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Tag Archives: Prader Willi Syndrome

Careful When Judging

13 Sep

I normally do not rant on my blog, that is all about to change.

This is what I have to say. I am going to say it as loud and clear as possible.

When you are out in the world, at a restaurant, grocery shopping, driving in traffic, or at the doctor and you see a child screaming or a mother losing her cool and grabbing her child by the arm and being stern; BE CAREFUL BEFORE YOU JUDGE THEM. Be careful placing judgement upon others for you know not what battles they are fighting. 

It has been months since my family went out to eat. We went out for a bite at a local, casual restaurant. Very loud, very kid friendly or so we thought. At the end of the meal the waitress, who was very sweet, became very overwhelmed with her tables. A young man came in and was singing while playing the acoustic guitar, and a very unfriendly table had just sat behind us. Our little one was really struggling so my husband decided to take him home, and our oldest son refused to leave and stayed with me. He wanted to see the guitar player, but I had to wait for the check. All hell broke loose. He started screaming, the table behind us was in my face, and the large table of young 20 somethings was looking at me as if they should call DFCS on me for grabbing my son and walking away. Now my son is screaming at the top of his lungs and I put my hand over his mouth, at this time he proceeded to bite my hand, just narrowly missing breaking the flesh. All the while the entire restaurant was staring. Let me point out that this hasn’t happened to me in quite some time, and typically it doesn’t bother me, this time it did.

 

As I left the restaurant I wanted to walk back in and confront the 2 tables that were staring at me like deer in headlights. I wanted to say something like this.

“It isn’t polite to stare, but since you are let me break it down for you. This is my 5-year-old son. He suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Prader Willi Syndrome and autism. Although he may look “normal” to you, I assure you he is fighting many battles. Before you judge my behavior regarding how I handled my son you should know this. I only slept for 3 hours last night. My son is sick and when that happens his behavior becomes more than any of you could understand. My husband and I are in the middle of the most difficult financial time of our lives, and I am dealing with my mystery medical issues that seem to elude my doctors. I am human, I am not a robot. I have one child with PWS and autism, and a second with hyper-activity and mood dysfunction disorder. I may have looked like a crazy woman to you, but you couldn’t imagine that I have been up handling this since 4am today. As the parent of a special needs child we are “supposed to stay calm and not lose our cool.” Unfortunately for me I am not perfect and I do lose my cool on occasion, tonight was one of them. I can say this with absolute certainty. Most people in the world could not walk a day in my shoes, most people could not even begin to comprehend what a typical day is for me, let alone these days where things are just not going well.

Tonight I write not just for myself. Tonight I write for my thousands of extended family members. My family of parents/grandparents and caregivers of those with special needs. Tonight I write for them. Tonight I come to you and challenge you to this:

When you see a situation like me taking place, don’t stare. I challenge you instead to offer a hand, offer your heart and see if that parent or caregiver could use some help. I will tell you that a smile goes a really long way. A smile goes a really long way in the heart of a special needs parent in the midst of a crisis with their loved one.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world”-Ghandi

Help me spread the word and please share this blog with all of your friends.

Namaste and thank you for reading.

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Totally Worn Out

31 Aug
The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys.

The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Turns out they found absolutely nothing in the last round of medical tests I had done. Great, and not so great at the same time. Yes, I am thrilled to find out that I am really healthy, not so great that we are back to square one trying to figure out what has caused my body to go a bit haywire. Other than low blood sugar I am totally in the clear. There is however one little test left. This one makes complete sense and probably a ton of you reading this have this and don’t even know it.

Adrenal Fatigue, oh yeah baby. My doctor thinks that it is possible I may have TOTALLY WORN OUT my poor little adrenal glands. Good news is this is not permanent, in fact you can have this happen over and over. It is fixable and that makes me happy.

Interestingly enough when I had researched my strange symptoms years ago it kept saying adrenal fatigue, I just shrugged it off. Although I don’t have an official diagnosis yet I am going to begin an adrenal recovery program and see if I can heal myself. I know this is completely possible.

So how do you get adrenal fatigue? Well that is easy.

STRESS, SKIPPING MEALS, NOT SLEEPING ENOUGH, AND PUSHING OUR BODIES TO THE EXTREME LIMITS

What are some of the symptoms?

All the time I am tired. Not just a little sleepy, it is more like so tired not even 12 hours of sleep cures your fatigue. I am not handling stress at all. I seem to get thrown off kilter with the slightest glitch. I have major digestive issues. I gained weight, and it is mostly all in the middle. I crave extremely salty food every single day. Everyday tasks seem to take the wind out of my sails, where as before I could handle anything that came my way. This is just to name a few of the odd things that I deal with daily.

We all face some type of stress in our lives. We have busy schedules, sick kids, work troubles, illness, and on and on. For some of us we have stress only on occasion and we are able to cope with the bumps in the road with ease. For others stress is chronic, that would be me, and you can bet your bottom stress like that will wreak havoc on your body.

I do as much as I can to stay calm and grounded but not all days are perfect. In fact sometimes I have an entire month of stress and I am a nervous wreck everyday. Being mom to one child with Prader Willi Syndrome and Autism and another child with ADHD and mood issues, I am on high alert from the moment I open my eyes. As the owner of a small business in this economy you do all you can not to pull you hair out. I like to fake it till I make it. I tell myself that we will make it, and funny thing is we have this far, I guess somebody is hearing my thoughts in the universe.

You can see why I love yoga so much. When I am in the studio and I take that first breath, ahhhhhh, I leave it all at the door. It is my time, my space to breathe. When I am in the studio all the stress of my life just melts away. I opened my studio on Wednesday. It was a small first class 4 people came, but an awesome time. I went in on Thursday morning with 2 classes on the schedule, not too surprised the nobody came, it takes time to start a business. I opted to go in my studio and enjoy my personal practice. It was amazing. A mix of meditative and restorative asana, with some energy building inversions and core work. I paid close attention to voicing my gratitude to the universe every time I brought my hands to my heart.

I am grateful for my strength. I am grateful for my courage. I am grateful for those who help guide me and hold me up in life. I am grateful for the breathe that fills my lungs. I am grateful for the ability to put my legs on the ground and get up and walk everyday. It is is truly amazing how a ‘attitude of gratitude’ takes the stress away, even if just for a moment. I will take as many moments of calm, quiet strength that I can.

My yoga practice is just one part of my adrenal recovery. Keeping my stress low is crucial to healing, without it all the other steps are in vain.

Along with a gentle exercise program, such as yoga, there is adequate sleep. Sleep is critical to the body to restore and replenish itself. Having a sleep schedule where you go to bed and rise at around the same time everyday will help restore balance in your body. This leaves us with another important area of recovery, FOOD.

We are capable of regulating what goes into our mouths. When in adrenal recovery we need to drastically reduce carbohydrates from our diet, mainly simple carbohydrates. It is still important to include complex carbs in our daily intake. Increasing protein and not limiting healthy fats is crucial to helping your body come back to life. We can’t forget about hydration. It is critical to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, I will do more. Last but not least you must eliminate ALL CAFFEINE from your diet.

So basically life is about to get really fun for me. I will write everyday and let you all know how things are going. I will fill you in on what is relieving my symptoms and any new recipes that I create I will share.

Wish me luck. I hope that I can help lead the way for any of you out there who are in the same boat as I am.

Joys of Motherhood

20 Aug

 

When my oldest son was born there were complications. I however always looking on the bright side believed that he would outgrow them. As time went on it was clear something was not right. When the verdict came in and he was finally diagnosed I was devastated. I don’t say this lightly, let me be totally clear on this.

On September 14th, 2009 at 9am, my world changed forever. I was shattered, heartbroken, and alone. Prader Willi Syndrome, what the heck is that? In reality it wasn’t quite like that because I knew what Prader Willi Syndrome was and I wanted to die knowing my son has this. I was standing in my driveway in my pink robe and I collapsed, I nearly knocked myself out on the pavement. It took every last bit of energy to pick myself up and walk in the door to inform my husband of the news. We sat and cried and cried. These weren’t your old run of the mill tears, these tears came from the deepest of deep spaces in our hearts, we felt as if we were sucked into the abyss.

When I finally collected myself I was filled with questions.

What will my son look like?

Will he be morbidly obese?

Will he fall in love?

Will he have friends?

Will he be bullied in school?

Will he ever talk?

Will he ever play sports or swim in a pool?

Will he live on his own and go to college?

What will his life look like?

This is just some of the things that were teeming through my brain like a swarm of African Honey Bees that have just had their hive destroyed.

I am feeling the tears well up in my eyes as I sit and read back the words I am writing. The emotions of that day still live inside me, they always resurface when I go back to that day in my mind.

It is almost 3 years since that day and life is quite different from what I imagined.  So different from what I imagined.

I need to add that not only does Blaise have Prader Willi Syndrome but he also is on the Autism Spectrum and has Sensory Integration Disorder. My life is never, ever dull.

I am not here to say that my life is easy and that my son’s diagnoses don’t impact our lives, they do, but our lives are good.

I wanted to share a few things with you that have happened to my dear son in the past few weeks. I share them in hopes that all the families who have children with special needs will read this and smile again. I share them as a glimpse of hope of what could be the future for all special children in the world. I share them as a reminder to never give up and let others dictate who our children are. I share them because I see first hand that our world is changing, and it is possible for our kids to live a life full of love, laughter, and happiness.

My sweet boy started kindergarten on August the 6th.

I couldn’t sleep the night before I was terrified. He was going to be in school all day long. I wondered how would he handle this, would he ask for food all day long, would he steal food from the other children? I actually had a nightmare that the parents of the children in his “typical” class wanted him taken out. I dreamed that they were mad that their children could not have treats because my son was in their class. Oy, I can’t begin to tell you how sick I was over all the emotions that were plaguing me.

The first day of school came, not a problem in sight. The second day of school came, even better than the first. This has been the case every school day for the last two weeks. Of course he has had a few major glitches, but so do all kids, ‘typical’ or not. Every time I walk into the school people ask me, “Are you Blaise’s mom? We love him so much.” You have no idea how much that means to me. My heart is over flowing with pride for my son. I had originally wanted Blaise to be in a ‘typical’ class all day long with an aide. It didn’t work out that way and truth be told I am absolutely fine with that. He does most of the day in a self-contained class and 2 hours in a general education class. He is doing great and I will not let my ego get in the way of that(note the hidden lesson here).

Last Monday I picked him up from school for his therapy session. We were walking down the hall and encountered the kids from his general education kindergarten class. They were all calling his name and waving at him in the hall. Then a little boy grabbed him and hugged him. I asked if they were friends and the little boy said, “Blaise is my buddy.” I can’t tell you how I almost fainted because I realized that not only was my son not getting picked on, he is accepted for who he was!!!!!!! Two days later the same thing happened as we left for therapy. This time all the kids were so excited to see him, and a new little boy was hugging him and saying that he was Blaise’s buddy.

How could I have ever imagined such love. I could only go on what I know and have seen in my life. When I was growing up kids were cruel to children with special needs. I am seeing such a difference in our young kids today, or at least the children who go to my son’s school. Just think these beautiful precious children can see my beautiful precious child for who he is inside, and not what he looks like, or what diagnosis he possesses.

As he gets older things might change, and he will probably encounter more unkind people in the world. I see something very special in my child, and I will remind him of that daily. If he encounters people who aren’t as kind to him he will have the strength to shake it off. My hopes are that he knows how loved he is and those folks just don’t matter.

I know this is a much longer post than usual, but I haven’t written in over a week.

I will leave you on this note. Here are some pictures of my beautiful son surfing this past weekend. Blaise and his dad went to Florida to participate in Surfers for Autism in Flagler beach, Florida. It was amazing and there aren’t even words to describe the pride I feel for my child today.

I am in a constant state of wonder at my son. He is determined to prove that he can do it all. It might take him longer, but he will eventually get there. I will be by his side the entire time.

I love you so much Blaise.

 

I’m Not Alone!

7 Jul

I typically don’t vent on my blog, and am definitely not in a place where I need a pity party. I am at a place where I need complete honesty with somebody other than just my family and super close friends.

I need to say it out loud and just declare it. I AM A GOOD MOTHER, but I don’t know how to parent my youngest child. I feel so alone. I know there will definitely be lots of people who read this and feel like I am speaking their thoughts as well.

Many of you already know that my oldest child has a rare genetic disorder called Prader Willi Syndrome. I read it described recently as the starvation syndrome. He also has sensory processing disorder and autism.

What many of you don’t know is that my youngest son has most recently been diagnosed with ADHD, a mood disorder (bi-polar) but they won’t call it that for his age group, and he is definitely exhibiting behaviors of Aspbergers.

I have spent the last 3 years wrapping my brain around PWS and Autism. I get it. I can work through it. I even get the ADHD even though it is so overwhelming and he is so frantic all day that I am worn out. What I don’t get, what I am struggling with, what I feel so alone with is the mood disorder.

I joined a support group for parents of bi-polar children. It has been amazing. What an amazing group of people. One of them suggested that I read a book entitled, “The Explosive Child  by Ross W. Greene. I want to cry as I read word for word what is a description of life with my youngest son.

In the book one of the mothers says, “Can you imagine being scared of your own child?” She then said, “I am!” My youngest son is only 3 years old and there are more days than not where I am scared of him, scared of his rages, scared of his violent temper. I am able to ignore now but I have had more than enough of people telling me how to parent him, spank him, discipline or reward him and so on.

Let me just get this out in the air. Children who suffer from mood or psychiatric disorders DO NOT RESPOND TO NORMAL CONSEQUENCES. I am not a bad mother and my son is not just a brat who doesn’t get spanked enough.

I love my son more than anything in this universe. I sleep with him every night and we cuddle and he tells me I am beautiful. His intelligence is unbelievable, and I love having unique conversations with him. I am however am emotionally drained. I feel in my heart that with my continued meditation and yoga that I can handle it, as devastatingly draining as it is. It is him that I feel for, I can’t imagine his soul feels good in such turmoil all day long. It’s almost like he is a prisoner in his little adorable body. When the rages come on, he just can’t stop.

I have decided to do is keep our house as organized as possible. I am on a mission to keep as few distractions for him and my older son. Today I went full force. I packed up almost the entire playroom. I have 4 huge bags for donation and the rest of unused but usable later in life are packed up and put away. I kept the swing in the room and some books and a few cars. This room will now be our quiet space. I will have a quiet space to meditate and they will have a quiet space to decompress as well. I am even thinking of adding some black out lights for a sensory experience. I am feeling really hopeful that this might be helping us move in the right direction.

I am writing this post for all the other parents of “Explosive Children” whatever your diagnosis may be. I am writing this to say you are not alone. I am writing this to say you are a GOOD PARENT. I am writing to say that it is absolutely ok to say that you need help. I am writing this to say it is ok to say you are depleted and need a recharge.

Through all of this I will keep researching and keep loving my son until I find what works for him. In the meantime for all the parents out there who know a family or a child like this, I ask that you have compassion in your heart when you are in your dealings with them. They are lovable and want to do well if they can.

I will not give up on either of my sons.

I AM BLESSED

9 Jun

Saturday is Karate day at our house. Blaise get’s all suited up and off we go for a half an hour of watching him kick butt. today was something very special. Blaise was on fire, he performed like a champ.

He never ceases to surprise me with what he is able to do. He was following directions, jumping, running, laughing, and full of pride. Oh my god, my heart was overflowing. I felt so much joy for him. He felt pride for himself, and that is all I want for him. I want both my children to be proud of themselves. I am leading by example because that is how I feel about myself now, PROUD!

The luck really comes into play in a rather simple way. I am lucky to be the parent of a special needs child.. I am lucky to reveal in all the little miracles that happen everyday. I am lucky is what came to me as I listened to the wind today.

I spent the rest of the afternoon just sitting with my family. I watched as my children rode their bikes, swam in the in the little pool and enjoyed the sunshine. We laughed and just enjoyed the company. It was what I call a perfect day. I take these days very seriously. Life can be way to serious around here most of the time. Today was all about relaxing and enjoying the present moment.

I was well aware that my meditation this morning helped my mood, and I loved every minute of it. I think sometimes we are so caught up in the media world, the medical world, or the stressed out parent world to stop and enjoy the moment.

Today I did. It was AWESOME.

We are Special

26 May

I received a message yesterday from my sister to call her right away. I was physically and emotionally exhausted but I called. As I listened to her on the other end of the line say, “My friend has a friend with a 5 week old baby just diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome, can you call her please?” Normally I would have hung up  the phone and called her straight away, however I live by the new principle of I CAN’T GIVE TO YOU WHAT I DON’T HAVE!  So I told my sister to give me 2 hours and that I would call her. I did call and left a message. Blaise then called her a few times too, haha!

We finally connected this morning and it was beautiful. It felt really amazing and interesting to be the one comforting. I sat and thought to myself what would I want to hear if my child was newly diagnosed? What would I say to me 3 years ago? What are the most important things to really get across?

So I started with the most obvious. Please allow yourself time to grieve. There is a grieving process and we often overlook it and the role it plays in the healing process. Then it was the obvious things to be HONEST. Here is the truth my son is amazing, Prader Willi Syndrome sucks but we are a pretty normal family, living a pretty normal life. I also found myself saying something that nobody said to me in those first few days. It makes such sense to me. FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR FAMILY AND DO THAT! As long as your child is healthy, their labs are good and they are growing then you just do what you need to do to make your family work. I love how natural that felt. I love how it releases you from so much guilt over doing things the “right” way or the “wrong” way.

I shared honestly with this beautiful woman that there will be down days, but there will be so many up days. So many days filled with joyl

The most important things I found myself saying to her was very real and true to my heart. I told her the following:

AS THE PARENT OF A CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS YOU LEARN TO APPRECIATE EVERYTHING even the smallest things mean so much. This not only applies to your child with special needs, but all your children. You take nothing for granted and learn to see the beauty in all the things that your kids do.

It all felt so natural coming out of my mouth,it all felt so real. When my sweet angel was diagnosed I was blessed to talk with 2 amazing people in that first day who have family with PWS. It was a life saver for me, it was my life raft because I was drowning in sadness.

Now I tell you this: 3 years later PWS is just a part of my life, it is my “normal.” I LOVE MY SON WITH EVERY OUNCE OF MY BEING. I don’t sit around and wish he didn’t have PWS I don’t him any other way. He is blossoming into such an amazing young man, and he and his brother are growing up to such amazing young men. I am blessed. My child says please and thank you, he tells me he loves me, and he smiles all day long. I don’t care what that genetic test says, he is perfect in my eyes.

Yes, I have my Broken Heart Syndrome moments, but they are getting less and less these days. As I am on my spiritual journey and deepening my love for myself and practicing loving myself, it is easier to accept all others around me. I love my child just the way he is PWS, Autism and all the rest of the wacky things that his body decided to give him.

Be grateful for everything. Even if it seems like a terrible tragedy or a terrible loss, it may really be a glorious blessing.

Be grateful for everything. Even if it seems like a terrible tragedy or a terrible loss, it may really be a glorious blessing.

Angels in Heaven

22 May

I have convinced myself that every time somebody I love passes they become angels. I created this idea in my head at the ripe old age of 5, after the passing of my beloved father. I not only believed he was my angel but I believed that he was the brightest star in the sky at night. There have been hundreds of nights over the last almost 30 years where I have looked up at night, seen that star and thought to myself, “hi dad, I miss you and thanks for looking out for me.”

The thought sounds nice right, it is just one way I chose to learn to deal with grief. When my beloved Gunner, our first dog, was laid to rest I told my children now they had another angel in heaven looking down on them. This they understand and once again I find comfort in knowing I have a whole bunch of amazing people on my side, up there.

All that being said it brings little comfort as the news comes of another Prader Willi Syndrome child who lost their life from the syndrome. Dear sweet Lexus, who I never met, but none the less feel a connection with. Only 17 years old and a week before graduation Lexus has made her way to heaven. I know that she will be another angel looking down and protecting us, but it still doesn’t feel fair.

My heart aches for her family, she was the first thing I thought of this morning as I opened my eyes. She was the last thing I thought of last night as I closed my eyes. It is a very real wake up call to all PWS families. Not only is the thought of losing a child beyond terrifying, but our kids have PWS, it could be one of our kids next. That hits really close to home.

I had an incident this week with Blaise ingesting medication, even with the child safety lock on he managed to get the lid off and drink the bottle. My heart stopped and it hit me like a sledge hammer to the head. My child could DIE because he is so hungry he would drink medicine because it tastes good.

I don’t want to sit here and slam PWS and say how much I hate it and what it does to all those who suffer from it, that is a given. I want to say this. WE MUST FIND A CURE, A TREATMENT, A PLAN OF ACTION TO SAVE OUR KIDS. I am committed in every way that I can be to letting Blaise reach his full potential and live a long and full life. I want this for all kids and adults with PWS. They all deserve a chance.

The thought of this syndrome taking my son’s life is beyond my realm of thought. I will never give up the hope of a better future for him.

If there ever was a cause that needed your support I believe it is helping to find a cure for PWS. How can we do this? We can through research. Please consider taking the time to learn more and even consider making a small donation.

please visit

www.fpwr.org

www.pwsausa.org

I am hosting a One Small Step walk here in Georgia for my son Blaise.

Come and join us and help us find a cure.

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