Lost In Translation

“I need batteries.”

This phrase escaped from the mouth of our Cannon for the first time about 3 months ago. A perfectly normal thing to say, right? So, we did what anyone would do when told this. We looked around and asked him what toy or device he could be talking about. Testing various ones that flash, move, and make noise. Nothing. We looked inside the house and out….in the car. Nothing. And he would just get really frustrated when pushed to identify the object so we often just dropped the subject and tried to redirect him to something else. A snack option, playing a game, going outside. Anything to keep him from continuously repeating this phrase. And I mean CONTINUOUSLY. (In the Autism world, this is called “scripting.”) It has come up in the most bizarre locations….church, public bathrooms, during therapy appointments, in the shower, and such. We felt like we tried our hardest to understand why he kept saying this but we simply could not. And just chalked it up to something he must have heard somewhere.

He didn’t stop saying it over the last 3 months. And the intensity with which he would speak it amped up as well. He would get into my face and press his face to mine telling me adamantly….”I NEED BATTERIES.” I was at a loss.

Recently, we traveled to Oregon to visit Mark’s family for the first time in 6 years. We had a lovely visit but with its usual set of complications. Getting proper food, meds, and wound care supplies for Cannon. Keeping him calm in the face of new situations, places, and people. Training Roxy to help with those things and following all service dog protocols. And just managing his pain while trying to be polite to our hosts and such.

But one day, we had a breakthrough/heart break. Cannon had struggled mightily throughout the trip and the last few months with much increased tummy pain. He has been begging in most cases to drink all his meals. We try to get him to eat at least one meal and one snack that is food but aren’t always succeeding. We are using medical food in powder form to make shakes for him super often. I honestly can’t remember the last time he had 2 food meals in a day.

One night, the pain was particularly bad. I tried everything. Medicated him. Put him in a warm shower (which he likes) to try and distract him. Massaged his tummy the way a therapist showed me. Read a favorite book, had Roxy give lots of cuddles and kisses, and sang favorite songs to him. Nothing was giving him any comfort or relief.

And then, 3 months of trying to tell us something finally came together.

He grabbed my face and screamed, “MY BODY ISN’T WORKING! I NEED BATTERIES!!!”

Well, there it was. I admit to being stung by the words and stunned at the same time. He made PERFECT SENSE. When a toy no longer works, you put batteries in it. So, why couldn’t he be the same way? AHHHHHH!!! My heart broke. Right in half. Because I had done all I could in terms of pain management. My eyes brimmed over with those hot, salty tears reserved for the really tough stuff. I held his hand, placed my other on his tummy, and prayed like I haven’t in a long time. With PLEADING, with every word I could muster, with fire in my soul…..I PRAYED! He just laid there. I thank God he slept that night. I begged for at the very least….that. I fell asleep with him on that little twin bed in my in-laws house. Clutching my sweet boy and continuing to pray with ferver. Feeling the closeness to both Cannon and my Father in Heaven as I poured out my heart.

Psalm 34:18 says, ”The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” This verse could not have been more true that night.

Y’all! The moral of this story is twofold. 1) Chronic pain is nothing short of ROUGH! But, God hears our prayers. 2) Never, ever underestimate people with Autism. They ARE trying. There IS sense to what they say quite often. If you hang around long enough, dig deeper, and just love them……sometimes you’ll get a glimpse into those fascinating inner workings. The complex labyrinth that is the Autism mind. The pieces just have to come together.

Tomorrow (or today since I am posting this so late), Cannon will have an Upper and Lower Endoscopy with his G.I. doctor (labs and biopsies included), a Bronchoscopy with his new Pulmonologist, and a changing out of his Chait Button in Interventional Radiology. The scopes will give us a glimpse as to how his esophagus is faring against his raging reflux, whether or not Eosinophilic Esophagitis (asthma of the esophagus) is still present, and check out his stomach for any damage from the Gastroparesis. The Bronchoscopy will let us know how his lungs look and whether or not he is still aspirating fat from his food into his lungs. And if so….how badly. This last bit of info will determine if we continue discussing the possibility of a feeding tube or not. This is still VERY much a possibility! The Chait Button has to be removed and switched out with a new one every 9 months. It IS a bit tricky due to the spiral nature of the tube which is why it is done in Interventional Radiology as opposed to surgery. They can inject dye into the pathway to see where they are going with the tube instead of blindly winding the tube back in.

The biggest prayer request we have right now is this. Cannon has had a cold all week. It seemed to be going away and he sounded good this morning and tonight he is stuffing right back up. I am doing all I can with medicine, oils, liquids, humidifiers, and such but we are where we are. If it isn’t much improved by the morning, they will not put him under. And rescheduling a procedure that involves coordinating 3 doctors schedules is quite tricky.

We need the information that these procedures can bring and are praying with all our hearts that this particular day will give us more answers than questions. More solutions than disbelieving head shakes from the doctors. NO NEW DIAGNOSES!! And bring change that produces peace into our sweet Cannon’s body. A peace that would have him never requesting batteries for pain relief ever again!

But no matter what….we will continue to pray him through the tough moments, love him through the anger, snuggle him when he’s sad. Proclaiming from every mountaintop and valley of this journey….the words of this song…..

“I have this hope….in the depths of my soul. In the flood or the fire…..you’re with me and you won’t let go.”

“Trusting grace can be seen in both triumph and tragedy.”

A Simple Mother’s Day Moment

It was such a simple moment. Yet it wasn’t.

Yesterday, was Mother’s Day. And during church, we had a precious few minutes. Ones that would go unnoticed to most…. but for us……it was a profound gift. A sight to remember. A moment of reflection and awe. We looked over at Cannon during worship time…. to find him COMPLETELY attentive and singing ALL the words to one song…..the one below. You have no idea.

Church can be such a struggle with our Cannon. His stomach is hurting and his response is to wiggle constantly (on good days) or thrash about with many sound effects (on the tougher ones). All the while attempting to find comfort. The service and sanctuary can overstimulate him…..with all the sights, sounds, smells, and such. And his frequent response is to meltdown, flap his arms wildly, kick the seats, yell out, hit himself in the head, and on and on. He talks normally…..having little concept of his volume and the need to be quiet….despite the fact that he has been in church all his life. He can be combative or reactive when corrected. He begs incessantly for his drawing board and/or the iPad. And I do cave….but NEVER until the sermon. Many of these experiences may sound familiar to anyone who has ever taken a child to church. But I assure you that Autism amplifies these scenarios.

When we arrive at our usual spot in the balcony…..his pattern is to immediately grab the hymnal. He turns each individual page until he has turned them all. This seems to help him acclimate.

Getting him to focus on just one element of the service and participating in that part has been a goal of mine for some time. Just following along from start to finish during the scripture reading. Helping me fill in the blanks on my sermon outline. Or even to take the outstretched hand of fellow church members without being prompted by us and to return their greetings with a response as well as a glance into their eyes. His lack of visual attention hampers these efforts and most especially…..the singing of the words on the screen. But not for about 4 minutes yesterday. Hallelujah!

We were standing. The song had just begun. Cannon was next to Mark..and I was holding the hand of my love. Roxy was sleeping at our feet. Townsend….off having fun at Kid’s Church. Mark squeezed my hand and I looked at him and smiled. But he motioned with his head towards Cannon. I looked. It was so beautiful. In that moment, even the gray color of his skin seemed to be gone and he appeared to have a healthy glow. He was smiling slightly. Standing up straight…not hunched like he can…due to tummy pain. Not stomping on his own foot over and over like he can. He was following the words….meticulously. Singing each word audibly and proudly. Not softly or just mouthing them. Truly singing each and every precious word. I was awestruck. To say the least. But then….something else got my attention. The words he was singing. Oh, those perfect, perfect words. Have a look…….

Never Once
By: Matt Redman

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Is Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

I was breathless. Tears rushed to and escaped from both of our eyes. There just aren’t enough ways to express the power of our sweet, war torn Cannon singing the words that are our heart’s exact feelings/experiences in regards to his developmental and medical journey. It was a heaven given Mother’s Day blessing!

The Timehop app does a great job of reminding me on a daily basis of the horrific first days after Cannon’s Autism diagnosis. The battle with the insurance company and the intense struggle to build a team of people and therapists around him. To guide and to teach him, thereafter. Of the years we could not figure out what was wrong with him medically. And those where we were CONSTANTLY in and out of the hospital. The days after his Chait Button surgery that were filled with anger, sadness, and the unknown. The new diagnoses that seem to slap us in the face on a fairly regular basis. It’s been a rock laden road. BUT…..those hard times help one to appreciate these types of moments where a small victory is really a HUGE victory!

I pray that right now….you will listen to this song….watch this video….and find something. Something that your heart might be searching for today. If you do not know the Lord, I pray that it will convince you once and for all to abandon all and follow Him. THE ONE who can provide you with all you need….no matter what. Your Savior. If you are struggling yourself, I pray that the words will convince you to send your burdens heavenward. He IS there…..ALWAYS. If you are a Believer….I pray it is a few joyous moments. Relishing the fact that you are never alone. Wherever you are in life….I pray it blesses your heart and strengthens your spirit. With all my heart….this is my prayer.

God bless you guys! And Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all the mammas!


6 years ago yesterday was the worst day of my life.  The day my precious, first-born son was diagnosed with Autism.  Yesterday……was one of the best.  The day he first met his very own service dog.  Wow!  What a contrast!

6 years ago and a few months prior…..all had been perfect.  Cannon had walked early, talked early, and was incredibly smart.  But in a 2 month free fall, he lost the ability to speak, make eye contact, and seemed to do nothing but scream 24-7.  Our lives were turned completely upside down.  We had lost the boy we knew and were left with a shell of his former self.  It was devastating.

Today…..6 years after that awful, life changing day….he began a new chapter of his little life.  And hopefully, one that will lead to a much better, more independent, happier life.  One where he is even more supported and love.  Even more confident and capable.  And even more protected and safe.  We are so excited to see how this changes Cannon’s life for the better.

Our class is being held at a local church.  4 Paws for Ability is building a new building on their current property and it just isn’t ready quite yet.  So, we are using a large Fellowship Hall type room thanks to the church’s generosity.  We were greeted by signs and a 4 Paws employee to direct us.  It was nice to see the families whom we have been talking with on our class’ Facebook group for months!


The beginnings of class was short.  Introductions of all the trainers and a quick once around the room so that each family could present themselves.  Then, the moment we had all been waiting for!  They began bringing the dogs in!  One at a time with 10-15 minute gaps in between so that each family had their moment and could get their photos and such.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 dogs came in and went to their children.  Still no Rocket.  But, we were patient.  And they definitely saved the best for last!  Our Rocket bounded in.  I was so emotional leading up to today.  Getting all teary any time I thought of what was coming.  I figured I would fall apart when our Rocket was finally in our arms.  But that did not happen…. it couldn’t.

The trainers had withheld breakfast so that we could feed them.  It would help with their excitement and bonding they said.  So, our guy was READY TO EAT!!!!!!  And he did not hold back.  He was focused!  It was pretty hilarious.  Have a look.

Cannon meets Rocket

This pic shows the first moment our family laid eyes on our Rocket!  I’m in love with this one!


And here are a few pics from our special morning……




The only thing was that Cannon was not feeling well.  His tummy was REALLY hurting and he had been emotional several times before Rocket came in.  His button was leaking and his jeans were bothering him.  (We tried switching him into comfier sweat pants but had minimal improvements).  When Rocket came in with so much energy, I think it was a little more than he was feeling up to in that moment.  The trainers assured us that this was the most excited we will see them. Just a few minutes into our first meeting with Rocket, Cannon began asking to go back to the hotel.  He just thought……I’m feeling bad, we got my dog, now let’s go lay down at the hotel.  He struggled a bit with the fact that we had to come back after lunch.  But we did our best to distract him with drawing and other toys.  But mostly he just sat and laid on one of us.


During the afternoon session, Mark and I began learning basic commands.  “Sit” and “down,” as well as each command with a 30 second wait for a treat after task completion and walking a circle around them after completion.


I was nervous about the start of the actual training as I have never had a dog before and have had extremely limited contact with dogs my entire life.  But I was pleased with how it went so far and look forward to learning more in the days to come.  Rocket was very well behaved and much more chill.  We are bonding.  I can feel it.  And Cannon really likes him, too.  The trainers say that the bonding process can take time between the child and dog, too.  And that’s perfectly normal.

Y’all!  I can’t possibly tell you how thankful we are!  This experience would have never been possible without each and every one of you coming alongside us and helping us get to this point.  You loved us, you prayed for us, you encouraged us, you helped us fundraise, you donated, and you helped us get the word out.  My gratitude is overflowing!  Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts!  Our child will never be the same!  And you did that!  The absolutely incredible contrast between these 2 days…..separated by six years is just unbelievable!  All our love!



World’s worst blogger here!  About to head off to bed before one of the biggest days in my family’s life!  Tomorrow…..after 2 years of searching for the right agency……paperwork….interviews…..more paperwork…..fundraising……LOTS more paperwork……a copious video filmed and assembled…..and waiting, waiting, WAITING……Cannon will FINALLY get his service dog!!!!!!!!

And he is the prettiest dog I have EVER seen!  (I know this has nothing to do with his purpose….but gosh darnit…..he is PRETTY!)

We had been told that we would receive a picture and letter from the dog 7-10 days before our class began.  We waited super anxiously…..so ridiculously excited to get our first glimpse.  The waiting and constant refreshing of my email about drove me crazy.  And we didn’t get it until 5 days before class!!!!!!  But we got it at a perfect time…..so perfect!

We had been waiting and hoping all day…..but nothing.  Cannon had been in terrible, terrible pain all day.  I wanted so badly to give him this news.  To give him something to be happy about.  But…..crickets.  Mark and I laid down with the boys for our regular nightly story and devotion reading time as well as prayers.  When we finished, I decided to jump up one last time and check to see if the email had come through.  I grabbed my phone out of an adjacent room and started walking back in Cannon’s room.  When I saw the email THERE….I almost dropped the phone.  My hand went straight to my mouth and tears dove out of my body.  I tried to read the letter but I’m not sure anyone could understand me….I was crying so hard.  It was a beautiful moment.  All of us together.  Having just prayed.  And getting our first look at this beautiful creature.  Our new family member and Cannon’s future best friend, companion, and protector.  HE IS SO PRETTY!

Have a look.



And one of him as a puppy!  Awwwww!


A precious element was the letter written from his new pup.



Cannon has decided to change the dog’s name from Drake to Rocket.  He has been adamant about this ever since a friend suggested it.  Sounds like a pretty dynamic duo.  Don’t you think?  Cannon and Rocket!  🙂  I can’t wait!

One crazy thing that happened while packing for the trip!  I asked Townsend to grab off our shelf….the next book in the series of books that we read nightly.  The one we are currently reading….we will finish in a couple of days.  He does, hands it to me, and I couldn’t believe it!  Check out the title!  Coincidence?!  Nope!


Here is a video and a few pics of our journey to Ohio…….


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Finally….I hope that this amazingly trained animal will further help my kiddo realize his purpose in life.  I pray that he will guide him, love him, comfort him, and give him the strength to pursue his true potential!  Watch out world!  With God, family, friends, and his Rocket by his side…….Cannon is gonna be UNSTOPPABLE!


Helpless But Not Hopeless

I admit it.  I do.  Lately, we have been feeling quite a bit sad and helpless.  Helpless, as well as, overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed with circumstance, responsibilities, diagnoses, and life right now.  Pretty darn emotionally exhausted and super tired physically.

When last I blogged, I asked you to pray for Cannon’s Endoscopy.  I shared the strategic battle plan of prayer that I had been praying over his G.I. doctor.  Well, we got answers.  Lots of them.  And as usual, it’s complicated.  That’s our Cannon!

Let me begin by backing up slightly.  About a week prior to Cannon’s scope, the boys and I went to our beloved Beads of Courage for an event.  We enjoyed Bead Challenge Day where, among other things, we watched talented bead artists make tons of beads to fill BOC’s Bead Pharmacy.

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The event took place at various locations across the country.  One of the things we did at the event was string some beads onto bracelets.

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We struck up a conversation with a young woman and her mother seated across from us.  During the convo, she shared her diagnosis.  Gastroparesis.  Remember that one blog family?  It was what Cannon’s doctor feared he had last year and was our reason for going to the hospital in Ohio.  Where they specialized in it.  They did 2 tests for the disease while we were there.  One test couldn’t be completed as Cannon ripped the precisely placed tube out upon waking from anesthesia.  The other was done and completed.  The Gastric Emptying Study.  It had a normal result.  They told us this was definitive.  He did NOT have Gastroparesis…..but Functional G.I. Disorder instead.  I told this young woman our story and she kind of laughed.  She said she had had 4 of those studies.  2 that were positive for Gastroparesis……2 that were negative.  Since it is a relapsing condition….partial paralysis…..sometimes the stomach works and sometimes it doesn’t.  If you do the study when all is well…..it will be negative.  If you do it when all is not well…..it may be positive.  So, bottom line……the test isn’t fool proof. She had the feeding tube to prove it.  I found this conversation very enlightening.  When we left Ohio in February, I felt okay with what they had told us.  Although, I was surprised….as Gastroparesis had really made all the pieces fit together.  I was thankful to have met this young woman.  It put this thought back in my mind and allowed what came later to not be such a shock.

Back to the recent scope.  Afterwards the doctor came in (just like last year) shaking his head.  And again (just like last year) asked me when Cannon had last eaten.  I remembered exactly and we did the calculations.  17 hours prior.  He revealed to us that Cannon’s stomach was STILL full.  I gasped and teared up quickly. My poor baby!  How miserable this must feel.  Eventually I got out a question.  “Does this mean he definitely has Gastroparesis?”  He said, “There is still food.  There is Gastroparesis.”  My heart sank.  Another life long, chronic condition.

That was bad enough……but there was more.  Reflux.  But not just any old bout of reflux.  Horrific.  Major damage.  He actually said that from what he saw “we are weeks away from losing his food pipe.”  LOSING HIS FOOD PIPE?!  This news was almost beyond my comprehension.  Prior to our trip to Ohio, Cannon was on 3 doses a day of reflux medication.  While there, they informed us that the sole goal of a reflux med was to protect the esophagus.  And that 1 dose a day would do that.  3 was excessive.  So, we listened and eliminated 2 doses.  One of our reasons for going there was to edit medications.  We knew he was over medicated at that time.  We tended to add to the regiment constantly and never take any away as issues improved.  So, we listened.  And now…..this news.  It was tough to take.  He informed us we absolutely HAD TO put him back on the 3 doses immediately or else……  So, of course, we have.

And there is more.  He is terribly concerned about aspiration.  So much so, we will be seeing a Pediatric Pulmonologist soon.  He said several times (almost in disbelief) that he had seen it happening with his own eyes through the scope.  Instead of fluxing acid like what is normal with acid reflux….and because his stomach is often full of food for long periods of time….he is fluxing the food.  He has a great fear that he will aspirate this food and we will be in real trouble.  He told us we need to have eyes on him at all times…..particularly at night when reflux is at his worst.  Getting a new video monitor for his room was a must as well as propping up the head of his bed considerably.  Making sure to feed him early in the evening…..at least 3 hours before bed.  Smaller more frequent meals are best.

A week later, we heard back from the biopsies taken that day, as well as the lab report.  The labs showed low iron.  Which shouldn’t be as he takes iron 3 days a week.  So, we had to increase the frequency of that supplement.  P.S…Iron is very hard on your stomach.  No bueno.

AND the pathology report showed something called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE).  This was explained to me as “asthma of the esophagus.”  It can be the result of reflux or allergy.  The pathologist noted that the findings were consistent with allergy.  The treatment…..more diet restrictions.  Most of which we already eliminated…..dairy, wheat, gluten, soy, corn, and eggs.  I had a good cry after hanging up the phone from hearing “Eliminate peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.”  Cannon LOVES almonds for snacks, and devours peanut butter.  Salmon is also one of his most favorite things on earth.  BOO!  He already has so many restrictions.  It kills me to take away foods that make him happy.  The plan is to eliminate these things for 3 months and then get another scope.  If all is better at that time, then we can add back in ONE of the eliminated foods.  3 months later…..another scope.  If all is still well….another food added back and later… another scope.  And so on.  We also have to see our allergist to get a highly specialized allergy test.

The other thing the nurse reminded me on the phone that day was that now that Cannon is back on all the reflux meds…..he has to go back on the FODMAP diet.  When you are killing ALL the acid in your stomach via meds…..it can become a breeding ground for bacteria.  So, he has to take an antibiotic for that and eat in a way so as not to feed that bacteria.  Bottom line…..between the 2 diets I have 15 pages of diet restrictions to cross check before feeding my child.  Hence the previously mentioned overwhelm.

All of this is a lot to take and I’d be lying if I said it has not been a taxing and emotional time.  To boot, Mark’s crazy work schedule requires me to always be the one to get up with him at night. Cannon’s button has begun leaking badly and we have had to increase the agitant in his daily flush which has made him nauseous again.  And on a whole other note, we are facing a 20% pay cut after the 1st of the year.

The hardest part, though, has been seeing Cannon in so much pain.  He has bursts of energy at times.  And we are so thankful for that.  He can go outside and play for a bit.  But he tires quickly and often needs to be carried after that.  He, sometimes, does ok in the mornings after the flush until about noon……he goes into a free fall.  I would say 80-90% of the time, he is telling us he hurts.  His eyes are terribly sad.  He also isn’t sleeping well AT ALL.  He gets up frequently during the night to tell us he is hurting.  And there isn’t much we can do but give him right now…..Tylenol or Ibuprofen.  IT IS SUCH A HELPLESS FEELING!!!!!!!

But, let me be clear……we feel HELPLESS but we are NOT HOPELESS!

Last night, I was reading our devotion to the boys from a book called My Big Book of 5 Minute Devotions.  It was about the process of how the oyster produces the pearl.  Through struggle, discomfort, and irritation comes this thing of incredible beauty.  Out of bad comes good.  Purpose from pain.  I was thankful to share these words with my little loves last night.

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Anyhow, I think that is all.  I’m sure I have forgotten something cuz this mamma is wiped the heck out!  But, this is most of it.

(Oh!  We saw his surgeon this week and she is placing a call to the doctor in Ohio.  With all these new developments, she wants Cannon to see him when we travel back that way in December to get his service dog.  We will see what he says.)

Our battle plan of prayer will now evolve to fit our current needs.  (More on that soon.)  Our top priority at this time may sound strange.  It’s to be broken.  To let it out.  To be real with my God.  Vulnerable.  To come to terms with these new words in our vocabulary, make ALL the necessary adjustments, and then move forward.  With strength, acceptance, and the constant goal of giving Cannon the best, most healthy life possible.  We will be ok.  I leave you tonight with this song I came across recently.  It is the words/heart of a lovesick Father…..begging for closeness with his child.  Yearning to be trusted in hard times.  Allowed to take over.  Our family was built on faith and on that we WILL stand.  God bless you blog family!  Thank you for caring!  We love you!

“So, let the pieces of your heart fall into my arms.  I want to be your hope.  So, won’t you let me….hold you through it.  Let me carry you.  I know it feels you’re at the end….but here your story is just beginning.  I know your tomorrow.  I know where you are.  Though you can’t see past the moment……I see beauty in the broken.”

A Battle Plan Of Prayer

This morning, after 3 months of intensifying pain……Cannon will be having an endoscopy. His doctor will be taking a look all around his stomach, esophagus, and colon. And take biopsies in various areas as well as a ton of blood for lab work. He had been doing better since our trip to Ohio. And still is as compared to the condition he was in at that time. He hasn’t been vomiting at the incredible rate he was, isn’t totally lethargic, and has gained some weight. But starting around the beginning of June, the pain complaints kicked up. They very slowly increased at first but in the last month have returned with a vengence. The light that had returned to his eyes is fading big time. A sad, squinty look has become the norm. And he can look more pale. In an attempt to head this off and not let it get out of hand……we reached out to our G.I. doctor. He agreed it was time to take a look.

Recently, Mark and I were able to slip out and go see the movie “War Room.” If you haven’t done so yet…..GO! Like…..right now! It is incredible! Such a pertinent story for most all. In the movie, a woman whose marriage is crumbling is discipled by an older woman who encourages her to develop a battle plan in her prayer life. And shows her the completely cleaned out, distraction free closet where she prays. Attaching sheets of paper all around with various, specific prayer topics. A prayer strategy…..she calls it. I was very inspired by this movie! And to take a more strategic approach to my prayer life.


In that spirit, I pray for Cannon’s doctor this morning…….

I pray for his hands. That they would be gentle and move skillfully through my love’s little body. I pray that no damage would be done. I pray that his hands will be guided to the specific spots that need to be biopsied. And any areas that must be seen.

I pray for his ears. That he would listen intently and thoughtfully to us as we describe Cannon’s recent behavior and complaints. Hearing us completely and possibly making connections that need to be made.

I pray for his heart. That it would be open to Cannon. That he would empathize in a way that doesn’t allow him to give up.

I pray for his eyes. That they would be opened wide to whatever is going on.

I pray for his mind. That it would be clear of all distractions and willing to pursue a solution for our Cannon. Whether they find something and whether they do not.

I pray for his mouth. That he would speak life to us through solutions.

I pray for his feet. That if he needs to do more research or reach out to other docs for advice……that that will be done. No more ego. No more resistance. Because Cannon’s quality of life is all that matters here.

I pray this with all my heart and on very raw knees………


I am not and have never been eloquent in my prayers. But I know that my Father does not need pretty words. He just needs to hear my heart, my soul……being poured out before Him.

And now……we wait………..

The Mother’s Day Miracle of 2015

I have to share some wonderful news with you blog family!  Something so out of the blue but fantastic happened on Sunday, May 10th.  Something we have agonized over, prayed for, wracked our brains over, and just been down right frustrated with for years…..finally, finally, FINALLY began to resolve!

For 6 1/2 years, we have been trying to potty train Cannon. We tried every conventional method.  We tried every out there and bizarre method.  We tried every reward based program.  We tried outright bribing him.  We tried taking him to the restroom at predetermined time periods.  We tried collecting data to try to predict the times he was most likely to need to go potty.  We read him the boys potty books and watched the Elmo Goes Potty video until we both had it memorized.  We read many, many, many books, articles, and blog posts for parents, studied research, etc.  Everything we could get our hands on pertaining to this topic. We consulted various doctors as well as other moms of kiddos with Autism.  We feel like we tried absolutely everything.  But nothing, and I mean nothing, worked.

Our son had not one ounce of interest in the issue.  You could let him run around in just underwear (or naked) and he would relieve himself in either fashion…..no problem….anywhere.  He didn’t care.  You could ask him if he was wet and he would always tell you he was dry.  Even if the evidence to the contrary was literally rolling down his bare legs.  He didn’t care.  It had gotten so bad that our G.I. doctor was really questioning whether or not his body was communicating with his brain about when he needed to go.  He wondered if there was a disconnect and if he was even capable of being potty trained….ever.  We gave the issue some space but made it clear to Cannon that we knew he could do it.  And just kept believing as best we could.

I did my very best to hide this issue from his peers.  Because the couple of times it was discovered that he was still in diapers, he was teased badly.  So…..for example, during AWANA club time at our church, I would take him to an isolated restroom down the hall from his class while everyone else was outside.  That has worked mostly.  But I have gotten PLENTY of stares, glares, and questioning looks upon visiting public restrooms with Cannon.

May 10th was just like any other day.  Nothing was different.  Except that it just happened to be Mother’s Day.  It was in the afternoon……after church.  I went to the bathroom because Cannon had called to me that he needed a diaper change.  This alone had taken years to happen.  (Over the last year, he had begun to pee in the potty if you got him there first.  He protested and didn’t like it…..but eventually, he would relent and go.  And in the last couple of months….every once in a while he would tell me if he was wet and needed changing.  But that was it.  No news ahead of time).  So anyways…..on this day he called me and I went back.  When I opened the drawer where we kept the diapers….it was empty.  I needed to run grab some more from a stash in the Cannon’s bedroom closet.  But first, I did as I always do…..I said, “Would you like to wear underwear instead?”  To my complete and total shock…..Cannon said, “Ok.”  I almost didn’t notice at first.  I had grown so used to the emphatic “No!”  When I realized what he had just said I praised him like crazy and made a big deal about how proud I was of him.  I let him choose which pair he wanted to wear from the hopeful selection that I had.  Dinosaurs….he was very sure of his choice.  For the rest of the day, I reminded him every so often to go.  I offered sweet treats as rewards for a job well done.  And he DID!  FOR THE REST OF THE ENTIRE DAY!  (I cannot begin to emphasize that this was out of the clear blue after 6 1/2 years!!!!!!)  We did put him in a diaper at nighttime but I kid you not…..he stayed dry during the day until Thursday!  It was crazy!  Our minds were blown!

And then Thursday came and he had 3 accidents.  And he didn’t seem to care.  I thought…..well that was my bone.  He threw it to me… to give me hope…..and now we will go back to where we were.  I was disappointed but decided to try again Friday.  More accidents.  (And when I say accidents…..I mean big, bad, nasty ones.)  Sigh.  It wasn’t looking good.

But you know what…..we kept at it.  Kept believing in him.  I reminded him regularly of Phillipians 4:13 (“I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”) and I praised and rewarded that kid like a crazy woman!  I read him the potty books that had been gathering dust on the book shelf for years.  I took him out of the house in short stints in underwear.  Just so that I could praise him that much more when he succeeded.  And there were accidents.  But more successes than failures…..thank goodness.

The last week and a half, we set our sights on night time dryness. And all but 1 night…..he has met that goal.  And it is because of that…..and a virtually unblemished daytime record in the last couple of weeks……I feel confident in saying that our precious Cannon Luke is officially potty trained!  Yep!  He did it!  He’s AMAZING!

It’s even getting to the point where I can send him into a bathroom stall solo.  And then slip in after he’s done to make sure he’s got his zipper up.  While I’m standing there, outside the bathroom door…..pretending to hold it.  I want to scream to the other fellow bathroom visitors……Do you know how big this is??!!  I am on the outside of the bathroom door!  Cannon is going all by HIMSELF!  Yes, I’m a dork!  But, I don’t care!

AND, this week, during a meeting with our DDD (Department of Developmental Disabilities) Support Coordinator……I cancelled our regular diaper order!  And filled her car up with diapers to return!  Ones that we no longer need!  And that now can go to a family that they will bless!  AHHHHH!!!!  It was the BEST!


The moral of this story people…..especially my fellow Warrior Mommas……is don’t give up!  When the doctors tell you it may never happen.  When you have exhausted yourself, your family, and your resources trying to make it happen.  When your child just doesn’t care and you feel that they never will.  Even if he is 8 years old…..or older!  Don’t give up on them!  But more importantly, don’t give up on God’s ability to do a mighty work in your child.  Keep praying, keep believing, KEEP THE FAITH!  (Even if it’s a “fake it till you make it” sort of thing!)  Our kiddos may never cure cancer.  But they may get out of diapers gosh darn it!  And from where I am sitting…..that’s pretty great!  And for right now, that is my miracle!  My joy!  My proud momma moment!  My life changing news!

And the best gift he could have given me for Mother’s Day!  God Bless!

How Is Cannon Doing?

God bless you all for asking! I keep getting texts, emails, Facebook messages, and calls inquiring about how our punkin is doing. GOD BLESS YOU! The answer is……as always…..complicated.

The first big change we have been working on since returning from our trip to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio has been adjusting the formula of what goes through his Cecostomy tube via his Chait Button. The doc was concerned with the high level of agitant (50 ml’s of liquid glycerin) and low level of saline (80 ml) that we were currently using per our hometown doctor’s orders. He wanted us to move it in the direction of 10-20 ml’s of agitant and 200-300 ml’s of saline.  He felt this would decrease Cannon’s likelihood of getting sick during the flush.  He also thought if we could significantly increase the saline that we could drop one of his current meds.  One we had been concerned about from Day 1.  The process of figuring out the formula took way more trial and error than we anticipated.  Way more.  But this week, we think we finally have it.  The formula that does the job but without causing our sweet boy to get too sick.  It is 25 ml’s of liquid glycerin to 300 ml’s of saline.  This is a little more glycerin than the doc wanted but anything less simply did not work.  We also found that the glycerin syringe had to contain a mixture with at least 20 ml’s of saline.  Or it would get stuck and not push.  The last thing we discovered was that we had to place the mixed syringe in the right order in the progression of syringes for it to be most effective.  If we used it first…..Cannon got sick.  Last, the flush would take hours or not work at all.  We have found that the mixed syringe best works when given as the 2nd of the 6 syringes.


The other change we have made is to drop 2 meds.  One, as I mentioned already, had been used to keep his stool hydrated but, for now at least, it seems…..he no longer needs it.  Also, we have ceased giving him 2 out of his 3 doses of reflux medication.  The doc in Ohio explained that this med was used to protect the esophagus from all of his throwing up.  But he felt like it was killing all the acid in his belly….good and bad.  And this is what has lead to the bacteria problem he has had for several years.  He might need more regular scoping to check for damage now but that’s ok.


The biggest change since we have been back is that Cannon has thrown up very little.  This is a huge change from the 2-3 times a day we were dealing with before we left.  Praise God!  Praise God!  Praise God!  However, to look at him…..you wouldn’t notice much change.  He is still very, very pale.  Very, very tired most all of the time.  He starts telling me he is tired about an hour after waking and requests dinner and to go to bed around 2-3 p.m.  He sleeps A LOT.  And his anxiety is through the roof!  Leaving the house is an incredible, incredible challenge right now.  We hope the letter from the Ohio doc will get here stat so we can get some of the other prescriptions and ideas in place.  Now, that we have the first few up and going.

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Thank y’all from the bottom of my heart for all the love!  We can Never, EVER say it enough!  We assure you that we will keep up the hope!  Because regardless the curveballs of life…..we have the precious and constant promises of our Father to cling to!  (Coincidentally (not!) this is what we are studying this year in Cannon’s homeschool Bible curriculum…..God’s promises!)   We will continue to allow HIS love and faithfulness to be our support!  His presence…..our strength!



“Our hope is certain.  It is something for the soul to hold onto.  It is strong and secure.  It goes all the way into the Most Holy Room behind the curtain.”  Hebrews 6:19

“A word CAN give you strength to face another day!  HOPE……HOPE CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING!”

The Final Results

I am so sorry I have made all our faithful followers wait to hear the final results of our trip to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio. Exhaustion had gotten the better of me. Every time I have sat down to type the last couple of days…..I have fallen asleep. Forgive me.   Here we go….

Friday morning at 9 a.m., we met with the Chief of the Pediatric Motility Center, the Fellow we had been working with, as well as the Pediatric Psychologist that is the Clinical Lead for the G.I. Clinic. They had a computer set up so that we could visibly see the results of the Manometry tests they had completed, diagrams on the wall to help us understand as they explained their way through this, as well as other documentation from our visit.  And most importantly, they gave us plenty of their time (an answer to prayer)!  The Doctor began with some good news. Cannon does NOT have Gastroparesis as was previously thought. The tests done disproved this with 99.something or other degree of certainty. We don’t know what caused the scope back in May to look the way it did.  The one that started all of this.  But it is virtually and definitively not so.  This is wonderful. Gastroparesis is a life long, debilitating condition that we wanted no part of. That was the good news. Then, they placed this diagram in front of us……


……..explaining that each of issues within the circles have to work together to have a positively functioning G.I. system. Through the testing that was done…..Cannon’s problem appears to be with his nerve endings and has led to issues with his Nervous System. The Manometry test done on his colon made this plain as day. I wish I could explain the uber specifics of the tests but I will most assuredly butcher it. I will sum it up by saying that they measured the contractions and compared them to that of a normal person. They determined that Cannon’s contractions of his colon are normal…..perfectly normal. But we, ourselves, witnessed his reaction to those normal contractions and it was awful. He was screaming, fighting, and posturing like crazy. It was hard to watch and get him through. So, what this tells us is that his nerve endings are giving his brain faulty information and causing the eruptions that we see every day. His organs are so incredibly sensitive that they cannot cope with even what is normal.  For almost 5 years now, we have known that Cannon has a Sensory Processing Disorder.  And when he was diagnosed with that disorder, I remember the Physical Therapist telling us that this affected all areas of his life.  But I NEVER thought it would go this far.  It truly breaks my heart.  My poor sweet boy.  He just has so many things making it so desperately hard to reside in his little body.  This information gives us so much insight into why he acts the way he does about digestion and so much more.  Sensory issues are quite hard to explain and I am not sure I have done a good job.  Feel free to ask questions if you have them.  I guess the best summation I can think of is this…….Cannon’s body is so very sensitive that even normal bodily functions and sensations cause great pain.  Sigh.  But now we know……and have to figure out ways to help him.

(On a side note, you may remember that Cannon ripped out one of the tubes that was to be used to do the same sort of Manometry test on his stomach.  Therefore, that test could not be done.  The doctor feels confident that Cannon’s gastric emptying study eliminates the possibility of Gastroparesis and that the findings in his colon will translate to his stomach contractions as well.)

And  now, here it is.  Our all new, comprehensive plan for Cannon……..

1)  The doctor believes that the formula we are using for the daily flushes of the Chait Button in his abdomen is flawed. We use a combo of sterile saline and an agitant (liquid glycerin). This irritates his colon enough to get it moving. When he first got the button 3 years ago, we tried to just use saline but it wasn’t strong enough to do the job. We had to add in the glycerin. And keep adding and adding and adding. Now, we use 50 ml’s of glycerin to 80 of saline. The doc feels it needs to be more like 10-20 of glycerin to 200-300 of saline. He feels like too much agitant could be contributing to his intense nausea and that adding so much more saline will soften things and do the same thing as Miralax and another drug he takes for the same purpose.

2) Another idea the doc had was to remove 2 out of the 3 doses of reflux medication that Cannon was taking daily.  We had described to him how horrible his breath can be at times.  I don’t just mean your run of the mill bad breath.  I mean…..it smells like the very strongest of chemicals.  It can have a “light your nose on fire” type of effect.  He believes that by suppressing too much acid was probably allowing more bacteria to grow.  Something like that.

3)  Cannon was already on an antibiotic but has been for 1 1/2 years.  So, we are going to change it up and do something a little different.  He would like us to fill prescriptions for 3 separate antibiotics and use one on one week…..another the next week……and then the 3rd the following week.  And just keep rotating that way.

4)  He feels we should stop 2 drugs altogether …..one was for reflux and the other helped with hydration in his stool.  He doesn’t think he really needs them.  But he would like to add a med for nausea.

5)  We are dropping some of his diet restrictions.  Not jumping to processed foods or anything…..but he has had to eliminate all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and more due to the bacteria issue.  This doc feels that this is no longer necessary.  We will keep things very organic and continue to eliminate dairy, gluten, and artificials.  But loosen up a bit.  We have to keep the mindset however that his body is incredibly sensitive.  If he can’t handle normal bodily contractions and functions without pain and because it is so darn sensitive…….we have to be wary of all ingredients contained in anything he eats.  That part is nothing new and I am fine with it.

6)  Finally, he wants us to speak with our Developmental Pediatrician about anxiety meds that are successful within the ASD  (Autism Spectrum Disorder) community and that are more time released.  Years ago…..prior to putting him on a med for ADHD…..his Psychiatrist tried him on several drugs for anxiety.  All were horrendous failures and made things so much worse.  The Psychologist we met with in Ohio quizzed me about which ones were tried and commented that those were all “fast acting.”  He feels that those types of meds may have shocked his sensitive little system and done more harm than good.  We agreed.  He feels that the implementation of a “slower acting” or more time released med could help Cannon so much with his response to the pain he feels.  Particularly when he has the urge to be sick.  He says that because he is in pain so very often…..that throwing up during this time has become a “learned behavior.”  Not something Cannon wants to do or makes himself do but something his body has just learned. “Oh, ouch…..that hurts!  I throw up now.”

That was all probably WAY too much info and I will apologize for that.  Sorry y’all.  But, we have had so many of you ask for specifics and also have so many friends in the medical field now that I figured being vague wan’t an option.  As you can see…..the doc had a lot of ideas.  And that is EXACTLY why we wanted to go to Ohio.  We felt like over the last 5 years, medicines and restrictions have continued to pile up and not much was ever eliminated or changed.  We absolutely hated that and felt like we were beating our heads against a wall.  We needed “fresh eyes” and a totally new perspective.  And we feel that is exactly what we got.  Now, we have a plan in place that we are happy with.  One that addresses all the issues…..his flushes, reflux, nausea, bacterial overgrowth, diet, and anxiety.  This will not happen quickly.  He will still feel very similar to when we left for Ohio for a while.


If we don’t do this slowly…..we won’t know what is working and what isn’t.  We are starting with adjusting his flushes.  Hoping to find the right balance between what doesn’t overstimulate his colon and cause it extra pain……but not so little that we can’t get it moving at all or cleansed completely.  And we are in the process of dropping the 2 drugs I mentioned.  The Ohio doc’s recommendations are going out to 4 of Cannon’s docs in AZ this week hopefully via a letter.  I will then have to make appointments and/or speak with them all to get things implemented and prescribed.  Hopefully, with a slow but steady pace…..we can get all recommendations in place as quickly as possible.  So, that’s the plan friends!  And we are so prayerful and hopeful that doing these things will make a difference and help life in that precious little body for our incredibly sweet boy much, much more bearable.  One friend said to me that she was so sorry we had gotten the misdiagnosis of Gastroparesis. But you know what?  I’m not.  It’s unfortunate but not terrible.  If it hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have ended up in Ohio.  If we hadn’t gone to Ohio, we wouldn’t have this totally new plan. This new plan with the fresh perspective we’ve been craving for years.  The Manometry tests that were performed there are not done many places and gave us the specific data to know once and for all what is really going on.  Every difficult test and procedure was necessary information.  In short, this trip was part of God’s plan for Cannon.  We are so confident in that!  We are thankful for it!  We got the HOPE we were looking for!

One last thing…..I’ve said it before and I will say it again……y’all are awesome!  The absolute outpouring of love and support for Cannon and our family has been so positively overwhelming!  The prayers have seriously kept us buoyant and strong as well as full of faith and hope.  AND THEY WORKED!  We are just so incredibly blessed!  We have had donations via a couple of sweet friends doing fundraisers through their respective businesses.  AND from strangers and even one anonymous friend!  Seriously!  How could one be more blessed?!  I just don’t know!  We do not have the words.  Plus, we have had so many precious gifts given to our family.  Thoughtful, heartfelt gifts that have provided us with things like hot chocolate on frigid days (Starbucks gift cards),  fully bellies (snacks galore in the hospital), warmth (handmade blankets for our boys),  distractions (toys, books, games, and entertainment), discounts (on meals and more), and tokens of support and love (a wall hanging made by a new, creative friend in honor of our “year of hope”).   Until I can get around to each and every one of you…..please accept this faulty, mass, cyber thank you for all that y’all have done to support, encourage, bless, and love on us during this time!  It will never be forgotten!  God bless you ALL!

Lastly, Cannon has something he’d like to say……..


“Every time I think of you, I thank God for you.”  Phillipians 1:3

It’s In God’s Hands Now……

Hello there precious blog family!

Let me start tonight’s update with a huge THANK YOU! I know I keep saying it but I will just never be able to say it enough! I seriously cannot keep up right now and what a blessing it is to have this “problem!” Between texts, emails, FB comments and messages, letters, cards, the most thoughtful and helpful gifts, calls, and such…..we have been so inundated! Some even by perfect strangers!  To say you have blessed our socks off is such an incredible understatement! Please forgive us for our tardiness in proper thank you’s and just know that our cup is seriously running over! We feel the love and WE ARE SO GRATEFUL!

That being said……I will tell you about today. This morning at 9 a.m., we arrived at the hospital for Cannon’s final test of the visit. The Gastric Emptying Study. We were a bit worried he might get sick as he looked really weak and nauseous. So, we decided not to perform his flush today after calling to speak with a nurse. We wanted so badly for this test to be successful and didn’t want to open the floodgates so to speak. As he gets sick during his flush lately about 60-70% of the time.  Upon arrival, Cannon had to eat a meal that contained radioactive material.  They prefer that he eat 2 scrambled eggs and 2 pieces of toast with jam…..as well as to drink a small bottle of water in a 15 minute time period.  Cannon absolutely hates scrambled eggs.  They make him gag.  But we were able to motivate him by reminding him that this would help the doctor better understand why his tummy hurts.  He was able to eat 1 egg and one piece of gluten free toast with jam and drink 2/3 of the bottle of water.  It wasn’t perfect but it was far better than what he had been able to get down in the 2 previous tests.  He immediately had to jump up on the table…..lying still for several minutes to have the first of 3 nuclear scans.  Afterwards, we were free to roam about for a while and come back in 2 hours for the next scan.  Our home hospital does more frequent scans during their Gastric Emptying Studies but I guess there is variability between hospitals.  We decided to hang out in the Columbus Blue Jackets Family Resource Center while we waited.  It is an awesome area of the hospital donated by their NHL hockey team.  Cannon enjoyed playing in a play area there while we relaxed in a living area and went over our questions for the doctor afterwards.  2 hours came and went……and we returned for the 2nd scan.  He was a bit wiggly on this one but all was okay….the tech said.  This time, we roamed a bit.  We went down to the Emergency Area where there is a cool aquarium, visited the gift shop, observed a lot of the unique decor this hospital has to offer, and ultimately ended up in the Chapel.  We spent some time there just praying together and it was quite precious.  My nerves were creeping in and I wanted to squash them!  We prayed for many things……the doctor, the tech performing the procedure, the potential infection site, accurate results, and that there would be resolution at the end of all this.  We placed this journey in God’s mighty hands and now we wait.  We are in a holding pattern.

We had been told to go to the G.I. Clinic 30 minutes after the final test was complete……to get all the results and the doc’s recommendations.    I was nervous about this as I wondered if it gave him enough time to properly review everything.   Also,  he has been so busy and just popping in and out…..never truly finishing a thought or conversation.  I thought if we just arrived whenever…. without a scheduled appointment……we would definitely get the same him.  After sitting in the clinic for a little bit, one of his nurses came out and told us that the doc wanted more time to review his results.  Could we come back tomorrow at 9 a.m.?  I was so thankful.  All I had prayed for the night before and day of was to have some good time with him and for him to be focused and prepared for us.  We were so thankful!  So, we came back to RMHC for the night and will head back to the hospital in the morning.  Who am I kidding?  Today.  Sorry y’all…..I fell asleep trying to write this post last night.  

Specific prayer requests for today…..

1) A good block of time with the doctor today.  No matter the results…..we have a few important questions and we need time to properly go through them.

2) Continued prayers for the doctor to have real empathy towards Cannon.  To truly take his time, consider all of his diagnoses, and come up with a comprehensive plan of attack to make his life not just better but much healthier.

3) If he feels that more testing is required…..that we will be able to change plane tickets, adjust Mark’s work schedule, and that my parents can spare the time.

4) There is no sign yet of infection from the mishap in surgery.  We pray that continues.  It could take up to a week to show up.

Thank you again for everything our beloved friends.  I am so very hopeful that the next time I am updating y’all……it will be with tons of new, clear ideas and solutions to the issues that plague our sweet Cannon.      GOD BLESS Y’ALL!