I need to take a minute and share an experience, well, three experiences that happened with my son – not for any other reason but to educate.
Three times in a one week period three different medical professionals in three different medical fields, walked in to my son’s exam room, patted his large belly, and asked him what he had in there.
Yes, that happened.
Three times my son lowered his head.
Three times I told him he was okay.
I am ashamed to admit I said nothing, until the return visit to one of the facilities.
I explained to the medical staff, with gentleness and respect, because that is how I want myself and my family to be treated, the reason my son is struggling with his weight is because he is on a mood stabilizer medication.
I explained the reason he was on a mood stabilizer medication was because after his grandfather died in August the stress and emotion was just so much for him that when I walked in his room after a horrific melt down he was wrapping the blind chords around his neck.
He wanted to die.
The worse side effect that came along with the medication – it makes the patient hungry.
All. The. Time.
Many patients on the Autism Spectrum have a “mood disorder”.
Many patients on the spectrum will need a medication to help regulate their emotions at some point and time. I understand not all do and I understand there are many that are able to help their children through the emotional challenges through natural remedies and resources – my son is not that fortunate to have a parent with those abilities. I am simply sharing our experience, so please do not condemn us for where we are in this journey.
He had been on the one medication until March when we changed to a new one. We changed because he would become violent when I would tell him he couldn’t have food.
The hope was the different medication would work on the emotional support but not have the side effect of extreme hunger.
His weight has become such an issue he is being teased and laughed at, not only by peers but medical staff.
Christopher inherited his momma’s sway back, unfortunately his is much worse than mine and the added weight has increased his discomfort and overall pain in the spine.
My hope for Christopher was that we would be able to keep him on the mood stabilizer through puberty. The plan was once he was through that tough stage of adolescence we would be able to take him off the mood stabilizer and maybe some other medications. We hoped by then his emotions would level out some and be maintainable.
But that’s no longer the case.
Today, my boy was taken off his mood stabilizer medication.
I am thrilled, but I am also scared to death.
I am thrilled because I have a hope of seeing my boy lose the weight he has put on in the last year.
I am thrilled because I have a hope of seeing my boy running and playing again without his back hurting.
But, as his momma, I am scared to death of walking in and finding my boy sitting in the corner of his room, in the fetal position, wishing he was dead.
And my heart hurts.
Today, I was given a book and will begin the research on meal planning and portion control for an obese teenager I call my son – a boy that struggles with swallowing certain foods because of sensory and texture issues that makes him gag and vomit.
Today begins a new journey for our family, one that will bring fights over portion control, what has to be eaten first, and that breads will not be served at every meal.
But, today also brings a new hope that my Lord will be glorified in this challenge.
And that is where you come in.
I need you to bring my son before the Lord.
I need you to bring my son before the Lord every time you hear of a child’s suicide.
I need you to bring my son before the Lord every time you hear of childhood obesity.
But first and foremost, I need you to bring my son before the Lord for spiritual growth and maturity, that God would give Christopher the desire to seek Him like he would seek food in the pantry.
I need you to bring our family before the Lord, that we would build each other up and not tear each other down, that the Lord would quicken our spirits to see what is the root cause of what is happening at the exact moment “it” is happening and that we would have discernment in how to to approach each situation.
I also ask you to search your own heart – ask yourself how many times you have seen an obese child and made a joke out of his or her weight.
Ask yourself if you have assumed they were just a couch potato and shame on the parents for letting him or her get that way.
I also ask, whether you are in the medical field or a parent of a child that attends school, that you take the time to survey the situation. If there is a concern speak to the parent behind closed doors and not at the child’s expense.
Educate yourself on a situation before you assume the worse and by all means, keep the negative, especially in joking form, out of your mouth and definitely don’t say it in front of your children.
Our children learn from us.
They mimic us.
If we tease obese kids, they are going to tease obese kids.
If we are racist, they are going to be racist.
If we disrespect people in authority, our children will disrespect people in authority.
If they hear us encouraging others, they learn to be encouragers.
If they see us building each other up, they learn to build up their peers.
If they see us seeking the bright side of each situation, they will learn to seek the good in each situation.
If they see us pointing out the good in people, they will begin pointing out the good in people.
My boy’s self esteem is already low. He is like his momma in that he is very hard on himself. He doesn’t need any one else pointing out the obvious to him in mockery.
I’ve been studying Gideon during the last month and a few days ago I started Priscilla Shirer, Gideon Bible Study
– at the end of the first session (that link is just a snip it), she referred to praying within a circle. She had a circle drawn around her podium and the area she would be standing in during her time of speaking – she spoke of revival during her session, but she used the circle to signify that whatever she was praying that it would begin in her own life – and I’m paraphrasing – “Lord, if I am going to pray for revival, let it start with me, here, in this circle. Let it begin with me.”
Please hear me, the purpose of this post is not to bash a medical person’s poor choices, it’s not to seek pity, it is to educate, it is to share the importance of guarding our words, to being kind, to being encouraging, to showing love to those who might look or be a little different than you – to say if we want our children to be different then we need to be different – the change needs to start with us.
Lord, right now I am without words, and that’s hard to believe. So whatever change is to come, I ask the change would begin with me. Amen.