Sunday, February 26, 2012


I'm going through an adjustment in my thyroid medication. (My cancer appears to be in remission, or nearly so, and the risk of recurrence is managed with a deliberate, slight overdose in replacement hormone, which takes time to achieve.) My doctor is tinkering with my dose right now, which is making me feel weird, and a little sick.

So for this reason, I was poking around on the internet and I came across a useful bit of writing. I'm basically well, with just a handful of mostly acceptable symptoms, so as I read it, T's needs, rather than my own, leapt to mind. The advice, below, struck me as very apt advice for parenting traumatized kids. Written from the patient's point-of-view, it went like this:

>Sometimes I need time alone.

>Drive me to appointments until I can drive.

>Handle phone calls, faxes, emails from family, friends. Sometimes it’s just too much. (To this, I would add my own spin for kids coming from foster care: handle letters, appointments, and information from the courts and social workers for me, because it's just too much.)

>Don’t ask if you can help, just do it. I’m having trouble making decisions right now.

>Listen while I sound off. There’s a lot happening to me and I need to verbalize without hurting someone’s feelings.

>Act normal, and don’t try to cheer me up when I’m depressed. It’s normal to be depressed when things are going badly.

>Resist the temptation to lash out in anger. I’m not angry at you, just at fate, or God, or whomever I blame for bringing illness into our lives.

>Even if I’m withdrawn, talk to me frequently. Sit nearby, read the paper, or just ‘be there.’

>Include me in family activities and decisions. I’m only sick, not mentally incompetent.

Every single thing on that list is something that we have realized and internalized, through trial and error, in the last three years of parenting T. He is recovering from a prolonged shock to his system, and figuring out what post-trauma equilibrium feels like and how to maintain it. It's a process not unlike recovery from chronic illness.


GB's Mom said...

Good analogy!

Semi-feral Mama said...

As you know, I love your blog. I just nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award (although I don't think anyone actually wins this award, I think it is just a nomination acknowledgement or something.) Anyhow, you can read the thing at my blog if you are interested.

Anonymous said...

What an astonishing story -- thank you so very much for writing all this down! We are considering adopting a 15-year-old boy (we have previously adopted a special needs boy from foster care) and your Blog has provided such helpful information regarding issues with an "old" child -- close to aging out, that is -- adopted from foster care.

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