Today, my youngest son turns 24 years old. So I thought I would write my story about him.
This dear, sweet child was born perfectly healthy and at the age of 8 months, he started having grand mal seizures. Out of the blue. For no reason at all. Other than it was 24 hours after his first DPT shot. Of course, back then, we didn't know there was a risk factor with these shots....and kept giving him his series of shots. And his seizures increased. He would have as many as 7 per day. He would seize, go into a coma, go to sleep, wake up, have another seizure. Because he was sleeping so much of the time, he did not develop, he did not learn. And he acquired a long list of additional disabilities because of this.
He never had the "epileptic spike" in his brain waves and was never diagnosed as epileptic...so none of those agencies would support him. He was 2 before he took his first steps. At the age of 4, he was still not talking. We communicated with sign language. They put him in special ed with kids in wheelchairs and he would come home at night and mimic those kids.
I cried myself to sleep so many nights. My sweet, sweet baby. When something was wrong, he would scream at the top of his lungs because he couldn't tell us what hurt. It tore my heart out. I tried the best I could to comfort him, but some nights he would scream and cry all night long as I held him in my arms and loved him the best that I could between his seizures.
Today, he is 24 years old. He still has seizures. But he lives on his own, works hard, and is a good young man. Because of his disabilities, he functions at the level of a 6th grade student. Of course, I still think he's the smartest 6th grader on the block.
Life was not easy raising this child. But he taught me so much. He taught me how to love unconditionally. He taught me how to be prepared for the unexpected. He taught me how to face my worst fears. He taught me how to be a better mom than I ever would have been. He is my sweet, sweet baby, who turns 24 today, he is the angel in my life that I worry about the most.
Don't cry for me.....I would not be the artist I am today if it were not for the journey this child took me on. He continues to push me to do so much, simply because there is so much that he cannot do.