Thursday, September 27, 2007

Checking In

Ok. I'm taking a break from conference stuff- for 30 minutes to write in Michael's Recovery Blog. I'm just so happy about something I needed to share.

Michael was dx (diagnosed) was mild-moderate autism in March of 2002. In December of 2002, I started getting involved with national groups and learned about biomedical treatments. In March of 2003, we started a special diet (no wheat, gluten, soy, nuts). So, for over last 5 years I've been praying that someone will speak up for parents- especially moms. We are first, watching our children get sick and then second, watching them get better (or at least in Michael's case). It's very frustrating to watch the medical community laugh at you and think you are crazy. MERCURY- ha. Why would a neuro-toxin be unsafe? hummmm Let me count the ways.

Anyway, parents have watched show after show on television misrepresent autism and the biomedical movement. We've seen real MD's go on CNN and say "vaccines are perfectly safe", when it's proven that they are not (just visit the VEERS). We've heard "experts" say that the only proven treatment for autism is behavioral therapy- when it's a bold face lie. Almost everyone says "there is no cure", and then I'm meeting children who are no longer autistic.

Years of frustration, yelling at my tv, getting pissed off... and then come a wonderful, beautiful, kick-ass mom named Jenny McCarthy. All of us have been saying for years- "wait until someone famous has a kid with autism". Well, those people have come and gone. But Jenny is different because she recovered her child. Amazing isn't it? Not only do we have a mom talking on national television about autism and biomedical treatments- she is talking about recovery... and vaccines, mercury, yeast, diet... holy cow (i've been saying that a lot lately since Scooter died). but HOLY COW. It's a miracle. She's a miracle. Her son is a miracle.

Jenny and her son were on the cover of People Magazine, Oprah, Larry King Show, 20/20, Good Morning America and even Access Hollywood. She is kicking ass and taking no prisoners. I just can't say enough about her.

I now have to watch tv with a box of tissues next to the couch. But, it's tears of joy.

Yesterday Jenny said on Larry King "I would never vaccinate my children again". It just makes me emotional thinking about it.

You see, when you have a child with autism, most people don't "get" you anymore. They don't understand the poop problems, lack of sleep, diet issues, the feelings of being handicapped- although your child is the one with the actual disability. But, i can't do the things that other parents do. Thankfully, I'm starting to do these things (like go to Yankee Games and rock concerts). But, more importantly, Michael is able to do these things.

Family, friends, strangers- you name it. Most people think you are nuts "No wheat- are you crazy?". If I had a dollar for every time my dad asked if he could give Michael a piece of Italian bread. The supplements, chelation, special food, everything- everything that autism does to you. Most of it is not acceptable in society. So, you have to buck the system. You have to be the rebel and not care what other people think- which is hard. But, I'm getting much better at it.

My point is- when I saw Jenny on tv, over and over speaking MY words, telling MY story- she validated everything I feel and think. Other parents told me that FINALLY their family said "oh, we get it. You were right". It took a famous person on TV to convince these people. Right or wrong- that is the way it is.

And, I thought it was hard for me to stick up for myself, look at Jenny. She is telling the world. Literally. She is my hero. And maybe only mothers of children with autism can truly feel like I do (and fathers of course). But, she is to me what Ryan White was to AIDS, or Michael J. Fox is to Parkinsons.

I wrote People magazine and all the tv shows she was on this week and thanked them. I hope this is the start of a new understanding of autism. And of course, I hope Michael keeps on his road to recovery. And also that parents have HOPE that recovery is possible.

Here is a photo of me and Michael at his 8th Birthday Party. It was a bowling party and we had a great time.