Archive for April, 2008

What, me worry?

April 30, 2008

I’ve always been something of a professional worrier.

When I was little I was always worried about dying. All it would take was having a simple stomache and I would ask my parents, “Am I going to die?” “Am I going to be ok?” As I got older I graduated to more common worries that I suppose most people have like school, relationships, jobs, etc.

When my wife and I first got married, I actually wasn’t that worried about being a husband. It didn’t seem like rocket science to me. I knew it would take work, but I also knew that by doing the things that made us such a great couple before we were married (communication, prayer, etc.) that we would have an awesome marriage. And we have all these years.

But the thought of being a parent was definitely something that gave me cause for worry. I could wrap my head around being married, but being a parent? Now that was something I just couldn’t comprehend or even imagine that I’d be very good at.

When we found out my wife was pregnant, I was naturally thrilled…and also racked with worry! I had what I guess would be the typical first-time father worries, but also the nagging suspicion that somehow things wouldn’t work out for me like they do for most people.

In addition to the lifetime battle with worry, I’ve also had my share of esteem issues all these years. Where this comes from I haven’t a clue. I’ve always had an incredibly supportive family, teachers, friends, etc. and for the most part I’ve avoided any colossal failures throughout my life. But for some reason I always am convinced that I won’t be able to live the life that I imagine other people do.

This way of thinking has affected me throughout college, jobs, etc. I even remember being convinced that I would be one of the only people in the world who wouldn’t be able to figure out how to drive a car.

Anyway…back to the point I was trying to make. I was so worried and convinced that I would be a horrible parent or that something would be wrong with my child. So it was a great relief to me the day our son was born. I didn’t pass out in the delivery room. I was actually somewhat helpful and supportive in there too if I do say so myself. (This should have come as a surprise. During one of our pre-birth classes, we watched a video of a birth and when the baby’s head starting coming out, I leaned over to my wife and said, “What the heck is that?!”)

I was so relieved to see that my son had 10 fingers and 10 toes and that he didn’t seem to have any kind of birth defects. This doesn’t mean I still wasn’t a total wreck (I almost barfed/crapped my pants when it came time to leave the hospital) but I was gaining a little confidence.

In the weeks/months that followed, I still had my share of worries/anxieties about everything in life, but I felt like I was learning this Dad job pretty well. I was changing poopy diapers, getting him to eat, having a blast playing with him, etc.

For some reason, I did have this nagging suspicion that something wasn’t quite right, but everyone always told me that boys developed slower so I tried not to dwell on it too much. But of course, the good times didn’t last and we soon learned of our son’s autism diagnosis. While it seemed to me that everyone else I know gets to have this awesome parenting experience, my path suddenly would be much different.

So what’s the point of my rambling today? Well, if you’re a worrier/hypochondriac like me, then having to deal with autism really is not fun. Now on top of the autism, we’re dealing with all the toxic buildup my son has. It’s starting to really wear me down. In the past on a good day, I felt lucky to make it through without having a nervous breakdown. Now, this worrier gets to think about all things autism, toxins, getting toxins out of the house, getting my son to eat, etc.

This is probably the worst possible scenario I can imagine for the perpetual worrier/hypochondriac. Everywhere I look now I’m convinced something is poisoning my son. Even if we’re able to do the chelation effectively and get this crap out of his body, who knows how much junk is floating around out there that can still get in.

Fortunately for the world, I’m not a person with very destructive tendencies. When dealing with something like this, I can see where some people go off the deep end and do things to try to escape. I guess my only real vice for me so far has been a bit of eating stuff I probably shouldn’t. But unless I gain 200 pounds, I guess there could be worse things.

Sorry for writing a mini-novel today. You may be thinking that I shouldn’t ‘worry my pretty little head off.’ That might be sound advice, but unfortunately I’m bald.

A Letter To My Son

April 24, 2008

I don’t know where the time has gone.
It seems like only yesterday that we were planning for your arrival.
I worried so much about my abilities to take care of you.
Could I change a diaper? Could I hold you correctly? Could I calm you when you were sad?
It’s as if I’ve blinked and now you’re a beautiful little boy.
Curlyhaired, dimpled cheeks, the bluest of blue eyes.
A two-and-a-half year old free spirit who has captured my heart.
I feel like I’ve failed you.
I told you I would protect you and keep you safe.
But even with all my best efforts, you were diagnosed with autism.
How did this happen?
Was it the vaccines?
I had a sinking feeling every time you were immunized that this could be a mistake.
I may not have done the best job of protecting you then, but I will give every last ounce I have to helping you heal and recover.
I certainly do not love you any less because of your autism, but because I love you so much, I will fight for you.
Therapy, biomedical treatments…whatever it takes.
The world may tell me to cope with autism, but I will instead hope for a better life for you.
I will not let autism define your life.
You will choose your own path in life.
Autism will not choose it for you.
Whatever job you desire, relationships you seek, will be your choice, not the choice of autism.
I have never loved anyone in this world the way I love you and because of that it is my duty and honor to do all I can for you.
From the moment you were born I knew our little family was destined for greatness together.
Let our journey to your recovery be our finest hour.
We will show the world that we will not let autism take over our lives.
Someday you won’t always be so little.
But you’ll always be my beautiful son.

Love,
Dad

Let’s Play the Recorder!

April 20, 2008

Sorry for my lack of updates recently. I just returned from a business trip to Las Vegas and am finally getting around to writing a new post. My trip to Vegas went well….I didn’t get sick on any buffets and I only lost $7 in the slots, so I didn’t have to have anyone back home wire me some money.

I wasn’t sure what my son’s reaction would be upon my return home. At first he just kind of looked at me like “oh that guys’s back.” But a little while later he came over to where I was sitting and rested his head on my arm. Before long he was taking me by the hand to go off on little adventures with him throughout the house. I saw the musical “Jersey Boys” while in Vegas and loved it so much so that I picked up some Four Seasons cd’s from the library. Josiah absolutely loves the cd and every time a song would end, he’d look over at the cd player as if he was trying to will the next song on a little quicker.

He’s such a big fan of music, that right now we spend a lot of time with songs in the house whether it’s on cd, dvd, or our singing. We recently bought a recorder as we thought he’d get a kick out of that. He’ll now hand it to me and say ‘corder.’ I learned how to play it when I was like 7 or 8 years old and I can still remember a few tunes. I need to learn some more but for right now the sweet sounds of “Mary had a Little Lamb” and “Hot Cross Buns” can be heard in our house. I’ll soon be a regular Kenny G on the recorder (but without the frizzy hair). I’m hoping to learn some more of his favorites soon.

I guess Josiah is lucky that I’m something of a ‘triple threat.’ I can ‘sing,’ I can ‘dance’ (I looked like one of Gladys Knight’s Pips while dancing to the 4 Seasons) and now I can play that recorder like it’s nobody’s business. I may not be performing in concert venues across the globe but as long as I have an audience of one amazing little guy who needs some songs, I’ll keep performing.

Chicken All Gone!

April 9, 2008

So a funny, fairly monumental thing happened yesterday. My son spoke a three-word sentence! For the most part now he’s still using one word ‘sentences’ which we obviously still celebrate because we’re ecstatic that he knows as many words as he does. He’s added some two-word combinations recently like “Get Out,” “Shoes Off,” “Coat Off,” etc.

But yesterday at school Josiah uttered “Chicken All Gone!” They were getting ready to have lunch and I guess one second he saw his chicken nuggets on the table and the next second they were gone. He didn’t realize they had only taken them to heat them up so he became sad and kept saying “Chicken all gone!” I feel bad that he was sad about the nuggets being taken away but they were promptly returned when they were heated and it sounds like he devoured them.

When one of his therapists first told me he said this I just thought it was funny, but the more I keep hearing those words “Chicken All Gone!” running through my head, the more I realize what a big deal this was. Not only was it a three-word sentence but this came without any prompting from anyone else. He obviously was a bit perturbed about the missing nuggets and he intended to say something about it!

Who knew that three simple words would be such sweet music to my ears?!

We all need something good to read

April 4, 2008

At the risk of my blog becoming nothing but stories of peeing and pooping, here’s another bathroom entry.

Last night my son was playing in the living room and all of a sudden darted off to his room. We could hear him banging around in there and I knew he was looking for something. Perhaps a favorite toy or a blanket or something?

Nope, he came out with a book, stood in the middle of the room and proceeded to read the book while showing off his ‘pooping face’. I know anyone else who has a kid knows what that face looks like.

I guess that no matter what age you are, you need some good reading material while doing your business. It’s times like these that I’m reminded that our lives don’t have to revolve around autism 24/7 and there are simple things like enjoying a good book and a poop that can bring us all together.

Like father, like son I guess!

World Autism Day

April 2, 2008

So today is World Autism Day. It’s been interesting to see all the news stories today. CNN is devoting a lot of coverage today to autism. It looks like you can view a lot of those stories right on the CNN website.

I used to think I was only noticing so many stories on autism because we are now dealing with it. Sort of like when you buy a new car…suddenly you notice lots of other people driving that same type of car where before you may have never noticed it.

But I have to think that people are noticing that there are so many reports on autism these days whether it’s stories about the vaccines or the rising numbers of those being diagnosed, etc.

I did in fact buy a “1in150” shirt that I mentioned in a previous post and am wearing it today. It really is quite a nice conversation starter. People say “1 in 150 what?” And then I bombard them with more statistics and my thoughts on vaccines and all that is wrong with society. Just kidding of course. It does open up a nice dialogue though about how there are so many kids being diagnosed with autism and mine is one of them.

We enjoyed the 2nd part of our 4 part series for newly diagnosed families last night. There’s something comforting about being around other parents who are in similar situations. Not that I’m happy they have to go through it too, but at least we know we’re not alone. It amazes me how different each case of autism is. It’s not like other disorders and diseases where you pretty much know what you’re dealing with. One person may be dealing with a kid who can’t stop stimming on something while for another family the big issue is tantrums. It does help to get some hints from parents who have kids older than ours and who have lived to talk about it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if on World Autism Day next year we’re talking about being closer to finding a cure? Or that the numbers are now like 1 in 10,000? You never know.