When we got the diagnosis
So, my cub was diagnosed with Autism when she was just 2 years old, she is now 14. Her diagnosis was difficult, not just the effect it had on our family, but on her physically. She had endured multiple blood tests, urine tests (not easy on an un-potty trained child), MRI’s, EEG’s, hearing tests, genetic screenings and psychiatric evaluations. As a little girl, a diagnosis of Autism was not given freely. We had a diagnosis from Mental Retardation to PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Delay – Not Otherwise Specified) and High Functioning Autism. I truly didn’t care what the called it… she was being put through the ringer. Watching her go through this was horrible! She did not understand why they were taking so much blood or why she had to perform so many tasks.
She was a pretty baby with lots and lots of dark hair, sweet as could be and progressing normally. Suddenly she stopped talking and withdrew from everyone. She had a few seizures, and that really raised the red flag. Her pediatrician was pro-active and very supportive in getting to an answer as soon as possible. I am most grateful to her for not ignoring the signs, thank you, Dr. Brown!
My husband and I were having trouble processing what was going on with her. In the rush of doctor appointments and the feeling of urgency to get a solid answer, we found ourselves snapping at each other. His disbelief was supported by his families opinions of my “overreacting”. I had to constantly defend my position against his family and friends. He was at the doctors appointments and knew there was something going on, but it was hard for him to ignore his parents’ opinions. It was years later that he actually came to me and thanked me for taking care of our daughter. We’re still married and have become an awesome team for our girl cub.
My job was, at first, very understanding and allowed me to adjust my work schedule so I could get her back and forth to therapy. It was a group effort between my husband, a really great friend (thank you Grace!!!), and myself, together we were able to accommodate a demanding schedule. With all the doctor appointments, therapy sessions and “bad days” my stress level had maxed out. Most of my co-workers were supportive, others not so much. One day I just couldn’t take the pressure and I did end up quitting my job. The company COE called me that same day and talked me into taking a couple months hiatus, thank you, Mindy!!
There were so many people rooting for us at that time that I was not aware of, I also thank you!!
People still tell me how they have family or friends who are going through a diagnosis, and that they share my story as a story of hope. I have had unexpected people call me and ask if their family or friend can call me for support. I am happy to just listen and be an ear or a shoulder. I know how much that can mean to someone.
As of today, things are good but there are still difficulties. Our cub is still struggling, just differently. High school is not kind and the teenage years are hard enough for anyone without a diagnosis. She is very aware of her autism and is very opinionated about treatment. Anxiety and insomnia have reared their ugly heads and has posed many new challenges. We are trying to find what will work for her, not an easy task.
I feel as though my cub chose me as her mother because she knew I would fight, protect and provide for her. This lifetime is one of lessons and loving for which I am most grateful!