In his two-and-a-half years of life, my son has visited more emergency rooms and met with significantly more specialists than has his six-and-a-half year old sister.
These aren't exactly stats that we're proud of, but here are just a few of the "highlights".
- He required multiple ultrasounds when in the womb because doctors were worried about his short femurs.
- He was briefly hospitalized at 6 months of age.
- He chipped a front tooth on one of his (daily) falls.
- He suffered from speech delay and worked with an Early Intervention Specialist last year.
- He climbed out of his crib last December and semi-concussed himself when his head hit the ground.
- And in January he woke up one morning with a significant stutter that's never really gone away.
Some days the stutter is barely noticeable, but on other days he struggles with EVERY. SINGLE. WORD.
Those are the days when he starts to speak but then stops and instead buries his head into us, refusing to say anything more.
If you Google sudden stuttering in toddlers, you get every response from "It's nothing" all the way to "It's a brain tumour."
Naturally, we panicked.
So far the doctors and specialists aren't too concerned, though, but we're still actively learning how to deal with the stutter and to help him (hopefully) grow out of it.
If this does end up being something he struggles with as he gets older, I have no doubt that the Mama Grizzly in me will want to throat punch the first person who bullies him because of it.
(Just kidding. Sort of.)
Regardless of all these setbacks, our Little Mister is smart and beautiful and perfectly mischievous, like all other little boys his age -- hence the daily falls and the climbing in and out of potentially dangerous situations.
And, when I hear about other little ones who are sick -- and I mean REALLY SICK -- I'm reminded that these struggles we've faced are really nothing at all.
And I'm also reminded that things can change literally in an instant.
The family is this video lives next door to my sister, and their whole world changed overnight.
This little boy is only eight, but he's faced so many challenges in his young life, and he's desperate to find a bone marrow donor to help save his life.
Unfortunately, no one in our household falls within the 17-35 age range required for the screening of potential donors, but hopefully others reading this are eligible and will get tested.
The great thing about this registry is that, once you've been screened, you remain in the system until the age of 60 -- so the potential to save lives is there for years.
I can't imagine what this family is going through in their search for a donor -- and I hope that my family never has to go through anything similar -- but I know that the possibility is always there for everyone.
Life is so precious, and it really can change in an instant.