My experience of tragedy, trials, and triumphs!
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lessons Learned while Blog Hopping...

I was blog hopping the other night on a couple blogs that are inspirational to me. The first was about a mom trying to figure out a diagnosis for her l year old. She talks about the struggles and blessings that come with raising a special needs child. I found myself really relating to a lot of the things she is going through. The things I have gone through with Cameron are different, but similar in some of the feelings I have gone through. The times you feel sorry for your baby, times of feeling sorry for yourself, and the times you realize the amazing blessings that come from your trial are the same.
From there I clicked on a link for someone else's blog that inspires her. It was about a mom who has 4 children. Three of the four have some sort of special need. From severe things to things like OCD and anxiety. Again I found myself completely relating to her story, her struggles and joys. I have the struggles with Cameron that we have been dealing with the last several months. I also have a son who was diagnosed in the last year as PDD-NOS with extreme sensory processing disorder. He is 8 years old and so fun to be around. He is a challenge and we work hard with tutors, speech therapists, behavioral counselors, and a center designed to help kids that are on the spectrum. We have a great support system in place with him. It is hard work, but we are managing it. I also have a son that has OCD, anxiety, and a pretty good temper. He is mostly managed at this point but we see OCD's ugly head get in the way occasionally. He is aware of it and fights hard not to feed into his OCD thoughts. I still worry about him though. I have 2 sons that at this point don't have any real issues and they keep us together. They are my first and last child from my first marriage. They are both extremely helpful on a daily basis, as are the other kids with struggles. It was just interesting to read about someone in a similar situation.
The last blog I linked to was about learning to live with grief in your life. Her child died a couple of years ago. She has a blog that connects people with all different kinds of loss. On January 22, 2004 my husband was killed instantly in an accident at work. I was 26 years old with 3 little boys. The day after he died I found out I was pregnant with my 4 baby, a son that I named after his dad.
As I sat there reading these blogs and relating to each one that I clicked on I had several thoughts come to mind. The first being how ridiculous it really is that I can relate to so many really sad and difficult trials. Each one of these trials is enough for any one person to handle. In the beginning I was feeling sorry for myself, but at the same time laughing at what a joke it really is. But as I thought more about it I start remembering how many blessings have come about from these trials and also the tender mercies during the trials.
It all started with Jake's death. The first blessing being the news that I was pregnant. Jacob Jr. has been a miracle from the beginning and is an angel that walks this earth. People are drawn to him everywhere he goes. He has been the easiest child to raise. He helped the healing start in all of our hearts when he was born and continues to bring happiness continually. I can't say enough about the blessing of Jacob. There were several more tender mercies to come in the coming months. My house sold, the farm was taken care of, the pregnancy was easy, and I was provided for financially by Jake death benefits. The biggest was my family. They moved in with me until I sold my house, and I moved in with them when it did sell. We were able to live next to each other while I was struggling as a young widow with 4 young children.
A couple years later I met Curtis. Our marriage came with blessings and trials. He also had 4 boys, so when we married we had 8 boys under 8. It was crazy and hard but a lot of fun. If I'm being honest the first 2 years were extraordinarily hard and I wondered if our marriage would last. We worked hard and have an amazing marriage now. Reading the Book of Mormon together quite literally saved our marriage. The last few years have been great and have brought so many blessings. We had Cameron on July 2, 2008. He was sweet, easy and bonded us as a blended family. He is happy all the time. I adore him completely! We moved into a neighborhood that we love. The kids have friends and I have amazing ladies that support me as well.
Last year when my son was struggling in 1st grade I started to notice things that weren't quite right. It took 9 months to get his diagnosis but we still saw blessings through out it. My friend gave me a book called, The Out-of-Sync Child. It changed my life and helped me realize what we were dealing with. I could have written the book. It lead to our finding so many things out with him and started us on the path of really helping him. When he was diagnosed the Doctor found out what elementary school we attend and informed me that we are in one of the top 4 schools in the state that offers services for kids with PDD. I knew that was the reason we felt so strongly about moving here 3 years ago. The school provides speech therapy 2 times a week for 30 min. a social behavior class once a week and his teacher allows him all his OT that helps him concentrate. He chews gum during class, sits on a yoga ball instead of a chair, has a box of food in the room he can eat from anytime he needs to, and runs laps outside when his anxiety gets him acting up a little. It is great! Curtis has been amazing in helping us and thankfully we are in a financial position to afford all the support team we have for him. His tutor has been with us for 2 years. She comes 3 times a week for an hour. She retired last year from teaching and has been substituting for Jordy's teacher when she is gone so that he doesn't have to adjust to new substitutes. I found out recently that she has been volunteering in his class almost everyday and privately helping Jordy get his work done each day. She isn't paid for it and didn't even tell me about it until Jordy mentioned it. When I inquired about it and told her I was concerned that she wasn't being paid for it she responded by saying, "that's not your concern, I enjoy doing it and he is improving so much quicker now. I want to do it." Who does that?!? She is amazing and I know is a huge blessing in our lives to help me get through each day!
In November I found out I was pregnant again. We were a little surprised, but I was very excited. November was when I really started to worry about Cam as well. We got his diagnosis at the beginning of January. I knew that I got pregnant when I did because if we had known about Cameron we would not have had anymore kids. I would have felt like I had more than enough to deal with and we shouldn't be adding stress. I feel strongly this is another one of my biggest blessings. January is always hard for me. The weather is terrible and it's the anniversary of Jake's death. Between the two it is really hard for me to get through. But this year we added Cameron's diagnosis to the stress. On January 19th the 15 year anniversary of Jake and I's first date and 3 days before the 7th anniversary of his death I found out the baby is a girl. Our first girl in 10 kids. I have been praying for a daughter for 14 years. Having a baby girl doesn't make any of my stress go away. It doesn't fix Cam or Jordy's problems. But it adds a spark of excitement that can bring up my spirits when I'm overwhelmed. The timing of it was a huge blessing.
The timing of Cameron's diagnosis was also a blessing. If he had been diagnosed when he was a baby they would have told me that he most likely would be mentally retarded, maybe never walk or talk, and having seizures daily. Well, he is not dealing with any of that except his talking. Also, to be dealing with that and getting Jordy's diagnosis at similar times would have sent me over the edge.
The biggest blessing is my faith and testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ. The healing powers of the Atonement have saved me over and over. My relationship with Heavenly Father gets stronger as I trust in Him and accept His will in my life. I have had many spiritual experiences that have strengthened me through the last 7 years. I know he loves me and helps me through it all.
I hope this doesn't come across as a pity party. It is more of a testimony that even when it's tough there are good things happening all the time that help us get through the tough times. There are numerous more tender mercies over the years but I have to go to bed sometime, I have a busy day tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jules I love you. You inspire me. I was so down today because of some struggles we are having, but I sat down to fb which rarely happens these day and your picture of Cam came up. It was just what I needed to read. I am touched by your honesty and openess about Cam. I remeber when Maddie was 8 weeks old and they told me she was deaf and would never speak, I was devastated. I sobbed and sobbed because I would never hear my baby girl say, " mommy I love you.". Obviously we know things have improved, but the struggles along the way have been heart breaking. When she had her seizures a couple of years ago, it was just another piece to her puzzle that I feel will never be solved. I come to the satisfaction that she is who she is. She is a daughter of God, she is my daughter. And diagnosis or not she is a blessing to me, in good times and difficult times. I am so grateful to know you and to be counted amongst your friends. Please don't hesitate if you need to talk.