"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Louder than Words."

I originally was going to post about our week off from Peanut's crazy therapy schedule, but as we all know, things don't always go as planned.  I started my morning as I start every morning.  I got up, showered, made my coffee, got the kids up and changed their diapers, settled them on the couch with a sippy cup (jam packed with supplements, water and a splash of juice) and put on Curious George.  I took up a comfy spot in our living room chair to sip my coffee and check my email, Facebook etc.  This morning while on Facebook I came across an article written in "Age of Autism"  called, "Doonsburys Misogynistic Cheap Shot Against Jenny Mccarthy."  Something inside of me clicked, and after reading the article and I decided I was ready to know more about her story.

It is said that when a parent is told their child has Autism they go through the same stages of grief as one would go through after the death of a loved one.  As a Nurse who had been educated in traditional medicine, I (initially) resisted the idea of any biomedical treatment for our son.  I was against all of it.  I called these parent crazy and boldly proclaimed that I would never forgo a vaccination for my child because autism couldn't kill him, but a disease could.  I honestly was just scared and grossly uninformed. 

Around the time that Peanut was diagnosed, my mother- in-law gave me Jenny McCarthy's book, "Louder than Words."  I politely took the book and quickly tucked it onto a shelf.  I had read her first two books,   "Belly Laughs" and "Baby Laughs." and I loved them.  I liked her honesty and call it like it is attitude.  It was refreshing to hear a strong, opinionated woman get real about what life is really like.  Since reading those 2 books I had heard in passing the newest developments in her life.  Her son had Autism and she claimed that he was recovered and that vaccines were the devil. (I now know this is not entirely true).  I, like many others out there, had my opinions tainted by what the mainstream media wanted me to think.  I wasn't basing my opinions off of truth and fact, but off of the harsh and unfounded opinions of others.  I think I avoided researching biomedical treatments, the vaccine debate and in particularJenny's story because I was afraid of what I would find.  I got over my fear and I began to research. Now, I know more...way more.  I have researched both sides of the vaccine debate, I have researched biomedical treatments and now, like many other families are now using biomedical interventions (and seeing an improvement!). 

I read this article from Age of Autism (see above) and then remembered the book my mother-in-law had given me over a year ago.  One of my closest friends had been gently encouraging me to read it.  She had read it a long time ago and felt my son and Jenny's son had a lot in common.  Every time I would tell her about the new autism treatment we were trying, she would mention the book again, and again I would shoot her down.  She got the hint and patiently waited.  This morning I went and found the book, and with the sound of her encouragement to read the book echoing in my head, I opened the it and began to read.

I opened the book and began to read this morning, and I finished it tonight.  It sounds cliche' but to be honest, I laughed, I cried (alot) and I was absorbed into the book.  I was now sympathetic with her.  I felt I could understand what she was going through, and I felt she understood what we were going through as well.  Her story is some what similar to ours.  (Although Peanut is blessed not to suffer from epileptic seizures as Jenny's son does).  I enjoyed the book.  It was a nice break away form my usual technical Autism reading.  It was easy to understand, non judgemental.  All she does is tell her story.  She makes a point to state she is not a doctor and she is not advising for or against any treatment for your child (including the vaccination issue).  The only negative thing I could say about the book is that Jenny McCarthy has the mouth of a trucker.  I was able to overlook this and was able to concentrate on Evan's story of his battle with the symptoms of Autism.  I liked the book, and I look forward to reading the second book about her continued journey in the world of Autism.  All in all, I'm glad I read the book.

As a side note, it bothers me that as a community (the "autism community") we are essentially split.  We don't know the cause of Autism (there is obviously more than one cause).  Not knowing the cause means we don't really know how to treat it.  We all have different opinions as to what is the right thing to do and so this is where the controversy lies.  We do all agree on a few things though.  We agree that Autism is a Spectrum.  As the saying goes, "Once you've met one child with Autism, you've met one child with Autism."  Some children suffer from more severe symptoms than others, and not all people with Autism have the same symptoms.  We agree that Autism is now an epidemic, not just int he US but worldwide.  We agree that answers need to be found.  We all want what best for our children, and we all love our children more than anything else in the world, so whats our problem?  Who cares if we can't all agree!  There is way to many of us out there to ever be able to agree on everything.  Can't we take the high road and agree to disagree?  We all need to support each other in our journey with Autism.  In my opinion it's the most important thing we can do no matter what opinions we may hold.  We need to start supporting each other and create a more united front.  I'm not saying to put aside the debates.  By all means debate away, but don't let it split us down the middle into an "us" verses "them" battle.  We are all in the similar boats here. We all have to deal with the stressors and financial burdens, we all know that the resources are far and few between, we all agree that safety is an issue, the list could go on and on.  This all may sound naive here but lets start by building off of what we agree on and go from there.  The best thing we can do for our children is to be united.

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."  Ephesians 4:2

God Bless!

Mommy Provost

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