“Those Who ‘Get It'” -Janet

21Sep 2021

Being a parent of a child with a rare disease has its unique challenges. There are so many questions that you ask yourself on a daily basis.

Why does my child have this condition?
Why is he not developing like other kids?
Why are there no treatments available?
Why can’t I do more to help him?

These questions change all the time, but the really frustrating part is that the answers do as well. Continue reading

09Jul 2021

The bell rang, the music started, and we began moving slowly. The expression on his face changed almost immediately, and in that moment, I knew I had made a huge mistake. His horse’s face was frozen in a contorted expression of distress that matched the rider. I hopped off my horse and attempted to calm him, but as he went up and down and round and round faster, his fear only grew. He clung to me with a death grip. I managed to peel the man-child off his horse when at its lowest and sit him in the seat behind him. By then, the operator, realizing there was a problem, had brought the ride to a stop and was standing at the top of the stairs. When he saw that Sam was safely planted on the bench, he gave me a thumbs-up and started the ride again. I climbed on the nearest horse and continued to reassure him from a distance. Continue reading

17Jun 2021

This essay was written by Erin Coller, ACD Director of Communications with support from Sofia Balog, ACD Patient Registry Coordinator and Laura Trutoiu, ACD Director of Research.

#CreatineDecoded is a quarterly educational essay series that sheds light on research relevant for Cerebral Creatine Deficiency Syndromes (CCDS). The essays feature community contributors, often parents, who with the help of the ACD, explore in their own words the CCDS science you want to know more about. Have a topic in mind? Send suggestions to Laura Trutoiu, ACD Director of Research [email protected] Continue reading

18May 2021

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Do you ever feel like all the work we do for our kiddos is not enough? How about feeling lost and deep deep pain when you see your child struggle every day? Lately, this is what has been running through my head. My family and I work so hard to help Caiden be successful with everyday life. Sometimes I feel deep down that it is still not enough. From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed I wonder if he will be okay without me by his side all the time. I feel so much pain for him when he has behavior after behavior after behavior on a daily basis. Recently, he decided that he no longer wants to go to school. I now need help just to get him loaded into the car. To top it all off, every day, like clockwork, we receive texts, phone calls, and emails from his teacher and principal with behavior reports. Getting these is the worst feeling in the world. How do we know if what we are doing is hurting our children or helping them? Continue reading

30Apr 2021

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) recently hosted a webinar on the “Rare Sibling Experience.” As the mother of two children, one who is diagnosed with Creatine Transporter Deficiency (CTD) and one who is not, this resonated with me and I was very curious to hear from experts on the topic. Questions about how to handle the experience of my daughter as the sibling of a child with a rare disease often swirl around in my head. My son Cadman is 6-years-old and has CTD. My daughter Emma is 3. Because of their young ages, most of my concerns are about the future, how this will affect Emma as she grows up, and wanting to make sure that as their parents, we are communicating in a healthy, constructive way. The webinar covers communication tips for siblings of various ages (very different for a preschooler vs. a teenager!). Continue reading

01Mar 2021

I had just poured myself a cup of coffee and settled in for the 2-hour Ultragenyx Study, feeling I might have something to offer having been in the CTD world for 20 years, when the second question knocked the wind out of me: What is your greatest fear for the future? It happens every time that question is asked of me. It seems that the fear for the future is always lying just beneath the surface like an alligator waiting to strike. I immediately lost my ability to speak and raised my index finger, asking for a moment to gather myself. I’m surprised by my sudden and intense emotional response to that question, and I’m embarrassed. The ladies interviewing me are gracious and give me the time I need. I just met them, but I feel that maybe they have kids, too. Maybe they understand. I take a deep breath and attempt to convey how I feel, how I worry that my son will be mistreated, neglected, or abused without my vigilance.  I worry who is going to wipe his butt when he, a grown man, uses the bathroom. Or who is going to cut his food small enough so he doesn’t choke. Who is going to draw him away from his puzzles or iPad long enough to interact with real people from time to time? I worry he won’t understand where I went when I’m gone and that he’ll think I left him on purpose. I worry he won’t feel loved. Continue reading

20Jan 2021

We are very fortunate in our state to have scholarships for children who qualify for an IEP but don’t attend public schools. This helps with funds for a visiting Intervention Specialist (special ed teacher) as well as home-based therapies. Sonnet’s health crisis has resolved greatly since she was diagnosed and began treatment for GAMT. However, her neurologist and I vividly remember when she was dealing with fifty-plus seizures a day. It isn’t certain if a serious illness could cause another downward spiral, so our family has chosen to largely quarantine during flu season. This was extended and amplified during the pandemic. Continue reading

31Dec 2020

This essay was written by Laura Trutoiu, ACD Director of Research, with support from Erin Coller, ACD Director of Communications, and Sangeetha Iyer, ACD Scientific Advisor. 

#CreatineDecoded is a quarterly educational essay series that sheds light on research relevant for Cerebral Creatine Deficiency Syndromes (CCDS). The essays feature community contributors, often parents, who, with the help of the ACD, explore in their own words the CCDS science you want to know more about. Have a topic in mind? Send suggestions to Laura Trutoiu, ACD Director of Research [email protected]

When we got Rohan’s Creatine Transporter Deficiency (CTD) genetic diagnosis mid-2017 he was two and a half and had barely started to walk. Though sweet and loving, Rohan wasn’t using words and wasn’t quite doing what other two year olds do. It was a long road to a diagnosis and finding the genetic cause was a blow and a sigh of relief. I got the call at work and jumped out of an ordinary meeting into a brave new world full of genes and mutations.
Continue reading

09Dec 2020

It’s 3 AM and I can’t sleep. Again.

I came across videos yesterday of Sam completing tasks for the learning program we were doing for a while (Relationship Development Intervention-RDI), and I was reminded, once again, how little we really engage with him now, how few activities he engages in. It bothers me. Continue reading

09Sep 2016

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My 7 year old son has CTD and Autism. He was diagnosed with CTD January 2012 and then Autism, September that same year. At 1 year of age his symptoms began to be quite evident. By 2 years old, they were in full swing. At 3 years old, when he received the Autism diagnosis, our lives had been literally turned upside down – shaken – and the contents of our ‘lives’ strewn about in our home, with only my husband and I to pick up the pieces and “carry on” with things. In 2011, (pre-diagnosis) Spiro was 2 and I took a one year leave from my work to manage his needs. In 2012 I had to return to work part-time. Obviously our family, friends, and neighbors knew about Spiro’s diagnosis. But there is ‘knowing’ about a diagnosis and then really knowing. A few years ago I met a special needs mama, and she politely termed it, “those who get it”. And I don’t think anyone can get it unless they live it. Does our family that we see on weekends get it? No, I don’t think so. Do our friends? No. Do neighbors? No.
I don’t think seeing me out and about with my kiddos in the community, on our walk to school, or at an afternoon get-together gives an accurate picture of the effort that is our lives. The stress and daily emotional roller-coaster ride of having a child with CTD and Autism can be tremendous. Which brings me to this week’s topic: ‘those who get it’.
I’m not sure how this one moment in time popped into my head, but I believe that it was the summer of 2013. Spiro was almost 4. Spiro’s Autism symptoms and therapy schedule were in high gear. I worked every other day in order to facilitate Spiro’s therapy. I’ll always remember this one day in particular. It may originally have been with contempt, but now I try to use it to help my heart.spiro2
It’s a weekday, my husband has a day off and we have all the kiddos. As I recall, it was a beautiful sunny day, and I suggested that he take Spiro to therapy so I could take the other kids to the park for the morning. This park was across the road from our house. We hardly ever get across the road to that park. But on this day, I pack up my 2 typical kids, and off we go. When we get there, one of my neighbors is there as well with her 2 kiddos. The kids are playing, and I begin a casual conversation. As we are talking, my neighbor says, “I’m surprised to see you- I didn’t think you were a park person”. Hmmm…. ‘I didn’t think you were a park person???’ Now right here, is a perfect example of not getting it. Knowing that someone could be in such oblivion to the weight of my responsibilities to my child was hard to hear.
Now this could very easily turn into a bitter outpouring on why in 2013 my life was literally not a walk in the park. On how my son could hardly tolerate a trip to the park. That going to the park absolutely exhausted him. That he couldn’t handle the heat. That it is extremely difficult for me to keep him safe at a park. That my son has sensory issues and sand is his kryptonite. That it’s so hard to labour through a park visit to only endure the meltdown when we get home. Not to mention the fact that we are almost always at therapy, so our attendance at the park is not on our to do list.
spiro3But I’m not going to end the post like that. Sharing this shows that wherever you go in life, you are going to encounter those who don’t get it. They will say whatever is on their mind, and to them it’s just another sentence. And sometimes hearing that sentence uttered, or even the vague feeling you get around people, is just like sticking a dagger in your heart. And that dagger will remind you of all the reasons you aren’t that carefree park person.
So to end this, I want to say that as special needs parents, it’s not always our job to explain the weight and responsibility of our children to the world. It wasn’t on that bright sunny day at the park. It may never fit into casual conversation. But the comments of those who don’t ‘get it’ will one day find their way into your circumstances. And when that happens, I want to remind all of you, that instead of getting angry and bitter, we need to make sure we put on our armor so to speak. Those comments may happen, and if they do, take that deep breath, perhaps look at your special child, and protect your precious heart.

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Disclaimer: All thoughts and ideas expressed in the Creatine Community Blog represent the individual blog contributor's opinions and not those of the Association for Creatine Deficiencies. The ideas expressed in the Creatine Community Blog, and any other locations on the creatineinfo.org website, should never be construed as medical advice, even if the information relates to actual health care experiences of the contributor. Individuals should always follow the instructions of their physician and make no changes to their care unless instructed to do so by their physician.