I know it's New Year's Eve and it's the time for me to reflect on my year and see where I am and where I hope to be, however, I have a very, very strong need to express my anger at something. This is marginally TTC related, so feel free to skip this post.
DRUGS and DOCTORS!
I work with young children with diabilities. Until October, I worked in school districts, first as a teacher, then as a behavior specialist. I am a BCBA, which is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. I have worked with children with all disabilities from ages 3-21. In October I switched from working in the school district for working with ECI, which stands for Early Childhood Intervention. I know work with children from birth to three with disabilities.
One thing that made me sick in the schools is the amount of special needs children on drugs. Doctors wrote scripts for everything. My kid this, well, here's a drug. Every kid who walked into a physicians office with any kind of issue, neurological, behavioral, cognitive, whatever, ended up with a stupid drug. The drugs did different things to the kids. Some seem to have no effect, some made them so calm they were comatose, some made them just calmer, some would decrease aggression, some increased aggression, some made children never hungry, some made them always hungry. Meds need to be changed often because children are growing and as they grow they need less, more, or a dfiferent drug to "control them". When the drugs are gone, the children revert back to what they were before they took the drug. The drug didn't help them change, it just controlled them, made it easier for schools and parents. It made me sick.
When I was an older teenager I had some emotional problems. I'd had some challenges in my young life and as a result I had some anxiety, depression, etc. At age 18 I saw a doctor for it. What did I get? A drug. Drug after drug, after drug. Finally they found drugs where I just didn't feel anything. I don't remember my time on drugs. One thing did happen while on those drugs though, I gained enormous amounts of weight. I gained about 50 lbs with the initial antidepressants I was given, but after I got married and those weren't working, they upped and gave me even more cocktails. I was given all kinds of heavy duty drugs. I took them all. Doctor's know what's best, don't they? I ended up going from a little overweight to morbidly obese. I weighed 320 lbs. on these drugs and didn't care. My amazing husband was tying my shoes daily because I could no longer reach my feet. I couldn't see them. I had trouble shaving. I had trouble with daily tasks that required bending, lifting, etc. I was a nothing. I have virtually no memory of thsi sad time in my life. My incredible husband did everything for me and was only concerned for my health. He never called me "fat", never berated me, yelled at me, told me take my fat ass to the gym, none of that. I went to visit my friend who was having a baby. During this visit I lost my "drugs". I was staying with her for a few days and this was hours from home, so I couldn't get more. By the end of the visit I started feeling.
I never, ever took those drugs again. However, I was very morbidly obese. I go back to the doctor (they know what's best, right?), and they give me drugs for weight loss. Doesn't happen and eventually we go with gastric bypass. It was 2008 when I had it done, I was 27 years old. I did this to be healthy, for my husband, and for my future. We were startign to talk about children. I trusted doctors and so I had the surgery. I did lose all the weight. It's been 4 and a half years and I have not gained it back. I maintain an active lifestyle.
This should be a happy story, right? Unfortunately, there are studies coming out, and more research is needed, but it seems that gastric bypass surgery has a correlation to a reduction in AMH, meaning ovarian reserve. It seems that there is a very good chance that this surgery has caused my infertility. I am accepting that I have done this to myself.
In Sept of 2011 I went to the OB to find out why I wasn't pregnant yet. I was still new to TTC, began July 2011, but I started charting immediately and coudl tell something was wrong. The solution??? A drug. 3 cycles of a drug and no monitoring except a blood test taken on the wrong day of my cycle. I saw a RE. A year ago this month I was diagnosed with DOR. Of course, the first thing the doctor wanted to do? DRUGS. IVF.
I did research for the rest of Dec 2011 and Jan 2012. I saw it was possible to maybe conceive without medication. Through diet, herbs, and supplemetns I could achieve parenthood. Unfortunately it didn't work for me. I am again at the mercy of doctor's and drugs. I am scared. Scared I can't afford them. Scared of what they will do to my body. Scared of the real cost in health and money for my baby.
Now, why did I tell you what I do for a living? It's not for the comments of you're amazing for working with sped kids, 'cause I'm not, believe me. It's because I now work with children from birth to 3. BIRTH to THREE. Why am I emphasizing this???? Because several times now, including today, I stepped into a home where I ask about health and I am handed a bottle. A bottle called Hydroxyzine. I asked today, why is he taking this? And what was I told? It's the only thing they can give him this young. What does it do? It's supposed to make him calm down and sleep. They upped the dose, it doesn't work, but I keep giving it.
I am horrified and I want to cry. I was horrified that children in the school districts take drugs that I was given as an adult. I am horrified that babies are given drugs. I am horrified that the answer to everything is a DRUG. Please, if you get anything else from this blog, please be your own advocate, and please do your own research.
As a behaviorist I work at manipulating the environment to change behavior. I work at improving communication and finding the function of behavior and then teaching an alternative behavior to meet the same function or making sure the function is no longer serving as the function in order to change the behavior. I wish the first step with children was working with them, not drugging them.
I do need to put in a disclaimer. I am not a person who doesn't believe in medication. I am not a person who doesn't believe that even some children need to be on this medication. I believe medicine can be good, that real problems exist that require their use. That there is a need for it. At the ame time, not ever child needs a drug and when a child is on a drug, they should be monitored, taken off the drug occasionally to see if it's still needed, etc. Also, some of these children come from poor home environments where their behavior is really tied to the life they live and still they are given drugs. I feel like crying as I type this. It hurts me deep inside that this is being done to our chidlren.
I know and accept that I will need drugs to become a mom. I'm not sure how much, at what leve, and if I can even afford it, but I do know i need it. I know most women reading my blog do too. I hope this doesn't offend anyone and I hope the true meaning of what I'm trying to say is here. I just have no where else to put this and so I'm doing it on my blog.