The Diagnosis

The display at Waco’s Magnolia Market when we visited last winter.

The month of November is one of my favorites. Pumpkin Pie. Thanksgiving Break. Football Sundays. The whirlwind that is October in middle school is finally over, and it feels like we’re rolling down the hill of stress with three weeks of vacation around the corner. It’s also the month where I attempt by best to flood my Facebook feed with daily posts of things for which I’m grateful. Like most things in my life, I tend to start strong but the energy, desire and commitment usually fades and by the last couple of days I’m struggling to think of something genuine and thoughtful. November 2018 was an especially difficult month, which made feeling grateful more challenging. Instead of planning for Thanksgiving lunch, we were making appointments with doctors and awaiting assessment results. We already knew the results, but Juan and I love to play the “what if” game.

What if they say he doesn’t have it. 

What if they say he just can’t hear. 

What if they say, he’s fine. 

What if they say, we’re just over reacting. 

It’s a dangerous game to play, especially when dealing with matters of the heart. The post below is what I shared on Facebook on November 29th:

Day 29: Thankful for hope.

A friend recently described me as a “peddler of hope”. I laughed. Somedays I’m hopeful, others not so much. There’s so much for me to hope for: I hope for no traffic on days I wake up 20 minutes late. I hope for a Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl victory in my adult lifetime. I hope my husband cooks dinner every night. I hope Bianka goes to the best college for her and has a memorable experience. I hope Lucas thrives in Kindergarten. And when our Jacob turned one, all I hoped for was for him to say “mama.” But it didn’t happened.

And then my hopes that Jacob would just sleep through the night started to change. Instead, I hoped he would start talking. Then when we noticed he was no longer responding to his name, I hoped that he would turn his little head when we said (even screamed) his name. But he wouldn’t. And somewhere between that time we noticed that his eye-contact also changed. I hoped that it would come back, just as I remembered it, but it hasn’t. And I kept these hopes to myself because there was a big part of me that was in denial. If I talked about all these red flags, then it would be real. I didn’t want it to be real.

But it is. The last couple of months have been some of the hardest days of my parenting experience (and we’ve definitely had some lows, y’all!). It was confirmed today that our little Jacob has autism.

To say my heart was shattered is an understatement. At one point, I no longer knew what to hope for. Was it realistic to hope for speech? Was it fair to hope for “typically-developing” behaviors? Some days all I hoped for was that Jacob would know that no matter what, his momma and daddy loved him. But then the tears would come and they wouldn’t stop because deep down, my hopes for Jacob to be the alert, happy and engaged baby I know he was still lingered.

Here’s where we are now.
We hope that through the use of non-traditional approaches, traditional therapies, prayer and support that Jacob will be exactly who he was designed to be.

We hope that one day he will talk, make friends, be a friend and get to enjoy all the beautiful experiences life has to offer.

We hope that we learn more about Autism and become an advocate for our son, and other families, as we all navigate this together. It can be incredibly difficult to sift through the mountains of literature regarding all of this, but it’s important for us to be knowledgeable. The more information we have, the better decisions we can make.

We hope that terms like “Autism recovery”, “biomedical treatment”, “vaccine-injured” don’t offend you. But if they do, then know that this is where we’re at right now. We are definitely using our resources to look at all types of treatments – focusing first on neurological functions.

We hope that we come out of this stronger. All of us. We hope that through this experience, we still make time to nurture the relationships that make our family and support system thrive. We still want to have fun, go on vacation and prioritize date night. We still want to make time for friends and dedicate parts of our self to the careers we’ve started to build.

We hope that you’ll support us. Do you know of an amazing ABA therapy place? Tell us! Have an outstanding pediatric speech therapist? We want to know! Know someone who has seen a local MAPS professional and has seen positive results? Send the referral our way. Have kid-friendly recipes that are gluten and dairy free? Show me!

I’m still peddling hope, no worries. It’s what I’ve always done when life seems difficult. And it always seems to work out in the end.

Signed with love, Kat.

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