Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What a Crazy Life!

It's been quite busy since the summer.  It has been really hard to just stop and take a breath.  School has started and I am in the thick of working the foundation.  Things have been amazing though. Life has just been lining up and all in God's timing.  I can honestly say that I have never quite felt so at peace and enjoy every minute of work I do to help further research and awareness. It is so true the old saying goes "You never work a day in your life, if you enjoy the work you do".  That is exactly how I feel.  I have an amazing group of supportive people surrounding me, encouraging me and walking every step of the way with me.  I couldn't do this without them, nor would I want to.   I am truly blessed by the people who have entered my life.  I don't think I ever knew what it meant to be fulfilled and all just by helping those who can't help themselves.  People are my passion! Yes, there are some people who are just plain jerks, but I guess life hasn't hit them in the face yet.  Typically, when life hits you real hard, you are given a choice.  Take notice and change to make it better or be a victim of your own circumstances.
Ok, I still get whacked around by life sometimes and they aren't so great, kinda like what happened a couple days ago.  Here's a quick back story on our Beckett.  We have had issues with him getting sick with strep numerous times. We are trying to balance out his medication and make sure his seizures are controlled. His hyperactivity was needing to be brought down a couple of notches. So the medication balancing act has been on going for the last few months.

Well.. We tried something different .. Umm.. Big mistake! I thought well.. Beckett has been doing ok so far in public places no meltdowns in quite no avail!! I take him with his sister to watch the last part of her daddies football game. That lasted all but 5 minutes. Beckett decides he wants to go up the bleachers. Welp, this momma thought oh God!! I'm in trouble now! Sure nuff that boy in front of God and everyone pulled hair, screamed to to top of his lungs like I was killing him. Of course half the Stadium was filled with my parents and my students. You could hear a pin drop in the middle of each of his breaths to scream again. I was mortified for about one second and wanted to cry. But I didn't.. But our police officer who is on our campus came to us and calmly helped me with my child. He walked us to the car as he was screaming. He looked at me and said "it's ok momma" I looked at him and said this is why I will never stop looking to help my child lead a normal life. He said.. "I know.." And he smiled through all of the screaming. Then I got in my car and cried..I cried all the way home. This meltdown was nothing like I had seen in a while.  I finally got his medicine down him and bathed for bed.  Through all the screaming and crying, he finally laid down in my bed and fell asleep next to me.  I was alone at home and I had left Pyper with her dad.  The silence was golden. I very gently scooped him up, all 67 pounds of him.. (that's why I workout, that kids is heavy) and carried him upstairs to his bed.  When I came back down stairs I sat down and the tears just wouldn't stop.  I couldn't quit crying.  It felt good though just to weep.  I didn't feel sorry for myself.  I was just tired and scared.  Scared of what the future has for him and us.  A flood of anxiety came over me, but as fast as it came it left.  It was the hope that we (our SYNGAP families) are building something that will change peoples lives.  It is something I can't stop just because I am tired, so I thought.  I guess I had to give myself permission to rest and just not think about anything. I had to mentally and emotionally push a reset button.  I think that time to let go was what I needed to put things in perspective and remind me of why I am doing what I am doing.  It's to help better other lives, not just my own. That's hard being the naturally selfish people that we are.  Sometimes a good smack in the head keeps it level.  So here's to life and to one more day.  Bless those who bless others, that is what life is about.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

And Onto Another Specialist

Of course there is always something new popping up with our Bean.  At least we might have found out some answers to why he is constantly getting sick.  We took him to his first visit with an immunologist to see why he was getting strep all the time.  Well, the $3,500 worth of blood work came back from the eleven tubes of blood taken from our boy. 

Beckett's immunology reports  have peeked the interest of our immunologist. A couple of things that came up in his blood panel that were surprising.  Beckett seems to be on antibiotics all the time. His tests uncovered some interesting data in his blood samples. She found that his antibodies IgG and IgM are very low. His IgA was normal. She found that his numbers were low enough to watch over the next few months. A typical healthy child has anywhere from 700-800 levels, Beckett's are around the 500's when he is healthy. She said that if they go below 300 - 250 that she will recommend him having antibody infusions due to his immune system is not creating a high enough antibody count to fight off infection.  We would monitor his situation every 6 months. Also, his body did not create a high enough antibodies to tetanus. Which his other vaccines seemed to be adequate to fight off those other types of infections. She ask me if he scrapes and cuts took a long time to heal...which I never really thought about it..but it takes forever to have a wound heal fast. Anyway, I thought that this was an interesting find and I am going bring it up to the researchers to see if it could possibly be linked to SYNGAP.  She also recommended us take him to see and infectious disease doctor to rule out the possibility of him having PANDAS.  She said he exhibits all the criteria for PANDAS. That will be our next stop this fall.  We will be taking Beckett in November to have him skin pricked for all the allergies to penicillin.  That day should be fun...

I am glad it is summer time because Beckett is not sick as much during the summer.  Beckett has been progressing much faster than usual being on his Lamictal medication.   His expressive language has gotten much better and his annunciation of words has improved tremendously.  His cognitive abilities and behavior have also improved being on his new medication. Sometimes it scares me, because his problem solving skills are getting better, then on the other hand, he still doesn't understand the consequences of his choices.  I can only hope that comes in time.  

We are disappointed that he did not get to keep attending the regular day camp we planned for summer.  Not because of what he did, but because they would not offer him a "shadow" of sorts to keep him from wondering off and engaging him.  We now have him in an adaptive program where he gets a shadow with him and gets to play with children his own age.  So now, if he gets over stimulated because of the noise, she can take him to play in a quiet room to decompress some.  I love the program, it is just very expensive and will probably put us further into debt.  I do have to say, I would rather be in debt, than deprive him of the experience of being with others his own age and have friends.  
This boy LOVES Ranch Dressing!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015


I never dreamed that today would come. For the first time in my life I had a dream and it came into reality.  I never thought I had it in me to see anything this "BIG" through because the fear of failure.  Today, I proved to myself that if I just keep going and continue to try and never give up, that good things will start to happen.  Just yesterday I was saying how I wanted to quit and run away. But I chose to stay and continue on through all the feelings of frustration.

My Baby Boy before he started walking...
I thought about my son when he was learning to walk. Pushing a walker and being forced to take every step, because if he didn't he would have never learned to walk.  I thought of how hard that must have been.  How hard it was for him to put one foot in front of the other. Having no motor control and working hand over hand with him to "feel" his legs move.  He never gave up and in the end and he walked!  That meant I can never give up.  I have to keep going no matter how hard things get. No matter how many tears I cry, no matter how mad I get, I just can't stop.  It's my family, it's my children and my SYNGAP family that keep me going.

To think that an email I sent 3 years ago to a researcher I thought would never be heard, was heard.  It started a domino effect.  To think if I never sent that email where would we be now?  I know for sure that I would never be where I am now if I let fear prevent me from reaching out to find help and to find someone that would listen. 

Today was a great day for SYNGAP awareness.  Dr. Jacques Michaud and Dr. Gavin Rumbaugh combined efforts and created a collective summary on SYNGAP1 mutations.  NORD (National Organization for Rare Disease) has published our paper in their database.  This is the first time SYNGAP1 has been published as a collective summary.  This is just the beginning for us as a foundation.  This puts SYNGAP in the hands of people trying to find answers and hope. 

I have to be honest, when I saw it pop on the website, I cried like a baby.  I felt an overwhelming weight off my shoulders.  It was a feeling of relief knowing that when people go searching they have a chance at finding an answer to what they are looking for.  It's a hope for them to know that they're people out there trying to help.  That makes me feel good to know that someone will find help.  I have learned that if "it" wasn't there for you, then be "it" for someone else.  I hope that I can do that for those who need "it".  Since this is just the beginning, I am so excited to see what more we can do together.  The future is bright and I believe we can be the light for others who are searching to get out of the dark. 

Check out our paper and share!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Power of Determination - A Mother's Love

I have learned over time that the only way to move forward and accomplish your goals is through the sheer will of determination and the recognizable path that God has place before us.  Obstacles get in the way of people everyday. How they over come them is not by chance, but by the will to push through with the determination, I believe God instills in us the willingness to be guided along that path.

Problems arise and they are tests that keep us on our toes.  They are put there to see if we have the trust in Him to keep moving forward while not knowing the outcome.  Faith and trust go hand in hand.  Things will work out knowing that what will be, will be and is not under any control of our own. That is the belief that drives me to accomplish the objective that is set before me and the peace within me that keeps my mind clear of the static around me. 

My vision is clear and the path I walk is full of things I stumble on and tread through with only the strength from the good Lord above.  People have been placed in this path to either help or hinder, and it is through discernment to make decisions for what is good for the purpose that I have been given.

I will do whatever I can to help complete the goals and mission of our new foundation.  My purpose is to lead and follow through with the plans of our set mission.  I will not stop and will not give up.  The children are too important and the families that endure the hardship of raising a child with special needs will not stop either.  That will, that determination is what keeps me going.  I want to make a difference in the world.  I want to help change the world and not for money, fame or notoriety.  I want to make a difference for the better of people because it is what we are suppose to do.   I do this for my son, I do this for my family and the families before and after me.  I do not do this for me.  The power of determination in me will accomplish the goals I have set to help those who can't help themselves.  I will not stop until I am dead and have gone from this Earth, but hope to leave a legacy of the power of one can turn into many to help others in need.  That is why we are here, our purpose.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

And We're Off

It has been a crazy two months.  The foundation has taken off and we are working on development, awareness and a patient registry program.  We have also started developing our website  The response has been wonderful.  On top of the foundations progress, Beckett has been making some of his own. 

We have since raised Beckett's seizure medication (Lamictal) and when he is not sick, progress is quite faster than expected.  His words are becoming more and his articulation has been where you can make out what his needs are.  It helps that he points to what he wants.  We are still having our moments of the frustrating melt downs and the constant running around like a motor won't turn off.  But it seems to cycle every couple of weeks and when we up his dose of medicine he levels out and acts himself.  Since Beckett was a baby he has been sick about every 3 - 5 weeks and on antibiotics and it seems like all the time. We have had his adenoids and tonsils removed, but his frequency of strep infections has been countless.  We are adding another specialist to our list in April.  We are taking him to see an immunologist to see why he is sick all the time and why he is so prone to strep infections.  My concern is that the frequency of antibiotics he takes are beginning to show their ineffectiveness of fighting strep and looks to be antibiotic resistant. 

We wanted to share with you a video of Beckett and his twin sister riding their first carnival ride together for the very first time.  I was so excited that they were able to share a moment together, with no adaptations, no restrictions, no worry and the excitement of being a 6 year old kid.  I was so proud of both of them hanging on for dear life as they spun around.  Well, He let go a couple of times which scared the poo out of me, but it ended up being a great day for everyone:)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Announcing!!! Bridge the Gap - SYNGAP Education and Research Foundation

I am excited to announce our new organization called Bridge the Gap - SYNGAP Education and Research Foundation.  Our mission is to serve, educate and fund research for families coping with the effects of SYNGAP mutations.  We are the first foundation to specifically raise funds for research and awareness for SYNGAP.  In the coming months we will be focusing on development and fundraising.  Co-founder Olga Bothe and myself will soon announce our Board Members and our Medical Advisory Board and the launching of our new logo and website.  It will be full of information, patient stories  and current goals of the foundation along with valuable resources for families.  Please check out our Facebook page and Twitter Pages for current information.

Facebook Information Page:

We have launched our first fundraiser for the Bridge the Gap and would love to see your pictures on our new donor wall we are building. 
Check out our wall!

We also just joined #giveRARE to raise money for my #raredisease. You can sign-up your nonprofit at Let's do this!
After Beckett's Functional MRI - Texas Children's Hospital
This is all for this little boy and his friends with SYNGAP.  These precious people can suffer from many types of seizures, intellectual disability, the ability to speak, sensory disorders and many more symptoms this rare neurological disorder.  We want to help theses individuals live better lives and with your help they can.  Research is going on now to find better therapies, but funding is hard to find.  Please help us help them. 
Our goal one day is to be able to help families off set the cost of the continuous burden of medical expenses and provide resources to relieve the stress of raising a child or being a caregiver of a specials needs individual with SYNGAP.
Please Share and Tell people you know about us.  There are more individuals out there yet to be identified.  We appreciate any support you can give us. 
Update on Mr. Bean: 
In the hustle and bustle of things we have been keeping up with our little Bean.  He is doing quit well on his new medicine and his meltdowns have seemed to subside some.  His language is still developing and is trying to say more words.  We received part of his MRI update before the Christmas Break.  He has had only a very small measureable amount of change in the myelin increase in his brain.  There are still spots of undeveloped myelin in his brain, which is expected usually in children with intellectual disability. We are still waiting on the functional MRI results to tell us exactly what parts of the brain are developing normally or abnormally.  We are also participating in a research project through VIP connect.  They are studying several gene mutations linked to both developmental delay and autism.  All four of had our blood drawn and they will bank the blood and as science catches up they will test it for any identifiable markers.  His sister wasn't to thrilled with the needle stick, but she took it like a trooper.  Beckett seems to be a pro now and was ready and rearing to go. 
Beckett is a pro
Pyper's dad is a goofball...she's a trooper