Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's Almost Time!

I am so sorry it has been awhile since I posted anything for my dear daughter. But progress sure has been our middle name lately. Last weekend she came home for the first time. When a child starts weekend home visits, it's close to them coming home for good. What they discovered about Danielle is that all the medications she was on, and there were five of them, were creating a lot of the Schizoprehnic episodes. I am not saying she doesn't still hear the voices or sees things because one in a blue moon she does, but it is getting better. She is only on one medication. Yeah! And she looks great, acts like a normal, regular teen. I couldn't be more happier for her. She gets to come home again this weekend but for a longer stay. I will pick her up after 5pm on Friday and have her back by 5pm on Sunday.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tests are In!

So far it has been a little over two months since Danielle went down to the State Hospital. A lot of testing has been done, school, mentally, neruologically. I guess they are narrowing down her diagnosis. They do know for sure that she is FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrom) they took away the diagnosis of separation anxiety, her meds have been cut down from 5 different ones to basically two now. She is responding pretty good, her moods are great but she is still hearing the voices and hallucinating. I received her update report in the mail yesterday and it said that we should be seeing her come home probably around Christmas. That will be a wonderful gift! She has't acted out in violence like she has in the past, in fact she has been calm and in control. Danielle has had issues about keeping her room clean and the outside living area. She has to be reminded to do her hygeine, etc. This past week she has been sick. Strep Throat and a bad cold. In talking with her last night she hardly had a voice, poor thing. She seems to be handling it for the most part, there are times she calls crying that she doesn't like her therapist, it's hard to talk to him and wants a woman, this is where I have to be strong and tell her she has to handle her situation. I definately see her ups and downs in our conversations, one day she is so bubbly and cheerful, the next conversation she is in tears or really depressed. The only test we are waiting for now is her neruological testing. Hopefully by the next meeting I will know something more. They told me it would be a long process...they were right!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mother's Day

I want to start by saying I had a fantastic Mother's Day. All my daughters really spoiled me. One of the highlights though was going down to Provo to visit Danielle. Brenna, Jason, KD and Kyla and myself got into my little PT Cruise and drove down for a visit. What a good time we had, we got caught up on all her events, school projects, testing, priviledges, etc. then we took time and played some good old fashioned games like "Red Rover", Red Light, Green Light", there was a mini trampoline that the kids jumped on. It was a lot of fun to watch Danielle play with KD, they are such good buddies and just adore each other, to see them play brings tears to my eyes. Danielle is doing good, she has her good days and then her bad days. That Sunday was a good day, she had her sparkle back in her eyes. But in talking with her last night she was extremly tearful and feeling down. I was told this is normal. We are hoping that she will be able to come home by September. We were originally told maybe by Christmas but she is doing so good that it may be earlier. I have attached a couple of pictures of Mother's Day. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

First week down!

The first week is down. Mike and I went down to visit her on Saturday, took one of our favorite games to play and spent a good couple of hours with her before she was to take off for an activity. Last week she seemed to be depressed and sad, I was told it was just the beginning of her getting use to being there. Talked to her on the phone everyday. Yesterday she was so excited because she had graduated to a higher level to where she can go swimming and go off campus with supervision. She was excited about that. She says there is so much drama going on down there, considering she is living with 15 other girls, ages range from 12-17. I guess there could be a lot of drama. She seems to be handling it pretty well accept during our visit she seemed to be taking on some of the other girls characteristics, sassiness mainly. Mike and I have our first staff meeting this Friday with all the doctors and the teachers to find out what their game plan is for her.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The journey begins!

I think yesterday was probably the hardest day. Mike and I picked up Danielle at 6am to take her to the State Hospital in Provo. Danielle slept most of the way down there, pulled her blankets over her head, her way of getting away from the situation. We first met with the principle of the school on the campus and he had told us that there will be extensive testing for her for her placement in school. Then we met with the pscyhologist, social worker, psychiatrist, and medical doctor. We didn't leave until around 12:30pm. But we got the impression that this is a no nonsense team. We were pretty impressed with what they were thinking and feeling. We could tell immediately that her psychiatrist was already formulating a plan for Danielle. We will know more next week at our first team meeting. The plan so far is to keep her on her meds that she is on right now, get her into school, watch and observe her an then see about making some changes. And she may be there for as long as 7 months we were told. I have to admit, as a mother, that will be hard for me. I felt lonely last night, I got use to seeing her once a day for an hour but now I have to limit my visits to the weekend. I don't know how often she can call or how often I can call, but this will be a growing experience for both of us. It was hard leaving her, she cried, I cried, dad was the strong one for both of us. I talked to her later in the afternoon and she started crying again saying she was scared, I really can't blame her there. I am scared also but I know this is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Do!

Well, here she is with her new braids...and she is so happy. I really enjoyed watching her little self-esteem go way up. She was so excited and she knows how easy it will be to take care of it. She seems to be doing the same, extremely tired in the morning but really hyperactive by the evening. We are just counting down the days until we go down to Provo. There are those days that I just dread being that far away and not in control but this will be good for both of us. I guess you could say I am kind of a control freak, so this is really good for me to release and to let go. It's time to let Heavenly Father do His wonders.

Monday, April 14, 2008


First off, for those of you who are reading this blog, sometimes my usage of the english language isn't the greatest so I apologize ahead of time. I will try to slow down my thoughts and make sure it sounds good. :)

We had a good weekend overall. It was my granddaughter's (Kaitlyn) 4th birthday so we went to the zoo down in Salt Lake. Had a great time but it just wasn't the same without Danielle. I felt someone was missing from our party and it did feel a little odd. We got back into town just in time to have about a 10 minute visit with her.

Sunday I got a call from Danielle, crying, that she was in pain and wanted a blessing. I had arranged for my son in law and my brother in law to meet me there for that blessing. The nurse pulled me over and told me that they were going to draw some blood and check her white blood count, could possibly be an appendititis. Within minutes of us being there, Danielle started to look good and feel better. Blood tests turned out good, nothing showed up. But the doctor decided that they should restrict her junk intact and cut back on her fats. Hopefully this will give her some relieve. Tomorrow she is getting her hair done in corn-rows, she is so excited about that and so am I. I want her feeling good about herself. I will write more tomorrow and include a picture of the new Danielle. Love to all.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Doctor's New Treatment

While Danielle is waiting to be moved down to Provo the doctor has decided to cut back on her medications. Just so she can go down there no so medicated and they can see the real her, so to speak. Last night I got a call from one of the nurses saying he was taking her off her Lithium all together. That is one of her main mood stabilizers and it has helped her in the long run. One of the concerns I had as a mother when told they were going to cut back on her meds was the risk of her becoming suicidal again. But they (counselor, nurses) reassured me that she was in the safest place if that was to happen. Had a really good visit with her last night. I decided that I should bring in things that she and I can do together. So...I took in my computer, made a separate folder in the pictures area, named it "Danielle's Pictures". I had her go through all the photos and decide which ones she wanted so that we could create a scrapbook for her to take with her. One of the fears she has is that we as her family will forget about her. This is one of the ways of reassuring her that we won't. Brenna, KD and Kyla came by for a visit and it is always so fun to see Danielle interact with KD. They get along so well together like two peas in a pod. Always laughing. I hope that will never change for them. But it always brightens up Danielle's day when she gets family visitors. Brenna made a phone call for me in finding someone who is willing to come to where Danielle is and braid her hair. So when I told Danielle that a guy named Kenny is coming next Tuesday to braid her hair, she screamed really loud. It was kind of embarrassing but it was great to see the joy on her face. I'll take a picture when she is done and put it on this blog. Well, love to you all!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A New Day

For all the hard things that goes on a persons life, there are so many blessings to look at. I am going to count my blessings one by one.

1. I have three beautiful daughters (besides Danielle), which I am extremly proud of.

2. I have a wonderful, loving, understanding husband who supports me.

3. Two equally wonderful sons-in-laws, which I am blessed to have married my daughters.

4. I have wonderful friends and extended family.

5. I have a dog who unconditionally loves me. :)

6. I have my faith in my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know They love me!

7. I have air in my lungs and good health, yes I can say that even thought I battle Fibromyalgia.

8. I work for a wonderful couple who understands (I hope) what is going on with Danielle.

9. I have beautiful sunrises and sunsets here in Utah. The mountains are my sanctuary.

10. And most granddaughters, who keep me smiling all the time.

These are just a few, I have so many more but I will save those for future times. I am equally lucky right now. I have two of my daughters coming to visit within the next couple of weeks. One daughter Raelyn lives in Pennsylvania and the other daughter Ashley lives in California. Haven't seen them for awhile and I am looking forward to that visit. But I am also blessed to have one daughter still living close to where we do. I am really blessed to have these three special daughters who have given me such joy in my life.

Most important though is my husband Mike. Words can not express how I feel about him. Yes, we are just like any other marriage, we have our ups and downs but mostly we have our ups. He is extremly supportive in whatever I do, he tries to be there for me but it is sometimes hard since he is a truck driver, but he is always there on the phone when I need him. I am so thankful that I met him and he said yes when I proposed to him. My children were mad at me for doing that but he had always told me that if I wanted to get married...I was going to have to propose.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

More Decisions

As a parent of a child with mental illness, there are so many decisions to make daily for that child. And there is a constant question in the back of my mind if I am making the best decision possible for her. For we send her to the State I enroll her in mainstream watching this movie good for her? And so the questions keep going on. But like all parents, we make mistakes.

As of today, Danielle is still at the BHI and doing okay. She knows she is going down to the State Hospital and is in denial, does not want to talk about it with me or her dad. First day she was extremly upset but with the help of her counselor she has settled down with the idea. Now it's getting mom settled with it. This faces me with the "empty nest syndrome". I have all this free time after work and don't know what to do with myself. One daughter suggested it's time I got a hobby. I do have a hobby, but had no time to do it. So...I plan on taking a fly tying class and join a woman's fishing club. I have to take care of myself in order to be there for Danielle. I also love to four-wheel, read, cross-stitch and be with my grandchildren. I have three other daughters I need to focus on and mainly focus on myself. As of this morning, I am ready to continue on with my life but be a beacon of light for Danielle in her journey.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More thoughts have come to me while I am sitting at my desk at work. The question came across my mind, "Would I do this if I knew what the future held for that little baby?" The answer is "YES". I would not trade any of my pain as a mother or seeing the pain my daughter is going through for anything in this world. I have learned so much about myself, what I am basically made of, and I have learned so much about Danielle. Yes, the times have been tough, yes...there are times I wish I could have thrown in the towel, but what parent doesn't feel that with their own children. But my life is richer because of Danielle. I was able to save a child from an unknown future. I don't know what her future holds right now, but one thing is for sure, I know that I am her mother and I am proud of her.

Mental Illness in Children

I am the proud mother of a 13 year old daughter who had severe mental illness. Actually I adopted her when she was 4 weeks old. She comes from a birth mother who was first a product of incest, then when she got older, married some guy who got her into alcohol and various types of drugs. During this time she had produced two children. I am talking about my ex-husband's neice. When my sister in law passed away, I traveled to Texas for her funeral. Unbeknowest to me there was a new child in their family. When I saw Danielle, she was so limp in her mother's arms, no life, no movement at all. I walked up to her and took the baby and said "Thank you, she is mine now". I have raised her ever since. She was a difficult baby, would not sleep much, wanted to always be held, nothing would calm her down accept being in my arms. As time progressed we started to experience severe separation anxiety from me. At that time we had brought home her bigger brother and was experiecing some problems with him, he was severely neglected and abused. So by the time Danielle had reached 4 years of age, I had enrolled her into an early intervention class. Wanted her to a good start in her little life. Nothing really prepared me for what was coming in her future.

By the age of 5, I started to noticed extreme violent behavior, tearing up her room, lashing out at her sisters and at me. That is when we started looking for help. We were sent to Primary Children's Hospital for a nerological workup. They had diagnosed her with ADHD/Bipolar/Organic Brain Disorder. Then the doctor's put her into a treatment center, not residential, I drove her down everyday, for medication and behavior modification. This lasted two weeks. For a few years this worked good, the meds the routine and counseling. But Danielle also dealt with other things, she was really slow in school. She could not read very well, retain information and socialize with other kids.

When she turned 12, our world turned upside down. Before that my husband (then husband) and I divorced, a daughter got married, my father went into a nursing home (he had been living with us) then passed away, met a new man, married him, he adopted Danielle and became her official father. So much had been going on in her life that by the time she was reaching puberty, her little world was falling apart.

Last summer (2007) she started running away when I would tell her "No". This happened at three times, all times I was able to catch her. Between us and her counselor we had an emergency plan in that if she ran away or started to do harm to me or anyone else, I was to call the police and have them take her to the hospital for a mental evaluation. There was one day in particular, we were getting ready for a trip to Florida with the company I was working with. While at Walmart getting a pedicure, Danielle got really biligerant with me, tried to run away, sat on the sofa in the salon rocking back and forth. I immediately left there to get her home. Had to stop for gasoline and bought her a piece of pie. On the way home she had gotten in trouble and I told her no pie for awhile. When we pulled up into the driveway she immediately got out of the car, ran around to my door, opened it up, grabbed the pie and ran off. I ran after her screaming and crying for her. She finally stopped, I gave her a choice, get into the car so I could take her up to the hospital or I would call 911. She opted to get into the car and we went to McKay-Dee Hospital. From there they admitted her to the BHI (Behavior Management Institute). She was there for two weeks with lots of evaluations, tests, studies. Come to find out she was Schizophrenic. She had been hearing voices for sometime. When she ran off she was hearing the voices tell her to kill me. That was her way of protecting me. She was given new medications, more counseling, but this didn't cure everything. During the course of the summer, she tried committing suicide twice, once by running towards the main street of traffic and the other time trying to open the car door while I am driving 70 miles an hour. Again, back to BHI for more medication modification. Things calmed down and school started in the fall.

Now it is April and she is back at the BHI because the voices were coming back strong, and now she is delusional. She will be going down to the State Hospital, for how long I have no idea. Today I am to go to a Committment Hearing to where I give the State physical custody of my daughter, I do not loose my parental rights at all. In fact I will be totally involved in her treatment care. We have lots of support, I have three older daughters, two of them are married and I have a wonderful husband. He is a truck driver and on the road a lot but I can call him anytime to vent, to cry, to rejoice or just talk.

There is so much more history to Danielle that I can't process it all right now. But as it comes along to my memory I will post it here to my blog.

I have started this blog to help anyone who may be experiencing the same or close to the same as I am with my daughter. There is not much information out there in regards to mental illness for children/adolecsents, we just have each other as parents.