Cathy Jameson

Say It Ain't So

PA Fair Share 3Today, Cathy shares a moment we will recognize. Maybe someone approached US when our kids were young? 

By Cathy Jameson

What do you do when you see a child and all the red flags are waving around them?  If it’s a stranger’s child, do you start a conversation?  If you know the person, do you take them aside and say, “Hey, I need to talk to you.  I don’t know if you are aware, but some of the things your child does isn’t… typical.  I can share more if you’d like.”  

Do you take on that role, or do you hope that mom or dad know and have already set up an appointment with their provider? 

I’ve run into that situation several times over the years.  Depending on where I am, or who I’m with, I will say something. I don’t say anything rude but will weave some of our experience into our conversations.  “Yeah, we had no idea what caused my son to begin having delays.  He was typical until he wasn’t But then, I started to really look at things…what we were eating, drinking…what was in our older house that we’d started to renovate… and even what medicines we were giving him.”  

I don’t blurt out “Hey, it was the vaccines!”  

But I do my best to create a natural conversation with back-and-forth sharing.  If it’s the right time to share information, I drop hints, I mention names, I plant a seed.  Most of the time I walk away from the conversation from a young mom or dad thanking me for sharing what I know.  

They all have a similar response, “Wow, and thanks.”  

Every now and then, what I share makes no impact.  It’s not an off-the-cuff response I get after being completely honest about my child’s health timeline with that stoic person.  But it sometimes feels like a “sucks to be you” kind of response, and they go on their merry way.  It’s happened only once or twice that I get a completely different response from a young parent – none at all.  The sad part is that their child truly is displaying tell-tale signs of a delay.  It’s never my place to diagnose, and I can’t say that it is an autism specific-delay I’m witnessing.  

But something appears off.  

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Givers

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By Cathy Jameson

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

This weekend, that saying will be true for lots of people. Across the US, scores of children will be blessing their moms the cutest hand-made crafts.  (Kim's daughter Gianna  made the fridge art you see.) Father’s will give fresh flowers to the mother of their children.  Grandmother’s will be given the gift of time with family either via a phone call or a visit from their precious grandchildren.  This weekend, I, too, will be blessed to be givengifts from my family.  I don’t need anything fancy or expensive, and the kids know that.  They’re givers, though.  

I’m finding that as I age, I need less stuff.  Not that the kids’ gifts are stuff.  The older they get, the more thoughtful their gifts have become. I’ve gotten records of my favorite 80s bands. I was given a beautiful bowl from my favorite New England town.  I am given time to step away from my responsibilities when they offer to watch their brother.  I try not to make a big fuss about the national holidays, like Mother’s Day, but I’ll never turn away their thoughtful gestures on those days. They’ve given more than other kids may have had to. 

We had a long week last week with lots of changes.  Ronan’s brother came back from college as my husband geared up for a lengthy trip.  In the midst of that, our schedules have turned upside down with end-of-the school year events, to include preparing for an upcoming graduation. Ronan’s gotten caught up in the middle of the hustle and bustle and is resisting some of his typical routines.  Where he’s usually the kid that’s happily settled in the living room or in the den most of the day, he’s now retreating to his room or is looking for a quiet corner to listen to his music.  It hasn’t been the easiest week for any of us, despite knowing that this particular week and this entire month wasgoing to be jam packed.  By Friday, we all needed a little bit of a break – from the busy and from some increased stress.  That’s not a bad thing, especially because we recognized the stress.  We knew one way to handle it was to take a break, which is what the kids did on Friday night.  

After taking on the responsibility of watching their brother for much of my workweek, they all ended up out of the house for part of Friday night.  I offered to buy take out.  They offered to pick it up.  While they were out, I cleaned up the house.  While I cleaned up, they got to hang out with some friends before dinner was ready.  Sending me texts and photos of the shenanigans made me smile.  Be kids!  Be silly!  Have fun!  Take your time!  I wanted them to enjoy the few minutes away because next week, they’ll be ‘on the clock’ with their brother again.  

They give.  They give so much to Ronan, to me, and to my husband.  But I want them to also be good to themselves, to enjoy their teenage years, and to make some good memories together.  To do what we’ve asked, and for them to continue to offer to help their brother, isn’t easy.  I don’t ask for anything in return, just that they remember to pace themselves.  If it gets too much to keep an eagle eye on Ronan, give that job back to me.  If it’s too hard to still be taking him to the bathroom, give that responsibility back to me.  If the stress of doing everything for him that he cannot do for himself, take a break, and give that to me.  I remind them frequently that they are appreciated, they are incredible, and that they are doing more than we ever expected them to do.  

What a blessing to see my children be so brave, so kind, and so protective of their brother with special needs.  I don’t need flowers or chocolates or a special dinner from my children today.  I’ll never ask them to do anything more for me on Mother’s Day because every day that they help me help Ronan is a gift.  

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism. 




Fulfilled

GratitudeBy Cathy Jameson

God moments.  Those happen quite a lot for me/to me.  Those are moments when I was supposed to be somewhere else but find myself with people I didn’t expect to run into.  I find myself in places I hadn’t planned to be, like when I wasn’t supposed to turn right but did.  Like when I wasn’t supposed to be at that store at that time, and I was. 

Friday, I wasn’t supposed to be home, but our caregiver was unavailable to help watch Ronan. 

So, I worked from home that morning. 

Had I been at work like I was scheduled to be, I would not have been able to quickly attend to the very big problem we were facing….

My phone was sent to silent and sitting on the table during a meeting with my boss last Wednesday.  When a call came through, I could see a phone number of the caller flash across the screen.  I recognized the area code – it’s where my son’s specialists are.  Ronan has a pretty big appointment next month.  They’re probably starting the pre-op paperwork, I thought to myself.  I’ll make sure to call them back when I won’t be interrupted.  As quickly as the phone number was on the screen, it disappeared, and I returned my focus to the meeting.

When my phone lit up two seconds later, I realized that that phone number wasn’t one of the clinic lines.  It was the specialty pharmacy that supplies the name brand seizure medications Ronan takes.  My boss saw my facial expression.  She didn’t know who it was but could tell it was important.  “Take the call,” she said. “We can wait.  Family comes first.”

I ran out of her office and found a quiet place to take the call.  “Hi, hello, hello?”  It’s hard to not sound panicky when you’re quickly feeling very panicky. 

“I’m calling about Ronan’s order.  Can you verify his birthday?  We discovered a problem and want to get it taken care of…the medication is out of stock.  We have a few options, but…”

“What?!” I immediately had a flashback, a terrible one, of a similar medication situation in December 2022.

I had just called the pharmacy the day before to ask them to refill the prescription.  Yes, we have the med in stock.  It’ll be ready tomorrow, I’m sure they told me.  “What happened between yesterday and today?” I asked.

“That was the other medication, and that order is ready,” the pharmacist replied.  Fumbling for words, I blurted, “What can I do?  Who do you need me to call?”

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Cat’s Annual Play List 2024 - Shouldering the Pain

Female atlasBy Cathy Jameson

Years ago, I would share a really awesome April Action Playlist.  This year, like last year, I picked just one song.  It isn’t a favorite, it’s part of an on-going theme, which this year has been shouldering the pain…

I’ve had an issue with my shoulder since last year.  First, I babied it, then I ignored it, then I babied it some more.  That’s not the best way to take care of chronic pain, but it’s what I did until the pain became unbearable. At that point, I knew I needed to take myself to the doctor because the day that it hurt the most made me cry.  I’d only walked to my mailbox at the end of my driveway.  Walking and getting the mail hurt.  The day before, I had gone for a walk down the street to get some fresh air and to do some exercise.  It was no more than a mile – my legs were fine, the rest of me was fine, so why did my shoulder hurt so dang much from walking?  It was the natural swinging of my arm that became excruciating.  I need my arm!  

But I was now dealing with not just the chronic pain I ignored; I also had a frozen shoulder. 

The weekend that the pain stopped me in my tracks, my children picked up – literally, everything for me.  They made my meals, they did the laundry, they surrounded Ronan with love and attention so I could sit quietly away from everyone and everything and do absolutely nothing.  I really did nothing that weekend, too.  I sat in my favorite chair in my favorite comfy pants with my favorite blanket and watched documentaries. I ate meals I didn’t have to make, I watched shows that had no relevance in my life, and I rested.  

I knew I could only do that for only so long, so I reveled in the extra care and attention I received. 

When Monday morning arrived, and when my husband and kids were back at work and school, I needed to rally and get through the pain.  It was hard, and with some assistance from some PT exercises that actually worked, I managed.  But the pain would linger every few days, and still does all these months later.  The doctor had asked me if I had ever damaged my shoulder before.  Nope.  Never.  Not recently at least.  Wait.  I’ve not had the best exercise program but wanted to get back into working out last summer.  I did try to do some planks last year, I told him.  I tried doing some pushups, too, but those were so hard.  Not because I’m getting older, but because I just couldn’t manage to carry through the motion needed to push myself up off the floor.  It really hurt.  

Was trying to get healthy actually hurting me?  

Ha!  

What an awful thought.  

The doctor said maybe, but he asked again if I had any other older injuries.  Yeah, actually, there was that one time I got hit by a car while riding my bike when I was in my mid20s.  I fell off the bike and landed hard on my right hand and jarred my shoulder.  I didn’t need surgery, but I wore a sling for weeks.  Could that old injury be causing the new pain my older body is dealing with now?

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We See You

We see youNote: You must share this poignant slice of all of our lives with others. That's your homework today. And grab a tissue. You'll need it. XOX

By Cathy Jameson

We had a busy weekend last weekend with the kids in different directions.  We couldn’t all be at a friend’s celebration on Saturday afternoon but would finally meet up later around dinner time.  Having spent most of the day out of the house, I was tired and didn’t want to go home and make dinner.  I had Ronan with me, and he didn’t want to go home yet either.  He knew we’d be driving by one of his favorite restaurants, so I called my husband and asked if he and the girls could meet us. They could. 

We had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated, so we spent that time browsing in the restaurant’s store.  Always a treat to see the ‘old timey’ games and candies, Ronan was so patient as we reminisced.  I was getting hungrier by the minute, and I imagined he was also.  Just as I thought I might need to grab a snack from his bag, the host called us to a table.  We are usually seated by one of the large windows toward the middle of the restaurant when we eat there.  This time the place was busy and got seated at the very first table customers have to walk by as they enter the dining room.  It wouldn’t bother any of us because we were so hungry and would not care that we were next to a busy area. 

I was glad we got the table when we did.  While the kids started to look at the menu, I noticed that other parties were soon standing at the host’s station asking how long it would be to get seated.  

Our server was quick to help and clued in that Ronan was not going to order for himself.  She watched us sign to him and watched him respond with signs back to us.  Ready to help, she got his drink order right away.  While we waited some more, because the restaurant was still very busy, we chatted, we looked at pictures, and we made sure Ronan was happy.  He was.  I gave my attention back to the girls, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw that someone else was watching them, too. 

The few minutes before, my daughters were taking pictures of Ronan and posting them in our family chat.  Laughing at the edits they made and carrying on like the best of friends, we were getting a little silly in our little corner.  Maybe that’s what caught this older fellow’s attention.  I glanced toward his general direction, not staring directly at him yet.  Ready to pounce, if needed, I slowly turned and faced him. The girls with their backs turned, were oblivious.  My husband, though, who was seated next to me at our round table also realized that we had an audience.  Then we noticed that this guy was not alone.  

Another man was with him. 

I wasn’t nervous.  Other places in that area would’ve had me scoop up my kids and run.  But we were in a safe place with tons of people, mostly families, enjoying an evening out.  The older man didn’t look out of place.  Neither did the younger man behind him.  Looking past the older man at the younger man now, I saw something familiar.  His stance, his low tone, his expression…

It all looked a little like Ronan.  

Trying to not make it obvious, my gaze immediately moved back to the older man.  He was much older, more like a grandfather.  He was tall but his back was hunched, almost like he was carrying a large weight.  The young man, who had telltale signs of developmental delays the more I observed him,was thin and much, much younger.  If I had to guess, I would’ve said he was in his teens.  

He was actually in his late 20s.

I know that because the older fellow approached us.  I could tell that he wanted to say something almost as soon as I saw him staring at us.  It was a few long minutes of silent watching, and never a creepy kind of watching.  He looked at Ronan, I mean really looked at him.  Then he looked at Ronan’s sisters.  He turned his head and looked at both me and my husband, then back to Ronan.  

During that, the girls were engaging in their own conversation for the most part, but they would try to get Ronan to respond.  It’s typical behavior that they always do, but I think it took the man by surprise. It took him by surprise, but it also made him smile.  That’s when he came over to our table.  

Hunched over, with arthritic fingers, and a slow gait, it was just a few steps he had to take, but it made a huge impact.  

He thanked us, and he encouraged us to please continue to treat Ronan like we had been doing.  Walking to Ronan, he put his hand on his shoulder, patted it gently and with so much compassion.  “He’s 27,” the fellow said as he pointed to the young man behind him.  “He’s 27…his name is Max*, he’s non-verbal, but he’s more like a 7-year-old.”  *name changed

I choked up.  Ronan’s sister, Izzy choked up, too.  Wiping tears from our eyes, we were filled with emotions we didn’t expect. He and my husband spoke for a minute, but I remained speechless. I thought we were going to get breakfast for dinner and then scurry home.  

We got so much more than that.  

As the older man had started to stare at my family, I had begun to stare at the young man.  Assuming it was a grandson, I thought how amazing that he took him out to eat.  Going out takes a lot of work.  It takes guts, too, for some people.  Sometimes it’s easier to just stay home. But for us, we always want to try to do things together as a family.  Even though this was one of Ronan’s favorite places, anything could set him off.  Thankfully, nothing did.  If anything, this night out set something else in motion.  

We were seen and made an immediate connection.  Very quickly, Ronan’s little sister wanted to do something about it.  The older man motioned for the younger to follow him as their table was called. As they walked away, Izzy wiped her eyes and asked, “Can we pay for their meal?” Trying really hard now not to burst into tears as I answered her, I said, “Oh, honey. That’s exactly what I was thinking we should do!”

So, we did.  

Izzy excused herself from our table, scooted back to the store and purchased a gift card.  Once we were finished eating, she took the gift card and walked over to the men who befriended us.  “I know how hard it is to take of someone like Max, so we wanted to show our kindness and give you one less thing to worry about.  It’s not much, but we wanted to give you this for your dinner.”  

The older fellow balked, “It was nothing, no, no, you don’t need to…”

But Izzy insisted.  

Normally I would never let my teenage daughter cut off an adult, but this time, she managed to do that while being incredibly respectful, compassionate, and kind. Trying not to tear up again, she said, “We know you can pay for it, but please, we really appreciate you.  We want you two to enjoy your dinner here like we got to.” She gave him the gift card and caught up with us as we were heading to the door.  

“I’m really proud of you.  I’m glad you got to represent us in that moment, too,” I said to her.  We hugged, and then like usual, we split up and went in different directions—the girls off to see friends and the rest of us back to the house.  

Heading home, I was thankful for how well Ronan did.  It was a really long day for him, and he handled all of it very well. I was also thankful for a good dinner out with my silly family. I was thankful for connections we made and for compassion shared.  Special needs families aren’t always treated with respect.  Tonight, we were, and my children quickly offered that to another family.  I know they’ll be stronger because of all they witnessed that night. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFY2Hdh7cvA

Rest in peace, Mandisa.  May your music continue to inspire those who, every now and then, feel down and out. 


Tiptoe In

Home heartBy Cathy Jameson

A few times during the day I forget about all the special needs stuff that has filled much of my life these last two decades.  That happens when I’m busy at work, or when I’m concentrating on other real-life things at home, like bills.  During those moments when I have to concentrate on other things, someone else is with Ronan.  I get the chance to physically attend to whatever is right in front of me and mentally ‘walk away’ from some of my thoughts when he’s with someone else.  I got to do that last week when I jetted away to the west coast for a few days to visit family.

I didn’t worry at all about Ronan while I was gone. 

I didn’t stress about what he was doing or what he wasn’t doing.

I didn’t overthink decisions that I usually have to make for him.

Knowing he was happy back home, I didn’t let other thoughts, like diapering and GI distress, interrupt what I was doing like what tends to happen when I’m back home.  Back home, Ronan was safe.  He was in good hands.  Because of that, I relaxed.  That meant sleeping in late, eating a full meal in one sitting, talking til wee hours of the morning, and going out whenever I wanted.  It was a luxury, and I am grateful for every minute Ronan was cared for so that I could walk away.

I’ve been able to take little vacations before, but scheduling those can be a nightmare.  The stress of that will sometimes have me second guessing a trip.  But, with careful thought, because it really does take some serious and careful planning, most of those trips have been successful.  I may come back exhausted, but it’s been worth the refreshing few days away.

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Across the Table

Iep
Note:  After you read Cathy's post, we're sharing two "must have" books from Skyhorse and the Children's Health Defense imprint about special education and a book coming out in August that breaks down the IEP process from Connecticut-based advocate Julie Swanson and special education lawyer Jennifer Laviano.  

By Cathy Jameson

I’ve had the opportunity to be on the other side of the table observing the IEP process.  It’s no easier than being on the side I’ve always been on – on the side with my son.  The prep work, the research, the necessary documentation, it all takes hours.  It also takes courage.

When Ronan was in school, we had all manner of IEP experiences.  From the most incredible meetings to the extremely tiring ones that dragged on for hours, I am glad that those are behind us.  During that time, I learned not just about special education but how to truly advocate.  Some of my son’s teams advocated with me, and I’m very grateful for that Dream Team.  But others, well, I can’t talk about them without getting a little upset. 

Knowing that a family fresh in the IEP world needs great support, I thought back to those tough days.  Would I want them to experience the very worst that special education has to offer?  No way.  I want them to know everything they could ask for.  So, I worked hard to be the advocate I wished that I had when it was just me against Ronan’s team. 

That sounds terrible – me against them. 

But that happened, and I know it still happens to some families.

Not on my watch.

So, I researched for a child who isn’t mine.  I advocated for parents who have barely put their feet on the IEP path.  I documented the pros, the cons, the ‘what ifs’, and the ‘what can be’ with them and for them.  I shared everything I could and then followed up so they wouldn’t feel alone.  That part was always hard, the hours and days after a meeting.  Even after a good meeting, I’d feel so overwhelmed.  There was always more to do!  So, I made sure to follow up, to be available, to say…Hey mama, I’m here, we’re here, and we truly want to help…

I didn’t cry when the young mom did as the meeting wrapped up, but my heart ached for her during the meeting and long after it.  How I ached to see that mom cry.  I could see myself in her - young, hopeful, and wanting.  She wants so much for her child to be able to stay in general education without supports.  Right now, though, that is out of reach.

Right now, the parents are rethinking things.  Next school year will look different for them.  The following year likely will, too.  Could their child be in gen ed without supports?  I can’t say, and I won’t say.  It’s not my place.  My place right now is across the table from them with other educators and advocates.  I never thought I’d find myself there.  Now that I am, I want to be everything my son’s worst teams weren’t for him.  I want to be part of that old Dream Team we had once – they were helpful, truthful, kind, and compassionate.  If I can give back what others failed to give me, it will be worth every emotion that comes with advocating for a stranger’s child with special needs.

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

IEP Guide For AllIEP Guide for All: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know About Individualized Education
Programs

By Julie Swanson and Jennifer Laviano
Children's Health Defense Imprint

A Comprehensive and Accessible Guide to the IEP Process The IEP process can be confusing, frustrating, and time-consuming. Understanding what your child or student needs is one thing, but getting them help and resources can be another thing altogether. Drawing on decades of experience, Jennifer Laviano and Julie Swanson are uniquely positioned to guide both parents and teachers through the IEP process. The IEP Guide for All breaks down the legal and standardized language and will leave parents feeling confident while navigating the IEP process. Whether you're a parent, a first-time educator, or an experienced educator, this guide will help get students the resources they need and highlight what everyone needs to know about the IEP process.

Your Special Education Rights Your SPED rights
By Julie Swanson and Jennifer Laviano
Skyhorse Publishing

 The definitive guide for parents of children with disabilities is out. This book is authored by two special education experts and draws on decades of experience from the front lines of special education advocacy. The authors, Jennifer Laviano and Julie Swanson, detail a strong, practical, and results oriented perspective that helps parents cut through the fog of special education to get the services their children deserve. "Our bottom line is parents are often ineffective at advocating for their child because they don't know their rights," said Jennifer Laviano, co-author and special education attorney. "We see it time and again: The child doesn't get what he or she needs because the parents don't know what they don't know. This book looks to change that," Laviano added.Your Special Education Rights demystifies the federal laws related to public school children with disabilities and explains how school districts often ignore or circumvent the law.


Every Bite You Take

Chips salsa"I'll be nom nomming you...." This crunchy post brought to you by Cathy!

By Cathy Jameson

I laughed out loud after reading a memory on Facebook one morning. “…watching Jamie Oliver’s show on ABC about a food revolution while shoving my face with chips, salsa, and some tortillas since the chip bag was almost empty and then washing it all down with wine…mwuhahahahahaha!”

I don’t remember doing that. I do love me some chips and salsa, though, so I’m pretty sure that did happen.  Just the other day when I didn’t want to make dinner (for the 8,668th night in a row), I sat down with a bowl of chips and salsa.  This time, I added sour cream, some cheddar cheese, smashed everything up together and ate it like it was a bowl of ice cream – happily with one spoonful at a time.

Another memory also had me laughing out loud. “…is it wrong that I am eating chips and salsa and drinking wine while watching my husband workout to the P90X?”  I guess it was, because the next update I shared was, “I’m not going to eat chips and salsa but instead do the P90X workout with the hubby.”

For those who don’t know me personally, I really like chips and salsa.

But back to that first memory about the food revolution, which was from 2010… 

We’d already revamped the kids’ diet a great deal at that point.  Ronan had been casein-free and gluten-free since 2005.  That happened after I’d read about elimination diets and was eager to see if it could help.  I was overwhelmed thinking about how to remove gluten products, so we started with casein ones first.  Within days, like 2 days, we saw improvements!  I didn’t need much encouragement to remove the gluten, so we did that, too.  While not a quick ‘wow’ factor like when we removed casein, there were small and steady gains over time.  They were helpful for him so we began to change his siblings’ diets and later, ours as well.  

Continue reading "Every Bite You Take" »


Good to Know!

Share secretToday, Cathy invites you to share an idea that worked for your loved one with autism.

By Cathy Jameson

While home one morning last week, I texted a co-worker back.  She’d just shared something that was interesting and would be useful for me.  I could’ve replied with a long response about how helpful the info was, but I kept it simple.  “Good to know!” I typed.  It was really helpful information, and even though no one was listening, I said it out loud right after I sent the text.  

Good to know!

I remembered that response later that afternoon when I saw a text reminder.  It was for two appointments we had scheduled for Ronan at the end of the week.  One appointment would be with a new provider, someone on our GI team recommended we see.  I could only hope that what we would learn from her would be good to know.  Thankfully it was, and we now have a few more tips that should give Ronan some relief.

For years here and on other platforms, I’ve learned things from parents and providers that have been good to know.  Those have been things about child development, about navigating the health care system, about which doctors to trust and about which questions to ask.  I wouldn’t be the mother I am today without the knowledge I’ve learned from others.  

Early on, I learned that it wasn’t just the best that I wanted for my son when it came to his education; I would want what was appropriate.  I learned that I didn’t need a pediatrician, many of whom push vaccines; I could get care from a family practice, where vaccine choice is better respected.  I didn’t find out everything all at once, but over time, I learned how to speak up and when to speak up. 

Today, I’d love to find out your best advice that you found good to know.  How quickly did it help, and who shared that info with you?  Did other friends take the advice and have positive results?  It can be very frustrating when what will work for one doesn’t work for another.  But if there’s something I’ve learned in all the years I’ve been advocating for Ronan it’s that we never give up.  It’s just not an option.

As we tiptoe into April, give us what you’ve got.  Tips, suggestions, books, websites – unload your very best advice.  Let’s keep our stories going.  Let’s keep the good advice accessible, and let’s continue to be a beacon of light to those who need it the most. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

To those whose shoes are also so worn thin because of how long the journey has been, this one if for you…xo, Cat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrC_yuzO-Ss

 


Glimpses

Heart pizzaBy Cathy Jameson

I ordered pizza on Friday evening.  Then I sat back and listened.  Ronan’s younger brother is home from college for a few days.  The house comes alive again when the siblings are together.  We don’t have everyone home, but when at least 3 of typical sibs are together, the activity level in the house – and the volume – increases quite a bit.

Right now, two are strumming on their guitars. 

Another is joining in singing the lyrics. 

They’re enjoying favorite songs from their childhood.

My heart is so happy!

Where’s Ronan in all of this?  He’s in his room.  He was happy earlier when he had a few quiet minutes with his favorite brother before the girls came home from an outing.  After his dinner, Ronan returned to his music in a quieter corner of the house.  We may end up hearing him raise the volume of his favorite song tonight, something that makes me laugh. 

He and I have competed to hear our songs before.  My favorite is when he plays one that he’s heard us play – like this one from Muse.  Our new caregiver shared that Ronan likes her Christian music, too.  As soon as one of her go-to songs ends, he signs for her to play it again.  She’s happy to oblige.  I can’t tell you how comforting it is to have someone step into our home and keep Ronan feeling settled while the rest of us are out doing our own things.  I’ve worried before about other people who’ve promised to keep Ronan safe and haven’t.  The kids have their obligations and can’t be home to help, which has me seeking help elsewhere.  Lately, we’ve been blessed with attentive helpers who are in tune with Ronan’s needs. 

If anyone is in tune with Ronan, it’s his typical little brother.  It doesn’t matter how much time has lapsed since they were together last.  The sibling shenanigans will surely be in full swing soon.  In between, we’ll witness some incredible moments of brotherly love.  Days before Willem was due home, he said he’d help watch Ronan so I could get some stuff done.  Like his sisters do, he jumps right in ready to offer a hand, even before I think to ask. 

When the kids come home, I’m very mindful that they’re here on a break.  They’re here to rest, to relax, and to catch up not just with us but with friends as well.  So, before I ask them to assist with their brother, I see if they’ve already made plans for the time that they’re here.  It hasn’t happened, but I never want them to resent having to take care of their brother.  So, I stay mindful, respectful, and always hopeful that they will remain willing to stay home when I have to jet out.

As Friday night wound down, Ronan got quieter.  He was ready for bed long before any of the rest of us were.  After getting him tucked into bed, the kids stayed up about an hour later, catching up on the last few weeks since they were altogether.  They shared photos, videos, stories and also made plans for the week ahead – it was a very happy homecoming.

Someday they’ll go off in different directions, but for now, I love that they happily find themselves here with us. 

When we are together, we are home. 

Home. 

It’s my favorite place to be.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoRkntoHkIE

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


Dates and Location

Cj paper crane
A paper crane, made for me by my daughter on the day of Dan’s memorial service.

By Cathy Jameson

I headed into the D.C. area last week for a meeting.  As I crept closer toward my destination, I saw a sign for Falls Church.  I’d always imagined it to be an idyllic place.  I’m sure at one point it was, but now it looks like every other busy city streetscape in Northern Virginia.  The first time I’d heard of the place was from Dan Olmsted.  I found it a treat to be able to meet up with him whenever I was near Falls Church.  It wouldn’t be too many times, but each time was cherished.

We are heartbroken to announce… 

I miss his voice.  I miss his wisdom.  I especially miss his encouraging private comments to me and my husband when I became more public with my son’s issues.  To have Dan Olmsted in my corner, well, it meant the world to all of us Jamesons.  

a celebration of life…

We’re creeping up on the date of his memorial service.  That’s a day I’ll never forget.  To see his closest friends and family gather to honor him, it’ll be a forever memory.  There were tears.  There was laughter.  Many heartfelt memories were shared.  My favorite personal memories of Dan are of when he got to meet up with me and my kids.  I'd find a diner for us to meet that wasn’t too fancy of a restaurant in case my kids were too loud.  Oftentimes, they were!  He didn't mind how silly and loud they were though.  He didn't mind how distracted and needy they'd get during the meal either.  He was patient, kind, attentive, and happy.  Dan smiled at their silliness and showed them only love.  The kids smiled at Dan and loved him right back. 

I was not privy to Dan’s personal life nor to events that led up to his death, and part of me doesn’t want to ever know them.  What I do know is that Dan was always a light.  He was a voice for the voiceless.  He was upbeat without ever being over-the-top.  I knew that he could be a busy man, but for me, he was always an email away.  Responding quickly and concisely, I loved that he led off the AofA weekend with his Saturday’s Weekly Wrap column. To follow him on Sundays with my posts?  It was humbling. 

When my meeting ended last week, I knew I’d pass those signs I saw as I headed into the District.  I slowed down just a bit.  I remembered everything all over again.  Falls Church.  It’s where my friend and mentor lived.  I pray that those he loved are doing okay.  I pray that Dan’s work is never forgotten.  I know it won’t be forgotten here.  I just wish he had more time to share all that he knew, all that he learned, and all that he wanted the rest of the world to know.

…a compelling symbol for hope, love, honor, and peace.

Dan Olmsted.  He was a journalist like no other.  May his memory be eternal. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

###

Vax Unvax Book CoverYou can buy Vax-Unvax Let the Science Speak By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Brian Hooker, PhD for just $1.99 Kindle edition. The Kindle app works on your tablet or smart phone and is free!  Hardcover also available and can never be deleted.  NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

The Studies the CDC Refuses to Do

This book is based on over one hundred studies in the peer-reviewed literature that consider vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Each study is analyzed, and health differences among infants, children, and adults who have been vaccinated and those who have not are presented and put in context.

Given the massive push to vaccinate the entire global population, this book is timely and necessary for individuals to make informed choices for themselves and their families.

Wuhan bioweapons coverThe Wuhan Cover-Up: And the Terrifying Bioweapons Arms Race (Children’s Health Defense)
By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

“Whenever I read, listen to, or debate Bobby, I learn something new and change my mind on at least one or two issues, while vehemently disagreeing with many others. Both the agreements and disagreements stimulate my thinking and emotions, even when they make me angry or concerned. Read him and make up your own minds." —Alan Dershowitz

“The Wuhan Cover-Up will blow out of the water the international disinformation campaign by US and Chinese government officials and their bribed scientists that COVID-19 somehow magically jumped out of the Wuhan wet market. Kennedy’s book will provide the ammunition needed for us lawyers to hold them all legally accountable for this Nuremberg Crime against Humanity.” —Professor Francis A. Boyle, author of the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989


Hi, Expectation!

High hopes rainbow
Note: Cathy brings a dose of high hopes today. I'm a big Frank Sinatra fan, and High Hopes was a classic he sang with a group of children. It's a song about NEVER GIVING UP. I added a YouTube clip at the end of Cathy's post.  The art above is a print you can purchase with the lyrics - not related to AofA in any way, but I wanted to give them a plug since we used the wonderful art.  https://songlyricdesigns.com/frank-sinatra-high-hopes-watercolour-rainbow-clouds-decorative-gift-song-lyric-print/https://songlyricdesigns.com/frank-sinatra-high-hopes-watercolour-rainbow-clouds-decorative-gift-song-lyric-print/


By Cathy Jameson

Ronan had a follow up appointment last week to see his neurologist.  But when I got the notification that his appointment was coming up, I noticed that he would be seeing a different provider.  Did they switch us out of pediatrics to an adult doctor?  I wondered.  No, but that did come up during the appointment. 

Ronan has one more visit with his regular pediatric neurologist, who is still on staff.  After that next visit, he’ll begin seeing doctors who work with adult patients.  I’m not so much dreading that idea because of not trusting those doctors.  I’m dreading leaving the pediatric team because we’ve received such great care from every single person on that team. 

From the dentist to the gastroenterologist to the physical medicine doctors, many have guided us through several changes over the last few years.  They’ve been a lifeline for us during some dark moments.  We had no idea who these providers were when we first met each of them.  Over time, we grew to know them as they grew to know us.  We didn’t just get to work with them one-on-one.  With how complicated some medical conditions have been, we’ve all had to work together.  The GI doc consults with the neuro doc.  The dentist has been known to review the medications prescribed knowing they can affect dental health. Ronan’s specialty pharmacist chimes in, too!  I’ve shared before that I like the drive to this facility for one thing because it’s a pretty drive.  But also, I like it because we have a great team of helpers greeting us.

To have to start from scratch with a new team of specialists feels daunting.  

Once we leave the pediatric neurologist to a general neurologist, I’m sure other general docs will soon pick up Ronan’s care.  I knew that day would come, but I didn’t expect it to be right now. 

I should know that expectations change; it’s been a way of life for a long time.  My early expectations of my son’s development changed.  My early expectations of how I would mother him changed, too.  Since he got sick, every early expectation I have had has changed. 

I still remain hopeful.  Not to a fault but because that has always been my nature – to be hopeful.

Continue reading "Hi, Expectation!" »


Safe at Home

BF60FCDA-FC15-40C4-AA83-2BB6E7B00EB1

By Cathy Jameson

A nurse from the one of the agencies that provides services for my son calls every 3 months. “Hi, Mrs. Jameson.  How is Ronan?  Does he need anything?  Do you need anything?”  Those calls are quick because Ronan’s been doing fine, he doesn’t need anything, and I don’t need anything either. 

Every six months, the nurse calls with scripted questions that keep us in the system and qualified for continued care.  Once a year, she visits us.  I’m always prepared for those visits and have appreciated the extra medical resources her agency can offer.  Besides resources, they can also offer medical supplies.  Ronan’s benefitted from having those items, for which I’m grateful.  Before the last home visit, I thought about what new items he might need but couldn’t think of any.  I also looked back at my notes from previous visits and jotted a few things I wanted to ask about.  For the next visit, the nurse who had met with us for years wouldn’t be joining us.  It would be a new person joining Team Ronan.  

I’m happy that the nurse who’d seen us through a few issues was moving on to something else.  But getting new people on board after all the things we’ve had to manage, and have successfully avoided, didn’t feel comfortable.  It felt like work.  Keeping my child safe and healthy is my job, so I got to work doing a little bit more prep work for the in-home visit. 

The day the new nurse came was less stressful than I thought it would be.  She was kind, lovely, and had years’ worth of really good notes from the nurse we’d know for years.  She even knew that flu shots are something we don’t care for.  That topic would be the tell-tale sign – if she hassled me, I knew to do more listening than talking.  If she didn’t, I’d still do more listening than talking, but I’d be open to hearing what she had to say.  With Ronan no longer under 18, the questions on his forms changed, including social/emotional needs.  No longer were they about which toys and activities he liked to do.  They were questions you’d hear an adult being asked.  

I have a good poker face, so didn’t let her know the first question shocked me:  

Does Ronan feel safe at home?

Yes. 

[Geez, lady. What a question!  He loves being home. LOVES it.]

With his special needs, I’m going to say he’s not out partying.

Right. 

[WHAT?!]

He’s not smoking?

Nope. 

[Good grief.]

Or drinking? 

No.

[Except this one time]

The more questions she asked, the more one-syllable responses I gave.  It satisfied her checkboxes, and it secured care for my son for another year.  With that done, I thanked the new nurse for her time and filed the paperwork. On her way out, she could see that Ronan was happy, healthy, and safe with us at home.  

Last Friday, we took Ronan out for dinner just because.  Well, mostly because it had been an incredibly busy week for me, and I didn’t want to make dinner.  We went to our usual place, but forgetting it was Friday night, the place was packed.  We went to another restaurant that we know Ronan enjoys.  Again, we saw a line out the door of patrons waiting for a table.  We drove farther into town, but four times that evening, we left because the wait was so long.  The fifth place, another go-to local eatery was open, empty, and perfect!  Ronan loves it there, and we loved seeing him so happy.  

Once dinner was over, we headed home.  We didn’t have the energy to do anything else.  And Ronan didn’t seem to mind going straight back.  Walking into the house with his little sister, he smiled.  He was home.  And he was incredibly happy to be there.  

Keeping him happy, healthy, and safe.  It’s my job, and I’m very happy to keep doing it.  

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism. 


Swerve

CautionBy Cathy Jameson

One of Ronan’s sisters and I headed toward the mountains last weekend.  We got to visit Ronan’s younger brother for the day, starting with meeting him in town for Mass.  What a glorious day it was!  I had hoped to take Ronan with us, but Willem hadasked if I’d go to the movies with him after church and lunch.  Ronan has been to the theatre several times, but he likes to leave almost as soon as he gets there.  I didn’t want to risk Ronan being bored out of his mind, so we girls left while the fellas stayed home.  

We ended up not going to the movies but got to explore parts of the town.  Then we enjoyed a sunny afternoon on campus.  One of my son’s college friends joined us for the walk, and then many other of his friends sat with us for dinner.  I love that they gather for meals together and that they’ve become a positive support system for each other. 

My son is thriving, and I am grateful for that.  

Even though it was just a few hours, we crammed in a lot of visiting that day.  We got to talk about school, video projects Willem’s working on, and getting ready for the next round of scholarships he needs to apply to.  It was such a good day!  Ididn’t want to leave, but before it got too dark, we said our goodbyes until next time before heading to the car. Right before we got to the parking lot, I got a work email that I had to answer.  After answering it, I had to send a bunch of emails and texts to co-workers.  I don’t work on site on weekends, but I still have to pay attention to messages coming in, especially when they affectour program.  So, I answered as many messages as I could.  

My daughter waited patiently for me to be done messaging people and would be available to write anyone back for me when I could get us on the road. 

It would take a couple of hours to get home, but I’ve gotten to know the route well.  Part of it is familiar as it includes roads that we can take to get to the hospital where Ronan’s specialists are.  The next round of visits for Ronan are just around the corner.  Those could cause some anxiety, but with meadows, mountains, vineyards, and beautiful farmland, I really love the drive and usually look forward to it.  

I don’t love driving it at night, though, so I was being cautious around the areas I knew could be a bit hazardous for drivers.  At about the halfway point when the major highway turns into back-roads, I encountered a jerk of a driver.  On a stretch of an unlit, curvy, hilly, tight two-lane road in the middle of nowherefarming area, a driver in a small black sedan pulled up behind me.  They pulled up so closely that I couldn’t see the headlights.  I was the only one on the road in either direction.  Knowing exactly where I was, I shared my distaste with my daughter and a plan. I said, “I’m going to pull over quickly to the turn lane and let this person pass.”  I felt very familiar with this section of road and knew that the left-turn lane extends about ¾ of a mile. That meant that I had time to safely move over, slow down a tad, and also get back into the travel lane before the next turn.  As I did all of that, the driver zoomed ahead. 

“Fine, I’d rather be behind ya anyway,” I muttered.

Continue reading "Swerve" »


What A Pickle

PickleBy Cathy Jameson

My husband and I got to go out last weekend.  Asked to be a special guest at a dinner about an hour away, I was able to accompany him for a fun night out.  While we were away, one of our trusted caregivers spent the evening with Ronan and one of his younger sisters.  Right before we sat down for dinner, I texted, “Hey, this is way fancier than we expected.  I’m going to put my phone down.  If you need us, call, don’t text.  I won’t hear the alerts for texts, but I’ll pick up if you call.”

Things back at home were good, so I didn’t need to worry about getting any texts or calls.  Ronan was doing his usual activities, which usually keeps him happy and settled.  Maybe it was that he saw us leave and was sad that we didn’t take him, but Ronan decided to be a little bit of a pickle for our helper.  When it was time for him to take the seizure meds, Ronan looked at them and then he knocked them on the floor.  Much like a cat knocks something over just to knock it over, that’s exactly what Ronan did.

One

pill

at

a

time. 

Each time he knocked one down, our helper put it back on the counter.  Without skipping a beat, our helper said, “Oh, let me get that for you,” as she picked them up off the floor.

What a pickle he was being!

He’s starting to be more of a pickle other times, too.  I don’t usually support that kind of behavior, but Ronan’s being more interactive with the siblings, and I loved that!

Don’t get me wrong, we’re teaching Ronan to be kinder, but it’s impressive that he can be a pickle by choice.  Take his youngest sister’s latest frustration.  I made a baby blanket when I was pregnant with my firstborn that matched a crib bumper that I also made.  When they were all younger, my other children had gotten to use the blanket.  It had been put in the linen closet for years until sometime last summer.  I must have been sorting through the closet when Ronan’s youngest sister asked to keep it on her bed.  Sure!  It’s a really sweet blanket with really beautiful memories for me.  Well, Ronan saw it, too, and it was war.

He remembered it and wanted it.

She found it and wanted it.

I watched to see what would happen next.

One day the blanket would be on his bed.

Another day it would be back on her bed.

When he takes it from her room, he hustles to his room and tries to hide it with his bed covers.

When she discovers it missing, she finds it and then hides the blanket back in her room.

The back-and-forth typical sibling antics make me smile.  It takes forethought, strategy, and effort to be a pill!  In instances like that, I will quickly console the typical sibling that’s been annoyed, but I’ll also secretly cheer for Ronan for getting more involved in the kids’ world.

Another time Ronan got caught doing something he wasn’t supposed to was with Willem during Christmas vacation.  While home from college, I asked my younger son to watch my older son when I went to work one day.  More than able to be a caregiver for me, I still prepped everything the boys would need for the day.  That included meals and extra snacks.  My kids love snacks, including Ronan, so I made an extra bowl of cereal that he likes. 

But Ronan didn’t want the gluten-free cereal I left for him.  He wanted the tastier one the kids had.  So, while Willem went to the garage to grab something, Ronan quickly got the other cereal box, opened the box, and reached into the box.  Hearing his little brother round the corner back into the kitchen, Ronan took his hand out of the box, put the box down and stood as still as still could be – then he quickly opened the drawer where we keep the bowls and took out one, two, three, four bowls and waited to see what would happen next.  Next, came peals of laughter.

Okay, bud!  We know you’re hungry; just ask for help, and we’ll be right there to help you.

We’re always ready to help, even when he’s being a pickle.

Continue reading "What A Pickle" »


Safe at Home

BF60FCDA-FC15-40C4-AA83-2BB6E7B00EB1

By Cathy Jameson

A nurse from the one of the agencies that provides services for my son calls every 3 months. “Hi, Mrs. Jameson.  How is Ronan?  Does he need anything?  Do you need anything?”  Those calls are quick because Ronan’s been doing fine, he doesn’t need anything, and I don’t need anything either.  


Every six months, the nurse calls with scripted questions that keep us in the system and qualified for continued care.  Once a year, she visits us.  I’m always prepared for those visits and have appreciated the extra medical resources her agency can offer.  Besides resources, they can also offer medical supplies.  Ronan’s benefitted from having those items, for which I’m grateful.  Before the last home visit, I thought about what new items he might need but couldn’t think of any.  I also looked back at my notes from previous visits and jotted a few things I wanted to ask about.  For the next visit, the nurse who had met with us for years wouldn’t be joining us.  It would be a new person joining Team Ronan.  

I’m happy that the nurse who’d seen us through a few issues was moving on to something else.  But getting new people on board after all the things we’ve had to manage, and have successfully avoided, didn’t feel comfortable.  It felt like work.  Keeping my child safe and healthy is my job, so I got to work doing a little bit more prep work for the in-home visit. 

The day the new nurse came was less stressful than I thought it would be.  She was kind, lovely, and had years’ worth of really good notes from the nurse we’d know for years.  She even knew that flu shots are something we don’t care for.  That topic would be the tell-tale sign – if she hassled me, I knew to do more listening than talking.  If she didn’t, I’d still do more listening than talking, but I’d be open to hearing what she had to say.  With Ronan no longer under 18, the questions on his forms changed, including social/emotional needs.  No longer were they about which toys and activities he liked to do.  They were questions you’d hear an adult being asked.  

I have a good poker face, so didn’t let her know the first question shocked me:  

Does Ronan feel safe at home?

Yes. 

[Geez, lady. What a question!  He loves being home. LOVES it.]

With his special needs, I’m going to say he’s not out partying.

Right. 

[WHAT?!]

He’s not smoking?

Nope. 

[Good grief.]

Or drinking? 

No.

[Except this one time]

The more questions she asked, the more one-syllable responses I gave.  It satisfied her checkboxes, and it secured care for my son for another year.  With that done, I thanked the new nurse for her time and filed the paperwork. On her way out, she could see that Ronan was happy, healthy, and safe with us at home.  

Last Friday, we took Ronan out for dinner just because.  Well, mostly because it had been an incredibly busy week for me, and I didn’t want to make dinner.  We went to our usual place, but forgetting it was Friday night, the place was packed.  We went to another restaurant that we know Ronan enjoys.  Again, we saw a line out the door of patrons waiting for a table.  We drove farther into town, but four times that evening, we left because the wait was so long.  The fifth place, another go-to local eatery was open, empty, and perfect!  Ronan loves it there, and we loved seeing him so happy.  

Once dinner was over, we headed home.  We didn’t have the energy to do anything else.  And Ronan didn’t seem to mind going straight back.  Walking into the house with his little sister, he smiled.  He was home.  And he was incredibly happy to be there.  

Keeping him happy, healthy, and safe.  It’s my job, and I’m very happy to keep doing it.  

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism. 

###

Vax Unvax Book CoverYou can buy Vax-Unvax Let the Science Speak By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Brian Hooker, PhD for just $1.99 Kindle edition. The Kindle app works on your tablet or smart phone and is free!  Hardcover also available and can never be deleted.  NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

The Studies the CDC Refuses to Do

This book is based on over one hundred studies in the peer-reviewed literature that consider vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Each study is analyzed, and health differences among infants, children, and adults who have been vaccinated and those who have not are presented and put in context.

Given the massive push to vaccinate the entire global population, this book is timely and necessary for individuals to make informed choices for themselves and their families.

Wuhan bioweapons coverThe Wuhan Cover-Up: And the Terrifying Bioweapons Arms Race (Children’s Health Defense)
By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

“Whenever I read, listen to, or debate Bobby, I learn something new and change my mind on at least one or two issues, while vehemently disagreeing with many others. Both the agreements and disagreements stimulate my thinking and emotions, even when they make me angry or concerned. Read him and make up your own minds." —Alan Dershowitz

“The Wuhan Cover-Up will blow out of the water the international disinformation campaign by US and Chinese government officials and their bribed scientists that COVID-19 somehow magically jumped out of the Wuhan wet market. Kennedy’s book will provide the ammunition needed for us lawyers to hold them all legally accountable for this Nuremberg Crime against Humanity.” —Professor Francis A. Boyle, author of the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989


Definitely Blessed

Older parentsBy Cathy Jameson

I love our dentist.  She’s a friend of the family and greets us all like we are the biggest superstars on the planet when we see her.  She’s watched my kids grow and has the best compliments for each of them.  When she sees me, she gushes about how beautiful and wonderful a mother I am.  I don’t always feel like a beautiful, wonderful mother, so I tell her I’d love to put her in my back pocket and take her everywhere, especially when I’m having a bad day.  I’d take her out and let her fill me with compliments to help boost my spirits.  It’s a joy to schedule all of our dental appointments because she’s full of positivity every single time I see her.

Except at my appointment last week…

That’s when she shared that another patient of hers, also a mother to an adult child with developmental delays, was experiencing some frustration.  It wasn’t that this other woman’s child wasn’t receiving services.  They are.  It wasn’t that this adult with special needs wasn’t thriving.  She was.  It was that this other mother is aging.  And she’s much closer to the end of life than the beginning.  She carries a heavy worry like so many other mothers carry – when she’s gone, who will take care for her adult child who needs care 24 hours a day 7 days a week?  Her close friends are elderly as well and physically cannot help.  Her younger family members have said they would not help.  I couldn’t speak, not just because my dentist was doing her exam on my teeth, but because I was stunned to hear that this other mother had no family support.    

After the dental exam ended, I said, “That’s why we have to live forever!”  My dentist agreed.  While not an adult child with special needs, she’s helping provide some of the round-the-clock medical care for an elderly family member who lives far away.  We both commiserated at how helpless we sometimes feel when it comes to being physical there to assist extended family.  But we also stated that we’d do whatever we could for them, including from a distance, while we’re still living. 

We talked a bit more, shared a bit more, and she ended the conversation with that positivity I always love to hear.  After telling me about a recent trip home to see her family, she shared, “I’m definitely blessed…” 

I told her that I was, too.

Continue reading "Definitely Blessed" »


Perspective

Sister and brotherBy Cathy Jameson

Ronan’s younger brother has been home on his college break since mid-December.  It’s been a big blessing to have him home.  Besides having our family feeling a little more complete, with some hiccups in my caregivers’ schedules, Willem could quickly jump in and provide care to Ronan while I went to work.  I didn’t like having to task my younger son to watch my older son on those days, but Willem would tell me it was okay.  He hadn’t made too many plans over the break, so he had the time. 

I appreciated his honesty and also his availability. 

Each of my children have a unique relationship with Ronan.  The girls are loving, kind, and will do anything for him.  Willem is also loving, kind and will do anything for him.  But Willem does other things, more brotherly things that you might see all sorts of other brothers doing.  He likes to egg Ronan on to do rough and tumble playing.  He gets Ronan up more to dance with him and to play fight with him.  He pushes Ronan higher in the swing than I would, and he pushes Ronan faster in the adaptive stroller, too.  With his delays, Ronan doesn’t always respond to the people he’s with, even to the fun stuff.  But that doesn’t stop the little brother from wanting to be with the older, developmentally delayed, silent brother.  Sometimes, the lack of an immediate response makes Willem want to do more – to encourage Ronan, to interact with him, and to do things others easily would’ve given up on.  With Willem in college now, I have loved the extra time the brothers have had together this past month. 

The only time Willem shared a tiny hint of disappointment while he was home was when I came back from work and found out that Ronan had been a rotten pickle to his little brother.  “Mom, I tried to feed him his lunch and he wouldn’t take a bite.  I tried to take him to the bathroom, but he signed no, no, no.  I knew he needed to go, so I approached him a different way.  I got him to come with me to the bathroom, and as soon as he sat on the toilet, of course he peed.”  I could hear some frustration in his voice, and I felt terrible that I’d tasked him with this personal care.  My kids can handle the type of care their brother requires, but they, like us, need a break from some of it.  I told him, “I’m sorry your brother was being a pill.  Please plan something with your friends who are also home on break.  I want you to enjoy the last few days before you head back to school.”  Willem told me he was fine, that he knew Ronan didn’t mean to be difficult.  But I still wanted him to get out of the house and to enjoy the company of friends. 

So, he did.

Continue reading "Perspective" »


Mission Possible

Hope and futureBy Cathy Jameson

I booked our airline tickets months ago.  With how crazy the world has been, I made sure to buy insurance.  We’ve had to cancel trips before due to illness.  It’s something we hate to have to do, but the insurance has helped us be able to rebook a trip when one of us is sick.  A week or so before our trip, I thought I may have to use it.  I couldn’t stop coughing.  I had no fever, no drippy nose, and no other symptoms for weeks.  Whatever I’d caught before Thanksgiving, though, caused a bunch of congestion to linger in my lungs. 

No way did I want to be that person on a plane cough, cough, coughing across the country. 

If it didn’t clear up, I was considering canceling our Christmas plans.   

Cj ronan airplane

Thankfully, I didn’t have to do that. 

On our way home from our trip west, I sat back and smiled.  The coughing had finally subsided, and we had a wonderful seven days away with family at Christmas.  Like before, Ronan traveled like a champ.  He even went – and stayed – at Mass with us!  We’d packed in a few busy days while we were away, and we made sure to enjoy some quiet stay-home days also.  The times the kids wanted to do more, Ronan and I stayed behind and rested.  Knowing Ronan’s needs can be great, our hostess gave us whatever time and space we needed.  It was a joy to be able to get away from it all, and we didn’t want our visit there or our vacation to end.  It was time, though. 

So last Friday, we packed, prepped, and pushed on. 

It can be quite a production when all 7 of us are traveling, but there’s also quite a bit of excitement, too. 

Even so, I was looking forward to sitting and relaxing on the return trip. 

Settled in one of the last rows of a very full flight, I had almost five hours to just sit.  To relax.  To enjoy whatever movie I wanted.  But first, I wanted to rest.  We’d be landing at midnight and getting back home close to 2am.  Knowing Ronan, he’d be up way too early, much earlier than the rest of us.  I needed a nap just thinking about how much of a jolt our first morning home could be.

Continue reading "Mission Possible" »


To You

Happy 21By Cathy Jameson

One Easter Sunday many years ago, the weather was still chilly enough to light a fire in our outdoor fire pit and make s’mores.  The kids helped gather small sticks to burn as I began the clean up from dinner.  I didn’t get too much done before I heard the kids calling for me, “Mommy!  Mommy!  You’re going to miss lighting the fire!”  My husband makes a Swedish candle with the children watching safely from a distance.  Not wanting me to miss the lighting of it, I stopped what I was doing and went outside.  Ronan didn’t want to join us yet, so he stayed inside with his movie.  I’m glad I didn’t miss the early evening fire.  It was a beautiful sight, and it made for a great memory. Cj fire

Something even more memorable happened that evening.  Ronan got a hold of one of the drinks that had been left out after dinner.  Thankfully it was only the last few sips.  But still.  When we discovered what he’d done, our eyes grew big.  Our minds raced.  Our hearts pounded.  RONAN!  You didn’t?!  He signed ‘yes’ that he did.  We watched Ronan like a hawk for hours afterward.  We saw no worrisome problems from the few sips of the mixed drink, so we finally relaxed.  Then, his younger brother made us laugh. 

Ronan must be part Russian.

Russian?  Why do you think that? 

Because that drink had some vodka in it.

He’s not Russian, but he is Irish.  And yes, Ronan also likes Irish whiskey.  My husband was gifted a bottle of Shanky’s Whip from a co-worker.  It smells amazing, like what I remember caramel candy smelled like when I was a little kid.  Every so often, when we bring out the bottle, Ronan gets to take a sniff of it.  One day, after smelling it, he stuck his finger in the bottle. 

Then he licked his finger. 

Then he stuck his finger in the bottle again.  

Then he licked his finger again and signed ‘yes’.

Continue reading " To You" »


In An Instant

66CF4F7E-3063-4CDB-8B13-B5391C8F0441By Cathy Jameson 

I recalled a time that I was outside coming home from a walk last spring.  With the siblings watching their brother for the few minutes when I needed some fresh air, I didn’t rush home.  He was fine.  They were fine.  I was not.  I can’t remember now what happened that had me step away, but I do remember sauntering silently down the street lingering and enjoying the quiet.  Our part of the neighborhood doesn’t see too many cars, so it’s not unusual for kids from other streets to bike down ours.  On my walk back home, I noticed two kids, then two more, then a whole bunch of kids ride past me.  Schools were off that day, which drew more middle schoolers outside than usual.  I know of a few of them, but my kids are older and don’t typically interact with them.  

As I got closer to my driveway, I planned the rest of my afternoon.  My thoughts were soon interrupted as several emergency vehicles quickly drove past me.  The kids were off their bikes already and were playing ball across the street from our house.  Spilling out of their vehicles, young men and women in blue uniforms ran up a driveway.  It was not for the neighbor I expected to need medical attention.  Usually, it’s the elderly couple next door to us that have called for help.  My husband would check on them because they each have had a history of medical problems.  Prone to falling, Jack, the disabled World War II vet, worried us.  But this time, the ambulance was parked at a different house. 

A large fire truck next careened down the street with its 4-man crew joining the rescue efforts.  The frustration I had felt earlier in my home, and whatever had prompted my need to walk away for a minute, paled in comparison as to what was taking place right now.  The ladder truck blocked my view, and I felt terrible for trying to peek around it.  I felt a bit like a nosey neighbor, but before my friend down the street texted me, I wanted to see who called 911 and why.  

Watching the middle school boys gather at the edge of their lawn, I quickly texted my neighbor down the street.  “Hey, the ambulance – it’s not for us this time.”

She was relieved.  

Telling me she was just about to text me, she asked if it was for the older couple next door.  We don’t get to see each other too much anymore, but this younger neighbor and I always text each other when an emergency vehicle shows up.  Before going into the special ed teaching field, she used to watch Ronan for me.  She knows the laundry list of medical conditions he has and of the times we’ve had to call 911.  She also knows how quickly seizures used to happen.  Those haven’t happened in awhile, but she remains always ready to swoop in and help me with my kids, especially when my husband is traveling for work.

The young middle schoolers gathered at the edge of the lawn and stayed attentive.  More of their friends had joined the front-yard football game, but all were keeping a respectful distance and were being quiet.  One of the boys glanced my way.  I quietly asked, “Do you know who needed help?”  He said, “It looked like it was an elderly woman.”  Ah, that’s the mother of the siblings who own the large house at the corner.  I appreciated his response and retreated to my house.  My kids greeted me with smiles when I walked in, “Hey, you’re back.  You could’ve stayed out longer, Mom. Ronan is okay.” 

I hadn’t been gone for more than 20 minutes.  It was just enough sunshine and time to step away from whatever had started to bug me.  By the time I’d come back home, whatever it was that bugged me was absolutely insignificant.  Hugging my youngest, I told her thanks for being in charge of all the things and all the people for me.  She smiled.  Having heard the sirens and seen the activity of the emergency responders she asked, “Was it for Jack next door?”  I told her, “Not this time, it was the mom of the adult kids who own the big house.”  We hadn’t seen the mom in a long time, so we prayed everything would soon be okay.  I know the feeling when, in an instant, things are not okay.  In an instant, things go from bad to worse.  They go from We’ve got this to Oh, no!  We don’t.  That’s when the adrenaline kicks in.  That’s when we call for help.  That’s when we pray for things to turn around.  

Which is what my daughter and I did for the lady in the big house at the corner as we watched the fire truck leave first.  

Then the ambulance.  

Followed by the police. 

Very soon after, life on our street returned to normal.  The middle school kids rolled back down the road.  First one boy, then two, then all of them.  Riding their bikes, heading to the next front yard, calling to their friends as they rode, you’d never know a near-death situation had just occurred.  While we have had to call 911, and we have had more than a few emergency room runs, we haven’t had a near-death moment.  I have mentally prepared for those, because of my son’s medical conditions.  

But I’ll hope and pray we never experience anything like that.  

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


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That Old Birth Plan

Baby-santaBy Cathy Jameson

It’s been many years since I read my birth plan.  The computer I used back then is long gone.  I knew I still had it somewhere.  It took a little bit of searching, but here is part of it:

C/Section Birth Plan

Unless there is an emergency in which my baby is jeopardized, I would like an epidural block rather than a general anesthetic.

Please allow my husband to be present in the operating room as support for me and to greet our baby.

I would like my arms to be unrestrained when the baby is born, and for my husband to hand me the baby to hold on my chest after minimal time on the resuscitation trolley.

If possible, my husband would like to take photos/videos in the O.R. during/after the birth.

If possible, I would prefer an uninterrupted skin suture to close the wound.

Please allow my husband and baby to remain with me while I am in the Recovery Room.

Following the surgery, I would like to mobilize as soon as possible, and breast feed on demand when I feel well enough.

I hunted through my files on Friday night for that document because I read something troubling on Friday afternoon. 

“The CDC’s recent analysis of 4,200 new mothers found cases of “ignored requests for help; being shouted at or scolded; violations of physical privacy; and threats to withhold treatment, or made to accept unwanted treatment.”  From an article I saw on Yahoo! News, I agreed with their opening sentence:  “Pregnancy and birth should be a time for women to prepare for motherhood — to have autonomy and control over their experiences and to choose the experience they want to have (barring medical emergencies, of course).” 

That’s why, with baby #4, we opted to create a birth plan.  We’d been belittled and threatened at birth of baby #3.  Wiser, smarter, and now much braver, my husband and I weren’t going to let hospital staff be disrespectful toward us.  Nor were we going to let our newborn child’s health be jeopardized. 

That birth plan continued:

Once the baby is born, Baby Jameson will:

-go directly to her father, to me, or to our designated support person

-breastfeed as soon as possible

-room-in for the entire stay

-receive all checks in mother’s post-partum room

-not receive baths

-not receive eye ointment

-not receive the hepatitis B vaccine

-not receive the vitamin K shot

-not be without father, mother, or designated support person at any time

Consulting a trusted nurse to help me create that plan, I felt much more confident with that birth, which would be a scheduled c-section.

Continue reading "That Old Birth Plan" »


In the Quiet of the Night

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Go Talk QuietBy Cathy Jameson

For several years I used a Celtic Benediction prayer book which was a gift from my parents.  Reading it daily kicked up my personal prayer life up a notch.  I wasn’t always faithful saying the morning and evening prayers when I started reading it, but I’d get at least one set of devotionals in.  I’m using the Hallow app for most of my morning prayers now.  But this morning, the day after Thanksgiving, when everyone was sleeping in late, my thoughts went back to the Celtic Benediction book.  Such beautiful prayers crafted by the author and others straight from the Bible, they were truly a salve for my soul:

You are my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?

While a beautiful Psalm and one so perfect for Thanksgiving, my mind was also reaching for a different one:

Out of the depths, I cry to you, O, Lord.

Right before Thanksgiving, I thought I felt a cold coming back.  For about a week straight, one day I’d feel sort of blah, then really blah, then I’d bounce back and feel fine.  I’d been sick in early October for a little less than a week.  Right after I got better, that cold hit a few others in the family.  Thankfully, by the time Ronan caught it, it was much less severe.  Whatever I caught again before the holiday, decided to take residence in my chest.  I slept horribly the night of Thanksgiving and woke up way too early on Friday feeling like crud.  That morning, I coughed as quietly as I could so as not to disturb anyone.  I needed to do just a little bit of clean up but knew not to push myself. 

Before doing anything, I started my morning prayers, which included some St. Jude special intentions.  I was ready to pray for those but kept being drawn to a lament:

Out of the depths, I cry to you, O, Lord.

Thanksgiving had been such a good day!  I was sniffly but still had tons of energy to make an amazing feast for the seven of us.  Besides the traditional turkey dinner, I made lasagna also.  The kids tell me it’s not a holiday without the homemade lasagna.  While I prepped the food, I smiled.  Inside, music was playing, and the kids were enjoying each other’s company.  Outside, Ronan sat watching my husband make some auto repairs and kept him company as he did some clean up in the garage.  I got done what needed to be done indoors, and my husband happily completed outdoor projects that needed to be completed.  Extended family obligations split us up immediately after dinner, so to have the day just us was a true joy for me.

Continue reading "In the Quiet of the Night" »


Right Place Right Time Wrong Choice

Can I helpCathy helped a friend of a friend who admitted she had been harmed by her Covid vaccine. Our autism advocacy has expanded so far beyond our own children. It's a judgement call when you hear the stories of injury - say something? Keep quiet? Cathy was guided by her conscience to help a woman whose choice did not turn out the way she had been told.

By Cathy Jameson

As a believer I know that sometimes God puts me somewhere when I was meant to be when I thought I was supposed to be somewhere else.  That’s happened to me quite frequently.  When it does, I either quickly learn something I didn’t think I needed to know, or I get to help someone I never expected to help. 

The other day, that happened again. 

I was supposed to be in a completely different place when I ran into a friend’s friend.  We’ve waved to each other before the last 6 or so years but have never had any interaction beyond a polite hello.  That day, while walking past her and saying my usual hello, I added, “I haven’t seen you here in awhile.”  She hadn’t been around, she told me, because she’d been in the hospital for several months.   I said, “Wow, I had no idea.” 

She said, “Yeah, it was from the Covid shot.” 

I had somewhere I needed to be, but I also needed to hear more.  Should I pry?  Should I ask personal questions that could make her uncomfortable or that could make me sound like a jerk?  Would she share intimate details with me like how, when, and dear Lord, what happened??

She would.

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Continue reading "Right Place Right Time Wrong Choice" »


Goal Setter

C71BDF94-624A-4104-B2A7-5A20D46DC561By Cathy Jameson I hadn’t realized that it had been five years since I created medical goals with the nurse who oversees one of Ronan’s programs. The first time I was asked to make those kinds of goals, I was taken by surprise. I remember that day that I blurted out two to her:

To make the seizures stop
To restore Ronan’s speech

Those haven’t been fully met, so they remain top on the list. When it was time to add goals the following year, I knew to expect the question. That year, I thoughtfully said:

To help Ronan communicate more

Another lofty goal, it, too, has not come fully to fruition so it remains on the list. Thinking outside the box the next year, and because we are always asked how we socialize Ronan, I came up with this goal:

To become more actively engaged in community outings

That was important because covid, and the fallout from covid, had squashed much of the progress we were making with Ronan on community outings. Where he once had very few problems - getting out to therapy, going to run errands, and attending the siblings’ sports events – he now had huge struggles.

We still try to get Ronan to those kinds of places, but he still resists.

Even though he will indicate that yes, he’ll go out with me, like to Mass last week, once he gets to the location, he signs finished. Then he signs no. Then he turns away from me. The most recent time that happened was after he willingly got ready for church, when he knew exactly where we were going, when he acknowledged what we were doing, and when he got all the way there then refused to take more than two steps. It was frustrating for both of us. For me - because Ronan has been so successful there before. For him - because all he wanted to do then was immediately go home. He assumed that once he was back in the car that we’d return to the house.

I had also planned to do two errands that day though.

When frustration interrupts our day, we try, try, try and try one more time again to be successful. I updated the nurse with that motto of ours after sharing the failed recent community outing attempt. That goal is still useful, but it won’t be on the top of my list. This year, the goal is threefold:

To keep Ronan…

happy
healthy
and safe.

Continue reading "Goal Setter" »


Ready to Join?

Cj ronan spam mailby Cathy Jameson

While going through some mail a few weeks ago, I saw an envelope that had been delivered earlier this year.  It was addressed to Ronan and has remained untouched. 

I remember the first time he got mail advertising military career opportunities to my young adult son.  Had life turned out a bit differently for him, maybe he would’ve chosen that path.  But life did take unexpected turns that caused delays, disabilities and even some discouraging outcomes.  With all of that, he doesn’t qualify to serve as so many in our family have proudly done.

Another recent time I was reminded about unexpected turns in life happened when I was going through my email folder.  That day I saw a message for Ronan.  Delivered to my Spam folder, it was the first time I’d seen the message.  Rejoin?  I wondered.  He can’t rejoin because he never joined in the first place. 

Cj ronan work

Not wanting him or us to miss out on an opportunity, I decided to check out the Ticket to Work program.

Ticket to Work connects you with free employment services to help you decide if working is right for you, prepare for work, find a job or maintain success while you are working. If you choose to participate, you will receive services such as career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and job placement and training from authorized Ticket to Work service providers, such as Employment Networks (EN) or your State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency. The service provider you choose will serve as an important part of your "employment team" that will help you on your journey to financial independence.

Could he work? 

Continue reading "Ready to Join?" »


Closure

Fab 4By Cathy Jameson

A few years ago, I shared some thoughts about coming to grips with vaccine injury.  Vaccine injury seemed like such a far-fetched thought, even though I could tell that a decline began post-vaccination.  In that same post, I also shared a story of one of my closest high school friends.  She and I ran cross country and track together.  She died soon after high school.  I told myself that until I saw her grave, my heart would not believe she truly passed away.  Here are excerpts from that August 2014 story… When The Heart Accepts What The Head Knows.

This post is dedicated to “Us Four”.  Always in my thoughts, forever in my heart.

Jennifer and I met in a small town in Texas and went to high school together.  A class behind me, she was a talented artist, a competitive runner, and one of my best friends.  She is frequently in my thoughts and came to mind on again on August 7th.  That was her birthday.  She would have been 42. 

I left Texas soon after graduating and attended college on the east coast.  Having made many fun memories as goofy teenagers, Jennifer and I weren’t going to let a little bit of distance end our friendship.  In the early 1990s, we kept in touch through letters and phone calls.  When I could, I would return to Texas to visit.  I always enjoyed meeting up with her and another best friend of ours who was still in town.  On those trips, for the week or so that we were back together, life was good.  

But, when I went back to college, I would get a nagging feeling. 

That nagging feeling would oftentimes be correct.  Jennifer revealed in letters that she’d slipped back into depression.  She’d experienced bouts of heavy depression that would cripple her.  Some bouts lasted a few days; others took weeks to overcome.  In her letters Jennifer promised me that I shouldn’t worry.  Of course, I did—Jennifer had struggled with depression almost as long as I’d known her which included much of high school.  I made sure to follow up with a phone call after receiving one of Jennifer’s depressing letters.  

Thankfully, she’d have bounced back by the time I’d called to check on her. 

Over the next year or so, as fewer letters were written and shorter phone calls were made, distance had finally wedged itself in.  I was busy with school projects, worked part-time and was involved in a new social scene.  Life was in full swing for me.  Sadly, it was plummeting in reverse for Jennifer.  Unaware of what she was going through, my other best friend sent news that Jennifer had passed away.  The news of her death came after the funeral.  

It was too late for me to help.

Continue reading "Closure" »


InstaPost 

Instagram logoNote: Cathy has written an "Insta" Sunday classic. She's invited us into her family's' world in a series of beautiful photos. I'm happy to see that she got a few days away. Goodness knows we need respite. Did you know we have an InstaGram account? We try to fly under the radar - you can find & follow us here. Instagram/AutismAges

By Cathy Jameson 

I am traveling again this weekend.  Invited to an exciting event, my youngest and I heading west for a few days.  We couldn’t wait to be away!  With our bags packed, we snuck out of the house at 6am on Thursday morning.

Years ago, Thursday was my writing day. With my work schedule and with the kids’ sports schedule, Thursday has become too busy for me to sit and write.  So, I take that day to brainstorm instead. 

Thinking about everything I’ve read and thinking about all that I heard in the news that week, I toss writing ideas around in my head.  This past week was full of news!  But my focus was always on this trip.  I’d be prepping not just to leave, but I’d be prepping for everything I was leaving behind. 

It would be a quick trip, but I was leaving Ronan, his routine, and his needs.  My husband, who took time off of work to stay home, could very easily handle the day-to-day things I do. But I wanted his, and Ronan’s, days to be smooth from start to finish.  That meant prepping meds, meals, laundry, and in-case-of-emergency files. 

Making sure they, too, would have the best three days ever, my brain didn’t have any extra space to do any brainstorming.  

While in flight, I remembered that I could pull up Google docs on my phone. In opening that, I saw a few old posts I’d drafted while traveling in the past. For those, once we were at our destination, I’d pull out my laptop, finish writing and then send the final draft to Kim. This time, I packed only the clothes I needed. The laptop was over a thousand miles away at my house.  Not wanting to have another rerun this weekend, I read through some of those old drafts. That’s when I saw my old post I’d written when Kim started an AofA Instagram page. What if I did a follow up post?  All my favorite photos are on this phone. If I can figure out how to add them to a Google doc, a new post could go up. Could I figure it out? While flying 25,000 feet over Texas?  On my fun little getaway?

I could! 

Thank goodness for some inspiration and also for technology!  

—-

These are pictures that tell our story.  Some days, it’s a sweet story.  Other days, struggles creep in. Throughout the story, though, there is love. With that, and with each other, that story continues. 

Thank you for letting me share it. 

Thank also you for being part of it. 

—-

Road trips.  We love them!  We love them until traffic backs up miles before the tunnel and miles after the tunnel. 

Ronan car

The long drive was worth it.  Sun!  Waves!  And an amazing little brother taking Ronan with him to enjoy the surf made for a great day.

Ronan Surf

Ronan’s favorite store is IKEA. One afternoon during that last beach vacation, Ronan pointed to the big blue building, indicating he wanted to go. The others got to pick fun outings, so of course, we took Ronan where he wanted to go also.

Ronan Ronjon shirt

I snapped this after Ronan started to come on errands with me again. When we lost our full-time caregiver this summer, Ronan had to go out into the world with me.  He hated it.  But he managed to tolerate it again, too. 

Ronan mailboxes

Some days are full of success, but other days?  Well, those days have us sitting in parking lots waiting for the others.  Ronan would not go into church with us this day.  I knew not to push him. So we spent the quiet hour listening to music waiting for the family to find us when church was over.

Ronan seatbelt

Ronan’s been sleeping a lot more lately.  He naps longer, and last month, he napped almost every day.  As we tiptoe into the cooler weather, I’ll be curious if he sleeps even more. 

Ronan Sleeping blanket

With how tired he gets, we make sure to bring the adaptive stroller when we go out.  This day, we were cheering for one of Ronan’s sisters. While waiting for her athletic event to end, he and I strolled through a park. I love it when the sun is just so brilliantly bright. It’s such a neat backdrop.  

Ronan Seated

Speaking of that sun, this photo is one of my absolute favorites.  

Ronan sunny doorway

When I try to get photos of Ronan, I take between 10-20 of them in one sitting.  That’s because he either moves too much, or he looks away just as I take the picture. I’ll scroll through them and save the best one, like those above. I’m glad I have them, because they sure helped me in a pinch while I was away this weekend. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism. 

 

Wuhan bioweapons cover

The Wuhan Cover-Up: And the Terrifying Bioweapons Arms Race (Children’s Health Defense) 

“Gain-of-function” experiments are often conducted to deliberately develop highly virulent, easily transmissible pathogens for the stated purpose of developing preemptive vaccines for animal viruses before they jump to humans. More insidious is the “dual use” nature of this research, specifically directed toward bioweapons development. The Wuhan Cover-Up pulls back the curtain on how the US government's increase in biosecurity spending after the 2001 terror attacks set in motion a plan to transform the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci, into a de facto Defense Department agency.

Vax Unvax DebutJoin us in congratulating Dr. Brian Hooker and Robert Kennedy, Jr. and the Children's Health Defense imprint on the huge news that Vax Unvax Let The Science Speak was #11 on the New York Times non-fiction best sellers list this week.  This is important because it tells those who feel they shouldn't question science, "Hey, it's OK to read, and learn and make your own decisions."  It's currently 124 on ALL of Amazon books.  Buy a copy HERE


Tears for Fears

Fear TVBy Cathy Jameson

It’s been a while since we made a long road trip.  Ten hours there and ten hours back, with only one day in town, the one we had planned was also going to be a very quick trip for us.  Even so, I was looking forward to seeing family at our niece’s wedding.  I love it when we can be together with family.  

We limited how long Ronan could stay on the ipad while in the car.  But for the others, if they weren't sleeping, the kids stayed plugged into their devices most of the trip.  I didn’t mind that this time.  I'd get their attention if I needed to tell them something or if I wanted to show them something.  We've done this road trip tons of times since they were little, so there were things I knew they'd want to see again, like the South of the Border rest stop area. 

South of the border

Their billboards can be a fun countdown. 

With how many miles we'd be traveling, we saw lots of billboards.  Our favorite ones are the ones leading up to the South of the Border.  Other, though, were annoyingly pushy. 

I can’t find the exact images of the billboard that I saw while traveling through two southern states, but the message was crystal clear:

Vaccinate for them.

Show them you love them; get vaccinated.

Love your kids?  Get them vaccinated.

I’d seen one of those about a month ago also while coming home from the hospital with Ronan.  After a worrisome few weeks, he was going to go under for a procedure.  We’d have to wait a few days for lab results, so my emotions were still a bit all over the place on the almost two-hour drive home.  Seeing that billboard with its glaring message, Show them that you love them; get vaccinated… really irked me.  I DID VACCINATE.  But I didn’t do it out of love – at the time, it was a decision made out of ignorance and fear.  Look where that got my kid.  None of that gave him good health.  It gave him the opposite.  He’s got chronic issues post-vaccination that require constant care, supervision, and appointments with several medical professionals.  That’s hardly the happy, shiny life promised in the vaccine ads that pop up along the highway.  To play on the emotions of parents is terrible.  To give them a false sense of hope is worse. 

While the kids slept on our trip south, another billboard caught my eye.

Car seats

There those advertisers go using that word love in their campaigns again.  Can they not sell the car seat based on a child’s need for a car seat?  Or based on legal requirements?  Nope.  I guess selling panic and guilt brings in a better profit.

We’ve gone years without cable, but we saw some really interesting commercials on cable TV while we were away, too.  Those billboards made more sense after also getting a taste for what’s on TV these days. 

It’s sell, sell, sell products at whatever cost is necessary. 

It’s tug on the emotions, even when some emotions should have nothing to do with the sell. 

It’s get these products into everyone’s homes, no matter how worthless the product is.

We saw that if they can’t sell some worthless products on television, they’ll try to sell them elsewhere, including on an outdoor billboard.  I understand the need for companies to advertise, but I don’t think any of them should bring up the love I have for my child in their ads.  No one gets to put a price tag on that.  And no one gets to accuse me of not loving my child in ad campaigns, especially ones that promote vaccines. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.  

Wuhan bioweapons cover

The Wuhan Cover-Up: And the Terrifying Bioweapons Arms Race (Children’s Health Defense) 

“Gain-of-function” experiments are often conducted to deliberately develop highly virulent, easily transmissible pathogens for the stated purpose of developing preemptive vaccines for animal viruses before they jump to humans. More insidious is the “dual use” nature of this research, specifically directed toward bioweapons development. The Wuhan Cover-Up pulls back the curtain on how the US government's increase in biosecurity spending after the 2001 terror attacks set in motion a plan to transform the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci, into a de facto Defense Department agency.

Vax Unvax DebutJoin us in congratulating Dr. Brian Hooker and Robert Kennedy, Jr. and the Children's Health Defense imprint on the huge news that Vax Unvax Let The Science Speak was #11 on the New York Times non-fiction best sellers list this week.  This is important because it tells those who feel they shouldn't question science, "Hey, it's OK to read, and learn and make your own decisions."  It's currently 124 on ALL of Amazon books.  Buy a copy HERE


Permission to Ask

Do not askOctober is Vaccine Injury Awareness Month, though you won't see any pretty color ribbons or ad campaigns for it. Hard to believe this "Best of" from Cathy Jameson is almost 8 years old. In 2023, more Americans than ever are aware of vaccine safety issues (thank you Covid) and most Americans know that vaccine "choice" (the ability to say "no) is a hot potato topic with many points of view. Those who want the entire program dismantled to protect kids. Those who want the right to choose some or all, and those who think you should never be able to say "no." Cathy wrote a gentle admonition with guidance for the uninitiated. And while that's not the average AofA reader, we all have family and friends who haven't thought of the consequences and need permission to ask questions. That's what's missing today. The crackdown has been so vicious, and the term "anti-vaxxer" has become so vulgarized (is that a word) that many don't feel safe even asking about vaccine safety. This is wrong. And so, let's work to tell others "It's OK to say No Way."

Best of, from October 2015:

By Cathy Jameson

Vaccine injury happens.  It does not discriminate.  It can affect the young, the old, and the healthy.  Sadly, it isn’t as rare as we’re lead to believe.  If you haven’t had the misfortune of being injured by a vaccine, count yourself blessed.  My son wasn’t so fortunate.

When I learned that my son was injured by his vaccine, I found very limited information on what to do next.  In my quest to learn more, I discovered some important things.  I’d like to share some of those ideas with you today.

1 – If you’re considering opting for vaccines, read about them.  Become as fully informed about them as you can.  If it’s for you, look at the adult vaccine schedule.  If it’s for your child, you’ll want to check out the childhood schedule.  Both can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.  Take time to know the dosage(s) recommended, the timing of the dosage(s), the ingredients of each vaccine, the side effects of each vaccine, and the injuries that the government recognizes. 

2 – If at any time you feel nervous about getting vaccines, I’d encourage you to talk to your provider about them.  It may take multiple conversations and/or visits, but here are a few questions I’d ask my doctor prior to agreeing to a vaccine: 

Have any of your other patients had reactions to this vaccine? 

Have you ever reported this particular vaccine as having adverse events? 

Are you trained to provide medical treatment for any of the reported side effects including those categorized as severe? 

Which vaccine manufacturer makes the vaccine? 

Since all vaccines come with side effects, I’d also ask for the vaccine Lot Number.  I’d look up the vaccine by manufacturer and by Lot Number on the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System webpage to see how it’s faring.  Since I know that once the vaccine is administered that there’s no turning back, I’d want as much information as possible on that vaccine as I could get.

3 – If after educating yourself you decide to vaccinate, keep in mind that once the vaccine goes in, you’re on your own.  While other companies boast of money-back guarantees and thrive on impeccable customer satisfaction, pharmaceutical companies, and those who administer their vaccine products, cannot be held accountable for faulty performance or for damages sustained from the vaccination. 

4 – Most of the information above is for those currently weighing the risks.  But what about those who’ve already been vaccinated?  What if they have experienced an injury?  Where do they turn for treatment, for emotional support, or for financial assistance?  The short answer is nowhere.  While yes, the government has programs designed to provide support, like the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program which has compensated over $3 billion to families of those who have died as a result of a vaccine and to individuals who have successfully proven their vaccine injury, most vaccine injured find themselves relying on family and friends for day-to-day and long-term help. 

5 – We hear that vaccines are safe and effective, but we know that the U.S. Supreme Court has also labeled them unavoidably unsafe.  The conflicting information surrounding vaccines can be a tad overwhelming.  That’s why it’s important to know the law.  Read it.  Understand it.  Learn all about it.  Don’t forget to read about exemptions, too.  They may be difficult to obtain, but vaccine exemptions exist in every state.  If your doctor or your child’s school nurse hasn’t shared that information with you, look on your state’s department of health page or on the National Vaccine Information Center webpage. 

Not many people understand what vaccine injury is or how serious it can be.  They do not realize what an arduous journey it is to find support following the injury either.  That’s why it would be wise for vaccine consumers to read as much as they can about vaccines.  I’ll always wish that I had.

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

 

Wuhan bioweapons cover

The Wuhan Cover-Up: And the Terrifying Bioweapons Arms Race (Children’s Health Defense) 

“Gain-of-function” experiments are often conducted to deliberately develop highly virulent, easily transmissible pathogens for the stated purpose of developing preemptive vaccines for animal viruses before they jump to humans. More insidious is the “dual use” nature of this research, specifically directed toward bioweapons development. The Wuhan Cover-Up pulls back the curtain on how the US government's increase in biosecurity spending after the 2001 terror attacks set in motion a plan to transform the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci, into a de facto Defense Department agency.

Vax Unvax DebutJoin us in congratulating Dr. Brian Hooker and Robert Kennedy, Jr. and the Children's Health Defense imprint on the huge news that Vax Unvax Let The Science Speak was #11 on the New York Times non-fiction best sellers list this week.  This is important because it tells those who feel they shouldn't question science, "Hey, it's OK to read, and learn and make your own decisions."  It's currently 124 on ALL of Amazon books.  Buy a copy HERE


You Still Have Us

Don't give upBy Cathy Jameson

We received a survey in an email last week.  It was a request from a group that funds a program that serves families who care for a loved one with a disability.  To ensure we meet your needs, we invite you to take a brief moment to complete our communications survey.  We’ve been utilizing their help for many years and have been very grateful for the services they provide.  The benefits we receive don’t just help Ronan; they end up helping all of us. 

Last week, the group announced that cutbacks and major changes to the program were looming.   

Had they sent the email two weeks ago, I’d have given them a raving review.  But the last thing a family like mine needs are cutbacks and major changes, like reducing respite hours. 

We’ve done so much juggling this year.  From medication shortages to still not being able to hire a consistent caregiver – it’s been a lot. 

To potential lose more?   

Especially now?

It’s beyond discouraging. 

I usually say some prayers as I head out of the house.  Friday morning, I couldn’t put two prayerful words together.  Instead of forcing a prayer while I drove, I decided to listen to a CD.  I’ve loved this album for a long time and don’t think it ironic that this was the next song to play when I turned on the radio. 

Its lyrics were melancholy. 

Its lyrics were perfect!

They were ones I absolutely in that moment needed to hear. 

Rest your head

You worry too much

It's going to be alright

When times get rough

You can fall back on us

Don't give up

Please don't give up

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjEq-r2agqc

For anyone else who’s struggling, don’t give up.  

Don't give up 'cause you have friends 

Don't give up you're not the only one…

…’cause you still have us. 

Government agencies may be willing to reduce benefits and ditch us, but here?  No matter how hard things get, we promise never to give up on you.  

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism. 

Wuhan bioweapons cover

The Wuhan Cover-Up: And the Terrifying Bioweapons Arms Race (Children’s Health Defense) 

“Gain-of-function” experiments are often conducted to deliberately develop highly virulent, easily transmissible pathogens for the stated purpose of developing preemptive vaccines for animal viruses before they jump to humans. More insidious is the “dual use” nature of this research, specifically directed toward bioweapons development. The Wuhan Cover-Up pulls back the curtain on how the US government's increase in biosecurity spending after the 2001 terror attacks set in motion a plan to transform the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci, into a de facto Defense Department agency.

Vax Unvax DebutJoin us in congratulating Dr. Brian Hooker and Robert Kennedy, Jr. and the Children's Health Defense imprint on the huge news that Vax Unvax Let The Science Speak was #11 on the New York Times non-fiction best sellers list this week.  This is important because it tells those who feel they shouldn't question science, "Hey, it's OK to read, and learn and make your own decisions."  It's currently 124 on ALL of Amazon books.  Buy a copy HERE


Go Bag

GoBy Cathy Jameson

Early Friday morning, we headed out of town with Ronan.  We’d be meeting up with one of Ronan’s doctors, a favorite doctor who helped us during a scary medical moment a few years ago.  Ronan hasn’t needed the extensive care he received then.  Regularly scheduled visits to the clinic, and timely follow-up discussions, have thankfully kept that issue at bay.  Nevertheless, I get nervous anytime we have a big trip to see any one of our medical providers.

Days before it’s time to leave, I mentally review a few things:

– who we’re seeing

-what we’re currently managing

-why we’re going (is it for a new problem?  a follow-up?  or just a yearly check-in kind of appointment?)

I start prepping a few things also:

-the kids’ and my husband’s schedules (does anything need to be rearranged?)

-Ronan’s supplement/medication list (have we changed anything?  or recently added anything?)

-my list of current observations and important questions we’ve thought of

Then I think about which one of Ronan’s go-to items might need to go with us:

-his prayer shawl

-his favorite book and picture

-his ipad

I try not to get nervous, but I’d be lying if I said I’m always cool as a cucumber when I meet with Ronan’s team.  That’s why I get as many things taken care of ahead of time before we leave.  Last week, after I’d gone over my lists and felt confident everything was taken care of, the care team called to go over a few things with me.  I was caught off guard with one of their questions.

“Is he going to be admitted after the procedure?”

What? 

“Were you planning on staying overnight?”

“Oh!  I don’t think so,” I stammered.  “That hadn’t been mentioned to us, but…I…”

“It’s a good idea to have an overnight bag with you in case they do admit him,” the nurse replied.

My mental list now included thinking of every worst-case scenario that could possibly ever exist. 

I know I shouldn’t think of the worst.  But that day, and the following two days before the procedure, I did think the worst.  While getting Ronan’s stuff ready the night before my husband saw me packing a larger “Go Bag” with extra clothes and some toiletries.  Looking at me quizzically, I said, “Someone suggested we have overnight items with us in case Ronan gets admitted.”  It’s not a terrible idea to have one ready.  It’s just that terrible things would have to happen for us to have to stay overnight at a hospital. 

We’ve had to do that before. 

Because a terrible thing did happen

Even though, after the procedure, the doctor started one of his conversations with us by saying, “There’s good news and bad news…” we were fortunately able to go home soon after Ronan’s appointment ended.

Ronan hand
Good news is oh, so good! 

But that looming potential bad news? 

Let’s just say that it doesn’t really help a mama’s worried heart. 

We still have some issues to address, which could include adding another provider to the team.  We’ll wait until after the lab work is reviewed before making any changes to the current treatment plan or adding any new people to the team.  When we can look at the big picture, together with one of our favorite doctors, we’ll brainstorm what we can do.  Only then will I also consider what, if anything, we need to worry about.  I don’t like to worry, but that’s sometimes part of life raising a child with special needs.

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

Wuhan bioweapons cover

The Wuhan Cover-Up: And the Terrifying Bioweapons Arms Race (Children’s Health Defense) 

“Gain-of-function” experiments are often conducted to deliberately develop highly virulent, easily transmissible pathogens for the stated purpose of developing preemptive vaccines for animal viruses before they jump to humans. More insidious is the “dual use” nature of this research, specifically directed toward bioweapons development. The Wuhan Cover-Up pulls back the curtain on how the US government's increase in biosecurity spending after the 2001 terror attacks set in motion a plan to transform the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci, into a de facto Defense Department agency.

Vax Unvax DebutJoin us in congratulating Dr. Brian Hooker and Robert Kennedy, Jr. and the Children's Health Defense imprint on the huge news that Vax Unvax Let The Science Speak was #11 on the New York Times non-fiction best sellers list this week.  This is important because it tells those who feel they shouldn't question science, "Hey, it's OK to read, and learn and make your own decisions."  It's currently 124 on ALL of Amazon books.  Buy a copy HERE


Full of Wisdom

DentistBy Cathy Jameson

About every six months, Ronan goes to the dentist.  It isn’t the easiest appointment for him, but we’ve made a pretty good routine of it.  Days before he’s due for the check up, we start talking about the appointment.  “Hey, buddy.  We’re going to see the dentist soon.  You remember the last time we were there, right?  It’s probably going to be a different young doctor (we see the residents who rotate through the pediatric specialty clinic), but it’ll be the same thing – they are going to count your teeth, try to clean your teeth, and talk to us about brushing and flossing.”  Ronan listens and slowly will sign ‘yes’ to me to tell me he’s heard everything.  Ronan may not want to do everything I’ve mentioned, especially when that sensory defensiveness kicks into overdrive while in the exam room, but he at least understands that there’s a routine and that we’re going to do our very best to get through it.

Last week’s dental visit was like the previous visit. 

It was great! 

I was incredibly grateful for that because it was just me with Ronan.  My husband had taken the day off to join us for the almost 2-hour drive to the specialty clinic, but at the last minute he was unable to break away from work.  I anticipated that Ronan might not cooperate, but I didn’t need to worry.  Not only did Ronan have the best exam ever, with minimal sensory issues, but we got the best compliments ever.

The head dentist came in after the resident and the dental hygienist did an initial review and exam.  With another request to Ronan, “Open and say ahh,” so he also could get a chance to look at Ronan’s teeth, the attending doctor stood back.  He looked at Ronan.  He looked at me.  Then said, “Who brushes his teeth?” 

His face was deadpan, so I quietly said, “Uhhh, I do?  My husband does, too.”

With a softer look, and now with some excitement in his tone, he said exuberantly, “GREAT job, mom.  Really great job!  His oral hygiene is perfect.  It’s exactly what we hope to see.  Whatever you’re doing at home…keep doing it.”

I beamed.

It has taken a long time to get Ronan’s oral hygiene up to where it is today.  The long-term seizure medication use and the mostly pureed diet he’s been on for the last few years affects dental health.  So, we brush.  We try to floss.  We brush some more, and we try to floss some more.  We minimize foods that can cause problems, and we use natural products whenever possible.  The dental hygienist was already aware of that as she’s worked with us before.  But the new young resident had only just met Ronan.  It’s nice to meet kind, new people, and I hoped that this fellow would remain nice and kind when we got to the next part of the exam – the one where fluoride is usually used.

“I see in his file that you don’t want this?” the resident began.

“Oh, that’s right.  We don’t usually do the fluoride rinse thingie,” I replied simply.

“Okay, I understand,” he continued.  “I’d agree, especially for Ronan since he can’t spit like other kids do.  You don’t want him to swallow that or risk it going into his system.  That could cause other issues, and he has enough already to handle…” 

I wanted to high five him and also jump for joy.  I can’t tell you how many other dentists have been insistent on using fluoride without looking at the big picture. 

“…you don’t know what it would do to him.  The risk could be great, and he really doesn’t need it right now.  We didn’t see any concern for cavities in this exam,” the resident finished.

The hygienist nodded her head and added, “If you wanted to take the smallest amount, just toward that one trouble spot you were watching, that would be something to think about.  But like the doctor said, you don’t want to add any more burden [to Ronan].”

Again, I wanted to high five the helpers!

I thanked them both for their input and said we’ll continue to use the toothpaste we’re using and that we’d continue with our flossing attempts because Ronan is getting better and better at letting us clean in between his teeth.  The doctor said that would be a really good idea because Ronan has his wisdom teeth.

What?

“Yes, it looks like three of them have erupted,” he said as he did another visual exam before gently checking each.

WHAT?!

I was floored.  I was floored because, in my head, that is a typical kid kind of experience.  But no kidding, so is it an experience no matter what your medical condition is. 

DUH!

:)

I felt so silly but also so thankful.  Ronan still can’t talk.  He still has major delays.  He’s still very dependent on his family.  But he has wisdom teeth.  In fact, he may actually have all four! 

My kid!  He has a mouth full of wisdom teeth!

Since they don’t appear to be causing any problems, the dentist suggested we keep an eye on them for now.  We’ll observe and note any small changes, and we’ll call the clinic should we see any major changes before the next scheduled appointment.    

Ronan got tons of praise for doing a really good job while in the dental clinic last week.  The young doctor got some from me as well.  He was grateful for the tips I gave him while doing one of the most thorough exams Ronan’s allowed – telling Ronan exactly what to expect, using the countdown strategy, and treating Ronan with respect and compassion.  He was happy to help, and I think appreciated the chance to learn from both Ronan and me. 

Being on the same page with someone really makes these kinds of visits so helpful.

Something else that helped that day was to bring Ronan’s toothbrush with us.  Why hadn’t I ever thought to bring that before?! Ronan is so good at home when we say, ‘Open up,’ so I figured it would be less stressful for him to ‘open up’ to his familiar item.  It worked, so we’ll bring it to every dental exam going forward.

Some days are a battle.  Some days end in tears (mine, not Ronan’s).  Some days include tons of opportunities to try, try again.  I’m so grateful that the latest medical visit saw no battles, not tears and that it ended in success.  We have another appointment with a different provider and a much more invasive exam coming up this week.  The doctor we’ll see next is one of the kindest on our team.  He’s been one of the most helpful, so I’ll pray that we have another great day with another praise report to share. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

Wuhan bioweapons cover

The Wuhan Cover-Up: And the Terrifying Bioweapons Arms Race (Children’s Health Defense) 

“Gain-of-function” experiments are often conducted to deliberately develop highly virulent, easily transmissible pathogens for the stated purpose of developing preemptive vaccines for animal viruses before they jump to humans. More insidious is the “dual use” nature of this research, specifically directed toward bioweapons development. The Wuhan Cover-Up pulls back the curtain on how the US government's increase in biosecurity spending after the 2001 terror attacks set in motion a plan to transform the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci, into a de facto Defense Department agency.

Vax Unvax DebutJoin us in congratulating Dr. Brian Hooker and Robert Kennedy, Jr. and the Children's Health Defense imprint on the huge news that Vax Unvax Let The Science Speak was #11 on the New York Times non-fiction best sellers list this week.  This is important because it tells those who feel they shouldn't question science, "Hey, it's OK to read, and learn and make your own decisions."  It's currently 124 on ALL of Amazon books.  Buy a copy HERE


Tag, I’m It

Tag im itBy Cathy Jameson

We have a program that provides an extra blessing for us for Ronan—that blessing is a caregiver position that we’ve had filled for over a decade... 

About ten months ago, our main caregiver said she’d be moving on to a new job.  Losing her would be like losing a family member.  She’s one of the ‘good ones’, part of the ‘dream team’ of caregivers and therapists we have who go ‘above and beyond’ taking care of Ronan.  If she’s like the others, she’ll stick around long after taking on a new position elsewhere.  Many of the other women we’ve welcomed into our lives and our home still stay in touch.  Just like they get to know not just Ronan but all of us, we get to know not just them but also their families.  Birthdays get remembered.  With some of them much younger, their weddings get to be celebrated by us also.  Baby shower invites later get delivered to us, too.  I don’t begrudge any of our workers who’ve left. 

I just wish they didn’t have to go.

Ten months have gone by since our main caregiver gave me notice, and I still haven’t found a reliable caregiver.  Not that I haven’t tried.

I’ve advertised.

I’ve interviewed.

I’ve provided the paperwork.

I’ve gone over the requirements.

I’ve conducted training and given a start date.

Some have said they’d be here!  They’d start!  They’d jump right in and do the everything that it takes to keep my son happy, healthy, and well cared for.

But then nothing.

No shows.

No explanations.

Just…nothing.

It’s discouraging. 

Frustrating. 

So. Dang. Annoying. 

My older kids have been life savers.  Ronan does not enjoy going out to the stores, to Church, or do pretty much anything the rest of us need to do.  The kids have blessed us by staying home, taking turns to take care of their brother. 

That was working beautifully up until school started again.

With no one else home to keep an eye on Ronan, he now goes with me to wherever I need to be.  He can’t come with me to work, though, so I’m readvertising. I’m re-interviewing.  I’m re-training and re-reviewing each and every requirement making sure I don’t forget to say…you’re hired, and please, I have a job I need to get to, so you have to show up. 

Until I secure that new caregiver we’ve been praying to meet, my husband and I are juggling.  Tag, I’m it – and I run quickly out the door to pick up whoever’s waiting to be picked up.  Tag, he’s it – and my husband jets home so I can run to the grocery store or finish errands or make it to a meeting.  Tag, I’m it again – and I race to meet the kids at school after their sports activities end. 

We could ask neighbors to help, and we do. 

We could ask friends to pitch in, and I know they’ll jump at the chance to be an extra pair of hands.

We could also reassess our need to work outside the home.  I know that conversation could be coming soon if we cannot find a caregiver to step in soon. 

Juggling is nothing new for us, but if it gets to the point of juggling who gets to go to work – me or my husband, let’s just say that that’s going to be very interesting.  I know other families who, for a long time, have lived with that strain.  They’ve lived without the constant help we’ve been so blessed to have.  The sacrifices they’ve made have made their lives work.  They’ve worked to get their needs met.  They’ve survived what others could not.  I’ve always thought, well, if So and So can do it without the kinds of resources we’ve had, then surely, we could do it, too!  I’ll keep that upbeat attitude because that moment may be coming to us sooner than I think. 

It’ll be extra – work, juggling, thinking things through, because we haven’t had to do that for so long.  But it’s for Ronan.  So, it doesn’t matter how much things might change.  He’s worth all of it – the work, the juggling, and the thinking everything through so he can remain happy, healthy and always safe.  

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

Vax Unvax NYT 11Join us in congratulating Dr. Brian Hooker and Robert Kennedy, Jr. and the Children's Health Defense imprint on the huge news that Vax Unvax Let The Science Speak was #11 on the New York Times non-fiction best sellers list this week.  This is important because it tells those who feel they shouldn't question science, "Hey, it's OK to read, and learn and make your own decisions."  It's currently 124 on ALL of Amazon books.  Buy a copy HERE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfsaOFziAB0


Labored

Typewriter love youBy Cathy Jameson

I took a few minutes on Friday morning to clear out some emails.  My Drafts folder was full.  I had over 100 emails written but not sent.  Actually, I had 100 emails started and saved for some reason or another.  Some were notes I’d quickly typed during a meeting.  Others were more like a placeholder for ideas—old shopping lists, or screenshots taken of something I later wanted to look up. After I deleted some of the drafts, I paused.  I found some of the notes that Ronan and I had typed to each other.  His writing is labored, and almost always in lower case, but it’s always on point. 

When Ronan is trying to tell me something that I’m struggling to understand, I’ll sometimes quickly take out my phone, open a blank email and ask him to type.  One day, he was upset that my husband left the house without him.  Leaving to run a quick errand one morning with our daughter, it was wiser to keep Ronan home.  He didn’t like that and stood at the front door waiting for me to open it. 

Ronan doorThen he stood in the living room peering out the window pointing to where Daddy just was.  Not satisfied with my verbal explanation that he’d get to go out later in the afternoon with Daddy, I took out my phone and typed.  Ronan’s responses are in italics. 

daddy took sister to the store.

they will be back in a few minutes.

daddy will take you to the car shop later. 

he can take you to lunch also!

daddy home

yes, daddy will be home after he goes to the store with sister.

daddy should be home at 12:00.

yes.

while you wait, you can watch a show, you can eat breakfast, you can play music, you can take a nap.

i want to play music

 

So, we found music that Ronan liked and waited the 30 minutes for Daddy to return home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=df-eLzao63I

Sometimes I quickly jot down notes in an email during the homily at Mass.  Having this saved this one is pretty significant.  As I read it, I realized that seeing this draft meant Ronan was with us at Mass.

Do good to those who hate you.

Bless those who curse you.

Pray for those who mistreat you.

french fries

Ronan can follow along in the Missalette with us and is particularly intrigued with the song book, but that Sunday he must’ve just wanted church to end.  French fries are usually a signal that he’s looking for something else or for something better.  No doubt we did get him some on our way home.

Mass hasn’t been easy for Ronan to attend again.  But we made it two times in the last month with him!  It was two different parishes, the first time was while we were on vacation, and the second time was just last weekend at a church down the road from us.  Even though it wasn’t our home parish, we were thrilled for him to be able to join us.

Ronan doesn’t like to go out so much anywhere lately.  Some days I prefer to be home, too.  When Ronan is feeling all sorts of cozy, he wants all of us home. 

daddy home 

sounds 

black fish cat 

worms

mommy 

daddy home

The other words in that message are some of his favorite words.  They’re from a video series Ronan watched before he lost skills many years ago.  Some skills have come back, but speech isn’t one of them.  That’s why being able to type is such a huge deal. 

One day, at the doctor’s office, Ronan was done being there once the orthopedic nurse had brought us into the exam room.  In the next email draft, from 2017, I was working on adding please and thank you in my responses to Ronan. 

Shoes on.

I would like my shoes on please. 

First doctor.  Then shoes.

--

The ortho doc is really sweet, but his visits can be a little longer to get through.  During long waiting times, I will sometimes quickly set a timer for Ronan.  He knows that when the timer ends, so will the task at hand end.  At that particular visit, he didn’t want to set the timer on the clock but instead wanted to type out the numbers.  I started the count down with 100. 

100
I 0099 98 97 96c95

He then gave me back the phone to continue…

94 93 92 91 90 89 87 86 86 85 84 83 82  81 80

--

We have several strategies that help us get through situations both here at home and when we’re out and about.  It’s been a long, learning process that’s helped turn some stressful moments into sweet successes.  We love to share those successes because we know that some days, we’re not the only ones laboring and struggling; so are other people.  I think that’s why, besides seeing these quick convos in my email folders, this saved draft message was important – and so incredibly timely – for me to also see: 

“Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9  As hard as life can be, giving up isn’t an option.  It never will be. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

 

###

From Skyhorse Publishing

The War On Ivermectin Yellow Cover
The War on Ivermectin: The Medicine that Saved Millions and Could Have Ended the Pandemic

#1 Seller in Forensic Medicine

By Pierre Kory Dr. (Author), Jenna McCarthy (Author)

Big Pharma and health agencies cry, “Don’t take ivermectin!” A media storm follows. Why then, does the science say the opposite?” Ivermectin is a dirty word in the media. It doesn’t work. It’s a deadly horse dewormer. Prescribe or promote it and you’ll be called a right-wing quack, be banned from social media, or lose your license to practice medicine. And yet, entire countries wiped out the virus with it, and more than ninety-five studies now show it to be unequivocally effective in preventing and treating Covid-19. If it didn’t work, why was there a coordinated global campaign to cancel it? What’s the truth about this decades-old, Nobel Prize-winning medication? The War on Ivermectin is the personal and professional narrative of Dr. Pierre Kory and his crusade to recommend a safe, inexpensive, generic medicine as the key to ending the pandemic.


Vax Unvax Book Cover Vax-Unvax: Let the Science Speak (Children’s Health Defense) Hardcover – Illustrated, August 15, 2023 by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Author), Brian Hooker (Author)

The Studies the CDC Refuses to Do

This book is based on over one hundred studies in the peer-reviewed literature that consider vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Each study is analyzed, and health differences among infants, children, and adults who have been vaccinated and those who have not are presented and put in context. Readers will find information on:

The infant/child vaccination schedule
Thimerosal in vaccines
Live virus vaccines
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
Vaccination and Gulf War illness
Influenza (flu) vaccines
Hepatitis B vaccination
The COVID-19 vaccine
Vaccines during pregnancy

Given the massive push to vaccinate the entire global population, this book is timely and necessary for individuals to make informed choices for themselves and their families.


Damani Bryant: Make No Mistake

Damani BryantBy Cathy Jameson

Someone close to me sent me the link to a video that featured a young man named Demani Bryant Felder.  His opening statement was powerful:

“It appears that the new virus, or variant, is making its way to America yet again.

Make no mistake.

This is intentional. 

This is deliberate.”

I haven’t had too much time to keep up with the recent news cycle.  Prepping for the new school year has had me staying offline except for a few peeks at some social media sites.  When I got to scroll through some headlines, I saw one mention of the return of masks on one college campus.  By the time I had a chance to confirm that, I read that three more campuses brought masks back.  Felder mentions this news as well. 

If what this young man is saying is true, I know that I need to get back to reading more and to paying attention more. 

After his powerful opening statement, I wanted to listen to the rest of Felder’s thoughts.  Quickly, I could agree with what he shared about the 2020 lockdown in his video.  For those first few weeks, when we could sit alone with our thoughts, we could think about what was important without distractions – because everything else in the world stopped.  I remember writing about that time, appreciating the chance to slow down and to be home with my family.

When I remember questioning where things were headed when it was months later and we still hadn’t “flattened the curve”.  Others started to open their eyes, too. 

Felder brings up the fact that during those first few months of that lockdown people began asking questions.  For that, I will always be grateful.  I know several young mothers who finally connected the dots to other things that their doctors and their government were pushing on them and their children. 

Without the lockdown, some said they would still be beholden to the recommended vaccine schedule.

Felder ponders if the first lockdown was a beta test?  Mask mandates, social distancing, vaccine mandates – did complying to those mandates then help mask requirements resurface now?  Was it coincidentally timed with the previous election?  Is the timing of some of this latest virus/variant wave tied with the upcoming election?  Are people going to comply, or will people stand up and say no?  Felder asks questions so many of us here asked.  He makes points so many of us also made over the last three years.  He talks about a few other ‘in the news’ topics if you care to take a listen.  I’ve never heard of this young man before, but I like what I hear him saying.  For a long time, I’ve been hoping to see more people – including younger people, rise up.  Felder seems to be one of those people, and I appreciate that he is standing firm and bravely using his voice for good. 

View the Facebook video here.

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

###

From Skyhorse Publishing

The War On Ivermectin Yellow Cover
The War on Ivermectin: The Medicine that Saved Millions and Could Have Ended the Pandemic

#1 Seller in Forensic Medicine

By Pierre Kory Dr. (Author), Jenna McCarthy (Author)

Big Pharma and health agencies cry, “Don’t take ivermectin!” A media storm follows. Why then, does the science say the opposite?” Ivermectin is a dirty word in the media. It doesn’t work. It’s a deadly horse dewormer. Prescribe or promote it and you’ll be called a right-wing quack, be banned from social media, or lose your license to practice medicine. And yet, entire countries wiped out the virus with it, and more than ninety-five studies now show it to be unequivocally effective in preventing and treating Covid-19. If it didn’t work, why was there a coordinated global campaign to cancel it? What’s the truth about this decades-old, Nobel Prize-winning medication? The War on Ivermectin is the personal and professional narrative of Dr. Pierre Kory and his crusade to recommend a safe, inexpensive, generic medicine as the key to ending the pandemic.


Vax Unvax Book Cover Vax-Unvax: Let the Science Speak (Children’s Health Defense) Hardcover – Illustrated, August 15, 2023 by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Author), Brian Hooker (Author)

Based on over one hundred studies in the peer-reviewed literature that consider vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Each of these studies is analyzed and put in context of the difference in health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated infants, children, and adults. Given the massive push to vaccinate the entire global population, this book is timely and necessary for individuals to make informed choices for themselves and their families.


Me Time

Sleeping-at-computer-300x199By Cathy Jameson

I got added to a local Mom’s group on Facebook last week.  A friend of mine had seen a post from a woman who was looking for work.  The woman shared that she has worked in the autism field for over ten years and could be available in the mornings as a mom’s helper, house cleaner or maybe even a pet sitter.  Her morning clients were now back in school, so she asked other moms to leave a comment if they could use her help.  My friend sent me a screenshot of the message in a text, “Does this look like someone you’d want to look into for Ronan?”  YES, I told her.  I am always grateful for any outside help, especially if the helper is experienced in the autism field.

It would be a few days before I could hop online and find the post myself. 

We spent much of last week prepping for Willem’s college drop off, which went well.  Ronan’s younger brother, Willem, was our main caregiver much of the summer.  The time he gave to us was invaluable.  He will miss Ronan very much, and his sisters, too, but it was time for him to go out and see the world.   

Come Saturday morning, when I had a few quiet minutes to myself, I found that post my friend had mentioned.  It was riddled with typos.  While that doesn’t scream red flag, something about the post did – the woman wrote it and posted it anonymously.  I had seen that only recently in another group – that you can post, comment, and react to groups without revealing your identity.  Several of the other moms immediately commented, “Why anonymous tho?”  “We can’t message you if you’re anonymous.”  I understand that some people don’t want their name or personal information on a large social media platform, but I’d have no way of contacting this woman privately offline.  I’ve looked for months for a potential hire, but I, too, didn’t want to put my personal info, or Ronan’s, out there to 7,000 members.  If I wanted to get or give any sort of info, I’d have to leave a comment on her post and hope and pray she’d reach out to me. 

I’d also have to hope and pray that this wasn’t a scam. 

Not entirely sure what to do yet, I scrolled through other recent posts in the group.  Some were about the new school year, which had already started for the public school kids.  Some posts were about fun community events for young families.  Other posts were typical ones I’ve seen on other message boards – moms looking for recommendations for pediatricians, ballet studios, and soccer leagues.  My kids sound much, much older than these ladies’ children, but I kept on scrolling.  Who knows, I thought, maybe I’d find something useful for me on the page.  I stopped scrolling.  Someone was looking for recommendations for some “me time”.

“The kids are back at school”, she started, “and I’m looking to do something for some me time…like a day at the spa or salon for a massage, facial…for a me day.”

I stared at the post. Ronan hug

If I only had time for any of that, I whispered to myself. 

Me Time comes after I make sure everyone and everything is taken care of or is put back in its place.  It comes at night when I fall asleep, that is, if I fall asleep.  The kids help, my husband helps, but ultimately, I’m in charge of a lot of things.  I run the house.  I oversee the school things.  I shuttle the kids to where they need to be.  I also plan the meals, and I plan all of Ronan’s things, including his schedule and his caregiver’s schedule.  After our full-time caregiver reduced her hours in January of this year, it took months to find a replacement.  I’d reached out every few weeks to every friend and contact I had sharing that we’re still looking for someone, which is why my friend connected me to that message board last week.  I’d forgotten to tell her we finally found someone. 

Finally!

Continue reading "Me Time" »


An Infinity of Summers

Love You ForeverNote: Cathy has this weekend off. Her post from 2017 rings true today, and is proof of the headline. The meme Cathy writes about is still in circulation, annoying autism parents to.... infinity and beyond.

By Cathy Jameson, Summer 2017

An article that people were posting on some social media pages last week caught my eye.  The tagline read, How many summers do you have until your children are grown?  Typically, it’s 18 summers a parent will spend with their child before that child ventures off into adulthood.  If my son and I had only 18 summers to spend together, we’ve just got 4 more to go. 

Four more summer vacations. 

Four more family summer road trips. 

Four more lazy summers before high school graduation, college, and independence. 

But my child’s not typical.  Our summers, like every other season of the year, are very different than those of his peers.  Half-way through is teenage years, Ronan’s very much delayed.  Non-verbal with regressive autism and seizures, he’s more dependent than other kids are. 

On constant watch – for both seizures and the potential for wandering – we still manage to have fun.  Outings to the mall, the park, and the pool happen, but only after doctor appointments and therapy sessions are over.  I’d love to have a break from it all, but with as many skills Ronan is still working on achieving, appointments and therapies are a year-round occurrence.

Continue reading "An Infinity of Summers" »


The Most

Big_brother_design_CTBB1011Note: Sometimes, "Big Brother" means a VERY GOOD thing, even when he's watching.  XOX

###

By Cathy Jameson

…when I start my freshman year of college in a few weeks I will miss being able to hang out with Ronan the most…

That was part of a scholarship essay Ronan’s younger brother wrote.  Willem has been working on scholarship applications and essays all summer.  Some are quick and don’t require too much writing, but others, like the latest one, take some time.  Having been awarded a few from the university and two outside scholarships so far, Willem’s motivated to get more done before classes start. 

I’m happy to see Willem work toward a new educational goal.  It’s motivated his younger sister to look for schools and bookmark scholarship websites for when she’ll need them.  The more the kids talk about their futures, the more emotions I feel. 

It’s exciting!  

It’s adventurous! 

With their big ideas and big plans to go out and see the world, it’s going to be quiet here in a few years!  

The kids are looking at the next stage in life – working toward being independent adults.  As natural as that is, I’m not okay with it yet.  We’ve been a pretty close family.  Lots brings us together, and I haven’t fully prepared myself for what it will feel like when we’re all not under one roof.  The kids...they were just little kids not that long ago!  To now have adult children potentially scattered in different places…of course, I know that that happens, but I love it when they’re all home.  

The silliness.

The movie nights.

The family dinners.

The guitar playing, the singing, the conversations, and the doting on Ronan trying to get him and keep him involved – it’s life now.  It’s what I know, and it’s what I’ve loved to see.  With how close the siblings are, but especially how close Willem and Ronan have gotten the past few years, life is going to be very different very soon.  I’m going to miss that kid something fierce when he heads to campus. CJ willen walking Ronan will, too. 

The brotherly bond they deepened, and it only grew stronger, when my husband was deployed overseas last year. 

Before he left, my husband (in the photo with Ronan) asked Willem to help me as much as he could.  Having witnessed a great role model in my husband, Willem stepped into his father’s shoes.

This was part of a different scholarship essay prompt that filled my heart with joy.

My older brother, Ronan, has severe autism and is non-verbal, and while my whole family is always willing to help him no matter what, it can be quite a difficult task to tend to all of his needs. No one does this with more patience or love than my Dad, and that's how I aim to be in life.

CJ college collage

Photos of my boys over the years – each photo a testament of their love for each other

The little brother took the request – help your mom – to task.  After school, or before he’d ask to go out on the weekends, his first thought was always his brother.  “Do you need me to help Ronan?” he’d ask.  Some days he didn’t ask; he just jumped right in.  Without complaint, he worked with me quickly, confidently, and happily during that deployment.  He still helps daily.  Which is why in a few weeks things aren’t just going to feel different.  Things will be very different. 

Changes are coming, and so are new prospects.  Willem will get to explore classes and projects that will lead to career opportunities.  And Ronan will get to explore a new setting and surrounding towns when we go visit his brother at college. 

I’m excited. 

I’m nervous. 

I’m happy. 

I also know I’m going to be a little sad, too.  But I’m reminding myself to focus on the adventures that are ahead.  For both my boys. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

 

### From Skyhorse Publishing

The War On Ivermectin Yellow Cover
The War on Ivermectin: The Medicine that Saved Millions and Could Have Ended the Pandemic

#1 Seller in Forensic Medicine

By Pierre Kory Dr. (Author), Jenna McCarthy (Author)

Big Pharma and health agencies cry, “Don’t take ivermectin!” A media storm follows. Why then, does the science say the opposite?” Ivermectin is a dirty word in the media. It doesn’t work. It’s a deadly horse dewormer. Prescribe or promote it and you’ll be called a right-wing quack, be banned from social media, or lose your license to practice medicine. And yet, entire countries wiped out the virus with it, and more than ninety-five studies now show it to be unequivocally effective in preventing and treating Covid-19. If it didn’t work, why was there a coordinated global campaign to cancel it? What’s the truth about this decades-old, Nobel Prize-winning medication? The War on Ivermectin is the personal and professional narrative of Dr. Pierre Kory and his crusade to recommend a safe, inexpensive, generic medicine as the key to ending the pandemic.


Vax Unvax Book Cover Vax-Unvax: Let the Science Speak (Children’s Health Defense) Hardcover – Illustrated, August 15, 2023 by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Author), Brian Hooker (Author)

Based on over one hundred studies in the peer-reviewed literature that consider vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Each of these studies is analyzed and put in context of the difference in health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated infants, children, and adults. Given the massive push to vaccinate the entire global population, this book is timely and necessary for individuals to make informed choices for themselves and their families.


To Protect One Another

Vaxxed first signing screen shotBy Cathy Jameson

When Polly Tommey set out on the road a few years ago, she was determined to give families the chance to share their story.   Thanks to Polly and her mobile TV crew, so many people got to do that, including me.  My son’s name, among thousands of others, is on the VAXXED bus. 

Ronan vax bus name

Just a few days ago, I read an article announcing that Polly Tommey would be back on the road again.  She’s determined to help even more people tell their story.  She’s also very fast!  I hadn’t signed up for any alerts, but while prepping this post late Friday night, I saw that she had started documenting stories for the new VAX-UNVAX bus.

Come September… Children's Health Defense’s year-long “Vax-Unvax” bus tour…will travel the U.S. with the aim of raising awareness of vaccine harms by gathering stories from the vaccine-injured.  Updates of the tour and knowing where the VAX-UNVAX bus will be can found on the CHD  site.

The Latest Video, posted July 28th, chronicles a few familiar names.  It also introduces us to some people who were injured by Pfizer and Moderna covid vaccines.  The first story was of 16 year old Ernesto Ramirez, Jr.  Days after getting the Pfizer vaccine, Ernesto passed away. Signing his name on the bus was his father, who emotionally shared, “I do this to honor my son, and I know he’d want me to protect…other kids.  That’s the reason I do this.  We have to protect one another.”

Watch Video of Parents Signing The Bus. Somber. But Always Ready To PROTECT Another.

Have your own covid vaccine-injury story?  Reach out to the bus tour to share it

The first signatures are already on the bus.  With how relentlessly vaccines are pushed, especially those covid ones, I have a feeling that there will be so many more added.  To Ernesto and the countless others we will learn about in the coming months, we are sorry. 

Vax bus first sig ernesto

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

###

Order today, from Skyhorse Publishing.

Wuhan Cover Up Book CoverThe Wuhan Cover Up How Health Officials Conspired with the Chinese Military to Hide the Origins of COVID-19 (Children’s Health Defense)

The Wuhan Cover-Up pulls back the curtain on how the US government's increase in biosecurity spending after the 2001 terror attacks—facilitated by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—set in motion a plan to transform the NIAID into a de facto Defense Department agency.

While Dr. Fauci zealously funded and pursued gain-of-function research, concern grew among some scientists and government officials about the potential for accidental or deliberate release of weaponized viruses from labs that might trigger worldwide pandemics. A moratorium was placed on this research, but true to form, Dr. Fauci found ways to continue unperturbed—outsourcing some of the most controversial experiments offshore to China and providing federal funding to Wuhan Institute of Virology's (WIV's) leading researchers for gain-of-function studies in partnership with the Chinese military and the Chinese Communist Party.

Vax Unvax Book Cover Vax-Unvax: Let the Science Speak (Children’s Health Defense) Hardcover – Illustrated, August 15, 2023 by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Author), Brian Hooker (Author)

Based on over one hundred studies in the peer-reviewed literature that consider vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Each of these studies is analyzed and put in context of the difference in health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated infants, children, and adults. Given the massive push to vaccinate the entire global population, this book is timely and necessary for individuals to make informed choices for themselves and their families.


Exemptions To Attend School Exist

WorryNote: Back to school is stressful enough without the worries of compliance issues that do not match your family's needs.  Curious which exemptions exist in your state?  Check out www.nvic.org/law-policy-state  for information. Thank you, Cathy.

By Cathy Jameson

I wrote this several years ago on another platform in response to a letter I received.  Since we just got a similar notice, I thought I’d share the post here. 

--

Late Summer 2016 - We got a reminder note from the kids' school a few weeks ago.  One of our children was "due" for a booster shot.  Documentation of that booster would be required prior to the start of the next school year.  We were not given the "...or else!" threat that's usually added to school shot notices, but the tone of the letter certainly implied it.  

I'd be lying if I said I didn't let the notice bother me much, but it did bother me.  

A lot.  

After rereading the current law - to include the section about vaccine exemptions, I wrote an email to the school nurse.  Knowing what I know about school shots (that in many states they are in fact not a requirement for school entry), I knew just how to respond to the misinformation that had been sent home with my child. 

Now, I could've gone all Encyclopedia Brown citing the law word-for-word.  Or I could've ripped her a new one for bullying my son into getting a vaccine he didn't need (the way the note was worded, he was so worried that he wouldn't be able to return to school in the fall without this booster).  But in my email, I was kind, cordial, and very respectful.  I did that not just because that's how people should be treated, but because this woman, and the staff she works with, will be the first people my child must rely on in an emergency medical situation should there be one on campus.  We need a positive working relationship with the staff, not one full of animosity.

So in my email, I simply asked for clarification.  

Will the exemption that we have on file with the school still be valid for the 2016-17 school year?  If not, I shall provide an updated one promptly.  


Then, I prayed.  Oh, how I prayed.

I haven't had the best of luck with other school nurses, which was one reason why I still write about this topic every few years.  Thankfully, the nurse we've been working with most recently has been more than helpful, more than knowledgeable, more than understanding, and more than accommodating.  She usually stays abreast of the law, to include recognizing that parents have choices.  But she failed to add that in the recent letter that came home.  That's why in my email, besides an 'exercising of my parental rights' notice, it was also a gentle reminder to her:  Psst.  You forgot to mention one of the most important parts of the law - the exemptions!

I waited for her reply all the while praying that not mentioning exemptions was just an oversight. 

It was.  

In her reply to me the following day, the school nurse apologized for not including all of the information.  She also assured me that the current document we had on file would suffice.  

Whew. 

Whew. 

Whew!

I thanked her, and since I had her attention I added, can you please consider revising the notice that was sent home to include that exemptions are also acceptable as I'm sure other families would appreciate being aware of that information.  She replied that future notices would contain that information*.  

We've yet to get any other vaccine-related notices this school year, but I'll be looking for a line that states that parents may certainly submit an exemption in lieu of a booster shot.  I know that other parents are not so fortunate, and my heart breaks for them as I think about the stress they've encountered while trying to advocate for their rights and for their children.  

It is a sad, sad day when threatening another human (forced vaccines) is the norm and when withholding a child's education based on a medical procedure (no shots...or else!) is an acceptable practice.  Shame on those who think that that's okay.  

Because it's not.  

--


Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


Curious which exemptions exist in your state?  Check out 
https://www.nvic.org/law-policy-state  for information.  

*To this day, that school nurse continues to provide exemptions information to families in that school community.

###

Order today, from Skyhorse Publishing.

Wuhan Cover Up Book CoverThe Wuhan Cover Up How Health Officials Conspired with the Chinese Military to Hide the Origins of COVID-19 (Children’s Health Defense)

The Wuhan Cover-Up pulls back the curtain on how the US government's increase in biosecurity spending after the 2001 terror attacks—facilitated by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—set in motion a plan to transform the NIAID into a de facto Defense Department agency.

While Dr. Fauci zealously funded and pursued gain-of-function research, concern grew among some scientists and government officials about the potential for accidental or deliberate release of weaponized viruses from labs that might trigger worldwide pandemics. A moratorium was placed on this research, but true to form, Dr. Fauci found ways to continue unperturbed—outsourcing some of the most controversial experiments offshore to China and providing federal funding to Wuhan Institute of Virology's (WIV's) leading researchers for gain-of-function studies in partnership with the Chinese military and the Chinese Communist Party.

Vax Unvax Book Cover Vax-Unvax: Let the Science Speak (Children’s Health Defense) Hardcover – Illustrated, August 15, 2023 by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Author), Brian Hooker (Author)

Based on over one hundred studies in the peer-reviewed literature that consider vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Each of these studies is analyzed and put in context of the difference in health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated infants, children, and adults. Given the massive push to vaccinate the entire global population, this book is timely and necessary for individuals to make informed choices for themselves and their families.


Whale Vomit

Ambergris

By Cathy Jameson

My husband and I have had a running joke for years.  Anytime I suggest he use a natural remedy, like homeopathic drops or an essential oil for an ache or a pain, he says, "No thanks.  I'll pass.  I don't need any whale vomit."  I reply, "Fine.  More for me."  

Then we laugh and laugh.

Whale vomit.  I’m not sure when we started saying that since it’s something we’ve never used.  I don’t think it’s something people actually use anyway.  I do remember, though, when I started to hear more about using natural products for ailments.  That was many years ago while scouring Yahoo! message boards.  I remember being inspired by other parents who used natural products to help their children detox.  I wanted to have a success story for my son, too, so I eagerly kept reading their stories.  Back then, we didn’t know why my son’s behavior, demeanor and health took a turn for the worse.  Before going down the medical route, I resorted to trying something simple.  First, I made changes to his diet.  Then, I opted to use some supplements that another parent suggested.  The first ones I remember ordering were digestive enzymes.  After seeing a pretty quick response, I thought I’d read more to see if other ones could help. 

From basic over-the-counter ones, like vitamin D3 to ones that have to be special ordered, supplements remain part of life here. 

Over the years, protocols have changed.  We rotate through some things faster than others.  Other bottles stay in the supplement basket on the kitchen counter unopened for weeks, sometimes months, at a time.  Lately, I’ve been focused on alleviating my son’s constipation that returned.  When that happens, we look at several factors, like what he’s eating and how hydrated he is (or isn’t).   Some days, when it becomes apparent that we need to encourage some movement, it’s back to basics – prune juice, senna, and a stool softener.  Fortunately, as things soon begin to get moving for him again, life goes a bit back to normal.  I was glad for that, especially last week.  Around the same time as things settled down for Ronan, I found that I needed to take care of something myself. 

I’ve felt some discomfort in my shoulder that hasn’t gotten any better with basic homeopathic treatment.  Instead of finding an ounce of relief, the pain started to get in the way of doing things.  One day it got really unbearable.  If whale vomit was a thing, it’s still not as far as I know, I might’ve considered trying it that day.  I had been using a salve that had helped, and that smelled pretty amazing, but I needed something a bit stronger.  That day, it was my turn to reach into the supplement basket. 

Early that morning and after another terrible night of sleep (for the third night in a row), I needed to change things up.  So, I grabbed the first bottle I saw thinking it was the Boswellia.  Boswellia has worked wonders on other joint and bone pain in the past, and fairly quickly, too, so I prayed it would do the same for my very achy shoulder.  Thank the good Lord I thought to read the label seconds before popping the capsule in my mouth.  It wasn’t the bottle of Boswellia that I had grabbed…it was the bottle of stool softener!  I know for a fact that that supplement would do my pain absolutely no good.  Laughing at myself, I found the bottle I needed and prayed for some relief.

I slept better later that night, only waking up twice, so I think I’ll continue with the Boswellia for now.  It isn’t an exact cure, but it’s doing something to make parts of life a bit more manageable. 

They get a bad rap, some of those supplements, so tell us what has worked for you when you have an ache or pain that needs to be addressed.  What’s your favorite go-to supplement or remedy?  How does it help?  And who inspired you to try it.  Tell us, also, if you have a funny supplement story.  One time, a long time ago, I remember reaching for a tiny amber bottle in the cabinet…thinking I’d grabbed the ear drops…but they were eye drops…my ears could see real good that day : ) 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.      

###

Order today, from Skyhorse Publishing.


Vax Unvax Book Cover Vax-Unvax: Let the Science Speak (Children’s Health Defense) Hardcover – Illustrated, August 15, 2023 by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Author), Brian Hooker (Author)

Based on over one hundred studies in the peer-reviewed literature that consider vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Each of these studies is analyzed and put in context of the difference in health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated infants, children, and adults. Given the massive push to vaccinate the entire global population, this book is timely and necessary for individuals to make informed choices for themselves and their families.


Best Of: Right To Know

Right To NoCathy is enjoying a lazy, crazy, hazy day of Summer. Please enjoy this Best Of!

By Cathy Jameson

The chance to educate parents in Oklahoma of the risks associated with products advertised for children known to have side effects was recently squashed.  As a former consumer of these products, learning about the decision to withhold information was disturbing.  It reminded me of a time when I traded my ignorance for blind trust. 

--

When I’m shopping and see something that I want for my children, I take a few things into consideration before putting the item in my cart.  I ask myself if it is child-friendly and something my kids will like to use or play with.  After determining if it is, and that I can afford to make the purchase, I look over the product and review its quality.  Is it well made?  Does it meet safety standards?  Does the company who manufactures it have a good reputation?  If I discover that a flaw in the product after purchasing it, will I be able to return or replace it?  Simple questions, as a consumer they are valid and serve a purpose. 

Now, if I’m at the grocery store shopping for my children, I ask myself different questions when I see something that I want to buy them.  As I scan the ingredient list, I ask myself, does the product have nutritional value?  Is the particular food healthy – not by industry standards, but my family’s standards?  With the information right there on the box, I can easily choose to put the item in my cart or not. 

My kids don’t love how much I scrutinize products that come into our home, but since I’m responsible for their health, safety and well-being, when it comes to food, technology and health care products, I like to get as much information as I can about the things I’m choosing for them.  Most of the items I purchase list exactly what I wish to know and what I need to know. 

The right to know what’s in a product is a basic yet necessary concept all consumers should be entitled to.  It should extend to all products marketed and sold to parents, but I find that it does not always happen in the medical world. 

Instead of gaining access to information, parents and their rights quickly get brushed aside.    

The Right to Know

When a child undergoes a medical procedure, which include vaccinations, consent is given by the parent or guardian.  Consent is the green light to make things happen.  For some, giving a vaccination is a no brainer and consent is given quickly.  Those parents want their child to be vaccinated and don’t need any extra time, education, counseling, or documentation to help them with that decision.  Not all parents are quick to decide though. 

Continue reading "Best Of: Right To Know" »


Hello, Summer!

Hello summerBy Cathy Jameson

Picture this:  it’s the end of the school year.  It’s the first day of summer vacation.  It’s the first day in a long time that I do not have to write or complete a To Do list.  I can sleep in, as long as Ronan sleeps in.  I can go wherever I want to go.  I can do whatever I want to do.  Freedom.  After a successful and very long school year, I can finally get a little taste of freedom.   

Wheeeeeee!!!

It was much needed, that freedom. 

During the school year, the kids have us hopping from one event to another.  I don’t mind those events; they’re what helped Ronan get accustomed to being the amazing spectator he is.  I don’t mind the busy-ness of it all; it’s what keeps us all waking up and going out in the world each day.  I do not love how tiring some of it all can be, though, which is why I welcomed that first of many unstructured days with such glee. 

I knew I wouldn’t get to do that every day this summer, but it was important for me to begin the first official summer vacation morning in my pajamas. 

I wanted to stay in ‘jammie day’ mode all day. 

So, I did. 

While the kids and I reveled in the laziness of that first day off, Ronan kept to his usual routine.  That meant waking up ready for his activities and ready to eat a good breakfast.  I made sure his day was exactly what he needed it to include – his tasty meals and his fun activities.  I smiled while feeding him in my jammies on the couch.  I could easily provide that for him while also taking care of my need – the need to be completely lazy. 

Over the course of the day, Ronan stayed happy.  I did as well.  I puttered around the house thinking about things that I wanted to work on over the summer break.  I finally had time to think about them.  I made sure to just think about them that day.  I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with a new To Do list.  The summer projects – clean out every closet, sort through the too-small clothes, clean the car, finish some writing projects, rewrite and repost the ad for the new caregiver I’ve not yet been able to hire…those things had the potential to be stressful.  Stress was not part of my lazy day agenda.  I walked through the house making a mental note of which closets needed attention first and drafted a want ad in my head.  I’d do the actual writing down part the next day. 

I’d been working a little bit extra as the school year wound down, so it was good to reacquaint myself with the house.  Dust bunnies had taken up residence in a few corners of the den, a room I hadn’t had time to sit down in and enjoy.  I’d run the vacuum in that room first, but I’d do it tomorrow.  With Ronan’s little brother going off to college in the fall, I prioritized going through his closet with him next.  We didn’t sort anything, just discussed what he imagined he’d be bringing with him. 

After a full morning of doing not much except taking mental notes, I took a nap.  I hadn’t realized how tired I was.  Even though I had done far less that morning than I usually did while at work, I was exhausted.  With the kids home to pitch in to help their brother, I took a break.  I curled up on the couch under a blanket next to Ronan and closed my eyes.  I slept soundly for 45 minutes.  I woke up, saw that he was still doing well, and then slept for another 45 minutes. 

I really was exhausted!

Like I mentioned, the school year was successful.  But it was also very long.  Juggling Ronan and work this school year was taxing, too.  Without consistent care for him since the winter, it was very stressful as well.  On days that I did have our helper at home with Ronan, I’d jet to work.  Then, I’d jet quickly home before she had to leave.  She could work her regular hours, but not every day like she had been.  Her availability was unpredictable.  That meant that my availability was unpredictable.  My boss was mindful of our caregiver situation.  In being mindful, she was also compassionate and allowed me to create a schedule that worked for me and my family.  That schedule was never the same twice, which messed up my routine.  It sometimes messed up Ronan’s routine.  Ronan’s brother, toward the end of his last high school semester, could help me.  I’d pick up hours at my job on the days he could be the main caregiver.  We made it work, but the extra bit of stress of juggling all the things and the constant changes was tiring.  I’d been napping 1 or 2 days a week during the spring semester as soon as I came home.  Making sure Ronan was content, I’d grab 10 minutes of sleep.  Those cat naps, or Cat naps ;) gave me the energy I needed to get through the rest of the afternoon and evening and also through to the end of the school year. 

I love a good nap and still nap every now and then.  But that’s because I want to…not because my body needs me to. 

37C91D36-2CFF-407F-A346-AAF608EDCC09Summer, while less structured, can still be a somewhat of a busy time depending on what we choose to do.  I’m home now full-time.  While I’ve chosen to slow down a bit, the kids have chosen to do a little bit more.  Ronan’s younger sister is working out of the house while also continuing to train off-season for her sport.  His brother is working two jobs, hoping to be able to graduate debt free like his big sister just did. And I’m keeping myself busy with that cleaning and organizing that needed to be done.  Closets, my office, the writing I’ve been putting off – I could let some of it overwhelm me.  But that won’t help my hopeful summer attitude.  So, I am keeping a good balance of getting to the ‘must do’ tasks while scheduling in some relaxation, too. 

Since our summer started, we went on a quick beach trip.  We’ve also gone on shopping trips, visited with friends, taken walks at sunset, and done other typical summer-time activities.  Some nights have us up really late watching classic movies.  Other nights the kids play video games or play guitar and sing songs until prayer time.  Whatever we get to do, it’s done usually with some smiles and also with so much less stress.  Smiles are better than stress.  So are multiple jammie days, which I will make sure to add in as our summer continues.  We have two more months of it to enjoy.  I hope you can enjoy yours, too.

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99X8naJ7E-Y

Available for pre-order now, from  Skyhorse Publishing.


Vax Unvax Book Cover Vax-Unvax: Let the Science Speak (Children’s Health Defense) Hardcover – Illustrated, August 15, 2023 by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Author), Brian Hooker (Author)

Based on over one hundred studies in the peer-reviewed literature that consider vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Each of these studies is analyzed and put in context of the difference in health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated infants, children, and adults. Given the massive push to vaccinate the entire global population, this book is timely and necessary for individuals to make informed choices for themselves and their families.


Survey Says…

Survey Says NoBy Cathy Jameson

I love our quieter summer schedule.  The alarm clock isn’t screaming at us to wake up early.  The kids aren’t rushing here and there.  And I’m able to sit still a bit longer to catch up on some things I’ve had to put on hold.  With the extra quiet time, I’ve started to sift through my email to get rid of old messages.  Every few days, I get rid of promotions that have expired and also delete school notices that are now irrelevant.  In sitting down late last week to get sort through a handful of older messages, I saw that I had a new one.  I made sure not to delete it: 

Dear Cathy,

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) experienced considerable growth in its membership, as people sought information about vaccine efficacy and safety, and community support in the face of restrictive government and workplace policies such as vaccine mandates. To our knowledge, little research has been done on the experiences and consequences of these policies for overall wellbeing, especially for people who declined vaccination.

If you subscribe to CHD, you probably saw that announcement, too.  Coupled with it is the chance to take a survey “…to better understand our subscribers’ experiences with vaccine mandates since the beginning of the pandemic. The survey will take about 5–10 minutes to complete.” 

I have friends who knew to be skeptical of what our government was saying and doing early on during the pandemic.  Some had never been vocal about vaccines.  Now, they are being more than vocal.  They’re saying never again. 

Never again will they be duped or talked into taking something so risky. 

Never will they risk their job, their health, or their freedom. 

Never. 

Early on, when people would ask me where they could look for information about what was going on, I made sure to share the CHD webpage.  Look here for some helpful resources.  Check out what this group is working on.  Read up on who the talking heads are in the news, and also read up on who’s being silenced. The silenced may have answers for some of your important questions.  Early on, and also well into the pandemic, a lot was going on.  For these friends new to the vaccine scene, thing didn’t add up.  For a lot of us, things didn’t make sense.  We knew that the vaccine was too much too soon and way too risky to consider.  So, we talked more.  We educated each other.  It was tough, especially knowing mandates were looming.  It was hardest when family members opted in instead of waiting things out.  CHD remained a go-to source for me.  The louder other people got about this issue, CHD became a reliable source for their family and friends as well.  Some held the line.  Others tried.  Mandates affected everyone – they affected those who took the vaccine, and they affected those who didn’t.  The debates over them, the stress of complying or not complying, the distress over all of it added up.  People lost time, trust, friends, and family over the mandates.  I hope that anyone affected by them will take the time to check out the survey and fill it out.  If you’ve got a few minutes today, here’s the link. 

Children's Health Defense Vaccine Mandate Survery

I’m very grateful that Children’s Health Defense created a place to share our personal experiences.  The data that’s gathered may not change public health administrators’ minds.  But at least the data from we, the people, will be formally collected and documented.  It’s a big task, but one that I believe will bring worthwhile results. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

 


Real Anthony Fauci Number 1 memeThe Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health (Children’s Health Defense)

By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

#1 on AMAZON, and a NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY NATIONAL BESTSELLER

Over 1,000,000 copies sold despite censorship, boycotts from bookstores and libraries, and hit pieces against the author. Wuhan Cover Up Book CoverThe Wuhan Cover-Up: How US Health Officials Conspired with the Chinese Military to Hide the Origins of COVID-19 (Children’s Health Defense)
 
From the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Publishers Weekly bestselling author of The Real Anthony Fauci comes an explosive exposé of the cover-up behind the true origins of COVID-19.


One Step at a Time

Super dadHappy Father's Day! Enjoy this beautiful post from Cathy. 

By Cathy Jameson

Daddy works some magic around here for sure--Ronan would not cooperate at all with me tonight. Bath time was difficult, getting his diaper on was difficult. Brushing teeth?  Not gonna happen. Once Daddy came to offer a hand, and after Ronan signed "sad change sad" to me several times, Ronan grabs his shirt and puts it on. Then he grabs his pajama pants and puts them on.  All with a smirk and all by himself!  First time ever.  Granted the shirt was on backwards and both legs went into one pants hole, and he sucked the fluoride-free toothpaste off his toothbrush and didn’t really brush, but dang, what a showoff for Daddy!  I'll take it :)

That was the first On This Day memory entry I saw on my fb page when I logged in on Friday morning.  It was perfect memory to read as I was brainstorming today’s post.  I wanted to do another photo essay, like I’ve done previous years.  So, here are some Ronan-Daddy stories and images that I’ve documented for family and friends.  Most are happy memories.  Some retell of a struggle.  All include reminders of why we work as hard as we do.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads who bring hope, joy and strength to their families.

xo, Cat

---

2010

We put goggles on Ronan today at the pool.  He's always loved water but wasn't a strong swimmer…he quickly explored with his new eyes.  He's going to be a fish just like big sister and Daddy!

A few days later…

Ronan and Daddy having an underwater tea party on Father's Day!

Ronan Dad Tea Party

2011

Ronan's got some of Daddy’s iTunes downloaded to the iPad.  This one is playing full blast just a second ago (complete with the f-bomb!).  It's the third time I've caught Ronan with the iTunes open [to Mumford and Sons*].  The kid’s got his Daddy's Celtic taste in music!

2012

I love how excited the kids get when Ronan gets to be included with their normal stuff.  We're using a new GF pancake mix, so Ronan is partaking in the Saturday Morning Daddy Waffle Fun.

Belgian waffles.

Nom nom nom.

"Mom, now the whole family can have waffles!"

Ronan waffles

2012

Ronan has the best Daddy.

He saw what I saw, too--Ronan's health decline, his development regress, his liveliness decrease. That Daddy believes in Ronan.  He supports me with many tasks special needs moms have to do.  He trusts us together to make huge decisions.  He is an amazing parent and partner raising all of our littles.  Ronan is a lucky little boy and is very much loved.

Ronan wagon

2015

Continue reading "One Step at a Time" »


Worth Viewing

Watch the videoBy Cathy Jameson

I watched this documentary The Great Awakening 2 soon after it was posted on YouTube.  I couldn’t watch all of it in one sitting though.  That’s not because it’s a terrible film.  Quite the opposite.  I couldn’t get through it because it was the last week of school.  So much was going on, including prepping for the third of three graduations for us.  My schedule has been packed for three weeks straight.  But this film was so captivating I kept trying to watch it.

I started it while waiting for my daughter’s bus Monday afternoon. 

I continued to watch it while making dinner Tuesday evening. 

I squeezed in a few minutes while getting ready for work on Wednesday.

I finally got to the end of it Friday evening.

During a less busy week I’d have written a response to what I watched.  That’ll have to wait.   Until then, I’d like to share the link here.  Long-time readers will surely recognize some of the people featured.  I liked that I recognized quite a few being interviewed.  If you’ve got an hour and 42 minutes to spare, I’d love to hear what you think of it.  Fair warning, some of the film dives into topics we don’t normally bring up here on AofA, but there are plenty of others – like COVID, like vaccines, like Fauci and the “greater good” – that we do discuss frequently. 

One day this week, while I ease in summer vacation, I’ll hope to rewatch this film from start to finish any without any interruptions.  Let me know if you get the chance to do that also.

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

###

The War On Ivermectin 2023The War On Ivermectin
Dr. Pierre Kory

Ivermectin is a dirty word in the media. It doesn’t work. It’s a deadly horse dewormer. Prescribe or promote it and you’ll be called a right-wing quack, be banned from social media, or lose your license to practice medicine. And yet, entire countries wiped out the virus with it, and more than ninety-five studies now show it to be unequivocally effective in preventing and treating Covid-19. If it didn’t work, why was there a coordinated global campaign to cancel it? What’s the truth about this decades-old, Nobel Prize-winning medication? The War on Ivermectin is the personal and professional narrative of Dr. Pierre Kory and his crusade to recommend a safe, inexpensive, generic medicine as the key to ending the pandemic.

Real RFK Jr Book CoverHere's a great Father's Day gift idea. The Real RFK Jr Trials of a Truth Warrior from Skyhorse Publishing is available NOW for pre-order. It's already #1 on the Amazon best sellers list.

By Dick Russell

An epic biography filled with drama, conflict, and surmounted challenges.

The Real RFK Jr. is an intimate biographical portrait examining the controversial activist's journey from anguish and addiction to becoming the country's leading environmental champion fighting government corruption, corporate greed, and a captured media. Written by his longtime colleague Dick Russell, the biography also exposes the misconceptions and explains the rationale behind Kennedy's campaign to protect public health.

Provided exclusive source material, including access to Kennedy’s unpublished writings and personal journals, the author conducted dozens of interviews with him as well as numerous friends and associates. Russell delves into everything from Kennedy’s sometimes death-defying river rafting adventures to his pioneering legal cases against polluters such as Smithfield Foods and Monsanto, while founding the world’s largest water protection group. The Real RFK Jr. also examines Kennedy’s pursuit of the truth about the assassinations of his father and uncle, the wrongful murder conviction of his cousin, and the false narratives around the COVID-19 pandemic.


Pecking Away

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By Cathy Jameson

 

A few times over the last few weeks I’ve seen 2 or 3 smaller birds flying after a larger black bird.  The smaller birds are adamantly pecking.  Called mobbing, the large bird ends up flying off, getting away from the much smaller and persistent birds.  Maybe the larger bird has tried to mess with baby birds in a nest.  Maybe the larger one is getting too close to where the smaller ones find their food.  The few times I’ve seen thisactivity, soon after I’ve read an article about something that many in our community here immediately thought to question.  Mostly covid-related news or updates, I feel like one of those little birds as I read what appears to be an ‘oops, you were rightto question, dear public – we were wrong’.  Just like those smaller birds working together, we went up against larger forces fighting like hell to protect ourselves and our families.  

 

Little by little, we’re learning that what we thought would and could happen during the covid years actually did happen.  AndI’m reading this information on mainstream news sites, not in professional journals or behind paywall sites. 

 

But on sites like Yahoo! News.  

 

Like this latest admittance:

 

Chinese authorities have officially maintained a vague stance, meant largely to deflect criticism. Meanwhile, scientists who may hold clues to how the pandemic began — likely sometime in late 2019 — appear to have been silenced.

 

“Don’t rule out anything.”

 

It may not seem like much, but Gao was clearly acknowledging that the coronavirus could have emerged as a result of a laboratory accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

 

While it isn’t a full confession, it’s enough to make me shake my head in disgust. 

 

I remember when something else made its way back into the news cycle - covid and periods.  For some time in 2021, women were reporting that they were experiencing changes in their menstrual cycle.  

 

Though many researchers and gynecologists say a causal link hasn't yet been established between the vaccines and the reported changes, it hasn't stopped the worry among some people. And so far, scientists haven't collected much data on whether or how the vaccines might affect a menstrual period.

 

Dismissed by those they trusted, the women had to wait until Science wanted to catch up with them.  By 2022, much more information could be collected.  That data now showed that lo, and behold, those women were on to something.  The covid vaccine did do something to disrupt their flow, and it did cause breakthrough bleeding

 

Soon after the vaccines were rolled out to the public, however, people began talking to their doctors about what they were experiencing. Many had noticed that their periods had become heavier than normal. Initially, some clinicians were dismissive, write the authors of a new survey on the topic published in the journal Science Advances. “In media coverage, medical doctors and public health experts hastened to say that there was ‘no biological mechanism’ or ‘no data’ to support a relationship between vaccine administration and menstrual changes,” the authors write. “In other cases, experts declared that these changes were more likely a result of ‘stress.'” But these types of changes are not unheard of: vaccines for typhoid, Hepatitis B, and HPV have sometimes been associated with menstrual irregularities.

 

That article points out that the women disclosing the information did so in a survey, which isn’t usually a gold standard of collecting data.  While it is not false information, it’s not the kind of data some scientists or researchers can say is truly reliable.  That may be why the article concludes with this response:

Continue reading "Pecking Away" »


Hip Hip Hooray!

Graduation-caps-congrats-5047671By Cathy Jameson

With all five kids home after my daughter’s college graduation, we enjoyed some extra family time.  Sitting in the living room together one evening, my youngest asked, “Mommy, when would Ronan be graduating college?”  I looked at her but didn’t answer right away.  Ronan’s not been in a classroom setting for quite some time now.  Even though she doesn’t remember some of the struggles Ronan faced while he was enrolled in school, she knows we took him out of the special education system for several reasons, to include seeing seizure activity increase. 

Every now and then I wonder if taking him out, and keeping him out, was the right decision.  I don’t dwell on that thought for too long because we provided many meaningful opportunities for him while he was out of the classroom.  But questions like the one Ronan’s youngest sister asked brought up things I’d long forgotten. 

Do I miss the IEP meetings?

Do I miss the worry I sometimes felt after dropping him off?

Do I miss the phone calls from the school nurse telling me of another seizure?

No.  I don’t miss any of that. 

I do miss some of the hope that some of Ronan’s teaching staff shared with us.  I do miss the thought of a someday graduation for him, even if it wasn’t going to be the same kind of diploma his siblings would receive.  But I don’t miss the stress that school was causing my son.  I didn’t need to share all of that or any of that in my reply to my daughter, so I focused simply on what she’d asked.  She just wanted a date, even if random, that Ronan would be graduating.

“It would be next year.  Think about when Charlie would be graduating…whatever year he is in school is when Ronan would also be in school,” I told her.

Continue reading "Hip Hip Hooray!" »


High Five For Moms!

5 Kids Cathy
Note: Cathy is celebrating her daughter's COLLEGE graduation today and has the day off. How the years have flown by. Last week was Mother's Day, but today's Best of is a tribute to all Moms, written by one of the best. Our Cathy.

By Cathy Jameson

My youngest child’s recent birthday marked a monumental moment for me and my husband.  We are now parents of 5 teenagers.  Five!  No wonder life’s been a bit busier than usual.

No matter their ages, though, life’s always been busy for us.  Some of the busy is good – it keeps us out of the house and active in our community.  Some of the busy can sometimes be overwhelming, for both the kids and for me.  For each of us, this year has had more stressors thanks to COVID19.  Despite those stressors, well, and because of those, it’s been one of the most trying years ever.  When life’s been flipped upside down, especially by someone or something else, it makes it hard to move in a forward direction.  Getting to celebrate a happy birthday in the middle of one of our busiest weeks put the biggest smile of my face.  That time to pause, to focus on life, and to celebrate it (with cake!) put things into perspective for me. 

We’re still here.

We’re still doing things.

We’re still taking time to be thankful.  

Being thankful for happy celebrations is easy.  Being thankful to be living in a world where the new normal is anything but normal takes effort.  When I look at what’s going on in the news and hear how others are living in fear, I see a world that I don’t recognize anymore.  Society seems to have lost its mind with a novel virus that’s got a pretty high recovery rate.  Terrified of humans and interacting with them, I’ve never seen anything like it in my life! 

Life, as interrupted and upside down as it is, must go on.  My kids can’t do everything they used to with some places still closed, but they can pursue living outside of other people’s comfort zones.  So they do. 

They’ve participated on sports teams and excelled.

They’ve joined afterschool clubs and learned.

They’ve joined other families for get togethers and enjoyed it.

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