Therapy Milestones

Right now, I am sitting in the waiting room of a therapy center located an hour away from my home. I’ve been here every day for the last three weeks. Anne is finishing up another round of TheraSuit Intensive Therapy. I’ve been juggling my job, Anne’s therapy and normal mom duties. I’m done.

Each day in this waiting room is full of adventure. I’m here for hours every day. Kids with walkers, canes and scooters move past me, and typically they are crying. The same therapists deal with screaming kids every day – patiently pushing them past their comfort zones. There’s something refreshing about being around special needs kids. There is no pretense. What you see is what you get…

They are kind and compassionate. They have grit and determination. When they’re mad, they yell. When they’re happy, they squeal. It’s so simple – and real.

Anne is doing fantastic during therapy. Her strength, energy and balance have all improved since the last session. She cries, yells and squeals just like every other kid in therapy. She’s a mess. But she’s a good mess :)

Therapy will end in another hour or so, and Anne and I will start the hour-plus commute home. Tomorrow is the last day, and I can’t wait!

Sometimes I wonder if all the therapy is worth it. I wonder how much to push – how much time to sacrifice. But then I look at the progress…

Look at the difference between these two videos. The first is of Anne last year. Look at how wobbly and weak Anne’s legs are. The therapist is giving maximum assistance, holding Anne with one hand and moving Anne’s cane with the other. The second video was taken today. Anne is with the same therapist, but she is so much stronger!! Anne is able to manage the cane independently and the therapist is holding her lightly for balance/safety. The difference is amazing.

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I guess we’ll keep taking one day at a time – resting in God’s strength to get through today and trusting in His faithfulness to provide the strength for tomorrow :)

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Pray for Anne…

November 2014’s prayer requests:

Please pray for Anne…

  1. That she would begin to regain the use of her left hand through regular hand therapy.
  2. Anne has just been diagnosed with ADHD (as a result of her brain injury). Please pray that we would find the best medication to help improve her attention.
  3. Finally, please pray for God to give Anne endurance and determination. She is being challenged both academically and physically and she needs the will to overcome!

Thank you for your prayers!!! Your continued prayer and support after all these years is so encouraging to our family!

Reformation Day & A Note from the Teacher

Today is Halloween, but it is also Reformation Day. Reformation Day is the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The debate which followed prompted the start of the Protestant Reformation. I love Reformation Day as it reminds me of God’s sovereign care to preserve the truth of His Word throughout history.

On a much smaller scale, I have been reminded of God’s sovereign care as He continues to work in Anne’s recovery. Recently, Anne started therapy for her left hand . After 4.5 years of NEVER being able to move her left hand, she used her thumb and index finger to pinch a goldfish and bring it to her mouth. If I hadn’t seen it personally, I would never have believed it possible. This is AMAZING.

Also, Anne’s special education teacher recently posted in the comments section, and it was such a glowing report, I wanted to highlight it :)

If I may add to your post. As some of your friends and church members may not realize how far Anne has really come. We had another annual meeting at school for Anne. It’s been almost 4 years since Anne returned to school since the accident. I will NEVER forget when she came into my classroom( along with Mrs. Jackson, Canon and Kate) and Anne asked, “Are you my mother( from the Dr. Seuss book)?” She’s come so far from not throwing things in the classroom to being able to function fairly well as a 3rd grader. She can do quite a bit of academic work, she’s starting to read, can type sentences and paragraphs with assistance and is even learning addition with regrouping, and multiplication as been introduced. She even started using the regular computer with a track ball. We are even discussing more assistive technology as she approaches middle school. Unthinkable 2 years ago when she would just turn the off and on switch on the computer. Also, she uses her walker throughout the school day. Quite an accomplishment from where she was…I firmly believe that Anne would not have come as far as she has without the support of her family and friends.

We are so proud of Anne. Her life is a testimony to God’s goodness and sovereignty!!

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Anne and her big brother, Canon

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Anne standing with her little sister, Kate

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Kate and I dressed up for our school’s celebration of Reformation Day

Happy Reformation Day :)

Very Full

I realize that I neglected to post Anne’s monthly prayer request update for October. Bottom line: our life is full!

I absolutely love my new job. It is energizing to be challenged academically, to interact with students and godly staff, and to teach again. In everything I do, I am always a teacher, so being an official ‘teacher’ makes it easy to be who God made me to be :)

I’m thankful that I am only a part-time teacher. Being part-time allows me to be home when Anne gets off the bus. It also allows me to take her to all of her doctor’s appointments!

Anne’s appointments are about to get very overwhelming…

  • This week, she starts acute hand therapy. We are finally at a place in her recovery to address her left hand. Her thumb joint is unstable and her left wrist and fingers are severely contracted. We will go to a highly respected hand therapist twice a week through December.
  • In January, she will start her 4th session of Intensive TheraSuit Therapy. This involves driving an hour to and from a therapy clinic every weekday for three weeks.
  • We are also working with a neuro-psychologist and neurologist to begin a medication regimen to improve Anne’s attention.

I also have two other children with hectic schedules of their own! So yes, we are very full.

When I begin to feel overwhelmed, I breathe. And then I ask for God’s help! I need to give myself grace to let the laundry pile up and to eat a few take-out meals for dinner. In the end, it’s only the unseen that has value…

Laundry is seen, but perseverance is unseen. Anne’s disability is seen, but the love of Christ in her is unseen. So we press on – trusting in the unseen person of Jesus, and finding rest in him in the midst of our overwhelming schedules :)

Double Digit Milestone

Today is Anne’s 10th birthday! It’s hard to believe…

At the beginning of the summer, I made a goal to have Anne 100% potty trained by her 10th birthday. Well…she did it! She’s totally potty trained. She consistently communicates when she has to go to the bathroom. She’s totally dry at night, and I can’t remember the last time she had an accident. She’s even wearing underwear at school and hasn’t had an accident there in a month! Yay!! No more pull-ups. We are so PROUD of Anne!

Another milestone is that Anne is walking semi-independently with her walker around the house. She still needs help transitioning in and out of a chair and avoiding obstacles, but overall, she’s doing great!!

Happy Birthday Anne!!

 

Pray for Anne…

September 2014’s prayer requests:

Please pray for Anne…

  1. Anne has had a great start in school. Her reading has improved and her teachers are impressed with her academic progress!
  2. Even though Anne is progressing academically, she is struggling behaviorally. Her shortened attention span and increased impulsive behavior negatively affect her academic performance. Over the next few months, we will inquire with several doctors about medications to improve Anne’s attention. Please pray for wisdom as we begin this new journey.
  3. Finally, please pray for God to give Anne PATIENCE. Anne’s desire for independence has increased (which is wonderful), but…her frustration level has also increased. She needs a healthy balance between determination and patience.

Thank you for your prayers!!! Your continued prayer and support after all these years is so encouraging to our family!

Pray for Anne…

August 2014’s prayer requests:

Please pray for Anne…

  1. Anne starts school August 4th. Please pray for a smooth transition to 3rd grade. Pray for Anne’s teachers – that God would give them special wisdom for how to teach Anne well.
  2. Please pray for Anne to make great progress in reading and math this year.
  3. Please also pray that Anne would experience the peace and presence of God in special and significant ways.
  4. Finally, I humbly ask you to pray for me. After 10 glorious years of being a stay-at-home mom, I’m re-entering the workforce! I begin my new job as Latin Teacher at ACCA tomorrow (Canon and Kate’s school). I need God’s help as I try to balance my new responsibilities as a teacher with my ongoing work at home.

Thank you for your prayers!!! Your continued prayer and support after all these years is so encouraging to our family!

Camp TBI Update

Anne has done GREAT at overnight camp! She’s participated in swimming, archery, canoeing, crafts, music, games and even singing and dancing on stage!! 100_6714

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100_6385We are picking her up tomorrow morning, and she starts school on Monday. We have officially survived the summer! Anne has done so well, and we look forward to what God has in store for Anne this school year. Thank you for your prayers and support and love for Anne and the rest of us Jacksons :)

Pray for Anne…

July 2014’s prayer requests:

Please pray for Anne…

  1. Praise God that Anne’s seizures seem to have subsided along with her extreme emotional outbursts! Anne has become her delightful self again – bringing us joy with her quick wit and loving attitude :)
  2. We also praise God for an outstanding time at a summer day-camp for special needs kids and their siblings. Anne and Kate both attended and came away with great memories and a closer relationship.
  3. Finally, Anne has been accepted into her first ever overnight camp!! It’s a camp specifically for kids with traumatic brain injuries. Camp TBI (To Be Independent) is held at an accessible camp facility and provides one-on-one counselors (all of which are OT students) for their campers. As the date for this camp approaches, I’ll ask for prayer for Anne to ease her homesickness.

Thank you for your prayers!!! Your continued prayer and support after all these years is an inspiration to our family!

A special-needs summer

One month ago, I spent an evening with a few close friends from church. It was a refreshing time of food, laughter and good conversation. We ended the evening in prayer for one another and it hit me in that moment that I was very-much-anxious about the summer. I confessed my anxiety in prayer and my sweet friends comforted me with their presence while I had a good cry!

Why does summer create such anxiety in me? One very wise woman commented on my blog recently,

People who don’t have a special needs child have no idea what “summers” look like. It’s not sleeping in late, lounging around eating meals whenever, etc.but it is constant stress of always making every opportunity a learning experience. Yikes this is hard and some days almost impossible to accomplish.

She nailed it. So what I’ve tried to do is walk the fine line between spending every moment working with Anne and letting Anne watch videos all day! I think the key to this balance is to give the burden to Jesus – let him carry my stress and let him give me the endurance to teach Anne.

It’s a daily battle, but I think it’s going well so far. Each week has presented a little different schedule and/or challenge providing us with the variety I need to endure. I’ve also lifted the burden by having a few people come to work/play with Anne each week.

Another highlight of our summer is that I’ve scheduled two camps for Anne which provide respite for me! Her first camp is this week, and her second camp is at the end of the summer. I’m so thankful for organizations like FOCUS and the Walton Foundation for providing accessible camps for kids like my Anne!

But I think the best thing about this summer is that Anne is thriving! Her seizures and irritability have diminished resulting in her being delightful and fun. I love my time with Anne! We are working on potty training and reading. She is doing well on both goals – staying dry and reading longer sentences.

This past week, I met the same friends who comforted me in my anxiety a month ago. Their first question was, “How’s the summer going?” It was such a relief that I was able to say, “Great!” God has supplied our every need. He always does. I don’t know why I ever worry ;)