A story of P.A.N.D.A.S.
Thane RobertsMy twelve year old niece's raw, personal account of her struggle with P.A.N.D.A.S BEWARE OF THE VICIOUS PANDAS: Alright, before I start, let’s get the facts straight: PANDAS is not a cute animal, it is the complete opposite. PANDAS is an acute disease. PANDAS stand for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococci infection. PANDAS is a very horrible infection to the brain. It can make you feel like a piece of crap all the time. When I had PANDAS, I had many thoughts and feelings about getting sick. I was taking many medicines. I had to take steroids, azithromycin, and a lot of other yucky medicines. My mom was a part time nurse and whenever she left, I would cry and scream and beg to come with. I was full of anxiety and was always worried and nervous. I just couldn’t think right. I was so scared to get sick. My worst fear was puking. If I felt ready to puke, I would literally have a panic attack. I think I might be getting ahead of myself. The story begins on a winter ride home from Sedona. On the way home, we stopped at a Christmas light “show.” On the way there, I wanted to sit next to my mom and I didn’t want anything to eat or drink until the car was stopped and we got out. I had a lump in my throat and was really close to tears. I was scared. I didn’t know why I was feeling this way. When we got home we had to go to bed and I was really scared to sleep. In the morning, I didn’t want to go to school and I was fighting to stay home. I stayed home and wouldn’t eat a thing. I didn’t want to go to school every morning. My mom talked to the very sweet secretary. She came outside and I hid in the back of the car. She took me out and talked to me politely about it. Before the bell rang at 8:15, she let me sit at her desk and talked to me very sweetly and kindly. She was my “school admirer.” I loved her because she would understand me and talk to me and she would always walk me to class, and be there for me. She was like my “school mommy.” In December, it was my friend’s birthday party. We went shopping and after that my friend said that she wanted to go to in n’ out burger for lunch. Now normally that would be a treat, but not this time! We went to the fast food restaurant and her mom asked if we wanted to eat inside or outside. I knew I might cry so I said I wanted to eat outside so people wouldn’t stare at me if I did cry. When we got outside, I started crying. I said I didn’t want to eat fast food and then my friend’s mom had to call my mom. My dad picked me up after work and brought me home. He cooked me a cheese crisp. I ate it and was really happy. I told my mom, “Aren’t you happy I came home because then I can help clean?” She said that it probably be more fun to be at the party. Another day I watched the video Supersize Me. If you don’t know what it is, I’ll tell you. The video is about a guy who eats McDonalds (lunch, breakfast, dinner) every day and he throws up and gets really sick. After I watched it, I was grossed out and never wanted to touch fast food again! That is the reason I was so scared to eat at in n’ out burger at my friend’s party. There are so many silly reasons that scared me and made me very worried and scared to eat fast food. Even food poisoning gave me an awkward feeling! One day, I decided I did not like the way the boys ate. I couldn’t eat my lunch. Watching him made me feel sick to the stomach. I was lonely and had no friends in my class. In a different class, I had only one friend who was caring and kind. She was always including me and she also understood how I felt. Today we are BFF’s! I told my mom how much I hated lunch and she told the principal. The principal was notified and let the office secretary know. The secretary let me and a friend eat together in a desk in the office. Somedays at home I would cry and cry and one day was too much for me. I was screaming, I didn’t eat lunch, breakfast, and when I thought I was going to hurl I cried for a“puke pill.” I told my dad to go get the gun. I was crying, SHOOT ME! SHOOT ME! Everyone was scared and even I was. Every week it seemed, I had a doctor’s appointment. My regular doctor said it was a mono and my mom doubted it. She changed to a different doctor and was researching all the stuff that was wrong with me. I had ticks, such as blinking a lot, and always sniffed my nose, and coughing really lightly many times when I did not have a cough. Finally my mom found out I had PANDAS. She took me to doctors and I got many treatments. Anyway back to the horrible night, and my last night of PANDAS. I was tired out. All my favorite foods I would not touch and I had gone three days with no food or water. When I finally woke up in the morning I chugged a whole glass of water. I lay in bed with my mom and soon I felt like I was going to throw up. I didn’t care really; I went across the room and puked water all over the carpet. My mom was sleeping and when she woke up she cleaned it up. She brought me to Wal-Mart and let me choose one food to eat. I chose my favorite; Goldfish. My mom bought them and when we came home I slowly ate the goldfish. My mom gave me some medicine; steroids and I said I felt much better. Every night I couldn’t fall asleep. Some of the reasons why is because, I didn’t want to wake up in the night and throw up! Another reason was I was scared of the dark and wanted to be with my mom and dad. After a while I started taking melatonin, a sleeping pill, and it would sometimes help! But I would still worry for a while before I fell asleep, from the pill. I would get late nights and on the mornings of school I would kick and fight to wake up. My family put ice down my back, threatened to poke my butt with a pin, and even dumping water on me! I hated it. Even on really bad mornings my mom and dad would have to get me in my clothes and drag me in the car. On the way to school I would hide in the back so it would be harder to take me out. I had about 18-20 missed days to school and probably 15 tardy’s I just hated school. A lot of people at school would think I was weird I could never find the right friends that would understand and comfort me. I just was a 0 friend person. I was bullied more than an average person and like I said nobody liked me. I was never popular, never could be. But sleep was my worst thing ever. I was totally active now, that night was the church program for Christmas and I was feeling almost completely revived! My mom said that her mom has given a present to her and she said I could open it. It was a very rare/expensive doll. I was feeling so happy and at the program I was eating cookies like a normal person. I was finally feeling good but I was still on azithromycin until I felt like a normal person. After maybe a year I was feeling normal and I was actually human! I took azithromycin for just a while longer to make sure PANDAS would not come back! When I got in 5th grade I only had 1 good friend. My other friend that moved in 4th grade was gone so I only had to depend on 1 person. I had amazing teachers that knew that I had PANDAS and would always give me that comfort I needed. Sometimes I wanted to cry and I would be kind of scared to throw up. But other than that I was good! Closer to the end of the year I was just a brand new person. I felt like I just got born and I was flying high sky all the time. Today, I am a normal 12 year old girl and am living the almost good life. I love school, no actually I hate it but still, school is fine! I have a healthier diet and thanks to my Uncle Thane, who lived with us for a while, I was actually feeling better than normal. My uncle had Lyme disease from a deer tick. We gave him a room at our house. He had the weirdest diet ever. Lamb meat, a lot of fruits and veggies and he was on like a million meds. He gave me lots of his meds and told me to eat healthy. After he moved out, I missed him, but he is the one who literally saved my life from my nasty one year experience of PANDAS! I am grateful for the times people such as mom, dad, the secretary, my Uncle Thane, and my brothers and sisters for being patient with me and understanding my feelings. Without them, I would not be the same today. My uncle and my mom also taught me to be a complete health nut! I am always eating healthy food and can NOT eat too much sugar. If I do, I get sugared out and feel like I am sick. I just can’t stand too much sugar! I am scared of germs, constantly washing my hands, and trying not to share my germs. I always make sure that I am not sharing with others and that I stay a healthier person. I would also recommend you to stay healthy also. Healthy is the right way! If you aren’t sure about being healthy you should totally watch Supersize me then you’ll know what I am talking about! I feel like a million bucks now, thanks to everyone I know, but the hauntings of PANDAS still haunt me to this day. I’ll never do anything to get pandas again, not even 999 billion dollars. I want to stay me!