Sunday, January 22, 2017

No News Is Good News

After writing this blog for six and a half years, I took four weeks off from writing. With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Sundays, I figured a holiday vacation from blogging would be understandable. Then I gave myself two more weeks of break and considered that perhaps the blog was finished for good. My last entry about Alex’s birthday and how well he was doing would have been a nice “And they lived happily ever after” ending to a project I started long ago. However, with encouragement from my mom and my husband (both of whom I suspect secretly enjoy searching for typos to correct for me), I realized that I needed to refocus on the reasons I write about Alex.

My intention regarding writing about our family is to show others how autism impacts our family life on a daily basis––good and bad. For families like us who are raising children (and for us now, an adult child) with autism, I wanted to give them hope. Through all the ups and downs, we have come through this with our faith and love stronger and a young man who makes us proud every day. Moreover, I originally began writing the blog for Alex. In my first entry, I explained that I knew how important writing Alex’s history was if for no one else but him so that he could see how far he has come. With a renewed sense of purpose, I pick up my laptop again after a month to record Alex’s life experiences. As a confirmation that I should continue, on Friday I was surprised, pleased, and honored to have name One Autism Mom’s Notes as one of the “Top 50 Autism Blogs and Websites for Autistics and Autism Parents.” If I had any lingering doubts about whether to proceed, God put them to rest with that.

Without a doubt, 2016 was a wonderful year for us. Alex made great progress in his social skills that allowed us to enjoy family outings to concerts, sporting events, parks, and restaurants. We even savored simple everyday events, such as going grocery shopping or watching television together. His therapists have been delighted with how well he has learned language and coping skills to deal with anxiety, being able to verbalize when he’s worried. Even better, he can decide to conquer his fears and declare that he’s “not going to get upset” or that he’s “done being mad.” This is a huge step because he recognizes that he can take control of his emotions. In addition, we are thankful that his doctor gave him a clean bill of health along with the title of  “easiest patient of the day” in December. After struggling with yeast overgrowth in his digestive system that made him irritable and agitated for years, Alex seems to have that behind him. Although I knew that God would eventually heal him of the yeast overgrowth, realizing that we hadn’t dealt with thrush for several months was a pleasant surprise and blessing.

Most of all, we discovered that the professionals who truly knew about autism were correct in telling us that young men with autism struggle until they reach their mid-twenties, and then they improve significantly. We had been holding onto that promise with hope, and the closer that Alex got to age twenty-five, the more we realized it to be true. With his health greatly improved and his anxiety under good control, Alex can reach his full potential without being burdened by illness and fear. I have no doubt that God has great plans for my son, and I eagerly anticipate what the future holds.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:19


marjorie said...

So glad you and Alex and Ed are doing well! Happy New Year and love to all.

Pauline Venneman said...

Dear Pam,
I am so proud to have you as a relative, albeit long distance. I wasn't able to read all of your blogs but the ones I have read were a window into a life that most people don't experience. The blogs were informative and educational and sometimes even funny. I'm so glad that Akex has improved so much and that your family had such a wonderful year. Prayers that things continue to improve and that life will be easier and enjoyable for all of you.
Love, Pauline

Pam Byrne said...

Dear Marjorie,
So good to hear from you! Thank you for your nice note--hope you and your family are doing well. Wishing you many blessings in 2017!

Pam Byrne said...

My dear cousin Pauline,
How nice to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words and especially for your prayers; I really appreciate your support and thoughtfulness. We have faith that Alex will just keep getting better and better with time. Wishing you and your family a blessed 2017!