Sunday, April 22, 2012

Murphy Update

You might remember that a year and a half ago, Murphy was diagnosed with ADD and we put him on medication.

The meds definitely helped him in school and at home and he has done wonderfully in second grade.   However, it is never that easy.  Especially when children are put on a medication that they need to take every day.  Every medication has side effects.  And the side effects that are typically seen with these kinds of meds is a decrease in appetite and difficulty sleeping.  Although we haven't really experienced the difficulty in sleeping.  But we sure have been struggling with the appetite thing.

To combat the eating issue, we've calorie boosted his foods and pretty much let him eat whenever he's hungry (which is never).  We've tried all the normal things to do - protein shakes, milk shakes, etc.  But the problem isn't that he doesn't like it.  He's actually a very good eater (eats fruits and vegetables and most foods, really) when he's hungry.  But he just lacks the desire to eat.  He doesn't want it.  Even when he likes it.  Like milkshakes.  They are still a battle to get down. 

We also take him off his meds in the summer.  So, he loses weight during the school year, and then gains it back in the summer.  

So, where are we now?  

I was thinking that Murphy just doesn't seem like the happy kid he was a year ago.  Now, that could be our life.  We had a really rough summer last year with Harlie's spinal fusion and her body cast.  And she's just recovered from her pacemaker surgery.  And he's probably heard us talking about going to Boston and that upcoming surgery.  I know he's worried about her.  To him, I'm sure all of this is way scarier than it is to us because he just doesn't understand.  It's complicated stuff to a 7-year old. So, is it med-related?  I don't know.

We went on our mini-vacation back in March.  Still haven't been able to write about that... soon, I hope.  Anyway, he wore a swimsuit.  And it was size 5.  Which, in itself isn't a big deal.  All my kids wear small sizes.  However, it was then that I noticed how incredibly skinny he is.  Abnormally, in my opinion.  Grossly, quite frankly. Med-related?  Absolutely.

A month or so ago, he started coming home from school and going straight upstairs to nap.  He's almost 8 years old and he was napping.  That's not normal.  One day after his nap, he woke up and looked odd.  He was all sweaty and he looked like he was going to faint.  I immediately sat him down and made him eat.  And he was better. Med-related?  Probably.

Honestly, it was the napping on top of the unhappiness that made me initially fear some sort depression.  I asked his doctor if they see depression with ADD and they said yes, that certainly happens.  But after the nap when he looked like he was going to faint (and his skin and bones), I started to think that maybe he's just starving.  He doesn't have enough fuel in his body.  Period. I know how my mood is when I skip a meal.  And he skips most meals and barely eats at all.   In fact, at a recent doctor's appointment, he weighed 50 pounds.  Exactly two years prior, he weighed 47 pounds.  That's only a three-pound weight gain in TWO  years and he's grown several inches.  Not cool.  

That's it.  I'm putting my foot down.  My kid needs more food in his body.  I don't care what the growth chart says (I think he's around 75% for height and 20-25% for weight).  He is underweight as far as I'm concerned.   I had an appointment with his pediatrician to talk about this.   He said he didn't think depression was the issue here.  And he agreed that he's just not gaining enough weight.  They like to see a gain of about four pounds per year.  He's gained three in two years.   So, he took him off his meds entirely for two weeks.  Then he's going to do a full work up to make sure there's not something else going on that's making him not want to eat (like a gluten allergy).

Luckily, the first week was our Spring Break.  Although it sucked for me, quite frankly.  Harlie and Cooper were sick all week (still not over it) and between their constant goo and whining, I had to repeat myself 10,000 times to get Murphy to do anything.  I don't know how I survived.  Or how they survived... haha.  It was a less than desirable Spring Break, that's for sure!

It took about 4-5 days, but he got a little bit of an appetite back.  So we're cramming all the calories we can get in him.   This past week he was back at school and with no meds.  It was difficult.  He definitely needs his meds.  No doubt about it.  

He also never napped in the two week time frame and he seemed generally happier.  At least at home.

On Friday I took him back to the pediatrician.  We talked things over.  He asked him what he would want to do if there was a day that was all about Murphy.  Murphy was quick to start naming things that he would like (eat candy, buy Lego sets, go to the beach, etc.).  After a few questions like that his doctor said he didn't think depression was an issue.  And since he regained some appetite and his mood was better, there's probably not anything else going on.  So, we changed medications and we'll see how that goes.

At this point, Murphy says that he wants his "vitamin", as we affectionately call his meds.  He says he can tell a difference.  I'm betting that he probably knows he gets yelled at a lot less when he's on them.  So, we've told him that he has to try really hard to eat even though he might not be hungry.  He needs to make an effort to understand that he has to eat to give his body fuel and energy to play and learn.  We tried the new medication today for the first time.  Seems to be working okay.  We'll just have to see how things go.

So, that's his update!



Anonymous said...
I highly recommend her. She is in brander mill and is a doctor of natural medicine. I've been using her recommendations for months now.
If the new meds don't show an improvement maybe she can help you.

Tanya said...

So so so so so familiar. I can't wait to get K off his meds for the summer and start packing healthy calories into him. Right now he gets as calorie-dense food as he can handle because he just does NOT feel like eating before dinner time and can't eat a whole day's worth of calories in one sitting.

Mustang said...

Wow..I truly suck. I totally forgot to reply to your post about med changes and food and stuff. I will send you a message tomorrow. Perhaps we can have coffee and chat? I've learned so so much over the last 2 years with my Charlie..some good and some bad...and every day is a struggle...but I've learned and I'd loved to share what I can. Lemme know...most mornings are good for me...your choice. (Sally Young)

Anonymous said...

I din't know if it's relevant, but this article may be of interest:

Donna said...

I hope the new medicine works for both issues. Check your calendar for a night that works for that girls night I mentioned!!


Susan said...

Wow. Ainsley weighs as much as Murphy. I think you are doing the right thing trying a different med. I sure hope it works. Otherwise then what? I don't know what you would do. I have full faith in you that (together with his doc and teacher) you'll figure it out though.

B-Mama said...

I'm so glad you are getting to the bottom of some of your depression concerns. Hopefully the new meds will be just the ticket to a better appetite. Next time M is here, I'll do a better job of force-feeding him!! :)