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In Light of Adam

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: Pamela May is a sighted stay-at-home mother of a blind child. She and her son enjoy shopping, going to yard sales and fishing together. Adam also enjoys listening to music and riding his go-cart styled bike.

My son was diagnosed at the age of five months as legally blind due to optic nerve hypoplasia (underdevelopment of the optic nerve) and cortical visual impairment (inability of the brain to interpret visual images). I can't describe the devastation, hurt and sorrow I felt. "Why God? "was all I asked as I carried my son back to the car after the doctor`s appointment. Tears streamed down my face. For weeks after the diagnosis, I felt alone because I thought that no one could possibly understand.

One month later, returning to the same pediatrician for our regular check-up, I was no more prepared for what came next: "Your son has cerebral palsy."

Stunned and numb, I just sat, staring the doctor straight in the face. I had no clue what cerebral palsy even meant. I just remember saying over and over in my mind, "How can this be happening?" Again, walking to my car with Adam, tear's streaming down my face, I kept praying and asking, "Why?"

All because my son was born at 32 weeks due to my water breaking. I also had pneumonia at the time. I was excited to be a first-time mommy, but I didn't realize the "risk" Adam was about to encounter.

After two hours of HARD labour, my beautiful son, Adam Robert, was born weighing four pounds, three ounces. The room was silent. No crying baby.

It was terrible seeing my baby fight for his life. He had tubes up his nose and down his throat, wires stitched into his belly-button, and heart monitors and breathing machines connected to him. I remember being home and waking first thing in the morning without my son. I felt like the worst mother in the world, leaving my son in hospital when he needed me. But after 11 days, Adam came home to our local hospital in Chatham, Ontario. What a blessing--being with him, talking to him, and feeding him via the feeding tube.

But just holding him was enough. I finally felt like a mom. And his homecoming fell on my birthday!

Many have said pityingly, "Adam needs you so much." But the honest truth is that I need Adam MORE. He needs me to provide guidance and push him to his limits, but I need him for my will to carry on. He gives my life purpose.

At a painful stage in my life, Adam underwent the Bone Twisting operation. His feet were turning inward, making walking impossible. Both of his legs were cut in half at the femur bone, and the hamstrings and heel cords were lengthened. He then wore a body cast for eight long, agonizing weeks.

Adam came home six days after the operation. Despite doctors assurances that medication would numb his pain, he was still screaming in agony, head thrashing back and forth on his pillow and his face turning blue. Why had I scheduled this surgery?

I slept on the couch for two months, administering the codeine, Tylenol, morphine and the antibiotic's as Adam's bed was placed beside the sofa. Throughout the night I would wash his face with a cold washcloth and administer meds as he went through the horrible muscle spasms every 20 minutes. He was in an

"A frame cast, which was a body cast up to the thigh and a bar between the knees's to keep the stretch. It was so painful to watch my son try to sleep in the cast for TWO months, not being able to flip or get comfortable, crying through the night. By the twelfth day the muscle spasms began to subside.

It took about 40 days for him to begin sleeping through the night.

I'm thankful for the operation because Adams now walking, but 1998 was the worst year of my life.

My son is now nine yrs old, walking with a walker and leg braces. I am so proud of Adam in all we have accomplished together. It's been a very long and hard road with lots of "speed bumps" along the way. I look back now upon all Adam and I have gone through and can't believe we've made it this far.

Adam has taught me the true meaning of life. Being a single mom for the past six years has changed everything. Adam is now my focal point, strength and love. The hardest part is making decisions for him and ensuring that my choices are in his best interest, while still coping with finances, board meetings, recreational activities and therapists. At the same time, I am learning to "let go" and let him do things for himself.

I have visions of Adam having a job, wife, kids, dog. Then the thought hits me. When my son has kids? It's those thoughts that push me forward in helping my son achieve his potential. Every mom wants the best for her kids. I also find my strength in Adam's "team" at school. The most wonderful team works with us.

God gave me Adam for a reason, and I no longer ask, "Why God?" I take my life with meaning and motherhood with pride. My life is precious to me because of my son. I'm so thankful to be able to share my life with him, to watch him grow and achieve all he can achieve. I push my son to his limits because

I know in time I have to let him "be a man."I see him as normal as possible living with his disabilities. We just learn to work around them.

I know that with Adam life will be challenging, but what would life be without learning along the way? Let them learn at their own pace and not worry about how far behind they are in life. Parents need to take the time to be with their kids, go down to "their level""they like that!

Adam LOVES it when I get on the floor and rough him up "he climbs over top of me; I climb over top of him. I don't want to miss any of this blessing because

Adam will only be a child once.

I look at my life now, and can't believe that nine years ago I gave life to this tiny miracle at four pounds, three ounces. He now stands to my chest at 85 pounds!

Adam has taught me not to take things for granted. He has taught me patience and understanding and given me love and strength I've never felt before. His love, laughter and funny comments are what make me the person I am today. What more could I ask for?

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. - Carl Jung

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