Friday, 27 February 2015

Updates on School and Medicinal Cannabis

I have so many things to think about right now that it is hard to focus on topics for my blog.  For now it will have to be updates.  I can’t tell you yet, about the two projects that I am working on but they both involve autism and me!  Both projects involve executive functioning skill, some of which I find hard to come by!  Organizing, planning, putting things in motion- it is a slow process and I hope that both projects come off as expected.  

Micah is still doing amazingly well at school and has only missed one day so far and that is in the current second semester.  She was sick.  She had two exams (Science and English) and two projects (Learning Strategies) to finish out first semester.  Her marks were 95%-98%.  Her anxiety started increasing before then, so she switched back to once a week therapy.  Here is a link to a video about a boy who takes the same kind of therapy at the same farm as Micah.  Her self-advocacy skills are improving at school.  She has three credit course periods and two non-credit course periods (lunch is one) in the day.  In first semester, first period was in the ASD class and was Learning Strategies; second period is integrated with an EA along for support; third period is lunch (this year) which the whole ASD class chooses to eat in their classroom and not the noisy cafeteria; fourth period is integrated with EA support, and fifth period is non-credit in the ASD class.  It is officially social skills but it is usually homework help and relaxing before home time with board games or socializing (those are the true social skills, not rote learning things that even allistic kids don’t do!).  It is now second semester and Micah has a lighter course load- ASD literacy (prep for the grade 10 literacy test), vocal music, and computer technology.  Because Micah is doing so well, a staff member suggested to her that since she has a lighter course load, she might want to take another course fifth period.  She was able to say no and when she told me, I agreed.  Yes, she academically could do it but, psychologically she isn’t ready.  She needs that time at the end of the day to get any homework explained and to just relax to bring the anxiety of the day down before coming home.  She mentioned that her teacher would be calling to talk to me and that it would be brought up.  I reassured her that things would stay the same.  Another day, Micah came home and said that it had been suggested that she might want a different course for first period in second semester instead of the ASD literacy in her own class.  The reasoning was that she has now completed grade 9 applied English so she would already have the skills to complete the mandatory grade 10 literacy test that is needed for graduating.  It makes sense.  The teacher already knew what Micah’s answer would be and said so to the staff member who had recommended the change.  When the teacher brought it up with Micah, Micah was able to speak up for herself and said no!   Another day, she was also able to advocate for her needs to one of the other boys in her class.  They all like to sit side by side at lunch.  Her anxiety is worse right now so she told the one boy that she could not have him squished between her and another boy as they usually sat.  She has to be really comfortable with someone to let them be that close anyway.  She told him that she needed her space right now.  He got upset, which is understandable when you are used to something a certain way but Micah stood her ground (idiom meaning didn’t change her mind) and she told him no for several days.  She had been helping classmates with their end of first semester projects in a couple of classes and one day she even called to ask if she could stay after school to perfect a project.  It was an electrical circuit that was not working as it should.  The science teacher had told the class that they could come in and work after school so Micah worked on it through her fifth period and then took it up to the science room after school to continue to work.  She was the only one in the class who chose to do so!  She is doing so many things in school that she has never done before.  High school seems to be a good fit!  Second semester seems to be starting out well also.  A few hiccups but overall good.  Micah even had a friend over and is going to his house next.  

My medicinal cannabis prescription was finally approved by the legal producer that I chose.  I called and asked which type would be best for me to try and then ordered it.  I know I wrote down what the man said about the different types but can’t remember where I put it!  I got my order and it came with a grinder and a mat.  The product itself smells really bad- unless you happen to like the smell of marijuana!  If you remember from a previous post, I don’t want to smoke it- I have asthma and my mother died of lung cancer.  I came up with other ideas on how to get it into me.  The two things I was certain of were that it had to be heated to not too high of a heat and it had to be mixed with fat to release the cannabinoids.  I knew I was also going to make capsules but wanted other options.  I thought, okay, then I could also add it to my pancakes in the morning, baking, tea etc.  The capsules that I bought from the dispensary did not have a strong taste when I opened the higher dose ones to add half a capsule to peanut butter.  The man I talked to at Tilray tried to tell me which strain was best for me and my anxiety and said that it can’t be heated too much or the active ingredients vapourize.  He recommended putting cannabutter on my pancakes instead.   I don’t understand the difference between baking it in cookies and adding it to pancakes but there seems to be!  He said someone decarboxylates it before using it for her son.  Everything seems to be far more complicated than I thought!  I guess it is easier to smoke it.  I figured I would measure a certain amount, put it in some oil, heat it a bit, and put it in capsules.  Turns out, you have to heat it at a set temperature for the right amount of time, either in a crock pot or double boiler.  The amount of cooking time seems to vary depending on website 1½-6 hours.
I froze and couldn’t do anything for a few days.  Too many things to learn.  My decision for my first four grams was to decarboxylate the whole order and then make capsules.  It really made the house stink!  I am learning and I think it will be easier to make the capsules next time. 
When I finally had a day where I didn’t have to drive, I tried one.  I didn’t feel as relaxed as I did with the type I got from the dispensary.  It could be that I have the wrong strain for me or maybe I messed up in the making of the capsules.  I think I will try a different strain next time but I will try taking an increased dose of what I have.  I usually take 0.1 grams and will try 0.2 grams.  I might try baking with it also.

Overall things have been going along as usual.  Lots of upsets and some smooth periods.  I'm still doing my singing lessons.  We working up to being able to perform at a recital.  I have worked my way up from lessons at home to the music school, to the stage, and now the stage and microphone.  More work to do but I am getting there.  It seems to help somewhat with my confidence (even though it also causes some anxiety).