Aug 30, 2015: One Week Down!

Ladies and gentlemen, we survived the first week of school! Barely. By the skin of our teeth.

Nah, really, it wasn’t that bad at all. It just seemed like summer went by way too fast, and as soon as it arrived, it was gone! But such is life, and here we are back in the grind of school.

Theo started Tuesday, and although I had initially been disappointed that he didn’t get the second-grade teacher that I knew to be very well-liked and well-respected, I think we’re going to like the teacher he did get every bit as much! She seems to have a great sense of humor, and she already really likes Theo—and he really likes her. We had Back to School Night on Thursday (early this year!!), so I already got to meet her and hear about what will be happening in class over the next nine months.

Second grade comes with more field trips than first grade, which should be fun for Theo! They get to go to the Black Diamond Mines, the San Francisco Symphony, and the local library. And a local wildlife museum is coming in to do a presentation on owls for them when they study their owl unit, so that’ll be fun. They even get to dissect owl pellets!

There are five second-grade classes, and each one adopts a country for International Day later in the year, and there are many lessons and activities structured around that. Theo’s class gets Australia, so he’ll get to learn all about the animals, environment, culture, customs, and foods of Australia. I think he’s pretty lucky to get that country because apparently his teacher devotes part of the study to the land and part to the sea—can’t ignore the Great Barrier Reef and all of its glory!

They have music once a week, computers once a week, and library day once a week, as well as PE twice a week (much to Theo’s chagrin—he’s his mother’s son!).

Homework is already a struggle, but that is nothing new and nothing unexpected. But aside from the expected complaining about homework, I think Theo is set to have a good second-grade year.

It’s so nice to be able to walk him to school, too. We’re supposed to get record-breaking rain this winter, and if that happens it will certainly dampen (pun intended!) our plans. But while the weather is nice, we will enjoy the walks!

Speaking of weather, it was ghastly this week. It was close to 100 degrees for three days in a row, which made the afternoon walk to pick up Theo unpleasantly hot. I’m hoping this is the last blast of intense heat for the summer, but we’ll see. Hot flashes plus hot weather equals very crabby me!

Speaking of hot flashes…a migraine update, in case anyone is interested. The third preventative medicine I tried was a dismal failure. I emailed my doctor to ask if there was anything else I should try, and she said I had already tried the three she prescribes and that she needed to ask the neurologist if there was anything else. I never heard back from her, but instead of asking again, I just stopped the medicine, and we’ll see how it goes. Last time I stopped one, the dizziness/fogginess/slurring words symptoms of the migraines came back within about two weeks. This time I’m one week off the meds, so we’ll see what happens in the next week or so.

If there’s anyone else out there suffering from migraines and wondering about preventative medicines, here was my experience:

  • Propanolol: A beta blocker (for cardiac issues) that for some reason works on migraines. This worked fine for my migraines but dropped my blood pressure to the point that I felt in danger of fainting and did have one brief blackout. When I checked my blood pressure one day when I was feeling faint, it was something like 76/50. Given that 120/80 is normal and mine is usually somewhere around 110/70…yeah, you can see how 76/50 would mess with me. Not a good solution—I couldn’t risk blacking out when I was driving the car somewhere or watching the boys.
  • Nortriptyline: An anti-depressant that for some reason works on migraines. This stuff was great! I hardly had any migraine symptoms! I took it for quite a few months, and it was great. Added bonus: It helps insomnia. I was a happy camper! But piling on weight like crazy. I don’t get on scales (that’s just a recipe for depression right there), but based on my clothing size and fit, I can estimate that I gained about 40 pounds in less than a year on this medicine. Um…not good. Not only was it rotten for my self-esteem, but the weight gain showed no signs of stopping, and I was afraid I’d end up running into health problems if I gained too much weight.
  • Topiramate: An anti-seizure drug that for some reason works on migraines. Added bonus to this drug? Weight loss! I was pretty jazzed about the fact that perhaps I could control the migraines and drop some of the weight I had put on from the Nortriptyline. Um…no. This one gave me wicked insomnia, but more than that, it messed with my mental state. I don’t know if I was depressed because I was exhausted (due to insomnia) or if I was depressed because of the medicine, but I did not feel like myself. I felt foggy and exhausted and depressed and sometimes not even really able to take good care of my kids. They ended up watching a lot more TV than I liked because some days it was all I could do to curl up on the couch and keep an eye on them. That is not the way I want to parent. And after I had some mild anesthesia last week for a minor medical procedure, the effects were amplified—I was in such a fog, I could barely even lift my head off the couch for several hours on Sunday, and I was just depressed beyond depressed. The disappointing thing was that I think I had started to take off a couple of pounds—the drug definitely suppressed my appetite and left me not terribly interested in food. (And if you know me, you know I typically love food!) So I was really disappointed to have to stop it—in a perfect world, controlling migraines and having a bit of help in taking off this weight would’ve been lovely! But it was not to be….

So here I am, one week out. I’ve had one migraine since going off the medicine, but I was able to handle the pain with over-the-counter migraine medicine. The more worrisome part is the mental fog, vertigo, trembling jaw, and feeling as if I was slurring my words that is apparently part of the migraine issues. If that comes back…well, I don’t know what I’ll do. I honestly don’t. I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we get there.

I keep thinking that the end of the tunnel is somewhere in sight. I’ve been in perimenopause for at least 4.5 years, and I have a hunch it may be closer to 6 years (based on when I started having migraine problems). So surely soon my number will be up, I’ll be a full-blown menopausal woman (albeit a young one), and my body will quit being affected by the hormone shifts going on right now. Though I recently read something saying that some women take 12 years to fully go through menopause, so I suppose I may only be halfway through it at this point. Sigh…I don’t want to think about that… Let’s just keep thinking that the end is near, and that soon I won’t have to think about medication to control migraines.

Oh, in case you’re wondering about alternative treatments, I do go to a chiropractor, and I plan to try to see him more often in case that will help. I also want to look into acupuncture, which I’ve heard can be useful for treatment of migraines, but I’m not sure whether our insurance covers it. Chris is supposed to check into that for me. 🙂 At this point, I’ll try nearly anything….

Let’s see, I haven’t talked about Sam yet. Sam is good! Not much to tell about Sam this week except that I think I finally got a speech therapist lined up for him!! Poor kid has gone seven months without speech therapy, which is a shame because he’s working so hard on talking. But first we had to deal with the school district kerfuffle, and then I spent a while trying to get him hooked back up with his previous speech therapist, who he did very well with. But I’ve concluded that there’s just no way we’re going to be able to work out a time that fits for both Sam and his former therapist, so then I moved on to trying to find a new one—which is quite a challenge because there are a lot of kids around here needing speech therapy, and not all that many providers. But I finally found one with some openings and talked to her on Friday. She’s going to meet Sam this coming week and then hopefully start weekly sessions with him the following week. Wahoo!! She seemed very nice on the phone and has worked with kids with DS in the past, so that’s promising. I think, based on what I’ve read about her, that her practice is focused on stuttering, which Sam doesn’t do, but she is a licensed speech therapist in general, so she can definitely work with Sam even though he doesn’t stutter.

On Saturday, we took the boys to the aviation museum at the Oakland Airport, which was fun. It’s a small museum, but the boys still enjoyed seeing the planes. They had propeller planes and jet planes, and Theo was interested in the difference between the engines, so it was fun to explain that to him.

I’m posting the blog a day early because I don’t have my wingman (ha ha, aircraft-speak!) tomorrow night to watch the boys while I blog. Chris is taking a rare night to himself to go meet some friends for a fantasy football draft, so I’ll be solo. And attempting to blog while watching the boys…well, that’s pretty much an exercise in futility! So you get the blog one day early.

Happy end of August!!

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