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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Encouragement Through Autism and Lupus

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life... We can never help an extra without helping ourselves." Ralph Waldo Emerson This quote by Emerson walloped me making a mother who recovered her son based on data from Autism. Like so a large number of of you out there...how often do we put the needs of everyone and anything above our own? How do we find that delicate balance between service and self? As a single homeschooling dad of five and the sole provider for the six of us...I've found the current to be in my daily prayers. 

"Lord, help me right prioritize how is before me that day." God knows everything on our plate. He too knows what is most crucial not only for us but for persons around us. I'd like to share in on you some of the insights He's supplied me within the duration of the years as far as just today in this area. During our plight with Autism, I also was in the midst of suffering with Lupus, an auto-immune disease. For years prior to Autism I had suffered with chronic pain, lethargy, mouth ulcers which rendered eating nothing but pure pain...and a few other not so fun symptoms.

I was in and out of the hospital due to pleurisy as the Lupus attacked the lining of my chest wall. Since it can also attack the heart, every trip was another heightened experience of rushing doctors and tests to determine if my heart was now being attacked...one of the ways this disease can take a life. Having five children, homeschooling, and watching as my son slipped into the grips of autism all took their added toll on my body. Trying hard to keep healthy, get enough rest, avoid illness and maintain some sort of remission from this dreaded disease was my focus.

Then Autism exploded within my son's little body. All of a sudden the Thunderstorm of Lupus was masked behind the Hurricane of Autism. My body, my needs, and my health were put on hold. All I could do was deal with Autism and how it was tearing my family apart and stealing my son away. After about five years, a diagnosis, self-treatment for him...I finally got into a world leading doctor for treating Autism. Life at that point was about helping my son recover and thus reclaiming a normal life for my family.

Yet I'll never forget that very first appointment with Dr. Baker. I'm sure I was worn looking...tired from 'doing' autism for the last few years. Exasperated from studying, traveling to conferences, learning how to treat my son on my own...trying to discern the best course of treatment that was life for me. Sitting in this physician's office with my hope that he could now take over all these tedious decisions of what to do for my son...I listened to his first advice to me: "You know, looking at your own history, what we are going to do for your son could also help you with Lupus." What?

I thought. I thought I knew what to do for Lupus, get lots of rest (some day...) avoid illness and eat healthy...hope for remission enough to get through each day. But his words rang in my mind. He told me to find a doctor who could treat me the same way.

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