Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our road to recovery...just around the corner

Wow...Where have I been?...I know, I know, why haven't I been doing this blog? Ok, so now it's been almost a year since my last post. Many times I've thought of coming back here, to this, but for whatever reason I haven't. I think it's partially because it is such an emotional undertaking to sit and reflect on where you are and where you aren't anymore...My little Wyatt is such a miracle. He truly is. This past year has been a blur. So many changes for us all. An emotional roller coaster, so many unknowns and so many heartbreaks. But, so many blessings. I will focus on my blessings. I will focus on my two precious boys and in this blog, on Wyatt. He is 4 1/2 and so strong and healthy. He is speaking in full sentences, full paragraphs, in fact he never stops talking. Amazing, just over a year ago he barely spoke...He is still so incredibly loving, he must tell me that he loves me at least 5 times a day..."Mommy, I love you, I just really love you", He tells me he misses me and at least once a day " Mommy, I just want you, to be with you..." and I tell him that I want to be with him all the time too. Precious. He is a little monkey, he can climb anything ( and he does, tried climbing a street light). He is playing hockey and loving it. I thought that he would get frustrated because he is still so new at skating and most of the other kids are 6 year olds and are better skaters, but he says he loves it, and he thinks he's very good at I just say "Yup Wyatt, you are such a great hockey player". I am sure one day, he will be amazing and I hope he takes after my side of the family on that one. He excels at school, he adds and spells, and knows sign language, is a little genius. But the great thing is that before, that is all he would do. Learn. Numbers, letters, spelling, he was fixated on it, but now his interests have broadened and he no longer just learns. Now he wants to play. With everyone. He is popular, he has a lot of friends in preschool, initiates play, initiates conversations. He has developed an imagination, he is a jokester, trying to make everyone laugh. He listens to his teachers. He does everything that is asked of him. Of course, he has his weaknesses, like we all do. But they are developing to be more typical each day. Autism is something that I do not think of anymore when I think of him. I never say or will I ever except anyone saying about him, that he is autistic. He is not. He was going down that road, the diagnosis was correct, but with help, prayers and will, he has taken a different path. He is recovering. I feel like there is so much that I want to do within the autism community. There are so many families that are beginning their journey and struggling. For some, they have no hope. I understand that. I was there. At my darkest hour, I couldn't see the light. I couldn't see a possibility for change, for growth. I was stuck. I was worst than stuck, I was sinking. I look back, and I don't even recognize myself. I was overwhelmed, over tasked, overworked and undervalued. I didn't value myself anymore as a person, or as a mother, let alone friend and wife. But, just along with Wyatt, I have grown. I have begun to emerge and I think we've done this together. We are moving forward together and I am excited about what is coming around the next bend...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm sitting here watching Grey's Anatomy while my beauty's sleep in their beds, and something is nagging at me to write. So here I am. I'll catch the rerun. We had a good day. Each day I see the changes emerging..some slowly, some so fast I almost don't realize it. That may sound so strange, but it's like your on pause for so long, and then someone hits fast forward and you can barely keep up. Unless you take a good hard look at where you were a few months ago, you almost don't realize the progress. I'm so busy with running around, taking Wyatt to school, and rushing back for therapy, for team meetings, cooking, cleaning, laundry, speech, the list goes on and on. But the great thing is, that there are these moments when it is just peaceful, times when the boys and I are having fun, enjoying each other. Usually it's in the car, I'll blast the music and start bopping my head and singing at the top of my lungs, and they laugh. And somtimes they dance too. Or when Colton's upset in the car, and Wyatt tries to hold his hand to make him feel better, and tells him that it's ok. Or when we pick Wyatt up from school, and he runs and hugs me, and then gives Colton huge hugs and says "hi baby Colton" with such pure glee. Or when his beautiful brown eyes stare into mine when he sees how happy he's made me, or when he's proud of himself and he sees the happiness in me. We have such a great connection. There are moms out there with children on the spectrum that don't get alot of affection from their child. They would do anything for that closeness. I am blessed. Every morning when Wyatt wakes up, he'll come into my bed and asks to cuddle. He asks me if I'm happy and tells me to rub his back and some mornings he'll let Colton plant a very sloppy kiss on his cheek. These are moments that I hold so dear to me. I can't believe how far we've come. I remember driving Wyatt to preschool last spring and on the long drive home, we would pass things, and he would say "CC", and I knew he meant, "What's that?". I remember thinking, wow, I wonder what it would be like if he just could say the words...what would that feel like?? The why's, where's, what's, and who's were something I didn't foresee happening for quite awhile, but within 4 months, he is there. It feels so amazing. To know what he wants, to see how happy he is that I get what he is saying. Everyday I see the light going on in his head a little more. He is playing with different kids at school all the time, he comes home with new names of kids all the time, and even tells stories about what they did at school. This may seem strange to some, how this is such an accomplishment, but it is. Before, I would ask him how his day was, what he had for snack, who he played with and I just got silence. Now as long as I ask the questions, I will get the answer. Hopefully soon, he'll just come home and tell me all that he did. The other day, in the bath, I noticed a scratch on his knee and I asked what happened, expecting something like "owie", mommy kiss it better." Instead I got," owie on knee, a boy did it, with blocks, but no big deal, accident." We are having mini conversations. It is a beautiful thing. He also has quite the imagination. Every morning he wakes up with what he wants to do that day. Usually it is something that we can't do, like going 0n an airplane to see papa. Or going on a train with his friend Sam, who by the way, I use him as my example for everything. Wyatt looks up to Sam, wants to be like Sam, so I use the Sam card whenever I can. Sam goes on the potty, Sam eats his food, You're a big boy like Sam, Sam doesn't use soothers(which are gone now), Sam is a big boy, so Wyatt will be a big boy just like Sam. I actually think that Colton is harder to deal with these days than Wyatt. Just regular toddler chaos, but he is harder than Wyatt now. I am so happy for that. It is so nice to be able to enjoy Wyatt, to connect, to see the changes and the progress and to know that all of the therapy and time and help and prayers are working. I am blessed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Momma Warrior

I am in the process of reading Jenny McCarthy's new book, "Mother Warriors". It is exactly what I need. I read her 1st book, "Louder Than Words" awhile ago, which is her story about her little boy and autism. It was good, gave me alot of ideas, most of which I put in the back of my mind and have sat on. This new book has inspired me. It has many mother's and one father's story on how they healed their child from Autism. This is now my goal. I will stop convincing myself that he isn't autistic and deal with the problem. I will not shy away from the label, I will work my butt off to remove it from him. Kids are healed from Autism. It is possible. It will happen to Wyatt. I will make sure of it. I have not always been the best at following through with things, probably why I haven't started any of the suggestions in the other book yet. I haven't been ready to commit. Once you commit, especially to your child, there is no going back. It is full throttle ahead at all costs. This is my mission. I want to be educated and organized on how to do this. There is so many Biomedical things that can be done to heal autism, it is a little overwhelming. I am so blessed to have a great team of people to help me accomplish this. His therapists, his pre-school, my family and friends. It takes a villiage to raise a child, it takes a villiage to heal a child. I started a new email address strictly focused on autism, healing autism and Wyatt. If anyone comes across any interesting news, articles, tv shows, ect, please forward this information to my new email address:
I feel like I am coming out of hiding, embracing this challenge, accepting the diagnosis, but changing the outcome. It is going to get better, Wyatt will be better, my family will heal.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Throw the key away

I sit here, on a Saturday night feeling a little low. We had a bad day. We go from having great days, great weeks, and one bad day and that is what I seem to focus on. Wyatt is screaming again. Oh...the screaming. It is awful. It's like he forgets for a moment that he knows how to speak and reverts back to a year ago when he had almost no vocabulary. It is like his brain is going haywire, something has set it off...and I fear that we will go back. I pray and I pray. God, please help me, help him. I know there is a key to the window, it has begun to open, more than halfway most times, and somedays it is almost shut again. WHY?? I feel so bad for him, he is now aware when his behaviour is out of control, I see it in his eyes. The right vs wrong, Jekyl and Hide thing that he can't stop. But he knows he should, he wants to...he just can't. At least not today. I think that I play a big part in what makes or breaks the day. I need to be more patient. He is so focused on making me happy, he asks me 50 times a day if I'm happy. If he misbehaves, I try to label my feelings by saying, Mommy is mad, Mommy is happy, ect. If he is a cause of my unhappiness it really bothers him, almost breaks his heart. I try to tell him, that he makes me happy, but sometimes things that he does makes me mad. I don't think he understands this concept yet. I feel that I need to do more. Maybe try the diets that others have tried, supplements, vitamins...the list goes on and on. At least then I can say that I did it all. At times like this I feel very selfish. Selfish for focusing on a few bad days instead of all of the great days. I need to stop this, it is so consuming. He really is remarkable, all of his therapists seem to think so. But, I am desperate for him to be just like all of the other 3 1/2 year old "typical"(I hate that word now) boys out there. He is not there yet. I know he'll always be a bit different socially. Like so many people are, and I am ok with that. I just want his mind to not go haywire, like some little gerbal on acid running frantically on his wheel in little Wyatts head. I see his greatness. I see his beautiful eyes looking into mine, when he's excited or happy, showing his joy with me. I see his brightness, his humor, his wit, his love for me. It's just the days when he can't seem to express himself, when he shuts down, when he's screaming and hurting and confused. Those are the days that make me angry. Those are the days that I feel like screaming myself, of telling Autism to go F itself and leave us the hell alone. But I am determined. Wyatt will be all he can be. Wyatt has passed milestones already that amazes everyone. Most people don't know that anything is amiss, unless of course it's a meltdown day. Then they think that we are bad parents who don't discipline him enough. I just feel like I am missing something. There must be a reason why his brain goes me find the answer!!...I spend more time explaining why Wyatt isn't Autistic instead of accepting that he is. I am not there yet. I don't know if I ever will be. It is not denial. It is just that he isn't quite Autistic, so to me there is a different reason, something that I haven't discovered yet. He is being gently pulled from the world that he had begun to create for himself, and loving the world that is more than just him and us. He isn't he same boy that was assessed. And I am so grateful for that. The prayers are working, the therapy is working, and he is changing. I just need to be more patient. I need to be patient, but I need to be more pro-active. So, those who read this thank you. Thanks for lighting a fire under me, writing this makes me realize that I can do more. I can help him more. Read more, talk more, listen more, be a better mom more. So here I go. I am determined that he will be pulled from this. That his window will be wide open, no screen on, no key to lock it. Help me pull the rope, pray for us. xoxo

Friday, September 26, 2008

I know, I know, it's been a long time since the last post. Thank you for all of those who gave me your feedback, much appreciated. The summer flew by and now it is almost the end of September. We spent a few weeks in August in Winnipeg, visiting my family. It was a great visit, the weather was nice and we did alot of things with the boys. I think my family noticed some changes in Wyatt, mainly his speech...he is talking! We drove home...26 hours in a van with two little boys in enough to drive anyone to divorce, but somehow Jord and I are still ok. They were actually very good for being strapped to a car seat for so long. Thankfully, Wyatt started preschool again and he is happy being busy. The last few weeks before school started was very trying. He was bored and when he's bored, poor little Colton gets the brunt of it. Good thing God made him strong, I am actually looking forward to the day that Colton doesn't back down to his bully brother. In saying that, I realize that Wyatt and Colton are becoming more like "typical" brothers everyday. Wyatt is beginning to play with him, hug him, share and seems to enjoy having his little "baby Coca" as he calls him to play with. I am so happy to see them making faces at one another and laughing and goofing off, it all seems so...normal. Wyatt has also begun therapy again, I am so blessed to have the Behaviour Consultant that we have, she is amazing. Two new Behaviour Interventionists(BI's) started and Wyatt seems so happy with them also. He is excited to play "Wyatt's Games" as we call them and happily runs downstairs and leaves me to do his therapy. It really is amazing what they accomplish in 2.5 hours. It's almost like he has his own army of people rooting for him, lifting him up and helping him succeed. That has always been my wish, for Wyatt to be able to be all that he can be. For me to find a way to bring out what I know had been locked away somewhere. And it is happening. Looking back to where we were last year at this time, and I feel so sad when I look at that picture in my mind. I was so overwhelmed, with a newborn and a toddler who was oblivious to anything other than his immediate family and surroundings. It was an awful time in so many ways, and I hate to say that, to actually admit that-but it is the truth. His screaming, and frustration almost sent me over the edge, I really am surprised that we made it through. I know in my heart that the worst is over, and God has brought me into the light. I am so proud of him. Here are a few of the changes since we started this journey:

-At 3.5 years old he is now forming sentences, at 2 he didn't even say milk. His pronunciation needs work but it is getting better.
-He happily leaves me, even reassures his brother when I leave "it's ok, baby coca, mommy be right back". He is comfortable with other caregivers, wants to go to preschool, and no tears when I leave him with others.
-He is using verbs and adjectives
-He is understanding feelings "Mommy you happy or sad?" if I tell either one that I am mad which I try to do to label my feelings, Wyatt says, "No mad mommy, mommy be happy"
-He acknowledges Colton's cries, "baby coca sad"...but only when Colton's crying has nothing to do with him...sneaky.
-He has friends, he even try's to make new ones at the park
-He mimicks what other kids do now
-He is still aggressive...he comes by that honestly(just like his dadddy)
-He is potty trained...that is so huge for us!!
-He makes eye contact
-He says hello to strangers and initiates conversation
-We are beginning to reason with him
-His tantrums have decreased from like 15 screaming episodes a day to most often only a few a week
-He has an amazing sense of humour and tries to tease and trick us all the time
-He is still so loving to us, affectionate and loves to cuddle

So, from where I was a year ago, we are making unbelievable progress!! Little Colton who by the way is huge for 14 months is also doing amazing. I do worry that something is going to change and he will somehow fall into Autism. I pray everyday and I ask everyone to pray everyday that Colton will not be affected with Autism. It is a great fear of mine. I do notice things that Colton does already that Wyatt didn't do until recently. There are no red flags with Colton right now. He points to everything, talks alot(he has like 15 words already), loves people, is social, isn't content to just sit with us for hours, asks us what things are, kisses everything and everyone and meets all of the developmental milestones for his age. So I will just hang on, waiting and watching his progress and leave it in God's hands. These last few years has taken a toll on me, mainly emotionally. I pour all I can into my kids, as all mom's do, but I fall short on so many other things. I know that I haven't been the best friend, or sister or daughter or wife that I should be. I struggle with that. I am so blessed to have amazing people in my life who let me be shitty and love me anyway. I really am bothered by that. In my past, before the kids I wasn't great at things either. The difference is that now I look back at the old me and it really bothers me how selfish I was. I had nothing in my life that I had to worry about. Nothing but me. The less I had, the more selfish I was. Now, I really do want to change that, but most times I still suck. I am so overwhelmed and so bad at juggling life that I just fall short. I will try to be better. Better because those I love deserve it. My kids, fortunately get the best of me. Most of the time. This blog is such a great outlet for me, letting my feelings out. Letting our little boys story out. I will continue writing this story for those who want to listen...

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm trying to write as fast as I can but not miss anything. I want to get myself, everyone caught up to today...I will try to sumarize...all who know me know that this isn't an easy thing for me. I did do alot of research about Autism when we were having problems with Wyatt. I did quiz after quiz but I NEVER mentioned this to anyone. He would always fall in the gray area when I did these quizes, some things fit-most didn't. I have always been somewhat interested in Autism. I had an amazing roomate when I lived overseas who researched child development and specialized in Autism research. I think God brought her to me all those years ago to prepare me...Late Nov. I took Wyatt to a Dr. that had seen him in the emergency room for an unrelated problem for a follow up. He talked to me about Wyatt's development and I began rattlling off things about Autism before he said anything about it. He agreed that Wyatt's language was delayed, that he seemed like he had some red flags for autism and that he wanted to have him evaluated. My world stopped that day. I was hysterical. I looked at my beautiful little boy and was scared. I went home to pick up Colton from Jord's mom's and when I opened the door I broke. I fell to my knees and cried so hard, it was the most raw emotion I have ever felt. She said "we know", "it's autism isn't it?" I felt like I had been slapped, stabbed, kicked and my heart was being torn from my chest. It wasn't her fault. But I was shocked that she had speculated and never said anything...but then again, how do you say such a thing to a mother??I went home, told Jordan and we both had some serious emotions that night. Tons of research, more quizzes, some things fit but then again most did not. So we were on the waiting list for an evaluation. They do not give a diagnosis easily, there is a team effort so no dr. says to you, it is Autism by himself. So, we were on the list for an evaluation, on the list for speech and so we waited...I started Wyatt in Pre-school in late January. I decided that he needed to be socialized. The school is amazing. I didn't tell them that he was going to be evaluated. I didn't mention anything about any issue aside from his obvious speech delay. I was not going to label him, I was going to take it day by day and give information as I saw fit. Maybe it wasn't the right way to do it, but it was my call. Lucky for me, I was right. He adapted so quickly to school, he loved it. We saw so many changes in him and as time crept closer to the evaluation, I became less and less worried. Don't get me wrong, it was still hard. We had great days and we had shitty days. He was either happy or he was sceaming, but when he was at school, he was happy. With being on the wait list for the ASD(autism spectrum disorder) assesment, I was put in touch with the local family resourse center. They have a play group for infants and because of Wyatt's potential diagnosis, Colton could go there to be monitored. It was there that I met the most amazing person. God works in amazing ways. I went to a play group and we had a meeting and I recognized a lady from Wyatt's school. Her son was in Wyatt's preschool class and he was also being evaluated in April with Wyatt. We began to talk. Or more like I talked, and talked and I still talk to her about everything. She has seen it all and is who I lean on alot during this. She makes me feel normal. Makes me feel like Wyatt is normal and that life will be ok. As it turns out her son was not diagnosed with any ASD, but Wyatt and him are best little buds. The day came for part 1 of the assesment, he did everything they asked of him cognitively, but didn't make alot of eye contact with the physcologist, ect..., part two came and the diagnosis came...
He was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, which is Pervasive Development Disorder-not otherwise specified. Which means he in on the autism spectrum, but does not meet all of the criteria for a diagnosis of autism. It is very confusing, and technical for those who don't follow the lingo. In a nutshell here is where Wyatt was at the assesment: He is very smart, I mean very very smart...intellectually he scored more like a 5 year old then 3 yr old. He is affectionate, loving to us. He makes eye contact with us, shows joint attention, he doesn't have any sensory issues or repetitive behaviours/or interests(He often likes a certain thing for awhile and concentrates on that subject, but moves on to other things which is typical). His language was put at an 18month-2year old, he doesn't make alot of eye contact, doesn't engage with strangers. Basically his weakness were in language, eye contact and initiating interactions with people outside of his everyday world.
After the diagnosis, I actually felt a bit of relief. We knew what we were dealing with and with a diagnosis came funding. Money to be used to help our guy. I got right on things, the next day I had called everyone on the list they gave me and I waited for Wyatt to start therapy. So here we are now, 6 weeks into therapy...and what a blessing it has been. Really, this whole journey so far has been a blessing. Looking back I can see that now. Probably because I see Wyatt's window opening up,and the view is so beautiful...

Crazy times

I was completely overwhelmed and had a bad case of the baby blues after Colton came. With both of the boys I did get depressed after they were born. I never had any crazy thoughts towards them, I was happy with them, but miserable with myself and my life. I thought that I failed as a mother, a wife, a friend, a person. I couldn't get ahold of my life. Nothing seemed mine anymore. The baby blues lasted for about 4 months with Colton, but I think alot of that was mixed emotions about our little Wyatt. There was a moment in time when I think we both knew that we were dealing with something more than typical behaviour. We were at a halloween kid party at the local community hall and both of our boys were dressed up along with a bunch of other toddlers. There were games, snacks, fun stuff for the children. There was a bowling pumpkin game that Wyatt loved. He just wanted to play it over and over. Other kids wanted their turn and he would be pretty patient about waiting but did not want to try any other games. We tried persuading him with treats, other games but no luck. He finally blew up, screamed so loud the whole hall stopped, was silent and everyone stared at us. Jord took him outside for a timeout, we tried again, more screaming, then we left. On the way home we had a good talk. We were sad for Wyatt and sad for ourselves. We just wanted to enjoy taking him places, showing him things, involving him in things, but unlike most parents, we were always battling the meltdowns. It's hard to watch friends and family with kids the same age as yours who don't have these issues. It makes me sad. We knew that we needed some answers.