration also) and flat out denial. When Valentina learned that I meant business she finally did her homework and it took her all of about 10 minutes. This is just one example out of a hundred.

I have a great relationship with both of the kids' teachers and I especially love Valentina's because Asa had her too and we just really clicked. Because I try to keep a good relationship and open communication with their teachers, I only have one parent/teacher conference a year at the beginning. After that they just tell me what is going on whenever I see them and there is no need to sit me down and review anything.

Last month I got a notice from Valentina's teacher that we needed a conference.

I knew it was going to be related to her lack of concentration and I was right. I was there talking to her teacher for about an hour (our time allotted was only 15 minutes). Towards the end of our conversation she said "you know, I wouldn't say this to any other parent but she might have ADD." I wanted to cry right then and there because I "knew" without "knowing" that the teacher was right.

This started the ball rolling and here we are now, several doctor appointments later, lots of tears later, lots of working with Valentina at home trying to get her to concentrate better later, and a LOT of research later and she has been officially diagnosed.

I don't want this to come off as a terrible thing. I know it isn't.

It's not cancer.

It's not a brain injury.

It's not life or death.

It's pretty minor in the grand scheme of life.

That said, it has been exhausting.

Our main thing was deciding whether or not to medicate.

I abhor the thought of my 7 year old having to take mind altering medication. I've been very grateful and thankful to talk to several friends who are walking down this very path and they have been very open and honest about their decisions.

After talking to our doctor, who knows all about this firsthand, his son is ADD and his wife is a special ed teacher so I'm very thankful for him, we have made the choice to not medicate at this time. Our game plan is to work with her at home and pretty much reteach her everything in a visual and tactile way since that is her learning style. We will also be enrolling her into private behavior and tutoring counseling. She will have to be pulled out of school for a few hours in order to do this but both the doctor and Valentina's teacher agree it is well worth it. Again, I'm very fortunate to have the support of our doctor and teacher. We can't get this started soon enough as Valentina is having more and more problems in school. Our plan is to get her through this school year while having her in counseling and doing therapy at home and then in the fall sit down with the doctor and talk medications. I just hope to make it through the school year before having to put her on meds.

So that is it.

Again, I cannot stress enough that I know this is minor compared to 90% of other "problems". I just never wanted my child to have a learning disability. I never wanted her to have to struggle so much in school. I never wanted there to be such a difference between my kids' academic lives. Asa recently underwent testing for the accelerated and highly gifted program and Valentina is almost the exact opposite. She IS smart, she DOES learn, she just struggles with it. A lot. But man, the girl has street smarts and she can learn.

So that is what has been going on with us, along with a bunch of other boring and stressful things on top of this. This is yet another time I'm not re-reading, grammar checking or verifying the spelling, I'm just posting.

One last time I want to say that I know this isn't the end of the world, this isn't horrible, this isn't even close to being something detrimental.

The worst thing about all of this?

I really miss my sister and wish I could talk to her about this and bounce ideas back and forth with her.

I miss her so much.