I feel like I need to preface this post, addressing the practice of talking about my children on my blog. I know there has been a lot of buzz lately about people using their children to garner sympathy or as a negative angle for blogging. I hope that my discussing Emily isn't perceived as such. I have always considered this my journal and have wanted to document my life here. The following post has been a large part of my life and I have had a lot of close friends and family show concern for Emily. I want to be able to let them know how she is doing.
So here we are. Three weeks ago Emily was home from school for a week with the flu. Towards the end of that week she seemed to be doing better but insisted that she was not. She had stopped eating pretty much all food. In the last 3 days of that week she had eaten an apple and a piece of toast. She lost 7 pounds. Emily's medicine causes her to gain weight rapidly so I have to be really strict with her diet. As soon as she started eating again, she gained 5 of those pounds back. She wasn't even eating a fully balanced diet, but it is what it is. Anyhow, when I tried to push Emily to return to school the following Monday she was very upset. She kept telling me that her stomach felt funny and she was afraid of throwing up in class. She would go to school and then start sobbing as lunch time approached, to the point that her teacher would call me to tell me that she might have to be picked up. That happened on Monday and Tuesday.
On Wednesday Emily went to school reluctantly but I didn't receive any phone calls. She came home very happy and told us about how there was a cow at school and how exciting this was. She ate a good meal that night. Thursday and Friday went well. I thought everything was past us at this time.
This past Monday was the beginning of conference week. School dismissal was at 12:30 every day. I thought this would be an easy week for Emily. It was not. She cried every morning this week and would only eat a handful of pretzels each day. We struggled through the school week. Emily's teacher is so amazing. She has helped Emily through this week in a way that I know most couldn't.
Yesterday we were at our lowest. Emily couldn't function. It took everything in her to get her to go with the family to pick our pumpkins. She carried a paper bag everywhere, afraid that she was going to vomit. By yesterday evening she was laying in the corner of the couch, crying and afraid to do anything for fear of vomiting. She had no fever, her coloring was good, and her bowel movements have been normal. It has all been in her head. I think all of the talk of swine flu in the news and at school has taken it's toll on her and illness has become her obsession. This has been the kiss of death with her struggles with OCD.
If we were able to engage her constantly we could pull her out for a little bit. She did take some time to dance with Molly for a little bit and she was giggling and laughing. When that moment passed she was back to her sad state. I started to really worry about her last night because 8 is another age for the anxiet and OCD to "bloom" again. I started to worry about the warnings of "suicidal behavior" associated with her medicine. I was so depressed last night. This is really starting to take it's toll on me. I can't let it break me though. Jeremy and I are Emily's best hope and I can't let her down. Jeremy told me to be sure to increase her medicine last night.
This morning Emily woke up afraid of vomiting again (I suddenly remembered that this was how she used to greet me in the morning, when she was 4, before we had started any medicine). Jeremy came up with the idea of telling Emily that if she felt sick she would have to lay in bed until the feeling went away. This helped her to go to her room and calm down. We think that she is suffering from panic attacks. We also made plans to go geocaching and keep her as busy as possible. the geocaching was a huge success. Emily spent a lot of time finding a "prize" to put in the geocaching location and then was also excited about finding the location.
So far today Emily has eaten lunch and is in good spirits. I'm hoping that the rest of the week goes just as well. Last Halloween Emily had a full on panic attack when we tried to go Trick or Treating and it took an hour to get her to leave the house and realize that she would have a good time.
Please keep us in your thoughts. This situation has been one of the most challenging events of my entire life.