Saturday, January 14, 2012

Top 10 of 2011

This year our family decided to start a tradition for New Year's Eve: thanking the top 10 people who made the greatest impact on our year. I wanted to start the tradition by reaching outside of our "inner circle" of family and friends, who (I hope) we thank throughout the entire year.

I knew we would be out of town, and that dinner at Melting Pot usually lasts a few hours, so we planned everything before we left. As most of you know, this year has largely been impacted by the medical issues surrounding Deacon, so all of our thanks went out to those who have helped us through this year's roller coaster. I ordered personalized New Year's cards through Walgreens that included pictures of Deacon and stamped and addressed envelopes before we left for Austin.

I honestly had no idea how much this would impact us! I can't think of a better way to bring in a new year than to reflect back and give thanks to the year that had been given to us, trials included. It may have been my hormones, but I cried on more than one occasion during our dinner while reminiscing on 2011. (Brian may have gotten a little choked up too)

So, as David Letterman would say, "HERE'S OUR TOP 10!" (In order of occurrence through the year)

#1- Deacon's first daycare

Prior to 2011, Deacon had been staying at a lady's house for childcare.
An opening came up at Carson's daycare at the end of 2010, so we decided to switch Deacon to where his brother went at the beginning of the year. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. Around December of 2010 is when I started to notice that Deacon seemed behind his peers. I mentioned it to a few people, but they reassured me that he was fine.

By the end of the first week, the director and teachers stopped me to let me know that they could see some delays in Deacon. They prompted me to make an appointment with his pediatrician and even wrote a letter listing their concerns to take with me.

#2- My School Nurse

When I went into teaching, I never thought that the nurse's office would be a place for an adult to visit. My school nurse is fabulous, and some days, probably sees just as many teachers as she does students! I can't count the number of time I went to her office crying when this all began. I had no idea where to even start to tackle the obstacles that were being thrown at us. She had lists of resources for me to contact: ECI, our district's Vision teacher, Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics, and countless others. After doctor appointments, I would call her for advice and her opinion. She would even answer late night phone calls of questions that I had and felt I needed an answer to immediately. Most of all, she took time out to check on me and ask for updates.

#3, #4, & #5 - Deacon's Therapists

Deacon has been blessed with the most amazing therapists! His two developmental therapists are through ECI and have been so helpful from the moment we met them. This past year, they each saw Deacon once a week at daycare and helped to teach him to be more social and use his fine motor skills to become independent. Each week we were given an update on his progress with pointers on things to work on for the week. He was given all kinds of resources, from hand splints to chewy tubes.

His vision therapist is through our local school district and she is just as wonderful! Over the summer I got to know her pretty well, and you could see the excitement in Deacon's face when she would show up for a visit! Her quick observations about our little guy still blow me away: exploring with his toes!?! She also put us in touch with Blind Services who have purchased a few items for Deacon and offered suggestions on toys for Deacon and even where to place them in our house for the most use.

#6 - Dr. Foster - Pediatric Neurologist

Dr. Foster was our 5th neurologist in less than 6 months, and the first one not through Texas Children's Hospital. The first four neurologists we saw, made us feel like we were wasting their time, even documenting in their notes the amount of time they had to sit with us and answer questions. Phone calls were rarely returned, and I had to ask for tests to be run instead of them being offered. Worst of all, we were given a different diagnosis' and outcome with each doctor we were referred to, typically misinformation. I feel terrible for those parents who went in not asking questions or doing their research beforehand.

We knew Deacon deserved better, so we asked around and found Dr. Foster. Our first appointment with him was amazing! He asked questions and actually appeared interested in finding answers. His goal hasn't just been for Deacon's seizures to stop, but also for his delays to be resolved. He has done countless blood tests, genetic testing, and has changed his prescription to help with his language. At one point, his nurse even called us and asked for Deacon to come in for another test before changing his medicine because Dr. Foster had a dream about him the night before and had thought of something else!

#7 & #8 - Local Mom's Group Creators

Carrie and I have been friends since Carson was little. We met through a local mom's group and she has an adorable son and daughter. I tell her all the time that I feel like we could be the same person sometimes! She loves spending time with her kids and finding fun things to do with them, she takes tons of pictures, loves party planning, and makes sure that her plate is always full with commitments. When her son was diagnosed with Asperger's this year, she and another mother decided that our area needed a support group for moms and families of children with disabilities/delays.

Looking back, I think this group may have been one of the few things keeping me sane. Together they created an online message board for members to talk, share information, and ask questions. Even better, they host monthly meetings for us to form a bond by sharing our stories, successes and tears. The ages and stages that our members are in vary, as well as our stories, but they could understand my emotions and fears in a way that was different than family and friends. After each meeting I came home feeling refreshed with more information/resources to research.

#9 - Deacon's New Daycare

When we pulled Deacon out for the summer, his spot was lost at his previous daycare. We spent a lot of July searching for a new facility that would work with Deacon and not try to push him into the cookie-cutter mold of the typical 18 month old. Some daycares require their kids to sleep on mats and drink from sippy cups while sitting in a chair during meals, none of these activities Deacon were quite ready for. So when we found the right place, his new daycare, we were so relieved!

They started him in a lower age group and waited until he was ready to move up classes, which didn't take long! They genuinely seem happy to see him in the mornings and are loving on him when we pick him up each day while they report his successes. Even Deacon's therapists have mentioned that they think he is one of their favorites!

#10 - Our Pastor and Church

Where would we have been without the message of God each weekend?!? So many services at church felt like they were meant especially for our family. We have been comforted knowing that God is with us through this journey and I have relied heavily on His word during the hardest parts. Our church has given us something to look forward to every Sunday, and our pastor always does an amazing job delivering! We spent multiple Sundays at the front of the church, after services were over, praying with the prayer partners. Deacon was also on the prayer list at church, where members would pray for him daily.

Through our church, I have formed an incredible relationship with God and my faith is stronger than ever!

1 comment:

Hattie said...

Jackie this is the sweetest post! I just love the idea. Of course I had to repin it! Ha! You & Brian are such amazing parents!!! Y'all inspire me to do better! {{HUGS}}