Thursday, February 24, 2011

What a Real Mom thinks of the News

Wisconsin Teachers and Senators

So many things about this bug me.  To the WI Senators, go back to work or get fired.  In the Real World when you abandon your job for more than 3 days it is grounds for termination.  Go to work or go to the unemployment line.  Unacceptable behavior,  but what do I know, just your standard TAXPAYER here. 

Teachers and their Unions

I know not all teachers are not union cry babies.  But really, if you are a good teacher and your students are learning and passing and not just getting by, your work should speak for itself.  You shouldn't need a Union to protect you for doing mediocre work.  If you're doing mediocre work you shouldn't have the job.  It's about the children remember, not the pension.

I wish her and her media whore parents would just go away.  But seriously,  what really amazed me is how her court appearance is "BREAKING NEWS" with gavel to gavel coverage.  Are there that many people that really give a rats ass?????  Maybe because I don't go to the movies much, but what has she really done?  Would the world be a worse place if she was working at Starbucks or holed up in her apartment and we just forgot about her???  Maybe then her parents would stop seeking out a camera on every corner thinking that the general population wants to hear anything they have to say.    Dina and Michael Lohan, you did a sucky job, and you're just kinda creepy people.


Wow!!! What a train wreck, his antics fascinate me. $500,000 in a weekend on hookers and drugs, and he is still breathing.  And those lovely women are now seeking their 15 minutes of fame giving interviews about their morning after pills and crack pipes being delivered.  Their parents must be soooo proud.  I am curious to see how this all plays out now that Charlie went on an anti-semetic rant (because that worked so well for Mel Gibson) and his show is now shut down putting a couple hundred people out of work.  Way to go Mr. Selfish and Self-Centered to the extreme.

I know there's more but these were on my mind and I gotta get to bed because I have to go to work at 4am and that comes really early.

What do you think of the news?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Peace and Gratitude

I was thinking today as I put my two kids down to bed tonight at how extremely grateful I am for my life today.

It was just a year ago that I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I was devastated, I had not quite caught my breath from Franklins Autism diagnosis a few months before that.  I went to get my annual physical early in the year to meet our deductible so we could get Franklin some additional therapy on our insurance so we wouldn’t have to pay for it.

I got a call from the doctor on my way to Franklin’s first observation at pre-school, and the words didn’t seem real to me.  Carcinoma blah blah blah.  I had to ask him, “DID YOU JUST TELL ME I HAVE CANCER????”

I entered a quiet rage.  I have 2 little kids, why is this happening now?????  My husband cannot handle what I do “behind the scenes” for the boys. The fear was palpable because every woman in my family that had breast cancer died from it, except my Aunt Kim.  After picking myself up from the floor, it was time to fight.  I took this crazy anger and fear I was feeling and said – OKAY CANCER, it’s on.  Bring it!!!

Meeting with my family, my doctors and after a little bit of research the most effective thing to do was a bi-lateral mastectomy and having my ovaries taken out as well.  With that procedure it carried a 99% survival rate, and that is the best I could do for my kids.

Then came the day of the surgery.  We had prepared, my mom and Mike came to stay for a month. My small group carried our family with prayer and meals for a long time.  My in-laws helped with the kids and anything we asked for.

It’s a crazy thing to go into a major surgery when you don’t feel sick.  To wake up without breasts and in the throws of menopause was something that I was not at all prepared for emotionally or intellectually.  I thought I was, because I was just doing the thing that felt right for my family and me.  I needed to be better, and not be sick so we can get back to the business of being a family, I wanted to not be a sick mommy and I wanted desperately to be well to care for my children.  My medical team was amazing and took great care of me.  I had seen a lot of pictures on the Internet and thought I was ready for what was about to happen to me.

To wake up in pain with drains and pain pumps coming out of you is inexplicable and not to mention everyone that you love is looking at you like you’re going to blow up.  The first few days were just a blur and everyone trying to keep my kids off of me.  That first appointment at the plastic surgeons office when the bandages come off is way more than I can explain in words.  HOLY MOLY, no picture in any book or any website could prepare you for the site of two massive wounds where your boobs used to be.  I immediately burst into tears and the whole thing became a reality.  My mom told me, why are you crying???? It looks good!!!  WHAT???!!!  I look mutilated, but I’m alive and am cancer free. By no means, am I whining.  I was in shock.

It has been a long road of reconstruction and re-building my strength and confidence.  I like my new chest but it still isn’t my old “girls”. 

I feel very lucky and very fortunate that my cancer was found and treated early and aggressively.  I sometimes feel guilty when I hear of others that have had such harder struggles or even lost their battles with cancer.  I feel guilty for gratitude.

In the midst of recovering from this you don’t realize how weak a surgery makes you.  I am taking much better care of myself than I have in the past and my strength is returning.  I am constantly with my boys and grateful that I am able to be with my kids and be their mommy.  It is my first and favorite job ever.

My marriage is stronger and weaker because of this.  A huge hurdle to overcome in any relationship and we did it.  Dave hasn’t quite accepted the new “girls” yet and is still experiencing..  I don’t really know but things are different and may or may not get back to normal.  But I hear this is a challenge that a lot of breast cancer families go through.

My relationship with God now is stronger.  My crazy anger and rage was really directed a lot at him.  I couldn’t understand why I needed to go through this.  Wasn’t having a son with Autism and a husband that struggles with Alcoholism, and a new baby enough for a family?  My plate was FULL.  Why do you think that I can handle all of this???? All I ever wanted was a house with a picket fence a couple of kids and a Suburban…  I don’t remember asking for all this crappy stuff. 

What I found out over this year of recovery is that every thing is a gift even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

I am still here for my children, I am still here for my husband, and I am still here for my family.  I feel like my mom and I have the closest relationship now that we never had my whole life and I love her deeply. I am a breast cancer survivor and get to live my life when so many don’t and I choose to be grateful and at peace with that.

My friends are all amazing men and women that helped my family in so many ways during this time.  I am truly thankful and indebted to all of them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Toddler Time with Jackson

My youngest son Jackson is beyond joyful most of the time and I love being his mom.  He is funny and has personality and is a complete social butterfly.  He waves and says "HHHHHHi"

I think because of some of the Autism behavior that his brother has and some of the deficits that Franklin displays Jackson is a little behind where he should be but is catching up.  Jackson is the biggest tool of therapy that we could have asked for for Franklin.  Jackson is so social and in your face kind of kid he is forcing his brother out of his shell.

His little personality and trotting around the house make me smile all day, and I am grateful to be his mommy.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Franklin and Autism

I waited my entire life for this baby. The minute he was born he took my breath away. I was hooked the second we locked eyes.
I knew at that moment I would walk through fire for him.
He was a joy as a newborn. He rarely cried he took to breastfeeding like a champ He was not the best sleeper at night but I really didn’t mind that much.
He began to hit his developmental milestones pretty much on track or at least what I thought was on track. Babbling at 3 – 4 months, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, cruising, walking, all by his 1st birthday.
When he was 4 – 5 months old he had an aversion to certain loud noises and he would either cry or open and close his hands very fast. We thought it was cute.
He was cuddly and affectionate with David and I . As he got a little older 8 – 9 months I went to a couple of different play groups and began to notice subtle differences between Franklin and other kids. He wasn’t pointing for things, he wasn’t clapping, he wasn’t waving “bye-bye”.
He would not engage other kids, he wouldn’t respond to their play or participate in parallel play, he would play alone and really not even notice that other kids were present.
I had read a book when I was pregnant with him about a child that was diagnosed with Autism after a seizure. I remember some of the characteristics were, and the first time Franklin flapped his arms, my heart sank. I did think it might have been a fluke because he was so cuddly and affectionate with me and he engaged with me and would play with me. His social skills with other people were non existent.
The more I went to parks and the more he was around other kids his age the more I noticed how many difference and deficits he had compared to other babies his age.
I couldn’t deny that there was something different and delayed about how he was developing and behaving.
At 16 months he seemed to not be talking or making any progress to start talking there were no words, sounds or approximations. It also seem like there was nothing I could do to get through to teach him to do anything. The helplessness was getting palpable.
I expressed my concerns to some family members and they referred me to an Occupational Therapist that they had worked when a child of theirs had a head injury years earlier. I went to see this therapist with Franklin and this man observed him for an hour and told me that Franklin had issues processing sensory input. Basically his brain was wired incorrectly but by massaging Franklins back and hands and chanting to him I could re-route the messages to the proper area of the brain. He tried to sell me some MonAvie for him to drink. He also told me not to let anyone tell me that Franklin had Autism because that was a diagnosis that was thrown on children to frequently because doctors and therapists were too lazy.
WOW! I left there LESS than relieved and I was sure he was a nut job and was shocked that people I respected thought that this guy was reputable.
As a new mom I was at a loss with what to do. I finally went to my pediatrician and told him all of my concerns about Franklin. I took a favorite Elmo toy with us to that appointment so that the doctor could see some of Franklins s behaviors and actions playing. My Pediatrician observed and ordered an evaluation through the Regional Center for a speech delay.
The Regional Center came to our home and did an intake assessment to see if Franklin presented enough of a delay to qualify for an official evaluation. Which he did.
We were then sent to a place called Newport Speech and Language. This evaluation was a disaster. Two therapists came in a conference room as Franklin was playing with the mini-blinds and climbing on furniture. They were irritated the fact that I couldn’t get him to comply with the requests they were making of him. They in my humble opinion were unfit to be therapists to toddlers.
I had also heard that because kids can’t talk sometimes it is because they can not hear, so we went for hearing tests, which he would not comply with and he had to have a sedated hearing test which he passed. I knew as a mom that he could hear because if his favorite show came on the TV in another room he would hear it and come running. It is something that I find amusing with the medical community that they rarely listen – truly listen – to what the parents say about their child. They could save a lot of time and money.
It was obvious that Franklin had a lot of developmental delays in addition to a “speech” delay. But after their recommendation of 1 hour a week of speech therapy we began to attend Rainbow Kids 1 time a week for an hour. After a few months of going there with zero progress the Speech Pathologist there said that he was making a recommendation for an emergency evaluation. Franklin had a lot more going on than “not talking”.
This therapist took a couple of hours interviewing me and observing and assessing Franklin and his abilities. I will always thank God for this angel because he was the one that got Franklin the help that he needed.
After his report was sent to Regional Center there was an order for 12 hours a week of in home ABA therapy. After the supervisor spent a couple of days in our home they ordered 20 hours a week of therapy for my (at the time) 2-year-old.
I had decided to go to a Neurologist to see if there was some stone that I was leaving unturned. Because even after a few months of intense therapy in our home very little progress was being made with Franklin and I wanted to see if there was something else we could do to help him. With this visit came what I already knew in my heart – the diagnosis of Autism. My heart cracked a little hearing the words from someone else.
Even though intellectually I knew he was the same funny sweet angel that we had always known. I was hurt that he was going to have such challenges to overcome in his childhood. This is a battle I have to fight for him but he lives on the battleground I just drive the tank that helps him off of the frontlines of the fight of his life.
The progress in some areas is quick and a lot of areas slow. He is still non-verbal but has his way of communicating. He has a lot more good days than bad days. His engagement is getting better. He is tolerant of his baby brother, he will engage and play with us and some of the Aides at his school.
Both of my children are gifts from God, and I think that Jackson our 2-year-old is Franklin’s biggest tool in therapy. Jackson pushes Franklin and is making the progress happen a lot faster.
If you are new to the Autism gig, it is a treacherous road and there is a lot of “Chatter” out there. Take what you need and leave the rest. I have been yelled at by women because I have not done things they way they say “Cured” their kids. Find yourself a group of moms that are like-minded and feed off of each other. Don’t get sucked in by celebrity do what works for your kid and your family. Good luck and God Bless.

Where are the Real Moms?

I am Rebecca a Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Friend, Employee, and Conservative American.   My most important and my favorite job is being a Mommy to my 2 sons. I wanted a place to come where real moms can see what other moms can do, see, learn, talk and help each other in this crazy business of being a mom.
If you are anything like me I watch reality shows specifically “The Real Housewives” franchise on Bravo and it makes me laugh hysterically. First and foremost because for the most part there is very little that is “Real” about any of them. Basically the show (s) have become an infomercial for all the womens businesses and or a sample of what you can buy on Itunes.

When I became a mom for the first few years. I forgot all about myself, and my husband and my life was ALL about the boys. We had some challenges. Our oldest son was diagnosed with Autism, I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year (and have survived) and my husband landed in rehab with alcoholism. As I talk to more and more people, or hear from them. These are more of the REAL things that are going on with in the houses of Orange County.
I’m not trying to be sappy or anything, but I do need an outlet for all of the things that I think about and want to know.
I am not and have never been one of the POPULAR girls in school, I do not know all of the designers in InStyle Magazine. I just have thought that I’d like to share and things I’d like to ask others and just basically see where this goes.
I believe that Real Moms have a lot of thoughts and a lot of things to say about MANY MANY issues. I want to share ideas and opinions.
I hope you all enjoy and participate