Wednesday, May 24, 2017

One little pink pill--our experience with Singulair

I'm only sharing this in case someone else has had a similar experience and could benefit from it. I am 100% aware that this is not the case for every single patient, but it was ours and I appreciated finding info from other parents when I needed it, so here it is....(And now that I'm proofreading before posting, that starting sentence sounds way more dramatic than it needs to. But I'm too tired to think of anything else, so it stays).

Tommy was diagnosed with asthma around age 2. He was started on Singulair to help with asthma and allergies. He is now 6 years old. We initially had no problems with Singulair and it really helped him a lot with his asthma and allergies.

However......there were some things that happened throughout the 4 years he was on it that we are just now piecing together with being associated with Singulair.

Tommy could be a very aggressive child. He's always been persistent and determined and that's just his personality, but there were some times he was flat out.....crazy, for lack of a better word. He would get mad, hit, yell and refuse to listen. And it could last for SOOOOOOO long. Like, hours long sometimes. Most of the time, he was an AWESOME kid. But whenever he would have fits like that, it was seriously like he wasn't in control of his body. It was weird--and I'm not trying to blame his bad behavior 100% on a medication. We are fully aware that some of it was just him learning boundaries and pushing them. But often times, we would talk to him when he was finally done with his fit and calmed down and he would cry and say he was so sorry and that he didn't know why he was acting that way or how to stop it. As he got older, the fits weren't as frequent, but they were still happening. He wasn't as physical, but he would still have outbursts.

He also had a horrible time falling asleep. We would put him to bed and an hour and a half later when we went to bed, he would still be awake. He woke up grumpy every morning, like he hadn't slept good. He woke up in the middle of the night several nights a week because he was scared. He had bad dreams a lot that would make him really upset. He was often anxious and worried about a lot of things that weren't rational. 

Then he started having some motor tics. He would snap his fingers over and over and over and just do some weird repetitive movements with his hands. He said he couldn't stop. He did that off and on for quite awhile and then it went away for about a year and a half. Then early this year, he developed a really bad eye tic. He would blink really hard and squeeze his eyes closed constantly. He did this probably 2-3 times a minute for what seemed like almost all day. It would get especially bad if he was looking at a book or focusing on the TV. Then he started with a vocal tic. He kept just making a low sound, kind of like he was clearing his throat. It was constant as well. We decided to keep an eye on it when it first started because his finger tics eventually went away. But it got to the point where it was bothering him and the teacher mentioned it as well. I started trying to think through what could be causing it. I eventually looked up Singulair and it's side effects and HOLY. MOSES. I found forum after forum of parents discussing what was happening to their kids after starting Singulair. I read the warnings on the labels (which I should have done in the first place, but didn't think about since he'd been on it so long and hadn't read since he was two years old). I found articles with the serious side effects listed. And what do you know....

Several websites listed aggression, mood or behavior changes, anxiety, trouble sleeping, abnormal dreams, agitation.....the list goes on. A lot of parents talked about how their child started having horrible tics and how the tics stopped once they discontinue the medication. 

So Nick and I decided to talk to our primary care doctor immediately about it to see what he thought. We took Tommy in for an appointment and told the doctor our thoughts. He seemed skeptical and said he hadn't heard of that being the case with Singulair before. He said he really thought it was more of a vision problem because of the eye blinking (and I KNEW he was going to say that--I had even had Tommy scheduled for an eye exam the day before the doctor's appointment to rule that out so the doctor couldn't blame the tics on a vision problem, but the eye doctor got sick and cancelled our appointment). However, he said that if we were concerned it was Singulair, we could go ahead and discontinue it, but to still go see the eye doctor. I called a same-day eye clinic and got Tommy seen the next afternoon. And his vision was perfect.

We stopped Singulair the night of the doctor appointment.

In about 10 days, I personally felt like we had a whole new kid. His tics started tapering off after the first few days of being off Singulair and then altogether disappeared. His attitude improved exponentially. He started falling asleep within 10 minutes of laying down. He went from waking up almost nightly and coming to our room because he was scared to sleeping PEACEFULLY through the night EVERY night.  I used to DREAD mornings because he was so difficult to wake up and SO grumpy and irritable. Now our mornings are SO much better--I feel like he just sleeps so much better and that makes him much more rested and pleasant in the mornings. It's been about 2 months now and he's still doing great! I think sometimes when I share, people are skeptical that it was really Singulair causing so many issues, but there are too many things that got better after stopping it for it to be coincidental. Honestly, I was skeptical in the beginning if it would work or not to take him off it because our doctor seemed to have no issues with Singulair. However, I felt validated when we took Tommy to an urgent care clinic over one weekend because of an ear infection. They were verifying his current medications and I told them he wasn't on Singulair anymore. The nurse asked why and when I told her all that had gone on, she said the same thing had happened with her daughter. Then the nurse practitioner came in and asked again why he stopped it. When I told HER all the info, she said something along the lines of, "Yeah, I'm not surprised. Singulair isn't something I ever prescribe because of the warnings it comes with." And while I was glad that a nurse and a nurse practitioner confirmed that Singulair can cause the issues Tommy was having, I felt frustrated that I hadn't heard it from any of the doctors we had been to since starting Singulair.

So that's why I'm sharing...because maybe somebody's kid is having these problems and they just need to hear from someone else that's had the same issues. While none of his issues were serious or life-threatening and I'm thankful for that, I get sad when I think about the fact that he probably felt out of control and didn't understand what was going on with his behavior and tics. I also feel bad thinking about the fact that his younger years probably could have been a lot better. We spent a LOT of time disciplining, struggling with behavior and meltdowns. And it was likely all because of one little pink pill...


Monday, April 3, 2017

March Madness

March was a CRAZY busy month! Too much happened to document it all, so here's a few bits and pieces....

We started the month by celebrating this birthday boy!.......

We had birthday enchiladas instead of birthday cakes because......well, because why not?!? We love our mexican food and Nick's not much of a cake eater, so it just worked out.

Tessa Grace had an EEG done. She kept having these really weird spells at night where she'd wake up, cry really hard for a few minutes, not be responsive to any questions and then would instantly stop crying and snap out of it and ask what was going on. The next morning when I would try to ask her about it, she thought I was insane and making the whole thing up. One time she had incontinence and given our family history of epilepsy and how easy it would be for us to get an EEG done, we figured we might as well go ahead and make sure it's nothing. So Nick stayed up really late with her and I got up really early with her so she'd be sleep deprived and we hooked her up!

She was a little timid of the whole thing, but overall, she was a champ. No grumpiness from the sleep deprivation, no wiggling.....she did great! And praise God, the EEG was normal. We chalked up her episodes to some kind of sleep issue and luckily, they've tapered off and she hasn't had one for a little while!

Other than that, we've just been busy with the normal stuff. Like homework.........


Living with and taking care of these weirdos........


And getting ready for Easter and some other fun stuff coming up!

I love my people!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Road trip to Springfield!

In February, we started missing our Cousin Whit REEEEEEALLLLY bad. So we decided to take a road trip! It was a long drive for a less than 24 hour stay, but we were so glad we went! Me, Tommy, Tessa and Nana loaded up on a Saturday morning and took the 4 1/2 hour drive to Springfield. The kids did SUPER great--I think we only stopped once and the complaining was fairly minimal! Once we got to Whitney's house, we rested for an hour or so and then set out to meet a few other family members for dinner.

We went to Lambert's and when we got there, we almost left because the line was so long. But we ended up staying and it really wasn't too bad. Maybe 25 minutes or so. We were able to wait outside and the weather was BEAUTIFUL, so the kids had fun running around and looking at everything. Once we got seated, the food started coming and it didn't stop. At Lambert's, they throw rolls when you want one! Tommy loved it--it was every carb lovers dream, so we were in heaven! They also brought around big bowls of potatoes and pasta and okra. It was a food free-for-all.

The kids got pretty restless, but overall did good. Obviously, Tommy was thrilled to be there....
 I can't get this next picture to turn, but all of our meals were SO huge that they were served in literal frying pans. We got about half way through them and then couldn't take another bite! But everything was SO good! And the company was even better.

After dinner, we went outside to get some fresh air and talk a little more. The kids were being super crazy and not listening at all (so basically, being them normal selves). I was getting really frustrated because they were being naughty and I couldn't really visit very well. And then I look over and see this....

Darn kids--they suck me back in and make me love them even more EVERY TIME I'M MAD! They're just so stinkin cute when they're getting along. At least their desire to drive me crazy brings them closer together. After dinner, we headed back to Whitney's and hung out for awhile and stayed up way too late.

The next day, we had to head back home in the early afternoon. We did get to sleep in a bit, so that was nice! We ate breakfast and got around and then went to find a park for the kids to run around in. They were so happy because we'd spent a lot of time in the car!
 We found the cutest park that had some farm animals in it and a neat farm playground to play on. The kids ran and ran and ran! We ate a quick lunch there and played for about an hour. They loved it!

After that, we headed back home. The kids actually did really good the whole way home. Tommy had his Nintendo, so that kept him distracted and when Tommy's not bothering Tessa, she's a pretty chill kid. So the ride home was peaceful and easy (even though we took a really weird way that my GPS recommended). It was such a quick, fun road trip to see cousin Whit and we had a great time!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Newsboys Concert

My mom LOVES the Newsboys and their song, "God's Not Dead." Like.....LOVE, loves them. She asked if the kids and I would go to concert with her when they came to Wichita in February. I'm not a huge fan of concerts (or the Newsboys), but I said yes because she was so excited about it. My sister went too, so I figured we'd have a fun night out together even if the concert wasn't that great.

It was on a Thursday and it started at 7pm. I thought it would be a little 2 hour thing and then we'd be on our way. We got there around 6:30pm and it was already SOOOOOO crowded. It took us awhile to find some open seats, but we got some pretty good ones close to the stage, just off to the left quite a bit. But the kids were excited (and so was Nana)!

They were selling these foam, light up sticks for $5 and of COURSE the kids each had to have one. I told them if they wanted it, they had to flag the guy down and give him the money. So they did!

 They were happy as could be with their little glow sticks and their Nana and Aunt Brookie. And also, apparently, my son thinks he's 15 now. He throws up deuces almost every time I try to take a picture.


The first hour and a half of the "concert" was some weird drama thing that they put on. We seriously couldn't understand a single word any of the people were saying and we had NO idea what was going on. I THINK it was supposed to be some kind of game show involving singing or something. Literally not sure what went on. The kids were getting so bored and so were all of us.

And then finally.....FINALLY.........it was over. And the Newsboys came on! Mom was so happy (can you see the light radiating from her face?....Just kidding--it's a spotlight. It was actually kind of hilarious because it shined right on her and only her for a solid 5 minutes).
 Like I said, I wasn't super thrilled about the concert, but it really did end up being pretty good once the Newsboys were out there! They put on a great show and their message was awesome. It did run a little late--I don't think we got out of there until 10:30pm. Obviously, Tessa didn't make it all the way through.
Tommy fell asleep with about 30 minutes left. The last song of the night was "God's Not Dead" and they were both asleep....I was so bummed. They love that song and that was the whole reason they wanted to go, but they were SO. TIRED. We ended up getting them partially awake so they heard a little bit of it, but not much.

Overall, it was a lot of fun! If we could've skipped the first half of it, it would have been perfect. I'd check their first concert as a success!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Basketball

Tommy played basketball this year and we LOVED it! It was so much fun! I wasn't sure how he'd do because that's not a sport Nick is really into, so he hasn't seen it much on TV or played it very much at home. But he really enjoyed it! And at this age, the rules are fairly loose anyways because none of them really know what they're doing.

It was so much fun to watch him. I miiiiiiight have teared up at his first game. He had just lost his first tooth shorthly before that and seeing his little toothless grin in his basketball uniform running onto the court......well, it hit me hard.
That face......Come ON! It KILLS me! All of these milestones are hard, but so fun too. I love watching him grow up and enjoy learning new things and spending time with his friends. 

He only had 3 games the whole season, but it was enough for him to get the feel of it and for us to get a glimpse of the years to come!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tommy lost a tooth!

Tommy lost his first tooth on January 31 this year! It's not technically his first tooth because he had to have one pulled when he was younger due to chipping it, but it's the first one he lost the "natural way." It was actually pretty hilarious how it happened.

It was one of his bottom teeth and it had been loose for quite awhile. He kept wiggling it and playing with it. I tried to get him to let me pull it, but he refused to even let me touch it because he just KNEW it would hurt. He had finally gotten to where he wouldn't even touch it because he didn't want it to fall out!

Then one morning, I was getting him ready for school. He was trying to take his pajama shirt off and it got stuck on his head, so he asked me to help. I pulled on it and I have NO idea how it happened, but somehow, the shirt got his tooth and when I pulled the shirt off his head, his tooth came with it. His face was PRICELESS. I didn't even realized it had happened and he was holding his hand up towards my face to show me when I finally figured out it was his tooth. He had tears in his eyes and he yelled, "MOM! LOOK!" I looked at the little baby tooth in his hand and then back at him and he said, "You did this to me!" and acted like he was just so upset and offended that I would make his tooth fall out.

I tried really hard not to laugh and I helped him rinse his mouth out. He calmed down when he remembered the tooth fairy would be coming! I begged him for a picture and he finally let me take one, but I swear he looks 15 in it. I don't know why, but he just looked so old and I started tearing up.
 The tooth fairy brought him $5 since it was "officially" his first tooth that he lost.

Only about 10 days later, he lost his next tooth! After he lost the first one, I was looking and noticed he had a 2nd tooth growing in already behind one of his other bottom teeth. And on February 10th, he lost the other bottom tooth! So for awhile he had a big ole gap in the front of his mouth. He looked adorable (and too old). This one wasn't quite as traumatic. Once he figured out that it really didn't hurt to lose teeth, I talked him into letting me pull this one. I got a paper towel to use to pull it out, but literally all I did was hold onto the baby tooth and it just fell out. It was ready to go! No tears with this one!

Now, only a month later, both adult teeth have grown in quite a bit! I'm keeping my fingers crossed his teeth won't get too weird (you know--that awkward stage every kid goes through when their 4 front teeth are way bigger than the rest?). I was so excited for him but felt a little bittersweet that he's already old enough for this to be happening. But he sure does look cute!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017

V
Valentine's Day this year was super simple. I usually make home made valentines using the kids' pictures, but this year....I just didn't have it in me. I've totally hit the prioritize or die phase in life. JUST SAY NO, BRADY. So I bought Star Wars valentine's for Tommy to hand out and kitty and dog valentine's for Tess to hand out. They were ugly as sin, but the kids loved them and it saved me AMPLE amounts of time. I also cheated a little for Tommy's valentine box. They were supposed to bring one to school. Most kids made theirs........but I might have bought him a Star Wars one at Wal-mart. Oops. In all fairness, it had been a BUSY week! 

Here's sweet Tessa Grace, ready for her party!
I got to help with Tommy's class party because I'm one of the room moms (also, somebody please remind me at the beginning of next school year NOT to volunteer for that role ever again). It was a lot of fun and the kids loved handing out their valentines and playing the games.
 

 After Tommy's party, we went to pick up Tessa from my mom's and I got to spend a few minutes snuggling this precious little guy. He's the best valentine of all (sorry, Nick).

We didn't really do anything special. Nick and I exchanged cards (I think) and he cleaned the house for me while we were out of town (best present EVER!!!). I ended the night playing tooth fairy. Tommy had lost a tooth awhile back and he forgot to put it under his pillow a few times (it was in a baggie on his desk) and then one night, he put it under there and we totally failed as parents. The next morning, he woke up and it was still there and he said, "HEY! The tooth fairy forgot me!" I was thinking to myself...what distracts boys?! How can I make him think this is funny and intentional?! So I said, "Um, it was probably because you kept tooting in your sleep last night and you were super stinky, so she didn't want to come in your room!" Luckily, he thinks anything to do with butts is super hilarious, so he laughed and laughed and totally bought it. Whew. When the tooth fairy finally did come on Valentine's morning, she had to throw daddy under the bus to keep the focus off her failure (again...sorry, Nick).


Overall, it was a great day!