Autism Walk ’13

Team Cannon, once again, participated in our local Autism Walk!  We were able to gather 17 team members to walk alongside us and even had 2 virtual walkers!  The very best part of the whole experience was that we were able to raise $1,580 for the local branch of the Autism Society!  We have been very blessed by this organization’s presence in our community and are thrilled that this money will now bless others affected by Autism and their families.  Providing education, support, and advocacy in a variety of ways!  Thank you so much to all who prayed for our effort, walked with us, virtually walked with us, and donated!  You have truly made a difference in the Autism community!

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April 7th was the big day!  We loaded up our stroller with snacks, drinks, and kiddos and headed over to the local University’s mall……where the event was to be held.  All wearing our “Team Cannon” t-shirts!   Meeting up, once we arrived, with all of our wonderful team members!  One family from our church surprised us by showing up (Yay!) so we will surely be getting them t-shirts in the near future.  Cannon was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd and took off on us a few times.  I had to chase him down and apologize to many people I nearly ran over in the process.

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We got a team picture before the start!

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Then, we took to the course.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of construction going on in our area this year.  So, we were forced to a different route than last.  3 revolutions of the mall instead of the scenic route through the school’s campus.  The biggest problem with that was the presence of jumping castles.  This was a great thing but walking past them 3 times was not something the kids were too thrilled with.

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Cannon was immediately fighting to get out of the stroller.  And screaming loudly!  He told me he didn’t feel good.  So, I got him out and carried him for a while (about 1 1/2 laps) until he felt up to walking.

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We got separated after a while.  We had strollers, athletes, bigger kids, and a pregnant woman in our group.  Everyone had their own speed and the crowd was a bit thick as well.  After a few attempts to stop and wait for those who had gotten separated…. we let it be and split up.  Cannon and I were with some of my friends that came minus their kiddos.  And Mark stayed with the stroller group.  The kids in the stroller group made an executive decision that one lap was enough.  And that the completion of that one lap (1 mile) earned them a trip to the jumping castles and a tummy full of yummy snacks!  So, they did just that!  My group made the last 2 laps.  We walked one and then I handed Cannon off to Mark and ran the last lap with a friend.  Everyone did what they wanted which made it more fun for all!

After the walk portion was over, the kids had a great time decorating construction paper puzzle pieces, listening to the fun MC and his great choices in music, playing with mountains of legos, climbing a rock wall, riding a cool train, and jumping in the infamous inflatable jumping castles and obstacle courses.  Parents could peruse the Resource Fair which had lots of information about therapeutic resources, support organizations, products you could buy, and some freebies.

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When the event was over, we said goodbye to our wonderful team!

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And our tired family and friends headed home!  It was a great Autism Walk 2013!  We already can’t wait until next year!!!!!

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THANK YOU ONE LAST TIME TO ALL WHO SUPPORTED US IN PRAYER, IN PERSON, AND IN DONATIONS!  WE LOVE YOU ALL!

 

Losing Consciousness,Teeth, And Sleep……

It’s been an interesting few days around our neck of the woods! Last Tuesday, I did what I always do. Took Cannon to town for his Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapies…..followed by a trip to the allergist for my weekly allergy shot.  When we rolled into our driveway, the boys immediately began begging to go to the park in our neighborhood. So, I dropped my purse and we set off on foot. We had had a lot of wind the past couple of days so it was a little on the cool side but not actually cold. Nice….really.  We didn’t do anything too strenuous……just swing mostly. The boys were being lazy and not pumping their legs so Mommy was doing all the work pushing them.  About 20 minutes in, Cannon fell and skinned his knees and elbows. Nothing too major but we needed to clean him up. So, we walked back home and I sat him in a chair right by the front door to do this. Townsend walked into the next room. When I was just about finished playing nurse, I heard Townsend say something. “Mommy, my tummy hurts.” And it was just the way he said it. I knew he meant it. I jumped up and was walking quickly into the living room. As soon as I got a visual of him, my walk turned to a run. He started to say it again….”Mommy, my t……” I made it to him just as he dropped. I screamed for Mark who was taking a nap. I cradled my baby as his eyes began doing all kinds of crazy movements and his whole body went as limp as a wet noodle.  Then, I saw all white as his eyes rolled back into his head. And he wouldn’t wake up. It scared me to death. Mark got 911 on the line and I ran with Townsend outside to meet the ambulance. A Sheriff’s Deputy along with several firefighters and paramedics responded.  They did all kinds of vitals and during this he began to open his eyes. He was VERY groggy and had a very lost look in his eyes. When they determined he was stable, we jumped on the ambulance and headed for the hospital.

You may remember that Townsend did this 2 years ago. And I will say that this time was much milder. Then, it took him over an hour to come to at all AND he had a second seizure in the ambulance and required intense medication to stop the seizure. It was the worst day of my life. And it just so happened to be my birthday. And just like this time, there was no warning. No reason. No fever, low blood sugar, exhaustion, dehydration….nothing.

Townsend got much more alert and talked some in the ambulance. It was a long ride. And it took longer to get there due to lots of construction in town. When we arrived, a lot more vitals and such were done and someone came in to have us sign admittance paperwork. We figured that just like last time, he would head upstairs and check in…..with an EEG and CT to follow. But they never did either. Because he didn’t look as bad by this point…..they decided to just watch him. His only lingering symptom was that he was pretty mellow and his speech was a little drawn out. A vast, vast improvement over the last time this happened. Eventually, after about 5 hours, they decided to send us home. With an EEG scheduled in our neurologist’s office a couple of days later. We arrived home around 10 p.m and Townsend most certainly bunked with us.

The next day was Wednesday. I deemed it “Movie and Relaxation Day.”  No preschool for Townsend.  We watched lots of movies and laid around. Staying chilled out most of the day. Except for a quick run to town to have Townsend looked at my his pediatrician. He passed his neurological exam and we were told not to let him shower or swim alone. And not to let him ride his bike….until we figure out what caused his episode.

Around nap time, Cannon just wouldn’t stop whining. I went to check on him and he kept pulling my head towards his mouth and particularly his teeth. Saying “kiss it.” I got a flashlight and took a look. Figuring I would see a sore or something. But, to my surprise, I saw a little bit of blood at the base on one of his bottom teeth. After doing the wiggle test, I determined Cannon had his first loose tooth! I kinda forgot he was old enough for that! I began telling him the story of the Tooth Fairy and how he should keep wiggling it with his tongue…..to get it really loose. It was REALLY bothering him by this point. He was basically just pacing in the playroom and whining and crying. I just wasn’t sure it was loose enough to pull yet without tons of bleeding. About an hour later, he came up to me and said “Here you go”……very matter of factually…..and walked away. I opened my hand and sure enough…..he had pulled out his own tooth. Crazy kiddo! 🙂 I wasn’t surprised! I told him how brave he was and proud I was of him. We put it in a plastic bag and stuck it in a safe place. Townsend was fascinated by the whole concept of loosing a tooth and kept grabbing Cannon’s face…..prying his mouth open……and taking a peek.  🙂  That evening I had to forgo the usual under the pillow action. There was no way he would leave it alone and he is too light of a sleeper for me to be able to dig around and find it later. So, I hung the bag on a hook on the back of his door that he couldn’t reach. I guess the Tooth Fairy took it from there! 🙂

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 Wednesday night was not like the typical. Townsend’s EEG was scheduled for the next morning and he had to be sleep deprived for it. We decided to keep him up as long as we could and then let him sleep the allotted 4 hours. We passed the time by doing art projects, making his derby car for the AWANA Grand Prix this weekend, eating ice cream, doing magic tricks, and watching movies. He lasted until midnight….got a few hours sleep…..and then got up to do more of the same (minus the ice cream). The test went ok. It was done at the neurologist’s office. I thought that it would be in a quiet part but no such luck. There was regular office noise and then some. Townsend did not even close his eyes, much less go to sleep. (But of course, he was asleep within 5 minutes of being in the car on the way home). We are not sure if his failure to fall asleep will affect the results. I guess we will find out. Today marks the end of the 4th business day so we are hoping that we will hear something by tomorrow.  The waiting is kind of hard…..

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It has been a challenging week. But we survived. By God’s grace. Thank you so very much for the prayers…..those of you who knew what was going on….when it was going on.  You, our blog family, are our Phillipians 1:3 …….”Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.”

We will keep you posted.  God bless you ALL!

Balloon Launch

In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, the United Way in our area sponsored a Balloon Launch. A community event to commemorate the day and “promote safe and positive interactions for those affected by Autism.” The event began with greetings from a couple of the United Way’s local leaders and also a mom who attested to the impact that the org is making in our community. There was also a brief speaker from the local Autism Society. Balloons were passed out. I brought a Sharpie along because I wanted to write a few things on ours. There was a countdown…..followed by 100 light blue balloons heading skyward. It was a beautiful site! All these people together…..participating in a moment of support, acceptance, love, and solidarity. Commitment to the cause that is Autism for each person’s individual reasons. I repeat…..it was a beautiful site!

Cannon began struggling with the environment immediately. Whether it was the amount of people, exhaustion, water on the ground from the sprinklers (his current fear), or something else…..he did not want to be very close to the action. I was able to keep him nearby for the important part by bribing him with a favorite snack…..rice cakes. But most of the rest of the time, he just continually took off. Anyhow, it was a fun, short event that ended with the opportunity to chat with other parents, blow bubbles, hug or high 5 the United Way Bear, and climb on a fire truck. We are very grateful for the United Way’s presence and efforts to better our community for those with disabilities! Now, enjoy a few pics from this great event……

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Today is World Autism Awareness Day!

Hello all!  Welcome to April…..Autism Awareness Month!  And today, April 2nd, is actually set aside as World Autism Awareness Day!  A day where we celebrate those who are “different but not less” and attempt to bring global awareness to this epidemic developmental disorder!  Autism Speaks, the most high profile organization fighting for our cause, has a global campaign in place called “Light It Up Blue.”  So, today all over the world there are 7,000 landmarks and buildings, including the Empire State Building, that will be lit up in the color blue to honor and celebrate those individuals affected.  And to show their support for the cause.  These 7,000 places are in 90 different countries, 750 cities, and on 7 continents!  IS THAT AMAZING OR WHAT??!!

I wanted to post our story once again to remind you all why this blog exists.  Tell you more about the little boy who inspired it.  And share about the journey that was set in motion……and is continuing today.  You have my permission to share this with trusted friends.  I want our story to give people a glimpse.  A glimpse of how this can happen, the toll that it takes, and the ongoing struggle.  Not so that you can pity us.  Pity helps no one.  Awareness and empathy will get us everywhere.  See…..pity stops short of progress.  It gets too caught up in the tough parts that are inevitable and/or overwhelming with Autism.  Empathy leads to understanding.  Understanding of the journey and ideas that can fuel change, progress, and support for individuals and families.  I will always beg you not to pity us.  We are ok.  The maker of the universe is on our side, holding our hand, walking with us!  We are NEVER ALONE!  We’re good!  I assure you!  But please…..I beg you.  Have empathy.  The next time you see a person in public that is acting out in a way that might lead you to believe Autism is involved…….don’t stare.  Don’t give dirty looks.  Don’t give advice that makes the parents or caregivers feel incompetent or like it is their fault.  Give them a look of love and/or understanding.  Offer assistance.  An encouraging word.  Public is some scary territory for the individual with Autism.  There are literally millions of things that can set them off.  And very few that they can control.  And the caregivers deal with so much as well!  Trying to maintain patience and calm, providing redirection if possible, keeping all involved safe, decifering if this is a situation to ride out or whether execution of an exit strategy needs to happen quickly.  You have NO IDEA how much your behavior CAN make an impact on their day and their courage to try an outing the next time.  Follow the Golden Rule here friends.  Treat them as you would want to be treated.  It truly is that simple.

Well friends……that’s it for now.  Have a look at this link.  It’s our story…..our journey……our hero.  Our Cannon.

Much love!

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