Monday, May 18, 2009

Another Honor for Oscar!

We're very excited to share that one of Oscar's art projects was selected to be in his school's first student art show. The event was held a an actual art gallery last weekend. The piece that was selected was a didgeridoo made out of cardboard tubes and decorated with dot painting. We are so proud of him!

Oscar is 12 years old and has right sided hemiplegia (paralysis of his right side).

Oscar's Mom

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Julie!

Just wanted to provide some encouraging words to all of you on this exciting day. Why is it exciting? It's my 30th birthday!!

As some of you may have experienced...I'm here proving my doctors wrong! After 30 years, 30 of which the doctors said I would never see, and if I survived past the first year, I might be in a vegetative state....Boy, was he wrong!!!

For those of you with youngsters, I hope my note here leaves you with great encouragement and hope for the years to come. I am so happy to have proved the doctors wrong, helped to have given my family the hope and faith they have today with all my successes, and to be the independent and successful person I am today.

Let's see... here are some of the things, I do that they said I would most likely not do; walk talk, skip, run, ride a bike, tie my shoes, swim, live without my parents, finish school, work 2 jobs at the same time, drive, and so much more.

I am happily married to a wonderful man who sees me for who I am and has no worries about my challenges; even announcing that we are in this journey together and what I have difficulty doing, he'll pick up (and boy...he's been true to that!). Life at this time is more than I ever expected it to be!

The kids here will all be able to do these things as well. Please don't give up on them and don't let them give up on themselves! I can't wait to see/hear about all of their successes! Best of Luck to all of them!

With that, I will close by thanking you all for letting me take such an important role in your child's journey. I am always here if they need the support!

Your Friend and Journey Companion,

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Dad's Dream

Although Gideon's stroke was a perinatal stroke, his diagnosis wasn't until he was nearly 10 months old, a few weeks before his first Christmas. It was such a difficult time for my husband and I. Not only were the implications of the stroke an unknown but we were grieving the loss of hopes and dreams. Gideon is our third child but our only boy. I can remember Christmas shopping for him and my husband and and I running our hands over footballs and gently fingering baseball gloves with tears in our eyes. We watched other parents picking out bikes and scooters and wondered and worried if Gideon would ever do any of these things. It's like having your feet pulled right out from under you. The fog of an unknown future and feeling so helpless is mind numbing.

Gideon is now six and he has right sided hemiplegia. As the years have passed he's had some remarkable accomplishments. Walking by 13 months, running, jumping off of picnic tables to scare the life out of me and more recently, riding a scooter he got for his birthday. The greatest accomplishment to date, and I emphasize to date because I'm sure there will be many more to come, was what we for some strange reason were holding our breath for. Perhaps it's the quintessential boy and his dad thing that we had envisioned when he was born. Gideon wanted a baseball and bat. I was hesitant because I think I was more worried about me not dealing well with his lack of success than in him being frustrated or incapable. As soon as the weather broke and he could go outside without getting covered in mud he pulled out the ball and bat and headed for the yard. I stood in the window watching him, not wanting to get involved and try and teach him to do something I didn't even know how to do and I let him try figure it out on his own. To my surprise he found a way to grip the handle in his right hand and rest the bat in the crook of his left elbow. He held th ball in his left hand, threw it into the air and quickly grabbed the bat with his left hand and swung away. HE DID IT!! He was able to hit the ball and he's getting good at it.

I've heard so many stories of people with disabilities who accomplish amazing things and I hope for my son that he'll be as successful. I worry every day that he won't but I have that same worry for all of my children. I see over and over again that despite Gideon's stroke and his limitations, that he really has no more limitations than the rest of us.

Gideon's mom