Read part 1 of Megan’s story here.
I asked the principal of his school if Logan could be evaluated for dyslexia as well as a speech delay. I was told that he’d already had a speech evaluation and that he was fine. As to my other request, it took an entire year for the school to get him evaluated. That year, I spent fighting at every corner to insist he be evaluated. It was not an easy process at all.
Finally, by the end of Logan’s first grade year, we had an answer. He tested below the 1st percentile in just about every area. I didn’t understand how Logan could face so many challenges at such a young age or how I was supposed to support him in all that he needed.
Logan was immediately placed in a special education classroom for the majority of his days. This is where he really fell behind. In this class, Logan was clearly not expected to make any kind of academic progress whatsoever. He was to work almost exclusively on “ABCs” and “123s.” There was no science, no art, no goal setting, no progress measurement, and no effort made to move him up to anything resembling his grade level.
Since this was my first child in the special education program, I figured he must be getting what he needs. But as time went on, I knew he had so much more potential. It devastated me that he was spending his days like this.
Logan did finally receive a real speech evaluation from a gifted and compassionate speech pathologist. This woman’s work with Logan shows what a difference one caring person can make. She arranged for Logan to work with her twice a week, and he started making incredible progress. This woman was the first person to celebrate Logan as a hard worker. She recognized the incredible obstacles he was up against. And she invested in him.
She helped him believe he was capable, which gave him hope.
That hope fueled his work with her. And the results spoke for themselves. This experienced professional said she’d never seen a person make such gains in such a short time.
We decided to move Logan to a school called Twenty-First Century Public Academy, an all-inclusion school. There, the special education teachers come into the classroom to support the students rather than having them pulled out and paced in a separate room.
I was so nervous that Logan would just be drowning in a mainstream classroom. We prayed about this huge move for him, and ultimately, God led me to trust Him. This was truly the best thing that ever happened to Logan. I’ll never forget picking him up from school one day and hearing him exclaim, “MOM! I got to do SCIENCE today! Do you even know what science is? It’s SO fun!” He was in fifth grade.
Though Logan’s progress has taken longer than I wanted, I do feel that today, he finally has everything he needs. We worked together with his school to get him occupational therapy services, through which he received vision therapy as well. These services have also made massive differences for Logan.
Logan is now in 7th grade. While he is still a couple of grade levels behind, he is making his own progress on his own path.
And he has found something that motivates him to get through the harder parts of school: music.
Though we’ve never been a musical family, Logan asked a couple of years ago if he could try playing guitar. We’ve always been more sports-oriented, but we pivoted hard. We believe that we should embrace each individual kid and not just do what’s comfortable for us. So we bought him the instrument and signed up for lessons. Now he’s got the lead guitar position in his school band. It’s so wonderful for Logan to have his very own creative outlet in which he excels.
I just want every mom to hear this message: FIGHT for your kids. Resources are out there! And if you’re not getting help, KEEP asking! KEEP trying! The first, second, or third person you talk to may not have the answers, but someone will. Don’t give up!”
I wish I could say that this is where our story sort of winds down into “mostly happily ever after.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
One terrible night last year, my husband, Albert, woke me up in the middle of the night. He was having trouble getting any words out. I quickly realized that the entire left side of his body was paralyzed. We called paramedics immediately and began a journey down a road we never thought we’d walk this early in life (or ever, for that matter).
Albert had suffered a stroke.
The paramedics were reluctant to take Albert anywhere as his vitals were stable. They suggested that I take him to the ER. Though tests did indicate that he’d had a stroke, the ER doctors wanted to simply send us home because he was stable and he had no lingering symptoms.
Tests done over the coming weeks also seemed to show no abnormalities. Most of the doctors with whom we consulted seemed very comfortable to simply let us go without an explanation for what happened. Of course, without an explanation, we had no idea when it might happen again and whether he’d recover from another stroke.
I could not fathom being left with no answers or any recommendations on how to try to prevent this from happening again. With persistence, we found only one doctor who was concerned enough to take a closer look at Albert’s tests. Lo and behold, he found a hole in Albert’s heart.
Albert underwent surgery to fix the hole and slowly recovered physically. All of us were thinking, “Yay! Get through surgery, and he’ll be good as new.” We are so very thankful that he has recovered most of his ability to function normally day-to-day outside of the tremendous fatigue a stroke survivor endures.
However, he has truly lost so much. The long-term effects of a stroke vary from person to person, and we are still waiting, working, and hoping to truly have Albert back.
Albert’s stroke occurred on the left side of his brain. So, though his physical function is mostly okay, cognitive issues like the loss of memory, verbal communication, and mental endurance have greatly impacted him. He was thankfully able to go back to work and continues to succeed in his career. However, work takes everything he has. When he returns home, he can’t do much other than have dinner and fall asleep.
It’s odd. I used to be the “sick one.” Albert always did so much, from working on football skills with the kids to helping take care of things around the house to running errands and everything in between. He treated me like a queen. He always put my needs first and was happy to do so much.
At this point, though, even talking is exhausting for Albert. He really wants to be a help around the house, but he is only able to do a fraction of what he used to do. In many ways, we are all grieving the loss of our lives pre-stroke. Though he loves us deeply, Albert can’t currently be the husband or dad he wants to be and always has been.
He keeps fighting. He doesn’t give up.
There are good days, ones that start off full of hope and energy. And there are bad days. Maybe the headache is back, the fatigue is unreal, and it’s just harder to function. So we celebrate the good days and we hope for more. After all, in the midst of the hard days, we know we have so much to be thankful for.
It’s hard. We didn’t want this life.
As moms, I think we often wonder, “What happens if I give up?” We can’t. We’ve got to keep going. And we need to remember that there is always hope.
Every day, I try to live in the moment and make the best of it. I work to be thankful for the days we do have and the things we get to do together. Though it may not be what I had planned, I know that God will take care of us one way or another. And there is always some way we can make a situation better.
If I could tell every mom one thing, it would be this: Don’t ever give up the good fight.
In anything that comes your way, fight for what you can and never give up hope. As moms, we have a gift, though it may sometimes feel like more of a curse. We know how to fight. We know this because we love our children, our spouses, and our families so much that we would do anything for their well-being.
Embrace that gift when your gut tells you something is not quite right. Don’t suppress it. When you keep fighting and keep getting knocked down, just get up again. Logan’s struggles, my own health, Albert’s health, and many other difficult experiences have taught me to fight. There is always a brighter day on the horizon if you don’t lose hope.
Working to keep everyone’s spirits up is how I fight for my family.
Keeping hope alive that my husband will make progress and return to his happy self is how I fight for him.
I fight for my kids by making sure they get what they need at school and investing in what makes them light up inside.
And I fight for my joy, my health, and my hope with my faith in a God who has shown up for us time and time again.
I know there will inevitably be more that comes my way. And I’ve got my boxing gloves on.
***Many thanks to Megan for sharing her story with other Albuquerque moms and reminding us to keep fighting the good fight.***
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.