Why does Bella needs all of her appointments every single Tuesday?

Update: it has been ages since I did a life update

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Tuesday are our days we take Bella to physical therapy and psychology.  We sometimes also see other specialist on the same day. Last month we ordered Bella's shoe inserts they are called chipmunks they are a plastic insert we put into her shoes and she wears them all the time. This is part of the treatment for Bella's leg pains that come from having a mild form of Cerebral Palsy. cp for short. Bella has digeorge 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and this is just one of the many ways we keep her as active and healthy as she appears.  Spring break we will pick up Bell's shoe inserts and she is excited about them for now. They stay in her shoes like dr scholls inserts. Her shoes have high arch and are new balance with insert put in. Bella loves running and is excited girls on the run has started up again. 22 laps around the gym every Monday and Wednesday. 

we had Bella's occupational therapy assessment and we have great news.... Bella does not need occupational therapy.  The other stuff will come once we are better able to handle her adhd both emotional and physical adhd and panic attacks a lot better. Bella does get tired more and she is on a mussel relaxer for the leg spasms at night.  We are to continue with physical therapy as that seems to be helping Bella so much with her leg pains from the mild cerebral palsy spasms.

For the psychology part of her appointments seems our girl is having panic attacks the joys of entering puberty and works herself up into a temp of 99.9. right down to tummy feeling sick and while everything her mamma has syncope.

  Seems on Fridays the school calls us and Bella has migraines and no one can tell what is causing them. Bella says the loud kids and sounds in her class but they are no different any other time of the week. I think it is something else all together. We will get down to it and figure it out even if I have to order a smiley face button spy cam to get to whats distressing her. 

Bella needs more self esteem building because she has been told how much she can not achieve at school vs what she can achieve at school. There is also a tight group of girls that Bella is not apart of. She is friends with two other kids who refuse to take part in the clicks which I am so proud of her for standing up for herself. There was a few things that come up where she was picked on by some other kids who claim they were just playing a little game with her but that worked it self out. Bella also does not like how loud the bus becomes. Kids in her classroom seem to be a little to loud for her to handle. We also have some issues where we have taken her to busy restaurant or concerts and the loud sounds bother her there too.

 

Other then the typical day to day stuff of routines and normal structure there has not been much to blog about in terms of updating friends. I did get a new couch and a dslr cannon camera that I am loving. I will have a gallery of my photos soon for all of you to check out

Thank you to everyone who has asked how Bella has been doing and wondering where my updates have gone. Over time Bella updates have been less and less and we are moving forward in the right directions in all areas of Bella's life creating that balance I have longed for since she was little.

oh and we are also getting a dog :) I will share photos of our new friend once we get him home. he is a rescue dog from the animal shelter. I can not wait to share him with all of you and introduce you to our new pet. The godlfish are still alive and going strong. I never realized how long gold fish live when you actually take care of them. The goldfish have been with us for the past 3 years.

 

Beginners guide to 22q-An awareness post by Amanda Ripsam

My child has 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. I am not one of those moms who did not know what to expect when my daughter was born. I already knew I had 22q11.2 deletion syndrome because when I was younger my half paternal sibling had a seizure one year after eating turkey at Christmas one time and they had to run a ton of test to what caused the seizure it was low calcim storage levels in the blood and that lead to a genetic test called a fish test. After his fish test result came back positive we thought it was only him who had 22q. Next came my half paternal sister she too had a seizure when she was small again the doctors tested her for cause of seizures and then after knowing that my half brother has 22q they tested my sister as well. Next on the testing list was my father they tested him because of the research that it is 50/50 chance of it being either passed on or a random deletion.

The test results came back for my father and his test was positive for 22q11.2 deletion as well back then they labeled it digeorge syndrome located on the 22q11.2 deletion. Next up for testing was me at first I said there is no need to test me I have a different mom and it only 50/50 and I only had seizures when I was much younger like under a year old I did not have any other symptoms and was the typical teenager...

At 21 I met my husband and my step mom pleaded with me to get tested so I did because what if I had a child I would want to know if I had it too and if my child would have it also. I tested positive for digeorge syndrome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome at 21 years old just before my 22 birthday how is that for irony.  I took to online groups and boards to learn how it effected my siblings and father and make some friends so I could be supportive towards them. Another brother was born at the time I was tested positive and he too had 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. He was happy and healthy despite low calcium levels but passed away when he was 6 years old. My daughter was born before my brother passed away and I have been living in Michigan this entire time I met my husband so then when I was 24

After Bella was born she turned blue and started to have seizures. I had to get a rushed fish test my daughters doctor did not fully understand all of the risk and complications and she had to call infection diseases and all kinds of people and specialist to help us.

I am forever grateful we were put on the right path. There are so many family's, adopted parents, foster parents and caregivers who have a child in their mist or adult and do not even know that that person or them have 22q. 

I was lucky to have Bella born in Michigan I had the test done and results came back within 3 days some people wait much longer or do not even get to be approved to have the test we had to stay longer in the hospital Bella spent time in the Nicu unit and I had to have a bit longer recovery time while we had to find ways to get Bella to be able to eat since I couldn't breast feed Bella had soft palate where she couldn't' latch it was suppose to be the happy moment in my life but it was filled with scary moments and some of which I blocked out of my memory I mean the fainting part I didn't realize until a few years ago how close I was to not making a full recovery.

My body has not fully bounced back and I struggle now with gasteroparises and back problems.  Any how that is how we started our journey to 22q. That's the beginners guide to 22q.

After 10 years I have not only lived with 22q with the mild symptoms and how it effects me but raising my child who has 22q but her major issues is with cerebral palsy and my major issues is with gasteroparies. There you have it the beginners guide to 22q how to get tested, what test you need to take and the next step is finding a doctor who understands and knows how to treat the low calcium levels and blue baby symptoms if you can find a doctor who is caring and listens like we had been lucky enough to have had then that is the trick to living with 22q. Knowledge is key and hope! Doctors learning about this is the key to all of this.

22q can cause heart defects my daughter had extra blood pumping in her lower left chamber but it resolved after she was born she was discharged from the heart doctor with just a mild heart murmur.  Poor immune system but we lucked out and our immune is strong it is only our body internal core temp that struggles to regulate when we are sick but we are fine other then that we can have live vaccines we have been tested to make sure we could. palate anomalies between the low calcium and the low iron Bella and I both have which is treatable with medications we are doing well. Low levels of calcium in the blood storage level in the blood total calcium can read normal but the other calcium can be low and that treatable with calcitrio a life line for our family.

When we got the diagosnes of 22q is when we met with a ton of different doctors that is why I want to share this post while meeting with a lot of different doctors specialist even heart doctors some did not know what 22q was or what digeorge syndrome was it was shocking and frustrating trying to explain in laymens terms to a doctor in doctor terms. Early diagnoses and effective treatment of each symptom that pops up is the key to having a better quality of life. If neglected or ignored out comes can be deadly. Early interventions is the key to why Bella and I are thriving as much as we are.  There are some cases where there is no cure for the symptoms that show up like in my brothers case who passed away but there is hope if more doctors become aware they can share this info with the people who come to them for help either as children teens or adults.

I challenge you to share this post with 22 doctors not just doctors who are in the field of 22q treatments spread this post out side of the 22q community the old fashion grass roots word of mouth with out any fluffy fundraising events but just simply say hey you do you know what 22q is and wait for their reply and ask them if they know what 22q is and if they know how to treat a child or adult who walks into their office. That's the biggest hurdle is to get doctors to know what 22q11.2 deletion is and digeorge syndrome is called and all of the very different veriations of it that can happen based on where the location of the deletion is.

My site has a tab called what is 22q I encourage you to share it with 22 doctors. What are you waiting for share it now :)

 

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What I wish I knew before I found out I had 22q

What I wish I knew before I found out I had 22q

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It been ages since I did a rant blog post!

I call this what I wish I knew about 22q because even after all these year efforts of research is still unknown of how this affects us who have 22q.

 There can be a bit of variability between each of the conditions. Such as 22q11.2 deletion can be a trisomy or there can be chd or no chd. You can have thyroid issues or no thyroid issues. You can have learning speech hearing heart issues or none at all. I wish I knew and understood that no two people with this disorder are affected by it in the exact same way no matter how hard I searched for answers and asked others who have it or have kids with it I always found out there are some similar characteristics but not all of the exact same symptoms and even if we had the same symptoms as someone else there are for different reasons.

I knew what Digeorge syndrome was but I did not understand velocardiofacial syndrome until a few years afterward I did not understand the basics of genetic 101 I can now probably teach a seminar class on it.

I did not know there is an entire country who wants to wipe out rare genetic disorders and completely get rid of anyone who is a big quirky odd or different with how God formed them. I did not understand why parents were shocked when I could raise my own family when I told them. I did not understand the hatred of people who have this disorder but yet claim their love for their own child they too will have a child who grows up one day to be an adult like myself.   I also did not think parents would never want their 30 year old live on their own and be functional adults in the real world I didn't know why parents were so over protective until I had my own child. I will not limit my daughter like some of the parents I know and have ran into but instead, encourage her where she needs encouragement and help her by nurturing her independence no matter how stubborn or strong willed my redhead has become at 10 years old. I am so thankful for her stubbornness because that is what got her through all those years of multiple doctors visits her leg braces and her dental work. That what pushed us past our limited views of others to help us reach our potential we ran a 5k together not many normies can say they did that. 

I understand now the fear is the unknown and the hate is not hated but it is grief it a loss of life they thought they were going to have. I get it I have my own daughter who has it. I too experience all of the awful mixed up emotional feelings that come from having this disorder but I did not allow my self to stay stuck. I educated myself and I am educating others so they know what to expect once knowing what to expect they can be hopeful that is the worst case or they can hope for the best case but either way there is hope after knowing what they are getting into.

Feeling pretty lost scared and confused is a typical day to day functional normal for us none normies who are trying to figure life out. Adjusting to routines and schedules is a challenge trying to manage just a two bedroom apartment can be a chore for someone like myself but here I am doing it basically wiping my own butt. I am shocked that others are shocked that I too can wipe my own butt and look after myself and not only look after myself but after others as well. I am a wife mom and step mom some define what I do a success

I am not impressed one bit by being someone inspiration simply because I am stand to own my own two feet and get up each day and do things that I have to do. I get some people can't I really do get that but to label that all of us with 22q can't do that is unfair and it is already setting more limits on the limits that are already in places. Screw the limits set by others is what I wish I knew!

 

I have anxiety and Adhd and ptsd but most days are good days medications are little because after all these years I have coping skills and things set in place I know that will help. such as sticky notes and how to guides I use a binder system to keep track of everything. I also have a binder for everything I really wish I knew about this binder system that I use. It would have made high school so much easier.

I wish my passing out spells I had in high school were vaggo vessel and that I just had to take this pill for and it would all go away. It does not go away with just a pill I wish it did.

It can be scary to hear your child has a genetic disorder. It can be scarier to know you also have the disorder what is even scarier is knowing you have a disorder and having a child any how because hey life happens and birth control is only 99.9 effective.

I see these worst case scenarios in support groups and such and watch others just stare and hear crickets when I write a post about the good stuff but when I write about the bad everyone comments. I wish I knew I was only a relatable human being by sharing about my stomach filar ups. I would have written a blog post and shared pictures of every time I picked and hugged the toilet bowl I wish I knew you all would cheer me on for that. I wish I knew what I needed to do to be part of a support group to be a team player rather then having to create a blog and website and from my own tribe. I wish there was a tribe for me where I could fit in but it is what it is. I wish I knew life is what it is before life got all messy by my trying to fix it and help others.

I wish I knew how to handle the stress from the nonstop specialist and pt and ot appointments we had to attend and that I had to attend while I was pregnant and after. If I did I would not have ended up in a 72 hour phyc hold with an over dose of Ambien just by mistakenly trying to simply sleep because my brain wouldn't shut down. I wish I knew how to write about that moment to help others to prevent others from going down that path that I did. I wish I knew about 22q.

I wish I knew my brother who passed away from having 22q at 6 years old. I wish I knew what I outlived him. I wish I knew why God takes the little child and not me. I wish I didn't have a second hospital trip for a medication over dose because I didn't know how to process grief I didn't know how to deal with my father who disowned me who has 22q as well. I wish I didn't learn these coping skills from my step mother who enjoys attention seeking behavior choices and takes tynole by the bottles when life gets too shitty for her. I wish I understood mental illness when I was a teen.

I wish I didn't have to have a complete mental break down after I had my daughter when she was 1 and another when she was 2. I wish I knew I had ptsd do to the major abuse and neglect from my parents. I really wish I didn't have to hold all of this in until I was 25 years old. I am 34 years old and I really have only enjoyed living life since that last trip to the mental hospital. I am recovered by the grace of God I understand why God allows bad stuff to happen to good people I didn't know then I wish I knew that too why God allowed 22q. 

I know now I know from the bible study's from the medication from the teachings from all the years of hard work in therapy. I wish I could pass all of this knowledge on to others so hey don't have to feel so crappy about having 22q or living with someone who has 22q but what I know is people are going to do think act and feel how they want and there is nothing I can do to change that. I also wish I knew I would make and lose friends who have 222q based of what others perceived about me. I wish I knew all of this about 22q

I wish I didn't see this from a parents perspective and also somebody that suffers from it. I wish I knew all of this about 22q.

I wish I knew that insurance did not cover anything related to my daughters health condition and that having children's special health was useless because Medicaid will cover generics of what she needs.  I wish ssi knew what 22q digeorge syndrome was and that it not going to get healed because she can speak. I wish I didn't have to appeal ssi or have to deal with ssi every time we tuned around but only one of us can work because I have no ablity to stay at a full tme job with the ups and downs of my own illness. I wish I knew there was more support.

I wish I knew all of this about 22q.

What do you wish you knew about 22q ?

 

 

 

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How to self care as a special needs caregiver

 As a caregiver, we can often overlook the burn out factor.
 I became burnt out friends! That is why there have been very few blog posts. I shared a bit about being burnt out before and last week I wrote a post about attending a conference that helped speakers and writers which I found a new source of inspiration.

This blog is about balance and I have not shared about how I balance and manage to live with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. It requires a lot of time management in all areas of life, physical, emotional and spiritual. I went to the speaker's conference as I mentioned above and I came back home to the reality of trying to keep up with my two bedroom apartment and kids sometimes I only have free time to sit with my husband and fall a sleep on the couch.

I have a bit on my own plate to manage my own health issues I have gastroparesis and it is gastroparesis awareness month so I felt I needed to write about the struggles I have. 

I have adhd and ptsd I have not talked about my struggles with these things and how I am managing those symptoms or even managing. It is because I am busy managing these issues all at once and on hyper alert and on top of most of it. I say most of it the one issue I had with writing my blog posts lately is because of some of the sweet honest feedback and comments friends have given to me after I was on a few podcast I been doing a few different podcast shows because it is easier for the nerve damage for me to speak than it is to type out an entire blog post. I can transcribe podcast post later after my nerve damage heals but many of you have asked where I have been. What has Bella and our family been up to this summer and where are your rambling updates filled with tired typo. That is because I am stepping up my blog and I am starting to work on book writing perhaps in the future you will see pdf files for sale on my website for right now I sit and type behind my computer screen when I get the change to breath or when I get the chance to get away and type it is almost never this summer has gone by so fast and I have been living in the moments and enjoying each day as if it was my last. Life truly is short. I lost my brother when he was 6 years old and he had 22q the fact that Bella and I both have 22q and are doing as well as we are is a huge blessing and I will not take that for granted. Now there are some people who are envious of how well we are doing or think I have it all and I am accomplished I am not accomplished at all to be honest I’m just a simple mom trying to find her quiet place manage the kids and husband and my own struggles with my health issues as well as Bellas health issues. I worked my butt off when Bella was young I cut off a lot of unhealthy social stress from online support groups where some only wanted to bash each other and compete over who knows the most about 22q I’m not about to play that game to say I know more or less than any other person out there. I know how 22q affects me as no two people with this disorder are alike. That includes my father, half-sister, half-brother and the half-brother who passed away we are all dealing with the 22q11.2 deletion in our own ways none of us hear voices in our heads and none of us have thyroid issues.  As they are common on the list of issues that could go wrong like heart issues we do not have any of these major factors to deal with. Other than mild heart murmurs hypercalcemia my gasteroparies and bellas mild cerebral palsy both mine and Bella’s heart are doing okay.

I am not going to justify and list all of the issues we have or don’t have but the one common issue we face is hypercalcemia including Bella. Bella and my levels of all three calcium levels have stabilized our iron levels were low to all of us one that was balance things got easier. Sure we deal with things like Adhd and I struggle with time management. Honestly every mom I mentor with a 22q child or not struggles with how to best manage their time it not like there is a crash course in time management 101. There might be I might make a book about it but some other Billy bob out there might take my idea and make it their own before I get around to pulling it off.

I received all of your encouraging words and emails, as I reply to each one slowly I am coming up with blog posts ideas. I love the one question I get from all the parents I mentor is how do I do it all. I simply don’t if it is something that God brings me to he will get me through it. My faith is my strength and that might not work for some of you but there has to be something higher power other than myself I sure couldn’t do this all on my own according to some people they are shocked I can tie my own shoes let alone speak up and out and advocate as well as I do.


 I am now almost all gluten free elimination diets sucks by the way.
 I find I have more issues with milk vs gluten and lactose-free seems to help me with fewer tummy pains. Still eating soft mushy foods but allowing myself a cheat day here and there. I also enjoy going out now I enjoy friends and time with them and I embrace life. I even did a 5k race this past May with Bella and I am training to do another 5k.

I am slowly healing from gastroparesis it will never go away and could get worst before I get better.
 The flair ups and they have been less and less as I learn new ways to eat and balance life. Stress is a huge trigger. I once had a panic attack so bad that my resting heart rate was at 120. I started medication for that simply because I need to find time to reset and balance my physical and emotional as the two are so inter connected. I didn’t realize that having a panic attack could affect your heart as well. I mean I figured I would have to be 50 or 60 before that kind of stuff affected me.

I am 34 and I have to slow down and eliminate the negative social pressure of the crap that people want to fling online even if it something as simple as a good old political debate on Facebook. I avoid it all. I do this because I need to keep myself healthy distant myself from love one's friends or family members I have no issues walking away from if it becomes stressful for me it not a reflection on who they are as a person it just a reflection on my own personal boundaries what I will and will not tolerate.  As I adjust to this new me my family is also and we talk it all out in the open at family meetings. We have routine charts and rules listed on the wall with natural consequences because sometimes it all to much to keep in my head and in the heat of the moment we can forget about coping skills. I even have a list of things to do when angry or bored on the wall by our routine and chore charts. My apartment is decorated with family pictures as well everyone has a role in the family and all have value and worth in my home.
 I even started seeing a new dr locally for myself vs traveling further out. Sometimes just a few small changes add up over time and looking back a year ago I am not who I was and I see huge growth like I mention in that conference post I grew as a person in two years in my speaking journey but I also grew in two years over my own personal journey and finding balance. I even had a fun girls night out last night while Adam watched the kids and my friends' kids. Adam a trooper. I give props to all of the single parents who are out there dealing with this syndrome on your own with your children who have 22q I don’t know how you all do it.  I only know what works for myself.
 I am feeling much better and now I am working on sleep and routines.
 Sleep has always been a struggle as many of you 22q mommas can relate to.
 When Bella was first born and going through diagnosed stage I didn’t get any more than maybe 2 hours of sleep a night.


 So doing managed care for myself and she became too much and I had let my health slide.
 Now 10 years later I am finally back on track I have been on track before but this is a new back on track for me as I am doing everything holistically and naturally. Educate yourself is the key to hope. Question everything and avoid online group drama that stuff and pull you in and suck you dry. The competitive I know more than you are strong in groups and they tend not to be about supporting sad to say not all of these groups are bad and most have good intention but there are 22q haters out there and haters will hate and that’s okay. I’m not going to go out of my way to change anyone else’s mind. I’m just simply sharing what works for me. I ignore the stigma and if I don’t let it be there for me my daughter isn’t going to pick up on it from others either and if they aim it towards her then they are not worth the effort or energy for us to focus no one can say we are normal or close to normal as no one sees all that I struggle and deal with or what Bella struggles and deal with. Why would I want to be remind of the sad angry moments when I can share the positive side and the down low sides but I have ups and downs of this journey and just when you think you have it handled bam something else new comes up on the diagnose journey and we have to learn new ways of management. This disorder is a managed disorder there is no cure and we are all fighting our own journey why make it all the time soap drama when we can go out there and make a beautiful world and help encourage one another.

Encouraging others and mentoring others is why I started my blog to avoid the drama and focus on finding others who are going through the same things.  Who are not wanting to be Debbie downers but want to figure out healthy ways for positive change from a negative stressful often times emotionally unstable process of healing and living with 22q211.2 deletion

I think I am only in three groups now. I was recently asked to help monitor one and I am honored to do so as the few groups I am in are really on the ball and yes allow venting but not whining there is a difference.
 The blog has been around for 4 years and going strong at over 4,000 subscribers even with the changes I have had to make with web hosting. Do you remember me considering putting together a website vs blog this is that website I told you all about!

I am also working on a YouTube channel in the future as that’s how media trends seem to go.   Remember it’s okay for self-care so you can be the best you for your kids and family. I am so glad I was tested and treated for 22q issues. Some others hate the fact they were tested because there is no one who knows how to treat because most doctors don’t have a clue what it is still even after all these awareness efforts that are why I share outside of the 22q community an old fashion grass roots system of just sharing about our journey and if it brings awareness that is a nice added bonus. So distance yourself from the negative people who want to hate on you or bring you down and focus on the positive friends you do have and there will be room to make for new connections that will be of support both ways it a give and take that is how you know it is a healthy kind of support system.
 That is my tip for the week.
 What are some of your favorite self-care tips?

Until next time take care and have some fun when you can

Love

Amanda Ripsam

 

How to handle doctors visits with special needs kids like a boss! or our trip to U of M

 Hello everyone,

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I am going to dive right into this one as I am excited to share the news.

 The reason for the doctors visit is Bella has 80% hypers-nasal speech means when she speaks air goes up her nose is what the test showed at the last doctors visit.  

In Aug, in fact, we were scheduled to go ahead and correct this issue she has with air by fat graphing which involves fat from some part of Bella (I wasn't sure where they were going to find any fat on her)  I was wondering if we should wait it out until she passes puberty or just go ahead and do it now and get it over with.

The speech doctor at the clinic had to perform her speech test on Bella by asking Bella to say funny sounding sentences. Bella had to say words while pinching her nose, followed by the breath o her breathing on(magic mirror thing a ma jigger) I am not sure what it was called but it goes under Bellas' nose and you can tell if there is air in the mirror if it clouds up or not. Bella had no air on the mirror this time.  Last time the mirror was all cloudy.

Bella then had to sit with a fun looking space helmet on her head and speak into a sensor while she said the same funny worded sentences. Bella scored a perfect normal on the test. 4 times. Normal from 80% is something only short of a Miracle.

I don't even think it sunk in yet. Bella was thrilled and thankful that Bella did not have to have a camera go down her nose into the back of her throat.   It was a shock to both of us no surgery needed  Bella will go back for a team visit soon as they can fit us in to talk to the team about our next treatment plans.

Below is some info on what Velopharyngeal or for short Vpi is

 

 

 

 

 

Bella playing in the play area on the 8th floor after to burn off her energy before we headed home

 

I know I asked all of you to visit my website to hear about this trip because it is such great news it was difficult to talk to 100 different people and I can not keep up with that many questions. If you do have any questions feel free to leave a comment on the blog in the comment section below. 

Thank you for reading. Bella looks forward to seeing your likes, comments, and shares and she said she is super excited she does not have to have surgery.  Bella is a 10-year-old girl with 22q and cerebral palsy. I am a mom who also has 22q. This is our journey and I am sharing to help others out there not feel so alone.   Don't forget if you like it subscribe (Purple button top right of the homepage)

Until next time take one second at a time.