Monday, August 26, 2019

"Giving up"


This meme keeps popping up in my newsfeed.  The first time I read it quickly and passed by it, it was not the right time.  Then, of course, like a wildfire, it began to get copied and pasted by so many parents of CDKL5 kiddos and parents of children with medical complexities, so it popped up more and more.  Each time it emerged I couldn't stop myself from reading it, so each time my eyes would become watery and I would again move off the image.  I knew I wanted to save the image for when I was ready to address the words I kept reading, so eventually, I right-clicked it and pressed "save image", and now approximately a week after the first time I saw it, here I am.

"You're really advocating for someone's quality of life.  That's the moment you realize that you won't give up"

These two sentences take the air out of my lungs.  Maybe they hit home because of what is going on currently, maybe it would have knocked the wind out of me regardless of where we were on this journey had it appeared at another time in my newsfeed?  But all I think after I read the last sentence is, "what is giving up? what does giving up look like, how are those words even part of this picture?"  Advocating for someone's quality life is no small feat.  It looks vastly different for every single person who has to do it.  Advocating on someone's behalf is scary and unknown and when it comes to "quality of life" I feel like the answers are blurry, but the giving up part does not present itself as a single moment when it becomes "more than accommodations".  If you are advocating on behalf of a person there shouldn't be an epiphany where you suddenly realize "that you won't give up", because advocating in and of itself means you are going to represent what is best for that person until you are red in the face and no one has any doubts that you aren't backing down until this person's needs are met.  

Yet, the weight that is placed on those of us who are responsible for advocating for a person's quality of life is unexplainable.  It often brings with itself the inner feeling of wondering if a choice will be considered to be "giving up".  When it comes to "quality of life" in a medically complex child, who is to say what "giving up" looks like?  If the choice you choose on behalf of "quality of life" results in a potentially shorter life is that giving up?  Is it "giving up" if you no longer choose to keep seeking treatments?  If the main goal is "quality of life", then I feel like the words "giving up" should never even enter into our minds, because it has to be known that there is no such thing as "giving up".

The Mighty Contributor

Thursday, August 22, 2019

When life gives you lemons


When Sonzee was only 10.5 months I wrote a blog post about lemons.  As I read it now I know it was one of those posts that I wrote to try to boost my morale and attempt to be positive.  So much has happened since that blog post, yet there is still the same passionate desire for "her life [to] be easier, less painful, less scary, and less dependent."  I cannot say that these past 3.5 years have brought any of those things, but it certainly was not for the lack of trying.  I know we have made every decision for her based on our desire for her to achieve her best quality of life possible.  I will always wonder if she feels we have been successful or if she wishes we made different choices.  

Last night one of her sisters was at a class at the mall and while I waited I was able to walk around a little.  I have been meaning to get the initial bracelet for her baby brother because my best friend started the tradition when our oldest was born when she sent me the "L".  So when I saw the Alex and Ani store, I walked inside.  After picking up the letter "N", I was taking a look around.  These last few weeks we have been bearing an extremely heavy weight on our shoulders and I wanted to see if anything spoke to me, so when I saw the lemon, my only decision was necklace or bracelet.

I wish I knew what you're supposed to do "when life gives you lemons" because Sam and I don't always agree.  We have tried shelving them, squeezing them, making lemonade, freezing them, throwing them, making margaritas and every other possible alcoholic beverage with them.  Nothing seems to be fulfilling, nothing seems to make me feel like we have done anything correctly, nothing seems to make sense, and nothing seems to have made a damn bit of difference for everything we have done for Sonzee.  The only thing I can say is that we have been doing our absolute best and no matter where this journey goes, there won't ever be regrets.  

So every day I put this necklace around my neck I will remind myself that when life gave us lemons we did everything we could with the information that was given to us, with the support of those who have shared in the ups and downs of this roller coaster ride of a journey, and that really was the best we could do, no matter how short-changed or inadequate it might have felt.


The Mighty Contributor

Friday, August 16, 2019

Riverbend

We had the Alexa playing Disney radio this afternoon after Sonzee got home from school.  I feel like more often than not it plays the same exact songs on repeat; songs from Beauty & the Beast, Frozen, Moana, Tarzan, Little Mermaid, and The Lion King are the most often played.  For some reason today I noticed not only once, but at least twice "Riverbend" from Pocahontas came on, I wonder if it has played before and I just didn't hear it, or if today it was just one of those songs that came on because it was so relatable.

I feel like life has given us a swift kick in the behind these days.  These last two weeks especially have been weighing ridiculously heavily on me.  It seems it is just one thing after the other and I have no idea why it feels like everything is crashing down around us.  We have been in the trenches before, but for some reason, this time just feels different. As usual, I have no idea what lies ahead, but this time my heart hurts for different reasons and my gut is yelling at me at the top of its lungs.  It is deafening and suffocating any other thoughts all at the same time. 

It's tough, although I feel like that word doesn't really bring justice to what this whole journey has been and continues to be. But tough is just what it is, and for now "I look once more just around the river bend.  Beyond the shore where the gulls fly free.  Don't know what for what I dream the day might send. Just around the river bend for me"


The Mighty Contributor

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Resurface

The pain that accompanies this experience is one that I am sure will resurface as the years continue to breeze on by. 

I was driving in the car this morning on the way to a toddler gymnastics class with Sonzee's baby brother.  I have been looking forward to starting this class since the minute he was born.  As the months past by I was so eager to enroll him, and finally about 3 weeks ago I did just that.  I confirmed that our beloved Coach Susan was teaching all the morning classes like she did over the previous years.  Halfway to the gym my eyes filled with tears as I was thinking the first time we set foot in this gym was 8 years ago, then our second child followed suit as soon as he was 18 months, followed again by our 3rd, but then our time with Coach Susan came to an end with Sonzee, and now here I am bringing baby #5.  At that moment I remembered I had written a post about that chapter closing.  While not completely surprised I found myself crying again in the car, it still caught me off guard.

My heart finds itself in a constant battle of celebrating these amazing family milestones and broken over Sonzee never being able to be part of them.  Had she been able to bear weight maybe we could have modified the class?  Had she been able to sit maybe we could have had her do the circle exercises?  Had she been able to use her gait trainer when she was younger and in an efficient manner, maybe she could have run in a circle?  Maybe if she hadn't spent her earlier years in excruciating pain we might have learned she loved gymnastics?  No matter how many therapies or activities we have tried her in, it won't ever make up for the things that she has been unable to participate in. 

Lately, my heart has been in so much pain over where we are today.  A giant disaster of a circle that truly is never-ending but yet always seeming to start back up with pain, discomfort, sadness, and difficulties.  I do not understand how much more her little body can take and I do not understand why it has to be this way.  I can't even imagine what else could pop up, but I am sure I won't have to wonder too long because inevitably it will present its unwanted self.  Not surprisingly, but yet at a level of fascination with myself, I cannot believe how spot on I was so early on in this journey to assume all of these emotions would resurface, because they certainly always do.

The Mighty Contributor

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Processing

It feels like it has been forever since I last sat down and allowed myself to take a deep breath.  I decided even though I am exhausted from our final drive home, the beginning of unpacking, and the fact that it is 1:44am, I wouldn't let myself go to sleep without writing a blog post.  So many thoughts popped in and out of my mind over the last couple of weeks, yet time didn't allow for me to devote more than the second to them, and I know I need to make them coherent and sort them out in and outside of my mind.

This summer has officially come to a close in terms of travel and play, albeit not so much in terms of Phoenix's 112-degree forecast.  I am not fully ready to reflect on the events of summer as a whole because for the first time in Sonzee's life I feel like this summer was not actually a summer.  I honestly feel in a way we were robbed of my expectations, and maybe that was my fault for even setting any.  That is what I hate about CDKL5, so many plans that don't come to fruition, in their place is the life that I have minimal say and control over, and for some reason, I am still unable to relinquish the reality of that concept.  Deep down I know that there is a reason for everything, that there is a purpose for everything that occurs to Sonzee and for all the experiences we have because of her, but closer to the surface it remains a constant struggle.

4.5 years in and I still cannot grasp why she needs to struggle for any potential "better good".  While I am so fortunate to those who have literally become like family to us, I wish it was not at our daughters' expenses.  There is no amount of life learning lessons or inspirational gain that should come at the hands of pain and suffering of Sonzee or any other child.  I still have moments, like right now where I wonder why her?  I still hate that this is her life and her reality.  I still hate having to act like I am okay with any of it because of occasional societal pressures.  I still cannot shake the pain and physical strangling feeling that has consumed my heart since first hearing and reading the letters CDKL5, and I am starting to understand that I don't think I ever will.


The Mighty Contributor

Sonzee's Slideshow