Time to Explain

I honestly would like to go back to the insanity that was summer camps and my only concern was driving back and forth to Wheaton North which is pretty much down the street.

Yesterday, I took Tommy to see a pediatric dermatologist. The bumps are back. They came back on Sunday. He begged me to take him to the hospital so that they could find out what they were and fix them. I couldn’t because if I brought him across the street to the hospital there, they wouldn’t do anything except give him a steroid which he was just on and it’s not good for kids with CF to be on steroids. We put him on it last week because his foot was so bad that there wasn’t much of a choice. I couldn’t take him to Lutheran General because it’s about 45 minutes away and it was snowing on Sunday night and the roads were bad. I know this because it took me 45 minutes to get to my parents’ house and normally it takes me 10 and I slid a couple of times which shaved off about 6 years of my life. Plus…and oh, how I love this one, Leo was leaving for out-of-town later that night (he couldn’t because flights were cancelled but it was scary for a second thinking how much help I’d need if they admitted Tommy if I did get there). So I gave him Advil and talked to our nurse that I love so much. He didn’t go to school Monday and she got us an appointment that thankfully was in Naperville which isn’t too far.


I’ll spare you the details of the hour-long appointment that was filled with the young doctor looking at me in shock and saying, “Wow, you have A LOT on your plate” and just tell you that he needs a biopsy of one of the red bumps. She isn’t 100% sure it is Erythema Nodosum and can only be sure with a biopsy. Tommy was a little unhappy at the process because he said he wanted to make it through his life without stitches. While being anxious at finding out how to treat this once and for all, I find myself in one of those situations that brings me right back to when we found out Nico had CF. Go in thinking it is one thing and come out with something much worse. If you could spare a prayer, that would be so appreciated.


There is a high chance that Nico will be diagnosed with ADHD. If you are shaking your head in wonder or shock, join the club. He was having a lot of trouble in some of his classes (all but one) and thinking it was a learning style/teaching style sort of thing (he is very hands-on/visual and all of his classes this year are lecture type and the one that is hands-on is really, really hard…chemistry), I sent him to his counselor. After talking with him, she suggested that seeing a doctor wouldn’t be a bad thing “to rule out” things that might be causing him to be so frustrated. Somehow, I ended up in a pediatric neuropsychologist’s office for six hours with Nico testing for ADD and depression. And then I ended up in a pediatric psychiatrist’s office with her telling me that she is 95% sure that he has ADHD. I was confused because he’s never shown signs of hyperactivity but she said they don’t really say ADD anymore and that it is under the umbrella of ADHD. His problem is focusing and concentrating and keeping the focus. Put him on a field or a court and all the focus and concentrating is right there. Once in a classroom, he walks out having tried to listen and coming up empty.

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I don’t care if he has ADHD. I don’t care about the label, the IEP, whatever. I just want him to not struggle so much. What scares me and what I am most upset about is the depression part. First, what 15yo kid isn’t somewhat depressed? I think I spent my whole high school career depressed. Friends hurt me, boys hurt me, classes were hard, teachers were jerks and there was a whole lot I wanted that I couldn’t have (freedom, money for the latest trend…). So the question is: What is normal teenage angst and when do you get help? I have a feeling I know why he feels the way he does. I think he has an inner struggle of knowing what to do and doing it. Academically, athletically and socially. He’s frustrated, tired and confused. And you know what? That is life. Life isn’t easy and we don’t just roll over and say, “We’re done.”

Ha! Let me just intervene here and tell you all that I started typing this on Monday after Nico’s doctor’s appointment and then crazy x’s 20 hit and here it is Thursday and I still can’t get it done and right now, I’d like to roll over and say, “I’m done!” I’d like to wave a white flag and say, “That’s it! You wore me down! I’ll be in my bed wrapped in my electric blanket in the fetal position humming the tune, ‘You’ve Had a Bad Day” with a bag of Milano cookies.”

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, yes…life is hard and we have to find ways to deal. On top of all the regular teenage issues, Nico is going through a rebellious phase where being different is the last thing he wants or understands so he bucks the treatment/meds system. Remember what your last sinus infection felt like? That’s Nico’s normal. That would be enough to depress me a bit, wouldn’t you say?


Belle, sweet Belle has had her heart-broken so many times this year that the brick house finally fell on her. She’s regaining her twinkle but the self-doubt that follows after being put through the ringer is exhausting. As a mom, the best feeling is when your kids learn a hard lesson and come out smiling in the end. After many discussions, I am proud of Belle for realizing that her behavior needed to change and then worked hard to change it. The questions that turned things around for her:  “Do you like who you are when you are with that person?” or “Do you feel good after you leave?” If the answer to those questions is, “No” then you need to find other friends.


Why am I explaining all of this? Because I am going on hiatus. I am a Grinch and I don’t need to spread the bah humbugs. I can’t be in the moment because some are scary and some kind of suck. Some are fine one moment and then blow up in my face. I am taking a break from Facebook and the blog and Twitter. Sometimes it just gets to be too much. Information is constantly coming in and I don’t have room in my brain to take it all in. My brain is overflowing with thoughts of biopsies, teenage troubles, ADHD, and the kids’ friends.


I will post again when I find out what is going on with Tommy. If it isn’t before Christmas, have a very Merry Christmas!

If you need me, you can shoot me an email or a text. I’ll still be plugged into them once or twice a day but otherwise, I’m taking a computer vacation and don’t worry, there will be plenty of margaritas on this end so that it will feel like a real vacation. :)



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  1. Oh my very sweet friend. I am so sorry for such a very full plate. Sometimes a hiatus can be a good thing, but know you have so many people ready to read if you want to get it out.

    Sending you much love for the holidays and beyond. You are a strong, amazing mother and you will get through these challenges with your kids- and they’ll be better for it. Thanks for being such a great example of what a good mother is- we all need to see that at times.

    Best of luck my friend. xo.
    Ashley recently posted..Creative Christmas Gift {un}WrappingMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Ashley. It means so much to me to know you’ll still be here when I come back. Your last line…the one about being a good mother…brought tears to my eyes. I have felt like anything but so it was exactly what I needed to hear.

  2. My friend, you have to do what you have to do. I admire you for recognizing the need to eliminate something from your schedule and in the grand scheme of things, WE are the least important. Go do what Mama needs to do. We’ll be here and in the meantime, know you are loved and supported :)
    Kristen recently posted..HelloFlo: Helping Daughters Take Control of Their PeriodsMy Profile

    • It feels so good to be loved and supported. Isn’t it funny that the one thing we have to let go of for a little bit is the one thing that makes us feel so good? I’m going to think of this time as taking care of things and coming up with a ton for Ten to Twenty. :)

  3. Stay strong and focused Mama! You got this! Sometimes just a eliminating a few of the little tasks helps to clear your brain so you can get done what needs to get done.

    Hoping for answers for both Tommy and Nico and don’t worry about Belle she has a wonderful role model living with her!

    Merry merry merry Christmas to your family. And don’t forget to take some time for yourself. It’s important!

    • Aw…Heather, you are such a good friend. Before I sign off, I need to make it over to your site. I’ve missed you. You are so sweet with your support. It means so much to me. Merry Christmas to your family, too!

  4. Thank you for typing that all out – of course I would have worried about you without an explanation! I will be thinking a lot of you all. Have a very Merry Christmas.
    Tamara recently posted..The One In Which Honesty Is An Understatement..My Profile

  5. Oh, GIRL. To say you have a lot on your plate is an understatement. Okay…I am SO glad she took a biopsy of the bumps. I hope that helps you guys get to the bottom of this.
    I am totally with you and the teen depression. It’s so hard to know what is “normal” and what is not. It’s a tumultuous time. I think you are *so* smart to be playing it by the books and having Nico evaluated by people who *do* know that. You don’t want to over diagnosis…but you don’t want to underplay something if it’s significant either. But you’re so right…teenage years are just tough. I don’t feel like any of us got out of them unscathed.
    The girl friendship thing is SO hard. Ugh…it’s just a different level of drama and heartache than I ever experienced with Bobby. Whew.
    I’m so glad you are taking a bit of a bloggy break. You’ve earned it, girl…the hard way. I”m just an email (or text!) away always. <3 Lisa

    • That’s the hardest part, waiting for him to be in pain again so that they can biopsy one of the bumps. You are a great friend, Lisa and I appreciate your support. I’m sure there will be texts with you talking me off the ledge (figuratively).

  6. I love you, think you are so smart, and doing such an awesome job at this motherhood gig, whether it feels like it or not. I can’t be there to hug you in person, but I hope you feel me squeezing you so hard and covering you with prayer. Again, I love you, AnnMarie. Keep holding on.
    Meredith recently posted..Antics and Answers Delivered!My Profile

  7. It sounds like you need the break!! Teenage years are tough enough without everything else you have on your plate. I’ll be wishing for the best for Tommy and all of you of course! Hang in there. We are all out here thinking of you and if you need anything, you know I am only an email or phone call away. Sending you virtual hugs! Merry Christmas to you and your family!
    Michelle recently posted..Fitmark #NiceBag Perfect for a Sports Mom on the GoMy Profile

  8. Oh, girl! You do have a lot going on. I’m sorry about Nico’s struggles. It’s such a tough age. I hope you find some answers and he starts feeling better all the way around. Taking a break from the online life is wise. Enjoy it! Merry Christmas my sweet friend!!
    Adrienne recently posted..Google™ Nexus 7 Tablet Review and Giveaway!My Profile

  9. Take that step back, girl. Sometimes, the only way to regroup and breathe is to step away. Do what’s in front of you, and know that we will always be here, whether you are offline or online or somewhere in between xo
    Ilene recently posted..A Million Little ThingsMy Profile

  10. Oh, girl. You have so much going on. Sending you so much love and prayers. Or maybe I should send you some cookies. xo
    SHell recently posted..A Christmas Eve Tradition: Magical PajamasMy Profile

  11. Oh sweet precious friend… I am SO proud of you for taking a break here, so you can truly focus on all that you have to endure in front of you with NICO AND TOMMY AND BELLE and on top of that little Gia!!

    It breaks my heart that you have to go through so much heartache and pain with your kiddos!! BUT- I am confident that every step on your motherhood path will take you and your kids to a new lace that is ‘better’. I wish leo could be around more to help you…

    I am only a text, a phone call, an email away… and certainly a drive if it comes to that!!!

    You know how much I adore you- I am here for you, as best I can be!!! Keep reminding yourself that GOD gave you these children- because HE knew you would be the perfect MOM for THEM. XOXOXO
    Chris Carter recently posted..Santa Is Mindful Too…My Profile

    • I love that you are only a text (or a drive) away (if it comes to that). I love that you know exactly what to say to me to make me feel better. THANK YOU!!!! Love you! XO

  12. I hope that my response to your post helps and doesn’t cause you more stress, if it does please feel free to scroll right on by and stop reading at any point because i only want to offer a hug and a supportive gesture. I can so totally relate to your post that I swear we may be leading parallel lives! My son was diagnosed with ADHD (also just ADD no H) a month ago and I had absolutely NO idea it was coming either. He went from being an honor student last year to having C’s and D’s this year and homework was a gigantic, frustrating struggle every single night. Testing, medication, processes, all of it is overwhelming!!!! I could go on, but I won’t because that would be dumping my issues on you but I want to say I am right there with you. You’re stronger than this you’ll get through it and you have FRIENDS who are here if you need a shoulder! Hang in there!!
    Angela recently posted..Virtual Cookie Exchange-Grandma’s Sugar Cookie RecipeMy Profile

    • Wow! Angela, we really are leading parallel lives! This comment was a huge source of support and while I hate that you are dealing with it, too, it helps to know I am not alone. Again, one of the parts of this crazy blogging world is feeling less alone. It makes me wonder WHY we can’t be like this in real life? Why don’t more people talk about how hard this is? I will read your last line over and over again. :)

      • I’ve often wondered that too. The power of hearing someone say “I’ve been there” is AMAZING and is what made me fall in love with managing online communities to begin with. Why can’t we all just admit that sometimes life overwhelms us and frankly pisses us off to the point of wanting to hide under the blankets? Wouldn’t life be better that way?
        Angela recently posted..Virtual Cookie Exchange-Grandma’s Sugar Cookie RecipeMy Profile

        • YES! 100x’s YES! Being a mom can be so isolating. It’s a thankless job and hearing that someone is going through the same things is like a weight lifted. What a relief to find out you’re not alone!

  13. I’m sorry you have so much on your plate right now! You take a good, long break and don’t worry about us. We’ll still be here, cheering you on! BTW< my daughter has the ADD, but no H thing too. Or I should say, she misses it by one point, so there are no required interventions for her, but thankfully we've had good teaches so far who are willing to work with her.
    Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted..Ask Away Friday with Melissa from Home on DerangedMy Profile

    • It helps so much to know that you guys will still be here. :) I’m not having the same luck with the teachers over here but I think it’s because it’s high school. Glad you at least don’t have that headache.

  14. I can’t even imagine having teenagers with no extra issues but boy you have a lot on your plate! You deserve a break and every margarita you have. Blogging will be here when you get back. You’ve got my prayers.
    Brittany recently posted..I Married a Jew and He Married MeMy Profile

  15. I am so sorry you are going through all of this, but I really believe we are built to deal with so much – I know you will get through this. If you need anything, you know where to find me! Take the time to rest, relax and focus on what’s important right now.
    Erica recently posted..Comment on Win a Case of Happy Tot Morning Pouches! by melissaMy Profile

  16. God bless you and your little ones… We are going through a medical issue with our youngest right now, so I COMPLETELY understand how you are feeling! XOXOX
    Jodi Flaherty recently posted..Special Holiday Offer from Babo Botanicals!My Profile

  17. AnnMarie, you more than deserve a break! We’ll miss you but family ALWAYS comes first with you. That is just one of the many reasons I adore you. Take cate of yourself while taking care of the kids though. That’s so very important and just taking a break from here isn’t going to be enough to shake the bah hum bug. Please know I have all of you in my thoughts and prayers. Much love!

  18. I’ve been thinking about you, AnnMarie. And I can totally see how you would need to take a breather. I hope you have lots of margaritas! Saying an extra prayer for you.
    another jennifer recently posted..Philanthropy Friday: Giving is a GivenMy Profile

  19. Take that much needed hiatus and come back when you are ready. We will be here! Thinking of you and your family and hope you have a happy and peaceful holiday.
    Dana recently posted..A Jew in DecemberMy Profile

  20. I understand needing a break, but, if you need anything in discussing ADD/ADHD please feel free to email me directly. I was diagnosed as an adult at age 23 (7years ago) with ADHD, & not a mild case, my brain functions at highly ADHD at all times… my daughter at age 9 this summer was diagnosed after almost failing 3rd grade now A&B’s in 4th grase (& that’s only 1 B) so I understand… my skill set is I was highly functional in math but in english I was awful… it was boring & not challenging or should I say the school system didnt challenge me… anyways, feel free to email me if you want to pick the highly ADHD chick’s brain- if you can’t tell, I ramble… I think there’s a number of mutual blogging buddies who will laugh if they see this post…LOL. Happy Friday! ~A~
    Amber Day Hicks recently posted..Part IV 120605My Profile

  21. Ann Marie, we’ll miss you… And I hope that you and your family will have a wonderful holiday and that you will get to the root of all the issues. Lots of luck and much love!!! xoxo
    Susi recently posted..Friday Fill In Fun – by AshleyMy Profile

  22. AnnMarie – Sorry I am just now reading this! You certainly have a lot on your plate and you absolutely deserve a break! I hope you get answers and are able to enjoy the holidays. I will be thinking of you and praying for you~
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted..Sunday Supper – Easy Appetizer MeatballsMy Profile

  23. Hang in there! I’m sorry all of this is hitting at once. Molly has ADHD and actually getting the diagnosis was such a blessing because it helps us understand her so much better. Her issues aren’t just in the classroom and that is actually where trying to understand how her brain works is a big help At least it gives me a little more patience when I’ve told her a million times to do something and she looks at me confused. I can also understand about the teen girl thing…girls can be so mean. Unfortunately this year Molly is hanging out with the mean girls and it’s driving me insance. Sorry also about Tommy…it must be hard for him to be sidelined. I know this summer with Aidan’s broken ankle it was agony given how active he’s used to being. Enjoy your break from the internet and your holidays :)
    Peg recently posted..Snow DayMy Profile

  24. The phrase, too much on your plate, doesn’t quite seem to do all you are going through justice. Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Sending hugs!
    Kathy Radigan recently posted..Memories Tied on the Branches of a Christmas TreeMy Profile

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