Monday, June 6, 2016

When Persistence Pays

I am already 9.5 years into this whole mom thing and some days I still feel like I'm playing house. Dressing up little people, feeding them, pretending to impart some type of adult and lifelong wisdom they will no doubt quote when they are older as they remember me fondly as calm and collected all the time.

Ok, I barely got through the last half of that sentence, but still.

Am I the only one? I often wonder when I'll truly feel like an adult and with each milestone, I find myself wondering anew.

Except for this week. This week I knew I nailed this mom thing, this adult jam. Just for one brief, shining moment, I could almost hear the tournament music playing in the background as scenes of the last year and half with my toddler flashed across my mind.

This week, we got a diagnosis. After trips to therapists, meetings with the state agency, setting goals, sensory diets, parenting strategies, countless books, too many emails back and forth with the doctor to count, strict nutritional guidelines...after all these things, I still knew something wasn't right. That he wasn't responding the way he should to all we were doing if there were really no underlying causes. I knew it couldn't just be personality. No one is born miserable, right?

So I kept pushing. I kept looking. I asked questions. I found groups of people who had been through the same type of challenges who had found answers. I suggested possibilities to our amazing pediatrician who was more than willing to dig deep right beside us. I failed, I despaired, I hoped again, I tried again.

And, my friends, I performed the most disgusting ritual I have ever had to do, scooping poop from horrifying diapers into different vials, mixing and mashing them up with a scary little spoon with teeth and, I am not kidding you, putting the whole package in the mail to a distant lab. I am pretty sure the house smelled like a sewer for a solid 24 hours. Well, more than usual, anyway.

That sample was gone a whole month. Another month of inexplicable meltdowns, of anger and rage, of early rising and whining and a child who was clearly unhappy a lot of the time. There are few things harder than watching your child struggle and feeling helpless.

But this week, we got an answer. It may not be causing everything, but there is no doubt it is serious enough to mess with him pretty hard. I am pretty sure no matter what was going on in this little guy's body, he would still be off the charts energetic. I am sure we would still have tantrums and chaos more than I did with my first. He DOES have a "live life to the fullest" kind of personality and I love that about him. But maybe, just maybe, if we can heal up his little body, he can live life to the fullest with more smiles and fewer meltdowns. With more joy and less angst. With less thinking about how his body is uncomfortable and more diving into the fun around him. He is SO good at that.

This week, we won. This week, I felt like a real adult, a mom who fought for her son and succeeded.

Maybe you think it's cruel to rejoice in a diagnosis. But friends, when you have spent more than half your child's life searching for some way to help and someone tells you there IS a way to help now, you feel a tremendous sense of relief. It's not something incurable. It's not even uncomfortable to treat. He won't know the difference in his day until all of a sudden he will. He will feel good instead of crummy. The littlest things might no longer cause 45 minutes of screaming and throwing his body on the floor. Maybe our family will be able to go places. Maybe someday we can introduce some of the taboo foods back in and go to an actual restaurant occasionally or order in a pizza when I'm done with cooking.

We can hope so, at least.

And hope is something of a theme in my life. Through miscarriage, infertility, adoption and now the extreme challenges of a higher-needs child struggling through toddlerhood, God has continued to pour down hope. To give us just enough to try again. To explore, to fail and pick ourselves back up.

So, here's to the next phase of hope, one filled with treatments and, dare I say it, healing.

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