Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Million-Dollar Baby

Jen and I spent part of Monday at the Mary Bridge Neuro-developmental Clinic in Tacoma. I wish I could say that this was our first time there, or that it would be our last. But it was neither. Bummer. In any case, I'm grateful to have a neurologist there that I can speak openly with. Neurologists are caught in a tough situation with SPD kids at the moment, as their medical diagnositic guide doesn't recognize SPD, and therefore, neither can they. Officially. But with that said, our neurologist very respectfully focuses on Jennica from a functional standpoint, which addresses her SPD through a backdoor sort of approach. It works. And its a much better situation than the repeated denials and door-slamming that some SPD families deal with.

To achieve the highest level neuro-functioning possible, which is particularly necessary for a child with nervous system dysfunctions, you absolutely have to be in the best physical health possible. Period. Every physical body system that is not functioning at its utmost is a possible distraction from the nervous system. Hence, the reason that the last year has been spent dissecting her nutritional intake and absorption, food intolerances, toxin levels, and on and on and on. Even the physical exercise she receives is somewhat designed to maximize neuro-function through occupational therapy. Rhythmic motion.......heavy work........upper body muscle........etc.

And, of course, as I've mentioned here numerous times, we've got some ongoing struggles with her physical health. None of them are outwardly visible. Her immune system is tip-top. Her growth is balanced and on the high end of the charts. But the issues are there and we address them daily through her diet, carefully limited exposure to toxins, supplements, etc. Our bases are covered. Or so we thought.

So.......it came as a surprise two weeks ago when we got hit by a double-whammy from two different sources regarding two separate issues. Had we seriously considered the possibility of a sleep disorder? And did we know that SPD children often have invisible seizure activity in their brains?

I felt like the rug got ripped out from under my feet by those two questions. Part of me wanted to slam the door and turn off the lights. I was instantly resistant to asking more questions, as with questions always comes the inevitable, "Well, what do we do about THIS?" And the treatment load subsequently increases.

But the other side of me knew. These are HUGE potential issues and Jen has symptoms of both of them. To move forward without addressing them could cause her to not progress forward. Or worse........progress forward only to move backwards again in a few years when these issues forced themselves into the forefront. Its better to address them now.

So.....the neurologist agreed yesterday with my opinion. There is enough evidence based on Jen's symptoms to validate the testing. And the sooner it is done.......the sooner we can either breathe a sigh of relief and check it off the list as a non-issue, or deal with it and move forward.
But in the meantime, it means another specialist. Another office. Another appointment. Another 200 mile drive. Another set of tests. Another wait for results. Another conversation where we start from the beginning and tell our story.

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