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prestopony

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  1. Thanks
    prestopony got a reaction from Robinhubb in Supplements   
    I'm sorry you're having trouble getting a doc to help, it's so frustrating. This board was so helpful to me. Like many kids, my 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with PANS after many years of suffering. She is on a lot of supplements, so it's hard to know which ones are really successful! We use:
    Enhansa for inflammation - follow the guidelines for slow introduction, we noticed a big herx as is said might happen. For anxiety, we use CDB oil and Lithium oratate. Her 23 and me showed folate issues, so she takes Methyl Assist. Magnesium Citrate along with Buffered Vitamin C for constipation (as needed, which used to be all the time at the beginning of treatment!) - I can't stress enough the brain/gut connection to think about during treatment. She takes Thera-lac probiotic too And Super Lysine Plus for immunity support. To balance out the stress of so many years of anxiety and poor sleep we use Cortisol Manger, and Seriphos - I think these are at the bottom of the list of what I think has really been helpful though And, she is on the low-FODMAP diet Upon initial diagnoses, her PANS doc put her on Augmentin which was amazing. Came off of it, flared, tried Zithromicin, didn't work, went back on another month of Augementin, came off of it, and stayed well. During flares, unless her bloodwork shows something, we use a month of Naproxen (regular over-the-counter Aleve) - and it works beautifully. So, treating the inflammation seems to be key during flares. I would think also that a too-short supply of antibiotics is not going to help.
    Now, my son, who does not have PANS that I know of, but is suddenly dealing with extreme intrusive thoughts and OCD (my daughter's was just EXTREME separation anxiety and EXTREME generalized anxiety) I'm taking what I know about inflammation and scouring this board for help - and trying some things with him:
    NAC - an amino acid that has had some documented success helping OCD in larger doses L-Theanine - another amino acid that promotes relaxation and calms the brain and elevates GABA and serotonin I just started him on Enhansa last week. Reason being we just found out that he's allergic to EVERYTHING - grass, trees, weeds, mold, dust, cats, chickens (we have eight), dogs (we have three) guinea pigs (we have two). So he has started allergy shots, but in the meantime I can only think that there is inflammation in him from all of these undetected allergies. His probiotic is called Mood-Super strains - with strains that are geared specifically towards anxiety and depression I just learned about this product yesterday from my sister-in-law. My son's cousin, who has OCD, takes 5-htp (another amino acid) and he says it helps a great deal. She uses the Natrol brand. He does not take any pharma for his OCD/anxiety, and said when he stopped taking the 5-htp he noticed he felt a lot worse, so he now takes it again.
    As far as pharma for my daughter for her anxiety, we held out as long as we could, but she became unsafe and jumped out of a moving car. So we eventually we put her on an SSRI - it worked a bit, but never really well, so we switched to another, it also worked a bit but never really well, so we added in another, which, as expected, worked a bit, but never really well. Fast forward to a year after PANS diagnoses, and this truckload of supplement she takes!, she is off of all pharma, she took a class at the local high-school (and I didn't have to sit in the class with her, lol!), she now sleeps over at friends houses, and is enrolled in the Community College for the fall. So while the psych meds helped a bit, they were not the final answer for us.
    Sending you good thoughts for your daughter - and lots of good thoughts for you too! Hang in there mom!
  2. Like
    prestopony reacted to LNN in homeschooling/schoolwork and pandas   
    Welcome to the forum and "welcome" to Pandas/Pans. I've unfortunately been at this for many years, first with my now recovered son and now with my daughter. I home schooled my daughter last year because her health was too precarious. Because it was only for one year and we always had the intention of returning to public school when she was able (for social reasons), our approach was probably different from yours. But I'll share what worked in case it helps.
     
    I think the biggest thing that was helpful was mindset. Like your daughter, mine went from being very capable to being very handicapped in what she could handle in terms of workload and abilities. There's a medical reason for this - inflammation in the brain creates what's called a cytokine storm. There are many inflammatory cytokines that become elevated, but one - CaM Kinase II - is essential for learning and memory - from Wikipedia:
     
    Ca2+ /calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaM kinase II or CaMKII) is a serine/threonine-specific protein kinase that is regulated by the Ca2+
    /calmodulin complex. CaMKII is involved in many signaling cascades and is thought to be an important mediator of learning and memory.[1] Misregulation of CaMKII is linked to Alzheimer’s disease, Angelman syndrome, and heart arrhythmia.[6
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ca2%2B/calmodulin-dependent_protein_kinase_II
     
    We had bad days and worse days. Some days, she was able to learn in a fairly typical manner and other days, it was like teaching someone who had suffered a brain injury like a stroke or car accident. So the most important thing I did each day was to feel out where she was at, what she was capable of that day (and I also had to realize that every day might put us at a different starting place, and sometimes she'd have different capabilities throughout the day). Re-setting my expectations on the fly was essential. Otherwise, I'd expect too much, she'd stress over disappointing me and over her own sense of loss. Much like working with someone who's in rehab for a stroke - how frustrating it is to not be able to do things you've easily done for your whole life.
     
    So forget about what she used to be able to do. Forget about what her brother can do. These are, for now, false points of reference. Start each lesson by assessing where she is at that moment and work with that. Do not show your frustration or expect more than she can give. That just blames her for something that's not in her control. You wouldn't do that to someone in rehab. You can push the way a cheerleader might - "hey, do you think you can do one more problem? No? Ok, take a break, you did a good job." But don't push with the thought that you can somehow push her back into being her old self (spoken from experience).
     
    My daughter (12) reads at a 12th grade level. But there were many times she couldn't focus on the words on the page. But she could listen. So I'd read her social studies book to her while she doodled (drawing helped her stay focused, ironically, because it's something that relaxes her and it distracted her from her anxiety). Then she'd answer questions about what I'd just read to her. Sometimes she could write the answers herself, sometimes I could see from her horrible handwriting that I'd have to scribe what she verbally told me. We just had to be flexible. We did a lot of verbal discussions. We broke lessons up into very small chunks - sometimes as little as 5 minutes. Then we'd re-group 15 minutes later, or an hour later, or a day later. I had to let go of my scheduling, my goals, and just listen to her body and support her. The old her was temporarily gone. I had to teach the person who showed up that day and just help that person do her best for that day. Not easy for a Type A mom. But it's what she needed.
     
    She is back in school this year, on a modified school day, with many absences (but for social reasons, she is adamant about being back in public). We often find ourselves having to do do school work at home to make up for missed days, and our approach is to do things in very small chunks. When she's feeling well, she takes pride in doing things independently. When she's in a bad place, I sit with her and coach her every step of the way. It's very much a teaching-as-if-you're-a-rehab-therapist approach.
     
    The amazing thing is that once the body heals, the old child comes back. You don't need to worry about her getting lazy or developing bad habits. No one wants to get back to her old self more than she does. When she heals, she will return to the independent, curious child she's been.
  3. Like
    prestopony reacted to MC2 in Ideas for dealing with separation anxiety?   
    We also had very severe separation anxiety as the first symptom. Then we got many others (physical as well as behavioral/psychological). During the first 2-3 months, while DS (age 10) was getting worse and worse we did 2x weekly CBT with lots of "homework" (exposures etc). It did absolutely nothing. In fact, I think the CBT had a very negative effect: permanently imprinting truly awful memories of his school in his brain (thankfully he is now back in school but there was no way he was going to go back to the school where this started; to this day, he won't set foot on that campus). I wish I had taken the energy we were putting into CBT (and then going to the psychiatrist for zoloft, also totally ineffective) and put it into medical treatment (abx, naproxen, steriods etc). Our son would never have gotten as sick as he did had we known sooner (like practically every PANDAS kid). It is very hard to know what to do, but if the antibiotics are not sufficient in bringing back your child (and unfortunately, that appears to be the case quite often) , then I would start pushing for a 5 day steriod burst. If there is a glimmer of hope with that burst, then you know it is not separation anxiety, but brain inflammation and you can pursue more medical treatment options more rapidly.
    As others above have said, CBT is a very useful tool. Just not for someone in a full flare of PANDAS/PANS. I think CBT can be very helpful after a child has started recovery and parents are trying to nudge them along to be able to do more and more. When we got to that stage, I had a thought along the lines of "oh, so this is what we should have been seeing with all that CBT." And unfortunately it seems CBT is a tool many parents continue to have to use when recovering from future additional flares along the way...
    Best of luck.
  4. Like
    prestopony reacted to Lydiasmum in Ideas for dealing with separation anxiety?   
    This is a tough one. Separation anxiety/general anxiety, in our case, was the worst symptom for our daughter. I remember like it was yesterday not being able to go to the bathroom without her following. Her gran couldn't even get to take her out without mum or dad going. Luckily, it did eventually improve with 6 months of prophylaxis abx but was the last symptom to improve. Even now DD doesn't have the confidence of her peers. They are all having sleepovers etc., but DD isn't anywhere near this.
     
    Take small steps and try not to show how frustrated you are (hard as this is). It really does improve with time. You won't be at this crisis point for long. Improvement for us happened very gradually. One day at a birthday party I thought how great it was DD went off to dance on her own without holding my hand! Then she sat at the dinner table with her friends and didn't notice I wasn't stood behind her. Went to the toilet on her own without a second thought.....
     
    DD overall is 95% better since major episode 2 years ago She still takes prophylaxis for now and she will have minor relapses with viruses etc. But, despite separation anxiety being the one symptom we see decline first when she gets ill, it is nowhere near as debilitating. She just gets more nervous and on high alert for a week or two. No - she's not like her friends quite yet. But she did stay at a friend's for tea for a whole 2 hours last week without me - and didn't want to go home when I turned up to collect her! She was so proud of herself and because it went well for her (i.e. nothing 'bad' happened and mum did come back), she is now primed to do it again soon. She is actually looking forward to the next time. She will just be much older when she does all the independent things like sleepovers at friends.
     
    Word of warning though, I have been seeing a therapist to help me cope with PANDAS PTSD and I have discovered how much of an influence I can actually be on my daughter's anxiety. Without realising, I have been just as nervous as her (or worse?) at the thought of her being independent ('oh my god, she couldn't possibly do that.... worry, worry, worry.....people don't understand, that will set her right back'....etc. etc. etc.......) All those thoughts I have because I too am scarred from years of rollercoaster behaviour and trying to prevent disasters. We, as mums, have a duty to protect. This is our second nature and we do so many things we are not aware of. You are now programmed to condition the environment to your DD's needs. It doesn't matter she is getting so much better, fresh in your mind are those awful reminders of worse times. When will it happen again? Be mindful of the fact that we influence our children so much: I didn't know I was holding DD back until a stranger told me.
     
    I hope things improve for your family real soon. Hang on in there............
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