Look at that smile!! He so handsome!!!
The Real Superman Part XX
By Jeff King
It has been awhile since I have written. I was bogged down working at summer school and studying my last two college classes of the last semester. I just recently finished both. There has been a few things that have taken place since I last wrote The Real Superman. Dylan was scheduled to have the battery in his VNS changed today, which is 8/5/2015. It never happened, because, the surgeon’s secretary would call every few days to move the surgery further. It was originally scheduled for 7:00 AM, but she called us yesterday after calling us two previous time to reschedule and make it later. Now they wanted to schedule it for 2:00 PM, which is actually insane, because, Dylan wouldn’t have been able to eat anything after 12:00 AM this morning. That means he would have to go about 18 hours before he would be able to eat anything. I guess when you’re second class people these surgeons can reschedule you anytime they feel like it. Dylan being possibly two years old mentally, would be very angry if he was unable to eat for that long, and besides, it isn’t good for his health to go for that long. I am considering on launching a complaint against this surgeon, because, it is ridiculous to expect a child that is like Dylan to go that long without anything to eat.
I truly have a problem with the way people treat children with special needs. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t everyone that does it, but when you’re a parent of a child that has special needs, you notice all the stares and whispers. You notice how some people treat you differently. Just as I was explaining. If we were people that had top of the line health insurance and not Medicaid for Dylan, but perhaps, Blue Cross and Blue Shield; or if we were paying cash, I can bet money that this doctor wouldn’t have continued to put Dylan’s surgery off! It just peeves me! Goddamnit, we are not second class citizens. We matter too! These children matter! We ended up canceling it and rescheduling it for next Thursday. The Secretary told us that if we didn’t reschedule it for next week then we would have to wait until October before we could reschedule it, because the surgeon was going on vacation. Must be real nice? Anyhow, I guess we should be use to this sort of thing by now, since these are the things we have had to deal with since Dylan has been little.
I have written before about how people would say things, for example the woman at the mall who accused Dylan of pushing her kid off the Humpty Dumpty Sliding board. Then there was the woman who blocked the wheelchair access aisle so we couldn’t get Dylan out of the store in his wheelchair. The woman that said that I wasn’t even man enough to make a normal child. Then we went to the MVA to aquire a special parking permit in front of my house, so we can have parking right out in front. We have fought people over this issue. On occasion we have some assclown that decides to park there, but unbeknown to them it is a 500.00 fine to park there. I have actually had words with several neighbors because they parked there. I had one neighbor across from me had someone visiting from Florida parked there. We pull up it is pouring down raining and someone is parked in our spot. I didn’t know who it was. I layed on my horn, hoping someone would come out to investigate and perhaps know who the vehicle belonged to, but to no avail, so I called the police and the officer comes to write a ticket for the vehicle. The lady across the street from me pulls up and ask me what was the problem, I told her that someone parked in my spot. She then says to me, “Do you want me to go get him and make him move?” I replied that I had already called the police. The officer hadn’t arrived as of yet, but she then replies, “Well that is unneccesary!” I did’t know she knew this person, but she began to cuss me out like it was my fault that this ass hat parked in my spot! My daughter began to yell at her, and began to threaten her. That is when the clown that had parked in my spot finally came out of her house and walked across the street. He asked me what was the problem and I explained that I have a permit for the parking space and that it is a 500.00 fine to park there. He said he didn’t even see the two great big signs that read “PERMIT PARKING ONLY”, which also has a number that is affixed to my driver’s side windshield. I replied, “Can you read?” Which he took offense with me. That is when the police officer pulled up. I explained to the officer what transpired. I told the officer if he moves I am not worried about if he gives him a ticket. I just want my parking space so I could get Dylan out of the car and into the house. This is the kind of issues we have had to deal with. One time some Jack hole had parked there and I called the police. The officer that came actually asked me what I expected him to do about it. I informed him that they usually write a ticket for the violators. He told me that he wasn’t comfortable doing that and to park somewhere else. I promptly took his name and badge number and told him that I was calling for another officer. He was a real smart ass. He said, “Go right ahead, they will just send me back and I am not writing a ticket, I don’t have to.” Which really pissed me off. The woman who parked there came walking down the street and the officer asked if the car was hers and she said yes. He said, well you can’t park here. She said “Oh I am sorry, I didn’t know that?” She got in and drove off. Then the officer says to me, “all taken care of” Like he did something. I quickly replied, “Yes, but no thanks to you.” I will be in touch with your supervisor.” I called his supervisor the next day and was assured that I wouldn’t have another issue with an officer writing a ticket, because that is his job.
These are the things we have to deal with. I also explained the stares people give to Dylan. Like he is some kind of freak. He yells out, because he cannot speak. We expect children to stare, but then we have grown ass people rudely stare. We hear them whisper and occasionally laugh. One time, me, Dylan, Terri and my mom was in Wal-Mart and I was walking ahead of them. Terri was pushing Dylan in his chair and Dylan began to scream, it is an impulsive sensory thing that he does. Most people pay no mind to him, because most people no better, but as they’re walking along, Dylan is screaming. I was up ahead, because I was checking on something. Dylan let out an ear piercing squeal there was a lady directly in front of me she looked up and said, “Geese, shut that kid up!” I said, “Excuse me?” and she laughed, “I said, shut that kid up!” I was angry and I yelled at the woman, “What in the hell is wrong with you lady? That’s my child you’re talking about and he is Autistic!” She turned horribly red, “Oh I am so sorry, I didn’t know? I work with kids like him.” She replied. “I sure hope the hell not!” I said furiously “Because I sure feel sorry for them! You intensive asshole!” I added. By then Terri had overheard what was going on and she immediately reamed the woman out as well. Suddenly my 65 year old mother came careening down the aisle with a cart, “What did that bitch say about my grandson!” she yelled. I immediately calmed her down we got what we came to get and quickly left the store without further incident.
These are the things that saddens me. I often wonder is how Dylan will be treated when we’re no longer around and sometimes I feel hopeless; however, there remains a glimmer of hope. We were out at a mall yesterday and me and Dylan sat on a bench waiting for Terri to finish in Torrid. This little boy escaped from his mother and came running over to wear we were sitting. I was on the bench, but Dylan was in his wheelchair. The little boy bean to rub Dylan’s hand and say hi. His mom came over and said, “Did you tell the little boy hi?” they both smiled at us the young woman said hi to me and asked me how I was doing? I told her good thanks. She smiled and walked away. It is these type of things that gives me hope. We have people hating one another because of race issues. We have people hating people because of religion and politics. It seems as if the world is seriously going to hell and we are all on a one way dead end road towards doomsday, but there is yet hope. The little boy that came up to Dylan was probably about three-years old and an African American. He didn’t notice Dylan’s skin color, or his disability, he noticed that Dylan was a kid, just like him. That is truly love and that’s the kind of love that produces hope. (To be continued.)
By Jeff King
Charlotte is a little girl that suffered the same intractable seizures that Dylan has, but quite possibly worse than what Dylan has. She was having up to 300 seizures in a week, and she was incapable of doing anything, but having seizures. Her parent’s the Figis tried everything possible to give their little girl a chance at a normal life. They even tried the ketogenic diet, which actually was spear-headed by Dylan’s neurologist, Dr. James Rubenstein. We actually considered this diet for Dylan, but Dr. Rubenstein didn’t think Dylan could benefit from it, since Dylan loves to eat. That is one thing that he loves to do. His favorite food has got to be egg salad, but he loves any bread, therefore, the diet would be very hard and expensive to implement, and we just don’t have the finances to incorporate it into Dylan’s diet. That being said, the Figis tried this diet, but it didn’t work for poor Charlotte, then they discovered a something that seemed to prove very promising to them. Charlotte’s parents found out that there was a boy being treated for Dravet syndrome (Intractable epilepsy) with a form of Cannabis oil that was low in tetrahydrocannabinol, but high in cannabidiol. This was actually working for this child and it had reduced his seizures by half. Charlotte’s parents found a dispensary in Denver and paid for a high strain of Marijuana and employed a friend to extract the oil for them. They tried it on Charlotte and immediately they began to see results. Charlotte went several hours without any seizures and then several days went by; still no seizures. They had discovered a medical miracle. Charlotte’s life was forever changed. She is able to walk, talk, and do all the things a normal child is able to do. To read more about Charlotte’s amazing story please go to this link http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/07/health/charlotte-child-medical-marijuana/. Upon reading little Charlotte’s story I was so overwhelmed with joy. For the first time, I felt like there is certainly hope for Dylan. I shared the story with Terri.
We both did more research and found hundreds of cases like Charlotte where this CBD oil was working wonders on people with intractable seizures. Where other medications wouldn’t work, this stuff was working, and without all the negative side effects that these man-made poisons were causing in our children. There is only one problem, medical marijuana isn’t legal in the state of Maryland, at least not at the time that we were researching it. They have since legalized medical marijuana in our state, but, the oil is still not legal.
We even considered selling our house and moving to a state where it was legal, however, I am a permanent substitute teacher and I only make 22, 200 dollars a year. Terri doesn’t work, because someone has to be home at all times in case Dylan gets sick and needs to stay home. We do get about 650.00 a month in social security for Dylan, but that is based on my income. The more I make, the less that they give him. It is a vicious cycle and they have put us through the wringer at least once a year since we have started getting it for him. The actually act like the money is coming out of their pockets. The social security administration is the worst government entity that I have ever had to deal with. I will explain that in a later post though.
Anyway, we decided that it just wasn’t feasible to sell our house, which our mortgage is only 650.00 per month, because it is a town house that I bought as an estate sale. We bought what we knew we could afford at the time. We only had two children then and this is the only house that Dylan has ever known, unlike our other two children, but anyhow, my two other children were in high school, so we really didn’t want to pull up roots and move them somewhere else; let alone another state.
My daughter Destiny graduated with honors this year and wants to be an early education teacher, which she decided since she has had to learn to help take care of Dylan at an early age, so she feels drawn into the education field. We are very proud of her. Our son Dacota will be a senior when school starts again in August. He is thinking about taking up graphic art and design. He is actually good at this already. We are also very proud of him. These two children have grown up knowing what it is like to love and care for a person that has special needs. It has helped them to develop real compassion and ultimate character traits. We sure didn’t want to move, because it just wouldn’t have been fair to them. So for now, we have been writing letters to state and local legislators trying to convince them to champion our cause to get this Charlotte’s Web oil legalized here in Maryland. I am even thinking about including a poll on the blog and asking people to vote, so we can present it to our congressman.
I recently became concerned with another issue that we were facing with Dylan. He is a growing boy and he is very solid. The last time he was weighed he already weighed 95 pounds. This may not seem like a big deal, but our room is upstairs, and yes, he still sleeps with us, because as I said in an earlier post, that we became concerned that he may stop breathing in his sleep, so Terri and I decided that it would be best for him to sleep with us, so that we can monitor him through the night. Parents shouldn’t have to worry about these sort of thing, but, it is what it is. I have been obese for the past two years and hadn’t been really strong enough to continue to lift Dylan up to take him up to bed when he fell asleep downstairs, so in February of this year, I began a diet and exercise program in which I have lost over 30 pounds. I have gained more muscle. I have recently contacted some companies to see if they wanted to exchange products for a review on my blog, so I will be adding those reviews whenever I receive these companies’ products. I figured I needed to get stronger and healthier so that I can do everything in my power to be around for Dylan as long as I can possibly be. As I stated in a previous post. I made a promise to him, that as long as I had a breath in my body and a beat in my heart, I would never place Dylan in a healthcare facility. I will continue to keep everyone updated about the Charlotte’s Web oil and these companies’ products. I am also interested in other things which could be helpful for Dylan and would appreciate any ideas, or feedback that anyone may have! Thank You! Please continue this journey with us and as always we appreciate your comments and feedback. (The Real Superman will as always be continued.)
The Real Superman Part I
By Jeffrey King
Why do we consider Dylan the real Superman you may ask? Well if you knew Dylan and children like Dylan, you would see that they really are super! Do they have the power to fly, or bend steel, or are they faster than a speeding bullet? No, but the everyday struggles that these precious children have to endure is nothing less than super. Many people look up to athletes, police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, etc. as heroes, and they definitely are; however, my biggest hero is Dylan and let me explain to you why. In 2003 my wife was pregnant with our third child; which was Dylan. This was a child that we were uncertain that she would be able to have, because in 2001 my wife nearly lost her life due to a medical surgery that went wrong. The doctor ended up cutting a bile duct while he was removing her gallbladder. She was hospitalized for over a month and I was left to care for my two small children who were 2 and 3 years old at the time. I lost my job, due to having to miss so much time caring for them. I won’t get into too much detail about that dark time in our lives.
Time warp to 2003. We found out that my wife was expecting, we were actually shocked, because the doctors said that they didn’t think she would ever be able to have another child. She had a very uneventful pregnancy with no complications. All of her pre-natal check-ups were fine and she did exactly whatever her gynecologist told her to do.
Dylan was born on March 25th 2003 at 5:49 AM. He weighed 8 pounds 9 ounces. He seemed healthy and my wife was fine. No complications. The next morning, he was a little jaundiced, therefore they put him under an ultra violet light overnight. We were discharged the next day, but were told to bring him back to check him out in 3 days, because of the jaundice. We took him back and were given a clean bill of health.
Almost right away we noticed that Dylan was different than our other two children. He had a difficult time sucking his bottle, he couldn’t seem to focus his eyes on anything. He wouldn’t follow my wife’s voice. He was very stiff and floppy. At three months old he couldn’t hold his head up, didn’t smile and couldn’t grasp objects. This was difficult on my wife, because, she felt that something was wrong, but family members just said that she held the baby too much and didn’t let him develop on his own.
We were very concerned that Dylan wasn’t meeting any of his milestones, so we took him to his pediatrician to voice our concerns. He was a little over three months old. She examined him and told us that he just may be developing slower than normal and told us to give him another few months and bring him back if there were no changes. She saw him again when he was six months old and he still was having a developmental delay. She then made us an appointment with a geneticist. It took us several months to get in to see the geneticist and he examined Dylan and did some blood work on him.
Several weeks later we received a call from Dylan’s pediatrician who told us that we needed to go and see the geneticist right away; he had the results of Dylan’s blood test. We called to make the follow up appointment with him and he saw us right away. He brought us into his office and he explained what was going on with Dylan, who was now nine months old. I will never forget the conversation. He told us that what Dylan had, he had never seen anything like it since he became a doctor. He went on to explain that Dylan had a triplication of one of his chromosomes, chromosome 15. He explained that this chromosome had made two copies of itself; the original, the second copy, which was inverted and a third copy of itself. He went on to explain that this was what was causing Dylan’s developmental delay and that there wasn’t anything that he could do to fix it. He told us that Dylan would probably need extensive services to try to get him to develop. He would need physical and occupational therapists as well as a speech therapist. We asked what should we expect and his reply was exactly this, “You can’t put Dylan in a box, I am not sure what he’ll be able or unable to do, but it is better to start these services early to benefit him as much as possible.” He also went on to tell us, “Since I have never seen this condition, I really don’t know what you can expect and if I were you two, I would go do your own research to see if you can find any other children with this rare condition.”
Terri and I were devastated! We felt like we did something to cause our boy to be like this. We saw a child in a wheelchair who was severely crippled and was twisted up like a pretzel. Excuse my description, but that is the only way I could describe him. Terri looked at him and began to bawl uncontrollably. I grabbed her and pulled her to me. I told her, that we didn’t know if Dylan would end up like this, but even if he did, we will be the best parents that he could ever have…… (Continued Later.)
The Real Superman Part II
We went home and together sat at our computer, we googled triplication of chromosome 15 at that time there wasn’t anything written about it, however, a few things did come up in our search one was duplication of chromosome 15, or Isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome. We began to read about it. For more information you can read about Idic 15 at the following websites http://www.dup15q.org/understanding-dup15q/what-is-dup15q-syndrome/
By reading this material we had a little better understanding of what Dylan was going to be like, but these were duplications of the chromosome and not a triplication. We read that 1 in 30,000 newborns are born with this. We read about the developmental delay that the children have, behavioral difficulties, mental retardation, autism, seizures and just so much more. It was truly overwhelming. We stumbled on an organization that was called Unique The Rare Chromosome Disorder Support Group. They were based in the United Kingdom. We wrote to them about what the geneticist told us about Dylan.
Several days later we received an email back from them and they informed us that they believed that Dylan had Idic 15. They signed us up with their organization and sent us a welcoming package that had names of other families who had children with rare chromosome abnormalities. There were families in the United Kingdom, and even many in the United States that had children who had Idic 15. We didn’t feel quite so alone anymore. We would identify Dylan’s disorder with Idic 15, however, he didn’t have a duplication, but a triplication of the 15th chromosome, so we still didn’t really know what to expect?
We contacted the Maryland Infant and Toddlers Program and was entered into Child Find. The sent out a team of assessors to see if Dylan qualified for this program. We shared with them all of Dylan’s health records. After the initial assessment it was determined that he qualified for help and right away they set up home visits from physical, and occupational therapist. These visits would go on once a week and they were not fun for Dylan and made us have to go outside on several occasions. The therapist would come in and ask us a slew of questions before they began to work on Dylan. This was done by twisting and pulling and contorting his little body in every way imaginable. He would scream and cry; it was heartbreaking for us as parents. They brought in a giant exercise ball and would place Dylan on it and roll him around on it. By doing this it helped to loosen up his tight muscles.
Dylan’s therapy went on for several excruciating months. He didn’t like whenever the therapists would show up, because he knew that they would make him work his body. We didn’t like to hear him crying in pain, but it was a necessary evil. I probably was the father from hell towards the therapist, because I would yell at them. They would always make me leave the room. I did start to notice that Dylan began to be able to do things that he was unable to do when before the two therapists showed up. He could now crawl, grasp items and then, he was able to sit up.
Dylan seen these two ladies twice a week for a year and the results were amazing. In the meantime, I had begun blaming everyone for the way Dylan was born. I never told her at the time, but I was sure it was my wife’s fault, perhaps it was the doctor’s fault, or even God? I then started blaming myself and beating myself up over it. It is hard to explain the darkness that some people go through when something like this happens. The tears that I cried and the anger and bitterness that was eating me drove me further away from my wife and my other two children.
I continued to angrily question God, “Why in the hell would you allow this to happen to this child? What kind of cruel God are you?” I’d scream through bitter tears. It was in one of those tear-filled rages that I looked at Dylan. He had now been able to pick himself up off the floor and navigate himself around the room using the furniture for balance. Then the words I heard echo inside of my ears and stabbed me right in my heart! “Stop feeling sorry for yourself! Look at your son, he is awesome! He is a champion. No matter how hard it has been on him he hasn’t given up. He has fallen down thousands of times, yet he still gets back up!” That day my 16 month old son taught me the most valuable lesson I have ever learned in my entire life and if I could share this with anyone this is very important. Never, ever give up! If you falter, or fail a thousand times, a million times; keep fighting the good fight! It was at that very moment in time my whole life changed! Dylan hadn’t given up on us and I would be damned if I would give up on him! (To be continued)