Monday, 30 April 2012

Special Saturday - Pets

Oh my goodness, over the years we have had a colourful collection of pets join our family. We consider any pet part of the family no matter how big or small and we've had some small ones and some big ones.

When Cameron was born we had a german shepherd called Bo. He was beautiful and very special - I'm sure he was a human trapped in a dog's body. I could fill pages with Bo's antics. When Cameron arrived Bo was very concerned about this new little addition to the household and would sit next to me when I fed Cameron and watch over him. He was never jealous, just concerned.

Sadly Bo aged very quickly over the next few years and passed away. I say sadly for two reasons - one I still miss  him and it's been about 14yrs since he passed but also sadly because I think he would have been the perfect dog for Cameron in later years and now. He had the intelligence that he would have fetched us if Cameron was having a seizure and he would have watched over him and kept him from danger or found us to help. He was big and strong enough that Cameron wouldn't have hurt him and he wouldn't have hurt Cameron.

When Cameron was 4yrs old we got a dog for him. We felt he would benefit from the kind of bonding a dog and boy could develop and we chose a chocolate brown labrador puppy. Unfortunately the shelter gave our puppy to somebody else so we chose a cream one instead and named her Holly because she'd been born around Christmas. She was beautiful and full of life and back then Cam had a bit more life because he hadn't started his big seizures yet.

The two of them would play in the paddling pool and Holly would jump in the bath with Cameron - she loved water. They would play together in the castle and Holly would make Cameron laugh. But Holly was a puppy and she didn't understand that she couldn't bite Cameron and Cameron didn't understand that he could say no or push Holly away, plus he lacked the strength and balance. The day I saw Holly hanging off Cameron's hand by her teeth I knew we'd done the wrong thing. Cameron didn't feel the pain but he was bleeding and unable to stop her. She would bound through in her enthusiastic way and knock him flying and he was unable to protect himself. It wasn't her fault - we had done the wrong thing getting a puppy. We hadn't realized.

I was a pathetic mess the day we took Holly back to the dog shelter, I sat on the curb and bawled my eyes out because I had bonded so strongly with this beautiful dog and we are not dog abandoning  people - in fact we are the opposite and have rescued all our pets from various situations and shelters.

The shelter were intitally upset with us but when the full story was understood they realized they had also been at fault for recommending a puppy to us and they felt bad for giving our initial puppy choice away. They could see Holly was a lovely dog and in excellent health and were confident she would find a new home very quickly.

They only had two dogs that they felt would suit our situation so we went out and met Pippa and her Mum. It didn't take long to realize Mum was a little psycho and we refused to take her but Pippa was lovely and Cameron thought she was wonderful so we took her home with us and she stayed with us till she passed away last year. In the early years Pippa would  make Cameron laugh and she would bound about him but not knock him over too often. She had the maturity to understand to calm down - sometimes. But as we lost Cameron in a fog of seizures Pippa bonded to me the strongest and she really wasn't Cameron's dog because he couldn't understand how to interact with her and for many years didn't even notice she existed.

A couple of years ago we gave Cameron a cat. Pav is the most understanding and co-operative cat we have ever had. She isn't interested in sleeping on his bed - but to be honest it is very pongy. She sits and waits for him to come to her and then she shows just how patient and kind she is. Cameron manhandles his cat like a toddler would but he has the strength of a man. He holds her tail as she tries to move away, hits her instead of patting and holds her aloft, way too close to ceiling fans, like an award being held aloft for all to see. And she hardly ever complains - she does look rather concerned when she spots the fans but she just hangs there in his hands like a limp rag waiting to be put down. Sometimes when she thinks her safety is in jeopardy you will see her scrambling to get down to safety and sometimes she needs us to save her.

She tries to tell him that she isn't happy but he just doesn't understand what a twitching tail means instead he grins widely and picks her up again. For all the roughness Pav will walk up and sit on Cameron's lap, he will put her down and she will curl up in his lap or on his feet. She seems to understand that he doesn't mean to hurt her and he does it all out of love.

Since starting at The Institute for Functional Neurology Cameron has become much more gentle with Pav and more patient which has resulted in her rewarding him with longer cuddles. It's a strange relationship but it works and has given Cameron the furry love that he so desires.

We've had lots of other pets over the years - rabbit, birds, fish, crazy crabs and other cats and dogs -  but for most of those years Cameron didn't notice the pets, he was so lost in his own world. It was fascinating to watch him slowly realize the pets existed almost as if they had just walked into the house for the first time.

I still hang on to the dream of finding Cameron a doggy companion, I think he would love to have a special furry friend that would dote on him and he could walk and play with (another Bo) Cameron enjoyed walking Pippa when he could manage it. I honestly think he is ready now but it's a scary thought.

This blog post is part of the awareness raising campaign - Special Saturday - raising awareness of people living with special needs around the world.
Please join the cause by joining the facebook page -
Following on twitter - @Specialsat and retweeting hashtag - #specialsaturday
Reading and following the Special Saturday Blog -

Friday, 27 April 2012

Our Angel is Flying Away

On Monday we had a chiropractor appointment and when I opened the door I knew something wasn’t right. I can’t explain it but looking back the energy was wrong in the room.

We were handed a letter as we walked in to wait for Dr Alison our chiropractor and a sense of dread spread over me, I sensed what was inside and I didn’t really want to open it. I didn’t need to read much more than one line to have my worst fears confirmed – she was leaving and not around the corner - to the other side of the country.

Dr Alison Scott has been our families chiropractor for over eight years. My Little Angel was only a few months old when we found her and Cameron was eight years old.

We were shopping and MLA was hungry as only babies can be hungry and Cameron was being difficult because he wasn’t coping with the stresses of being inside a shopping centre with post Christmas crowds. We decided to stop in a cafe, feed everyone and hopefully cope a little better afterwards. As I started to feed MLA a gentleman we didn’t know approached us and asked if Cameron always behaved the way he was behaving and did he have a back problem. This was so out of the blue that it irritated us – couldn’t he see we were struggling and needed to be left alone.

We were polite and explained that Cameron had brain damage and yes this was normal. We smiled but used body language to express our need for him to leave. He didn’t leave. He told us that as a fully grown man he used to behave like Cameron but he found a solution. We still weren’t really interested, we still had hungry upset children and felt uncomfortable drawing attention to ourselves in a such a public way.

The gentleman went on to explain that all his family were doctors except himself and so he understood a little of the medical world and so he knew that what he was about to tell us was safe and it works. He had found a chiropractor who had helped him and eradicated his behaviour. We looked at him bemused – what was he talking about. We knew about chiropractors because we had a friend and a family member who used one but they were for fixing your spine not your behaviour. This man was clearly unstable and the sooner we moved him on the sooner we could calm the children and have a cup of coffee.

The gentleman explained that the chiropractor he found was across the road from where we were sitting and he strongly encouraged us to visit her. We thanked him and breathed a sigh of relief when he finally left us in peace.

We finally got to eat and feed everyone and were doing the typical family juggling with a baby and food when our new found friend visited us again before leaving the cafe. With smiles on our faces we listened politely as he told us again how much he felt Cameron would benefit from seeing his chiropractor, he explained again how to find her and explained again how much it had helped him. He strongly urged us to go and visit this mysterious woman and get help. He walked away and we were left wondering why he had been so insistent, he just wouldn’t let it go.

Life took over and we moved on but this strange man kept popping up in our thoughts and within a few days we found ourselves asking each other if we should see what this chiropractor was all about. We finally swallowed our pride and made the phone call – he’d made sure he left us with the phone number.

The day we walked into the Dr Alison Scott’s consulting room was as significant as the day we first walked into Riding for the Disabled – it was a life changing moment.

Dr Ali was incredibly bubbly and kind. She specialized in children and she took the time to explain everything to us so we understood what chiropractic could do for us. We learnt that it wasn’t just about sore backs because everything links back to our spinal system and if it is all in the correct place then our bodies function and work much better. Consequently our behaviour changes.

She started working on Cameron and there were a lot of appointments to help Cameron’s body realign its self.  Slowly we started to see differences, the first being that he started to stop destroying rooms. Cameron would go into a room and pull everything out, down and often break things then he would walk into the room later looking shocked at the carnage he had left as if he knew nothing about it.

We noticed that the small seizures and vomiting seizures which we had learnt to live with started to decrease and they eventually disappeared. Cameron became calmer and more focused and everybody noticed the changes.

When we started to see changes we asked if Alison could help My Little Angel with her silent reflux and within two weeks the reflux was gone and we were no longer catching constant vomit. Then My Marvellous Man started going to see if chiropractic could help him feel better and it did. Finally I started and within a couple of weeks I started to wish that I had found our new found Angel before I had given birth to MLA because I could clearly see that some of the pain I experienced was because of the alignment of my spine and it had now been corrected.

Over the next year we noticed we didn’t get as sick as we used to and we stopped making constant visits to our GP. Cameron in particular had been extremely prone to contracting every little bug going around and he was now much healthier and able to fight off a cold in a couple of days.

Over the years Dr Alison has saved us all from trips to the GP. The most dramatic being the day I took MLA in -  a quiet, clearly unwell little girl. She was cuddling her teddy and not interested in anything. Five minutes later she stood up, abandoned her teddy and walked out of the surgery much happier – it was amazing.

She has put me back together when I’ve fallen and helped my body cope with its hormonal unbalances. She’s taken away headaches and tummy aches, back aches and wonky hips. We really don’t go to the GP anymore – I forget I need to have pap smears. Consequently MLA at 8yrs of age has never taken an antibiotic and I don' t think any of us have taken an antibiotic since we found Alison.

If it wasn’t for that gentleman who was so insistent that we listened to him we wouldn’t have found our Family Angel. I am grateful he was so insistent. She flew unexpectedly into our lives and now she is spreading her wings and flying off to pastures new.

I had to admit to shedding tears on Monday as soon as I walked out of the building, I only just held it together as I hugged Ali goodbye and I couldn't say what I wanted to say. I don’t think I will ever find the words to express how grateful I am for Ali’s expertise, help and caring over the years but here goes ....... 
Ali - Thank you for everything you have done for us. You have been a major person in our lives and I honestly can not imagine life without you. You've answered all my questions, never made me feel silly. Helped us when we needed you and made us feel safe. You have helped me understand my own body as well as everyone elses and I'm a little scared you won't be there the next time I don't understand what is going on.
But you are entering a new phase of your life and I knew deep down that this day was going to come - I just didn't want to believe it. I hope as you hang your angels on your Christmas Tree each year you will remember that little boy that needed you to save him so badly and you will remember that young man that said goodbye to you on Monday. Bye Ali and Thank You for being our families Angel.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Why Haven't I Been Writing?

It's almost a year since I started my blog and I was writing regularly until October/November when life became quite complicated. Why?

Partly it was Cameron. In October we discovered The Institute of Functional Neuroscience and suddenly our lives became emotionally overwhelming as Cameron changed daily and sometimes hourly. My days suddenly shortened as I started collecting Cameron from school after lunch to take him to the Institute three days a week. This therapy is expensive so we became financially strained as we watched our bank balance disappear rapidly. Then to add to our financial woes both our cars suddenly decided their time had come and they both retired within a couple of months of each other.

I'd driven my car for eighteen years and it was the car that drove me to my appointments as I strived to become pregnant with both my children. It drove me to appointments while I was pregnant and drove me to hospital when my children were born and then when we went home for the first time. With Cameron they were eight hour round trips. It was the car that we drove that fateful day sixteen years ago when Cameron slipped into a coma and thankfully didn't die in my arms and it was the car Cameron and I lived in as we drove all day every day between appointments and therapies. I once followed a car which had a sticker which said - If I'm a Stay at Home Mum How Come I'm Always in My Car?  I searched for that sticker for years and never found it. It described my life perfectly.

My car was where Cameron screamed so much I thought I was going to crash the car, where Cameron learnt to climb out of his seat belt and climb into the boot to look at cars out of the back window. He vomited so much in that car I couldn't guess how many times and he slept uncountable hours in that car. I screamed and I cried buckets of tears in that car and that car kept us safe even when my mind was not properly focused. Cameron and I lived in that car, it was our sanctuary between appointments - our safe place. I loved my car and it held an enormous amount of memories for our family so it was very emotional to watch her become unreliable and the day she went to the car yard was very emotional for me.

It hasn't just been Cameron and the cars. I don't have a paid job but I do volunteer with several organizations close to my heart because of Cameron. One of those organizations is Riding for the Disabled and I am currently the President of RDA Brigadoon which is where Cameron rides. Normally being President of an RDA centre means lots of meetings and decisions but our centre has suddenly grown so rapidly that it's taken our breath away and I have found myself doing an enormous amount of administration. So instead of sitting up late at night writing my blog posts I've been reading and answering emails and trying to keep up.

All up life has been overwhelming and I've been tired. Consequently I haven't had the energy or the time to write. But I am starting to feel my energy return, the old Jane is resurfacing and getting back on top of things, even the housework.

During my writing drought I have been leaving tit bits of Cameron's life on my blogs facebook page,,  mainly about all the amazing things he has been doing, so if you've been missing out you could do some catching up there. I'm hoping that over the next few weeks my energy and coping skills will continue to improve I will find more time to write again. I miss sharing our story and journey with you.

So until my fingers hit the keyboard again I hope you all have a very Happy Easter spent with those you love. I suspect Cameron is going to consume way too much chocolate but watching him unwrap Easter eggs is so wonderful and not having to retrieve the foil out of his mouth whilst being bitten is really nice too.