In the midst of all the appointments, misdiagnoses, genetic testing, oh yeah…and Covid, I was desperate to get another opinion for Jackson. While having lunch with a friend, she was told me about a doctor she heard of. He’s known to work miracles with his patients, many who have neurological issues, so I decided to reach out. I was willing to do anything to change the trajectory of what we were dealing with.
On a Thursday I emailed the office, explaining our story briefly but with the important details and said a little prayer as I hit “send.” I got a call the next day saying that Dr. J is not taking anymore patients but he wanted to help Jackson. They had an opening for us that following Monday morning!
Dr. J is a chiropractor/kinesiologist who Jackson started seeing weekly for adjustments. Every week he would send us home with different remedies, all natural lotions and potions, as well as a complete diet overhaul. We have seen Jackson come leaps and bounds in the last few months. From social interactions to academics to his tremors and ADHD, together we are healing Jackson from the inside out, both mentally and physically.
In late October, we had a follow-up appointment with Jackson’s developmental pediatrician. She was going through all of our results since March and asked how Jackson was overall. We told her exactly how he was – thriving. She asked why Jackson wasn’t on the Parkinson’s medication that the neurologist prescribed in August, after he suggested we stop all medication. (Pro tip: become besties with your pharmacist. I called our pharmacist, Dustin, every single time they wanted to take him off or put him on something and he was a great sounding board!) Therefore, we didn’t put Jackson on Parkinson’s medication to begin with. We told her that we are staying off medications until his next MRI (April 2021) because we believe that the brain damage was being caused by the meds coupled with his gene mutation. She agreed.
Fast forward to today… Since we decided to homeschool, even before Covid, we knew that we would lose his services he was receiving through his IEP. That included behavioral, OT, speech, pullout minutes, etc. Although I tried to continue the services through the school, it became difficult to navigate. The district Special Ed director suggested setting Jackson up for homebound academics or partial days. I didn’t feel that Jackson needed homebound, and I definitely didn’t want to take someone else’s (limited) spot. Partial days could have worked, but his appointments vary week to week. It became a headache trying to figure out how that would even work. So we unenrolled for the year and we know that if Jackson goes back, his services will still be in place.
Jackson has on the average 2-3 appointments each week. We see Dr. J biweekly now and Jackson has speech and OT once a week each. The beautiful thing about homeschool is that if we are pulled away, we can pick up whenever and wherever we are. We have had geography lessons at 9 pm when he had a question about a story setting. We have had PE days hiking at a local state park. In science we’ve grown caterpillars and released butterflies. Jackson is now reading little chapter books, not because he has too, but because he wants too. Currently in math, we are studying budgeting. He has his list of gifts he wants to purchase and has to figure out what he can and can’t afford. He’s a regular in the kitchen now too, always helping chopping, peeling, and measuring.
I try and stick to TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) in the event he goes back, but turning real life experiences into learning lessons has done so much more for him. I don’t want to pretend it’s all easy and great and magical. We have our days. Some days I have to just put it down and walk away. We’ve fought. We’ve cried. I’ve thought many times, am I doing enough?? Am I failing him? I’ve had many breakdowns, behind closed doors and in front of him. This is real life. He needs to know not everything is easy. He also needs to know that it’s ok to have bad days and how to apologize when needed. Life is hard. But life is also a gift. And I’m taking this time to learn alongside my son and soak up the time we now have together.