Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Austin Finally Catches A Break

Austin is our first born. My gentle, sensitive boy that has no doubt had to jump through many, many hoops. Although, I know there are others going through much, much more out there. In our world Austin has had a lot of issues we have had to work through. It started when he should have been crawling, walking and talking. I noticed then that he was delayed in these areas. I was told by our pediatrician that I was just a nervous first time Mother. When Austin continued to be severely delayed in crawling when he really should have been walking, I continued to push our doctor for a second opinion. In all honesty, it was my greatest fear that Austin had autism. He was not crawling, talking or walking as he should be. He would sit on his rug full of toys and circle his hands and feet continuously. Although he was sociable and very outgoing, the circling and delays had me extremely concerned. Finally, I got my doctor to refer him to a neurologist. With relief that we might be getting somewhere we headed to the neurologist. She did not think that Austin had autism, much to my relief, but did diagnose him with hypotonicity. It is a muscle condition in young children that they do outgrow. Basically in a nutshell, his muscles were weak and overly (hypo) well...floppy, which led to the circling of his limbs. We were refered to speech and physical therapy at under a year of age to try and get him caught up. He did not like it, but it's what we had to do. We continue to have him in speech and his current therapist has helped him ten fold. He now talks and talks and talks. Austin has also had to deal with ear infection after ear infection as a baby. After nearly 10 ear infections before a year of age, we decided to have tubes put in. The anesthesia scared me to death, but in hind sight the surgery was the best thing we could have done for him since he has, only recently, had one ear infection since the tubes were placed.
Then, about a month ago, I noticed a pale patch of skin on Austins forehead about the size of a quarter. I didn't think much of it at first until it started to spread and spread. I originally asked his pediatrician what it might be and she said it could be a fungal infection. So we tried an anti fungal cream on it, to no avail. As we spent our week at the beach we began to get more and more nervous about what was going on because the patch was now significantly lareger and spreading down around his right eye. (In this picture, you can get an idea of the white patch on his forehead. Although harder to see in the photo than in person)

So we went back to our pediatrician and she diagnosed our son with vitiligo. I haven't talked to to many people about it because I was working on acceptance and I didn't want to feel like I had to explain or share with others that it wasn't contagious. I felt the need to justify or explain it and I just didn't want to. Vitiligo is actually the same thing that Michael Jackson had and the "reason" he supposedly had his skin bleached. On a black person it is much, much more obvious than it is on Austin, but we were still extremely upset by the diagnosis. We know how cruel kids can be and there is no way to stop or prevent vitiligo from rearing its ugly head on different areas of Austins body and there are few options available to repigment the skin where it has been lost. In other words, the big white area on his head could possibly A.) spread B.) never go away. Dave had his moment of sadness where I lifted him up and then came mine. I sobbed and sobbed for my son. He is just so beautiful and I felt like he had already had to jump so many hurdles, why oh why did he have to be given this too. I had to remind myself that he is otherwise healthy, happy and beautiful and then I dug my heels in and became determined to figure this out. Our pediatrician refered us to a specialist and today was that day. We LOVED our doctor (who was just as pregnant as I).
In what came as a complete shock to us, she determined that Austin does NOT in fact have vitiligo! I melted into tears instantly. I had really accepted that vitiligo is what he had and so to hear otherwise was such a blessing. He has pityriasis alba ( I know ya'll know what that is, ha!) basically this too is a condition that children get and outgrow. White patches show up on the skin and may or may not spread and it is actually part of his eczema. WHO FREAKING KNEW!!! Which explains why Mason, who also has eczema and allergies, has begun to get more white patches than his brother. It is not permanent. It will go away (maybe not until puberty) but it will go away. There is a cream to help with the repigmentation in the mean time. There is HOPE! I had prayed and sobbed and prayed and sobbed for my boy and HE listened. Even though he already knew the outcome before I even prayed.
I am so happy and relieved for my son. As I said before, I know that there are others going through so much more, but no Mom wants their child to have problems or anything that might cause trauma emotionally down the road. It turns out in this instance, Austin caught his break. It was exactly what I said to Dave the day our pediatrician said it was vitiligo. I said why can't our son just catch a break, and he did! Woo! Hoo!
I mean seriously, look at this boy! Beautiful and perfect! My heart overflows with love for him...

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