The more I research Munchausen Syndrome, the more it fits Katie. It is like they are actually writing specifically about her. Reminds me of when I looked into Borderline for Nichole. It was so dead on, that there was just no doubt. There was a point when I thought, due to behaviors, that Katie might also have borderline....but in my research I no longer believe so. People with muchausen will push away people who don't buy into their drama for two reasons 1. if you don't believe them there is no sympathy/attention to be gained and 2. you might convince others around them that the dxes they claim to have do not exist. Thereby depriving them of the sympathy/attention they crave. The last thing you want to do is appear to accept their dramatic illnesses as it feeds the disorder making it worse. Yet if you call them on it, you're likely to have them end the relationship completely or at best keep you at a distance to where you can't affect their close contacts. In other words, pretty much a no win situation. Someone with munchausen knows they don't have anything wrong with them. It's not like hypochondria where the person believes they are sick. A person with munchausen desperately wants something to be wrong with them so they can be the center of attention, but they know they are healthy. They will also deliberately not seek medical attention for known issues hoping to make them worse. The danger with that is that they wait so long (because they've usually cycled through the bulk of nearby docs and none believe them) that they can cause death. This is bad enough. But Katie also has Munchausen by Proxy. Now this I suspected years ago when Kayla and Alex were just babies. Unlike other mothers, from katie you rarely if ever hear anything about cute things her kids have done/said or their accomplishments. If she talks about any of them it is about how sick they are. Another variation is how uncontrollable and violent Alex is. It explains those weird phone calls I got after Alex was born about him rolling off the bed, out of the infant swing, and her "dropping" him. (I believe she shook him or deliberately dropped him on his head) It explains why an infant born perfectly normal without incident was no longer normal by 6-8 wks of age. Kayla was almost 5 months old when Katie arrived on our doorstep. There was no baby fat on her, she was malnourished. Within two feedings I saw that Katie was seriously underfeeding her. A 5 month old does NOT take just 2 oz of formula. I had to take over feedings almost immediately as Katie would flat out ignore me when I told her that was not enough for her to eat. Katie slept on the couch in the livingroom with Kayla in a playpen. It didn't take long before Kayla had to be moved into mine and husband's room for her own protection as I caught Katie literally throwing her into the playpen in the middle of the night. And yes, there is more and it is worse. At the time I though perhaps it was a combination of failure to bond, postpartum depression, regular depression, and lack of parenting skills. Katie learned to get sneaky about it. Until those weird incidences with Alex where she'd call me.....deadpan voice, no concern, then tell me he was fine and she would refuse to take him to the ER. (now of course that makes perfect sense) I can only imagine what Kayla and Alex endured after she ran back to Mo. I do know from both Kayla and Alex that Even was severely malnurished. To have both kids amazed at a chubby baby and make a big deal commenting how their little brother was no more than skin over bones is disturbing. We all know when she showed back up here when he was 3 that he was under developed and severely behind his peers. Deliberate. Don't doubt the same is true with both Kayla and Alex. (although kayla had me working with her before she left with preschool stuff and I made sure she hit developmental milestones.....tried with Alex but the damage had already been done) Now Alex "supposedly" has asthma. I seriously doubt it, no, actually I don't believe it for a minute. She never had his medications or inhaler. Last time they were here he and the other kids were wrestling around with Maggie having a grand time. The boy was out of breath due to exertion. Normal out of breath, breathing the same as his sibs. Katie made a big deal that he had to sit down he was having an asthma attack and she had forgotten his inhaler. Phht. I told him to catch his breath, then told him to go play he was fine. In all the time Alex has been here I have never seen a single symptom of asthma, and I'd know if I had. Katie told us Kayla was going to have surgery soon and she wanted Nichole and I there with her. Flat out lie. I caught her in it as I decided to pin her down for a date (c'mon we needed to know if we were gonna be there) and I did so in front of Kayla who told me the truth. doctor had said if her tonsils kept giving her issues she *might* have to have them out eventually. omg Kayla was not in the least worried about it. Since the last blow out.........every single time I've communicated with her it is 1. she is sick 2. the kids are sick 3. her mom is not following doctor orders and or driving her insane. She does not do much talking when we're on an outing.......more causal conversation. If I think back over the years? This is pretty much the bulk of any communication with her. Rarely if ever does she talk about all the little things a parent normally talks about when it comes to their kids. I know zilch about how she spends her time except that it seems the bulk of it is spent in bed with her "headaches" and that information is backed up by her biomom and Kayla. The only time she ever talked about school in relation to a child was to get Alex his IEP (yes, I helped with that long distance, the kid needs it) and when Evan was in kindergarden and I am fairly certain she was trying to push for him to receive the same dxes as Alex although the only thing wrong with Evan is gross neglect. Thankfully the school agreed with me. Biomom, unknowingly, confirmed many of my suspicions when it comes to Katie. Katie, for years, has tried to convince people she has chari malformation. I admit to falling for it to some degree at first........until I did research..........and until I remember that Katie was sitting on the porch with me the day bff received her diagnosis and went into detail explaining it to us as the fam doctor had explained it to her. Fam doctor was gravely worried as it can be a serious diagnosis and deadly. What fam doctor did not know, because he's not a neuro, is that if it is other than the very mild type (which basically does nothing to you) the child will die in infancy, life expectancy is extremely short. Katie was not present when bff came home from the neuro and much relieved revealed this bit of news. I had never bothered to tell Katie this part because she never asked and at that point it was just no big deal. Now chari malformation is rare to begin with......and even the mild form is not difficult to diagnosis, one has a MRI and there it is. I do recall Katie telling me she had a MRI at one point for her "migraines" nothing showed up and docs have ignored her when she wanted another. Katie also fakes seizures. I have no clue what symptoms she uses to do this. She has been careful NOT to do it around the family. Good thing as we'd call her on it immediately, we have experience with several different varieties along with medical training. (which is most likely why we never see them) She makes out like she is on death's door each and every time she has one.......has in the past (and might here too I dunno) had M call an ambulance to run her to the ER. Now unless one has a seizure that just does not quit.....or for some other medical reason, there is no reason for either the ambulance or the ER. Obviously docs, with all the zillions she's seen, tests she's had, do not believe her. Not one in either Mo or ohio has believed her. They don't believe her with the migraines either. Now migraines is a fairly subjective diagnosis.......docs tend to believe people when it comes to this. So if they're not believing her.......I'm guessing that between the so called chari malformation, the seizures, and the migraines.........they've got her pegged. Katie does have lymph edema in her legs rather severely. She has been told by at least 3 docs that I know if to get up and WALK to help drain off that edema. Her risk of a blood clot is high with her legs that swollen. And now biomom tells me her feet often have a blueish tinge. Dangerous. The problem is.........that biomom is not bright enough to figure out on her own her daughter is faking it. I did flat out tell her Katie does NOT have chari malformation and that I seriously doubt she is having any form of seizure. I also cast doubt on the migraines as I don't know many people who suffer from them the way she claims to suffer yet deliberately ingest known triggers every single day. Biomom was surprised, but she didn't argue. Which makes me think she does at least have some doubts of her own. I worried she would go home and confront Katie......but it seems she has not, because I didn't hear about it. M was startled silly when I called Katie on the chari malformation at my kitchen table, the look he gave her spoke volumes. I have no trouble believing she has convinced M and biomom she is dying from the chari malformation. I have a sneaky suspicion she has convinced them the lymph edema is part of the chari thing, when in fact it is simply because she won't get up and move. Trouble is, it seems with people who have muchausen talking to them doesn't work......it doesn't seem you can convince them that wanting attention so desperately that you hope for a grave illness is not normal, in fact insane. Treatment doesn't seem to work, at least with what I've found. (I guess a mental illness is not serious enough or the right kind of illness for them) I certainly have no clue how to deal with the issue except to be careful not to enable the behavior......which means ignore it as outright calling her on it can alienate her. Now if it weren't that she also displays munchausen by proxy, I'd simply call her on the behaviors, detach, and get on with life. But because we know the kids have been caught up in this disorder and suffered due to it? I'm sticking with trying not to enable at this point. Although I do have an outright issue with lying, so that is gonna cause some problems should biomom continue to outright ask me point blank because I will tell her the truth. Which is what I did during our lunch. I do notice a pattern somewhat. Katie is not overly bright. So far she has chosen dxes she has come into contact with, evidently too lazy to even look new ones up online. Chari malformation / my bff Seizures/ her bro Alex autism / her bro (yes he has it, but would he have had without the brain injuries?) Alex CP/MRDD / her bro (born normal, she caused the brain injuries) migraines / her bff from hs school kayla dyslexia / Nichole (not related as Nichole's is brain injury related due to birth trauma) Now here is something else I find interesting. Biomom has also been a victim of munchausen by proxy. Remember before Katie arrived here and up until her mother joined her she told me repeatedly that her mothers hands were crippled and deformed with arthritis and that is the reason she was gong to try to get her disability?? Uh, another flat out lie. I observed her mother's hands for quite a long time. No deformity whatsoever and no complaints about "arthritis" or otherwise. Noting this during our lunch, I just had to ask why she was granted disability. (her back issues that day were due to a bad fall, not any dxes) Memory issues is why she has disability. I was stunned. Although I do recall Katie mentioning that after she had told me she'd gotten disability for her mom. Now while we were talking I thought it odd that seems biomom and I share the exact same symptoms on this and they display the exact same way. Yes, I came right out and asked her. I also asked her if she'd had a head injury or stroke. Biomom said no, she had no clue why she had memory problems. She wasn't even really aware she did until Katie started bringing it up to her. Now I have to say that in the 30 yrs I've known biomom, I've known from the beginning one has to be careful talking with her as she is very susceptible to power of suggestion. I don't doubt with some effort Katie could've convinced her she has the same memory issues I do. This didn't quite dawn on me completely until I was explaining the reason biomom was accepted for disability to easy child last night. One doesn't simply have a sudden onset of said memory issues for no reason. These issues are fairly typical of a brain injury. Soooooo..... biomom memory issues / me. Hmm. The very dangerous part of this diagnosis is it gets worse over time as the person gets more desperate to be believed whether for themselves having an illness or a family member. I'm not so worried for Katie (I have no control over what she does/doesn't do concerning herself). I am worried for the grands, with good reason. Now I have to add biomom to the list........and there is a new twist as biomom is type 2 diabetes and katie is milking that one for all it is worth. ugh (although I am not so sure this is diagnosed by a doctor or katie, Know what I mean?? biomom has not yet said) I also find myself wondering seriously if those photos of M / kayla online weren't deliberately taken and placed there via katie herself. (not saying he didn't consent to them being taken or whatever) It would explain why she continues to tolerate it and not leave the situation. Another sort of drama.......perhaps to keep M set up as her fall guy in case anyone finds out that Katie is doing things to make her kids ill or caused Alex's dxes?? Possible, but I dunno. Could just be the drama or to keep him under control. M certainly seems totally unaware family has seen those photos. While we did not confront him, Katie should have. Know what I mean?? I find it difficult to believe M would have no issue with his mother in law or sils seeing him buck naked......one would expect at the very least an awkwardness, especially since we so strongly disapprove. I think this is the reason communication is basically kept to text, and prior to that emails or fb and myspace. Katie knows she can't lie to me. I catch her every darn time, her body language is like a neon sign. Even the tone of her voice changes, so usually I can pick it up over the phone. And to be honest? She can't even keep her lies straight. One time she'll tell you one thing, five mins later tell you the opposite. The only times I've gotten the truth is when there is someone around to call her out......such as M, biomom, or the kids. And yes, I admit to shamelessly using them to do it. I know from biomom Katie refuses to go to docs while constantly in search of a new one for herself/the kids. This is typical. And she has a long history of this as well. Once docs become suspicious or won't do the tests whatever because there is no reason, she drops them and looks for a new doctor. According to biomom she also stopped taking the kids to the doctor the summer after they arrived, which is nearly 3 yrs ago. They go to the ER, frequently, along with her. Knowing our ER staff, and I do, I don't doubt they strongly suspect. So far....she has not, that I'm aware of, resorted to anything that would put the kids life in danger. This may sound silly.......but I've been hearing Alex is doing much better in school, he is learning to multiply.......when he arrived he couldn't count without using his fingers. (he was 8) I've also heard from biomom that Evan is doing kindergarden level work this year and is not having any issues behavioral or academically. That worries me because for quite a long time....years....both boys have been her means of attention seeking. If Evan is now functioning normally and Alex is catching up to his peers to some degree........ Will she feel the need to do something to change that? From all the info I've gathered either deliberately or not, over the years katie has been unsuccessful in her attempts with herself, unfortunately the opposite is true with Alex......although she failed with Evan thus far. I have noticed there are comments about Alex being violent and uncontrollable. I know for a fact this is not happening at school. His teachers adore him. I have never seen such an outburst from him.......except one provoked by M unintentionally. With GN having recently lost her son to still birth, it has also brought to the forefront of my mind Katie's own "alleged" stillborn son Matthew, who was a couple of years before Evan. This is going to sound horrible, but katie lies so frequently to gain sympathy that for quite some time I wondered if this child even existed except in her mind. It wasn't until M verified his existence that I truly believed her. If I recall correctly, he would've been born not that long after their return to Mo, which would've made him about 2 yrs younger than Alex, maybe 3 but I don't think it was that long. Kayla and Alex have only mentioned visiting his grave. I don't think they have any real memories of him, or have not spoken of any to this point. Katie told me he was still born. All I have is her word on that. Given what the other 3 endured during their first months of life.......I have to wonder if he passed away prior to birth or after in her care. I know in her journal (yes, I shamelessly read it when I discovered it) that she blames herself for his death and she has not gotten over it to any real degree. When I first read it I just thought it unusual she was carrying on so (entry after entry after entry) so long after his death. That is a typical reaction of a parent, but usually as they work through their grief they realize it is not their fault, such things happen. To still be lamenting about it to such a degree some 6 yrs later seems odd. Now? I have to wonder why. Especially given descriptions of Evan as an infant basically has him emaciated and that he rarely stopped screaming (well if I was starving, I'd be screaming too) told to me by M, and Kayla and Alex. A typical response to having lost a child is to be over protective of the other children. Not sure where I was going with this. I think I just needed to put it into print as I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it. I have much experience with many other mental illnesses. This one? nothing except katie's behavior. I find it difficult if not impossible to understand craving attention to that degree. Usually munchausen is comorbid with another personality disorder. I still believe the sociopath is a strong possibility because how else does one deliberately injure an infant in hopes of causing issues and still manage to live with themselves? Guess I'm just worried. Katie has been pretty darn quiet lately, basically texting me only when I text her first. I don't think she is happy that I took biomom to lunch, and I know she is not happy that I've invited her to the girl's day out this weekend. We are, as a family unit, working to pull both M and biomom into the family. It is important, in my opinion, that we have as many sources as possible as to what is going on in that household. I know no other way to try to keep the grandkids safe. It may have the added benefit that IF either M or biomom are suspecting anything, if they develop a closer relationship with us.....they will bring it up on their own. I just don't know what else to do with this.