We were never promised an easy life.
And I do have those days that I wonder, “Why is this happening to us? Haven’t we been through enough?”
You know those nights you spend crying on your side of the bed, feeling all alone? Feeling hopeless? I’ve been there. And I want every mom to know that she’s never alone and that there’s always hope.
I was born with an extra pathway in my heart. There’s no reason it should be there, but it is. I’ve had three surgeries, the first when I was nine, to remove it. You see, this extra pathway causes electrical problems. For whatever reason, it always grows back.
In the same way, my life hasn’t always “grown” in the ways I always hoped it would. And yet I’ve found that pathways forward through hardship tend to grow if I don’t give up. So, I don’t give up. I search for the path forward. I fight to find it. And we make it through.
When my youngest son, Logan, was just beginning to try out solid food, we knew he had a problem.
Literally anytime he’d eat anything, he would have an allergic reaction. He’d break out in hives, have trouble swallowing, and even have difficulty breathing.
My son was allergic to food.
How would I raise this child, a very skinny baby at the time, to be a healthy adult if he couldn’t eat ANY food?
None of Logan’s doctors were able to figure out what to do. I truly felt hopeless at times. One doctor recommended that we go out to National Jewish Health in Denver, CO. We did, and the doctors’ initial tests there confirmed what I already knew: Logan was severely allergic to basically everything.
Logan also happened to have severe eczema. His medical team decided to focus on clearing his eczema before continuing his battery of tests. He spent three days wrapped in a therapeutic cocoon of sorts, after which his skin was totally clear. Then, we began the scariest of all the allergy tests . . . the food tests. Blood and skin prick tests were off the chart positive for severe allergies, and now it was time to test actual ingestion of these foods.
I was not prepared for what happened next. Actually, no one was.
Logan’s tests showed that he was only slightly allergic/sensitive to a few things. Gone were his anaphylactic reactions. Gone was his intolerance to every single food. I cried there at the hospital as the doctors marveled at his results.
Logan was going to be ok! He could eat!
It was truly shocking to see the change in him when we got home. To this day, no one can figure out why his allergies stopped that day. But I believe it was truly, simply, a miracle. God healed my son.
While I grew up as a Presbyterian, always believing in God, this was the first time I experienced Him for myself. I saw His power with my own eyes. I saw how He cared for us and got us through that time. And I truly believe He just worked a tangible miracle for our family.
This experience built in me the faith that I would need for all that was still to come for us.
When I was 32 and our kids were 5 and 8, I woke up one morning and actually could not physically get out of bed. I felt like I had the worst flu ever. My entire body was in pain, and it was the worst pain I’d ever had. A day off of work turned into a month. I just had no idea what was going on.
I forced myself to go back to work. But I’d get home and just couldn’t move off the couch. Two months after the initial onset of my symptoms, I finally received a diagnosis I never wanted to hear: rheumatoid arthritis.
I was overwhelmed and confused. How and why could this be happening? My life essentially changed forever overnight.
Over the next two years, I tried four different medications that did not work. It was SO disheartening, and I often found myself crying quietly on my side of the bed at night. I just kept thinking: “I have to get better for my kids. I have to figure this out because they need me.” Giving up was not an option.
At long last, I found a medication that helped me function. I also adjusted my diet to keep inflammation at bay. I watch what I eat because in addition to RA, I have eosinophilic esophagitis as well.
Hahaha . . . ugh . . . it’s true . . . not a day goes by that I don’t think about a health condition that I have. But I just choose to do everything I can on any given day to be as healthy as possible. Thinking about the long-term possibilities of all this can get you down. However, thinking about what I can do today to make the best of the situation makes me hopeful.
Sometimes, though, it’s easier to hang onto hope when you’re in a tough situation than when your child is facing one.
Our oldest son, Ryan, has always found academic success to come easily. He’d been in the Gifted program for most of his school years. School is mostly a breeze for him. However, When Logan began kindergarten, he struggled from the very beginning.
The problems began with sight words. Ryan has done these with ease and virtually no practice. Naturally, I expected the same would be true for Logan. He’d come home with a list of sight words to memorize each week. Some were as simple as “I” or “an.” However, Logan couldn’t ever remember even ONE word on any list. Not one.
While his brother had a photographic memory, Logan seemed to have none.
We tried asking his teacher for help and options, but she gave none. “He just has to do it” was her answer. One day, Logan’s grandma came to school to pick him up during recess. She found Logan sitting inside the classroom staring at his list of sight words. This was his teacher’s remedy to his problem. He would skip recess until he could memorize his sight words.
This is when I started fighting for Logan’s academic success.
Read part 2 of Megan’s story here.
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