On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Still reading

I know I'm a caffeine addict and work hard to feed my habit at regular intervals -- but today (how could this happen?) I forgot. Somehow I got distracted this morning, cooked myself a proper breakfast (a five-minute egg plopped into my cute little egg cup and sliced perfectly with my egg topper -- it doesn't take much to amuse me) and neglected to make the coffee.

I tell you this because, exactly four hours later, I had the sort of frontal lobe withdrawal headache that made me wonder if I had developed a sudden and dramatic brain tumor.

OMG but I was in such pain. THEN I drank the coffee, followed by a tea chaser and two migraine strength Excedrin and two more a few hours later. I couldn't tolerate the light coming through the window, the clock was ticking too loudly, and there was nothing I could do but take to my bed.

When things eased up a tad -- I'm finally about to get where I'm going with all this -- I downloaded an unabridged audio book from our local public library. It was painful to search on the computer screen for more than a couple minutes so I took the first one that was available and would work on my Mac.

And so I listened, for the next several hours, to Jenny McCarthy's book, LOUDER THAN WORDS, her memoir about her son's diagnosis of autism and what she did next...and next...and after that.

I have to admit that I know precious little about autism. I didn't receive any training about it in graduate school or any of my five internships to become a psychotherapist. That's probably just as well because it most likely would have been outdated misinformation.

But you'd think my interest would at least have been piqued when Demi, our graduate service dog, was placed with an autistic child who I had occasion to meet a few times. I still have contact with his mom. Demi worked with the boy for about 1-1/2 years until she was retired with a medical condition.

And maybe my curiosity actually was piqued and that's why I was so willing to listen to the entire book at one sitting -- or rather, one lie-down -- while I was waiting for my own pain to subside.

I just want to say that the book knocked the socks off me. I had seen Jenny McCarthy on interviews with Larry King on CNN so I vaguely knew who she was, but the information I gathered in just one reading was a thousandfold more than I previously had on the subject. I was impressed by her suffering as a parent, by her dedication to keep asking questions and demanding resources and by her current mission to educate the world -- she got me -- on all that she has experienced and learned. 

And I have to agree with one of her peeves -- with one in 150 children in this country being diagnosed with autism, why isn't there more concern???

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to have to pick up that book. I agree, there really needs to be more awareness (in the UK too). My cousin has a severely autistic son and we all love him so much but he is a handful and they need a lot of help with him and it would be so much easier for them if people didn't automatically assume he was naughty or hyperactive.


Related Posts with Thumbnails