When you’re on the journey of God’s next. The road is not always easy. You see God will take you through the wilderness where you’ll encounter all types of hardships. We quite often want to stay in the bondage of the old, because it is hard, but at least we know what we have. Many stay where they’re content, because it’s just easier that way. Most people are afraid to start a new journey, because they are afraid of the unknown, they’re afraid of the struggle before them. Many who do partake on a new journey is often met with what they believe to be unsurmountable odds. They cry out for food and water and safety, because at least where they were offered that to them. Where they’re headed is an unseen land and often the road is narrow and dark. We quite often travel through barren wastelands where there seems to be no promise of a new and brighter day. Quite often we climb hazardous mountains on our journey to the next; forging our way through the roughest terrain that we could ever imagine. We want it easy, but no greatness comes so cheaply. Greatness cost us everything. We want to learn our lessons without sacrifice without hardship, without going through the darkness. We want to sit atop of the apex and look out over the valley to see what awaits us on God’s journey of next. God knows that we can never learn what He is trying to teach us if we stay atop the mountain. He knows that the valleys and the deepest shadows are where we learn the most. We learn to trust, to wait, to hope to endure, through our deepest and darkest moments in our lives. A wise man knows that the journey through life is just that a journey. We were never meant to become content with where we are at, but look forward with hope to the next part of our journey. When life for me here has ended, I do not believe that my journey will end at death, but it will be the next leg of this journey that we are all on. We cannot see that side of eternity, but we look on with expectant hope that our journey to God’s next awaits us there. Sometimes the journey is thrust upon us. We are taken out of our comfort zone and are forced to begin a new journey; not a journey we would have chosen for ourselves. 12 years ago Terri and I were forced upon a journey that I am sure that we would have never chosen for ourselves. We were young and inexperienced when Dylan was born. We were parents, but could have never imagined the journey that awaited us with Dylan. He has been our guide through this journey. We have learned so much along the way. I decided to go into special education, because of Dylan. I am no longer content with just teaching children with special needs. I now want to be able to do more for my son, other children and adults that have special needs. I want to be their voice, their advocate. I want to be a defender of the defenseless! I want to be able to fight for their rights. See the thing is when you’re on a journey, you get hungry. You need sustenance. You look forward to crawling and scraping through the wilderness, you know that shadows and darkness awaits you, but you also know that shadows cannot exist without light. That light is what keeps you going. You know when you reach the top of that mountain you have a meeting with the Almighty and he is giving you another set of marching orders to carry out! Then it’ll be onto the next journey! A wise man once said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I say enjoy the journey.
The Real Superman Part X
By Jeff King
Over the next several month’s Dylan continued to have seizures he had Grand Mal, Absence, Myoclonic, Clonic, Tonic, atonic. You name it, he had it. The seizure activity was so frequent, my wife and I often wondered how long can Dylan survive like this. These dark, demonic beast had taken control over my son’s body and mind. Between the Clonazepam, and the seizures, this little boy was absolutely fried. I remember crying leave him the hell alone! After he would shake and violently convulse. I felt like Father Damien Karras in the Exorcists when Regan was convulsing and being distorted by the demon that had possessed her! I to screamed out “Take me! Come into me!” Leave him the hell alone! He doesn’t deserve this! He hasn’t done one thing to deserve this! He is an innocent child! This demon was slowly consuming my baby and I felt powerless. I couldn’t do a damn thing to help him. What a dark feeling. I felt like the Devil himself had come to dwell in our household. This sinister being that held my son hostage had made me realize that this was indeed a dire situation. I started remembering the scriptures “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Acts 19:15 I felt just like one of the Seven Sons of Sceva, because this beast didn’t know me, but it sure was very acquainted with my son and this demon wasn’t going anywhere. I remember the words that Jesus had spoken in Matthew 17:21 “However, this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.” I had prayed, I had fasted I had done everything that I could possibly think of doing, but this one wasn’t going a damn place. It sure wasn’t going back to the hell that it came from, but it did bring hell with it and it was unleashing every dark power it could unto my son and all we could do is watch helplessly! “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” I cried those very words. It stung my heart. The feeling of helplessness and hopelessness had taken control of me and my wife. We weren’t just walking through the valley of the shadow of death we were neck deep in the mire of it!
We went back to the neurologist who now prescribed another medication that was supposed to be great for seizures. It was called Keppra and it isn’t a good drug either. Some of the side effects are horrible and Dylan was becoming more and more non-verbal so he didn’t have a voice to tell us how he was feeling, or what this poison was doing to him. Just some of the side effects were: Hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior, suicidal thoughts, bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness; feeling very weak or tired, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat, problems with walking or movement
Imagine your child taking a medication approved by the FDA that can cause hallucinations or suicidal thoughts and your child cannot tell you how he’s feeling? Over the first several weeks on this poison Dylan began to bruise more easily every time we turned around Dylan had a new bruise on another part of his body. This certainly wasn’t the worst of it though. Dylan became weak and very lethargic. He would simply lay on the couch and didn’t do anything. He didn’t even enjoy watching any of his cartoons anymore. The little boy who was once so happy and lively had become a shell of his former self. I cried often. As a man society seems to believe that if you cry then it is a sign of weakness. I didn’t give a damn about what society thought about me. My son who once was filled with such joy and love was now this empty being that was now impassive and cold. His beautiful voice was now gone and would never return. The singing had stopped, the laughter had stopped the joy ceased to exist. We were left with memories of a different Dylan. A Dylan that used to run and play and joke and sing and talk and laugh. These demons had robbed his very soul. Between the poisons we were pumping into his body and the seizures which still had control over him, my little boy was gone! Terri and I went through the 5 phases of grief all over again; only this time it seemed much worse.
This had an effect on the entire family. The kids stopped playing with Dylan, because, he wasn’t interested in playing or really doing anything. He would just lay around. At school he regressed and no longer did anything that he used to. The teachers let him sleep most of the time, because the seizure activity was so bad that he would seize sometimes up to fifty times a day and that was with the two medications that he was on. We now had gotten him a wheel chair, because he could no longer walk. Just a few short years ago, Dylan ran in the Special Olympics. This child couldn’t even crawl, let alone walk!
This was indeed one of the darkest times in our lives. The journey we were on had driven us across an arid desolate wilderness. There were no oasis in site and we were getting ready to climb the highest mountain facing the toughest terrain that we would have to encounter yet. If there were a light at the end of this tunnel we had not spotted it yet. We were left forsaken and alone, but we had to continue to trudge on.
The Real Superman Part VIIII
By Jeff King
We made an appointment to see a Neurologist at Sinai hospital in Baltimore city. The Neurologist was supposedly one of the best around. We met him and he had all of Dylan’s hospital records from the previous seven years. Our first impression was a good one of this gentleman. He seemed very knowledgeable and genuinely caring. He played with Dylan and made us feel at ease. He talked about a treatment program that we should start and the first medicine he prescribed for Dylan was a seizure medication known as Lamictal. Lamictal would have the least effect on Dylan’s cognitive skills, so the neurologist explained. We began to give him this new medicine and right away, the seizures stopped. He was doing so well on this medication. We felt like the seizure activity that he had been experiencing was just a little hic up in his overall health, but now with this new medication, he would be back on track.
He continued to make progress and the seizures hadn’t effected his cognitive skills as of yet. He was loving on a new show Yo Gabba Gabba and his favorite character on this program was a little fuzzy monster-like dude named Broobie. Dylan quickly learned the songs on this show and began to sing them. His favorite was called “Party in my Tummy” I still remember Dylan saying, “Does the green beans want to go to the party in my tummy?” He would wait several seconds before answering that question, “Yeah” then he’d break into the song, “There’s a party in my tummy, so yummy, so ,yummy, there’s a party in my tummy!” You get the gist of it.
We weren’t really concerned about Dylan’s cognitive skills. He continued to learn how to say words and use sentences. We understood that most of his language was mimicking what he heard, but, he did know and understand so much. Maybe we should have been more concerned, but at the time there was no indication that he would regress and become nonverbal.
After about two weeks of taking the Lamictal Terri noticed a slight rash around his mouth. We weren’t sure what it was so she called the neurologist to voice our concerns. He asked us to watch him overnight and see if the rash got worse. He never told us to stop giving Dylan the Lamictal. The next day the rash had spread all over his body and he was covered in big blotches. His skin looked as if he had an extreme sunburn. We called the neurologist and he told us to bring him into his office right away. We took him into his office and he said, “I was hoping that this wasn’t going to happen? He’s having an allergic reaction to the medication. He then prescribed some antibiotics to begin giving to Dylan right away. He told us to discontinue the Lamictal. We took him home and gave him the antibiotic. It was about a week before he was better. The neurologist then prescribed Clonazepam tablets to begin giving him. These things would begin to have Dylan spacing out. He slowly began his dark decent into an abysmal place where we weren’t sure if we could ever get him back from.
We had gone through some very tough times before Dylan began to have these seizures. I have already mentioned how Terri went into the hospital to have surgery to remove her gallbladder. It was supposed to be a very quick and easy procedure; a same day procedure. It would be done with the doctor using endoscopic surgery. This minimally invasive surgery was supposed to be an easier and safer way for Terri to have her gallbladder removed, however, the surgeon ended up cutting a bile duct and bile from her liver began draining into her stomach. She nearly died and she had to be transferred to John Hopkins Hospital where a well renowned surgeon who had invented the surgery to fix her practiced at. He saved her life. I touched on this just a little, because about three years after Dylan was born, Terri developed a pretty big hernia, most likely from carrying around Dylan. She had to schedule another surgery with the doctor who had created a new bile duct using part of her large intestine to do it. He would perform the hernia operation, because, we didn’t trust any other hospital or doctor around. She had complications and ended up in the hospital for two weeks. She was so upset, because she kept thinking Dylan would forget who she was. He slept with me on the couch for those two weeks, which was a binding experience for the both of us.
When Terri was released from the hospital, I tried to take some time off the job I had been working for the last ten months, but, because I hadn’t been there for the entire year, I was told by their HR department that I could not do it. I had no choice to resign to take care of Terri and the children. It was a tough dark time in our lives. I can’t mention the name of the company I was working for at the time, because they may sue me if I was to, but let’s just say that they were an up and coming Baltimore Clothing company that has ties to the NFL and whose clothes can now be seen in movies, and even other sports franchises. They were not very family friendly and it is sad that the owner got rich off the backs of his workers and didn’t care if those workers had families or more important things to attend to. I could say Karma is well you know. I know I am being so cliché. Anyway, it is my sincerest hope that the owner will one day reap what he has sown!
I mention these things only because it sets the events in the story of what troubles we would have to face next. We as a family had continuously walked through the shadows, but each and every time we came out holding tight to the light of a promise. A promise of a new and brighter day. Little did we know that this struggle was just getting started. (To be continued.)