Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Letter of Advice to my Former Self

To my former self, on the day we received one of Caidens first (and scarriest) diagnoses;

Not every parent can say they have their child's pediatrician's personal contact information, but then again, Caiden isn't the typical patient. You should be proud of yourself for deciding to stick with this doctor. She's going to be an essential part of the diagnostic process, and your biggest - professional - supporter.

When you receive one of his very first diagnoses, she's going to call on her own time from her personal number so you can talk about it. Remember to save her number like she tells you to, you'll need it later. You'll spend a good half hour on the phone scribbling down notes as she explains three words that should never be put together when talking about an otherwise healthy child.

Global Cerebral Atrophy.

Its only by chance that we stumbled upon it, and it won't be the last unexpected diagnosis in his ever expanding medical file. That one routine MRI to rule out cerebral palsy, a possible result of his prematurity, will be the catalyst that turns your life upside down and catapults you into unknown territory.

Don't waste your time Googling it, you won't find much as most of it doesn't pertain to him, your best source of information will be the neurologist. I know you're scared. You thought we were just dealing with autism, something I promise will finally be diagnosed in a few more months, but now you're suddenly faced with the very real possibility that his brain is dying, and its terrifying.

Go ahead and cry, just remember, you are not to blame for this.

Make sure you take notes when she calls, even if they're a mess. The other doctors you're referred to will want to see them, its difficult keeping all of his doctors on the same page, so notes and appointment summaries are very important. Don't forget to bring his records to every appointment.

You're going to hear words like cancer, deformity, trisomy, and biopsy, but six months, three additional doctors, and a dozen tests later, most will come back normal, and you still won't know much more than you did that day.

And that's good, it means most of the really bad stuff has been ruled out. You aren't in the clear yet, but you'll handle each bit of information the best way you know how, and you should be proud of that.

Remember that in order to find out the answer, you need to pace yourself. If you schedule too many things too close together, you're going to get burnt out. You can't be his voice if you're hospitalized for exhaustion.

Lastly, and most importantly, try to remember that you're a good mom, even when you don't feel like one. Despite the mountains of self doubt and mommy guilt, I want you to know that he loves you, even if he can't tell you for himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment