Tammi’s Story: “GeneSight Gave Us Our Daughter Back”
Tammi shared her incredible story initially with a note to GeneSight. Excerpts of her letter follow:
“In the fall of 2016, my daughter was just not the same. She would not come out of her room in the evenings after school, she would not participate in family activities, she was not talking to friends or going out with them. To get her to agree to go to movies took 2-3 days advanced planning – and, sometimes, she would just flat refuse.
Her anxiety was through the roof. I knew things weren’t right. In November, she began struggling in school. The school would call for me to pick her up early because she was unable to participate in class. Her teachers and principal began to talk about a placement for her because she was failing her classes.
This was not our child. My daughter is bright and funny and sarcastic. She is an incredible artist. She scored a 30 on her ACT.
In January, I approached our doctor about the DNA test you all offer [the GeneSight test].
Within weeks, I began to see hints of my daughter in there. Smiling, talking on the phone, and interacting with family when they visited.
By April, we felt like we had our child back. This past summer, she was out until midnight with her friends, going to the mall, readily going to the movies. We are looking at colleges; in fact, two have offered full scholarships. She started her first job.
She still struggles with anxiety and bad days, but she is able to use her coping skills and just go right on through. Her teachers can’t believe the difference from last year. It’s incredible.
I tell everyone who will listen about the impact the GeneSight test had on our family and that it gave us our daughter back.
We wanted to thank you all for what you do. I truly believe without that information, we would not be where we are today.”
Rebecca’s struggles started in elementary school. She was diagnosed with depression and social anxiety, as well as ADHD.
“We initially took her to our primary physician to treat ADHD. He prescribed medicine … and we juggled different medicines to find one that seemingly worked,” said Rebecca’s mom, Tammi.
During the winter of her junior year in high school, Rebecca experienced a crisis.
“I did not know how to be in a classroom anymore,” Rebecca says. “I felt a consistent sadness and a helpless feeling. I was scared and unmotivated to talk to anyone. I could not stop crying and I would have to leave class.” This is what depression felt like for Rebecca.
She began going to her guidance counselor, and ultimately she was sent home. She did not realize how bad her situation was until “everyone else noticed – my mom, my friends, my guidance counselor. All of them were worried.”
“I just kept thinking over and over: my heart hurts, my heart hurts.”
Genetic Testing Makes the Difference
Tammi struggled with what to do to help her daughter. Rebecca had been on a variety of different medications to manage her ADHD, depression and anxiety, but nothing seemed to be working.
Her doctor decided to increase her ADHD medicine right before Thanksgiving. But instead of helping Rebecca, her symptoms and feelings of depression became worse.
“At Christmas, she wouldn’t come out of her room and visit with her older siblings who were home from college. Rebecca cried all of Christmas Day,” said Tammi. “We were one year away from her being an adult and going to college – and I wasn’t sure how she’d ever manage.”
Ultimately, Tammi arranged for in-patient care at the Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit (CCSU) at Lifeskills. Rebecca was one of five young people in residence.
During her stay, Tammi asked Rebecca’s psychiatrist if he would order the GeneSight® test for her. He agreed. The GeneSight test showed two of the medications Rebecca was taking were in the category of “significant gene-drug interaction.” In fact, the medicine the doctor had increased before Thanksgiving was one of them, so Rebecca’s doctor lowered the dosage to what it was before and took her off one medication completely.
“And almost overnight everything changed,” said Rebecca.
Tammi soon noticed that Rebecca was like a new person. She knew how much Rebecca had changed when she heard Rebecca singing.
“I love to sing 60s and 70s pop music,” said Rebecca. “Really theatrical and dramatic songs like ‘You Light Up My Life.’”
It wasn’t until Rebecca started singing again that she and her mom understood just how bad things had gotten – and how much they had changed for the better.
The biggest difference for Rebecca was wanting to get out of bed in the morning, being excited for her day and not feeling the dread that had been her constant companion for years.
“I had friends, but I had only felt comfortable from a distance,” Rebecca said. She stayed in touch through text but not in person. Now, she was excited about the opportunities of a social life.
“My heart feels a lot lighter, it feels amazing,” she said.
What’s Next for Rebecca?
Rebecca will be heading to college in the fall and enrolling in a child and family studies or elementary education program.
“While I was in the crisis center, there were a few young boys there, all in second grade. During my free time, I would hang out and talk with them. And I realized that even though their hearts were damaged or beaten up, their perspectives were new and young and undeterred,” Rebecca said.
“They looked at things with such hope. They were so excited about small things. They were in a crisis center, but whatever chaos in their life had led them there, they were still excited about Spiderman, puzzles and how many marshmallows they could fit in their mouths. I would love to see with that perspective, through their eyes, as my job.”
Rebecca will live on campus, about an hour and a half from home. Is she ready?
“I am now,” she said. “A year ago, I would not have been.”
“We have always pushed our children to do their best,” Tammi said. “So, to have her be able to look to her future with a positive outlook and to see that she has the confidence and ability to do it is amazing to me. I’m so proud of her and all that she’s overcome. I have no doubt that she’ll do well now, and that’s good.”
If you are interested in reading or viewing more testimonials like Rebecca’s, please click here: www.genesight.com/stories.