I jumped into Avery’s diagnosis headfirst. I have always believed that I am a resourceful person, but even I was surprised by how fiercely I sought support so quickly. Within the first few weeks I already had in-home therapy scheduled and was a part of our local Down Syndrome support group. The first order of business was to begin the multiple rounds of testing needed to ensure Avery was as healthy as possible. I was not prepared for how mentally exhausting this would be.
We were scheduled to see an Oncologist, Ophthalmologist, Radiologist, Cardiologist, and a hearing specialist all within the first month of finding out. We also started going to physical therapy twice a week and had occupational therapy once a week. Even though our packed schedule would emotionally catch up to me on a weekly basis, I found some comfort in the routine and it served as a coping mechanism. I was too busy surviving to feel any grief or painful emotions. It feels odd when you throw yourself into the very thing you are trying to avoid, in order to cope. I found myself trying to do everything quickly because I felt if I could get it all out of the way, I could go back to just being Avery’s mom and gain back our normalcy. I was sorely mistaken.
There eventually came a point when I felt I was truly going to lose my sanity. My irrational plan of taking care of business in such a wild, fast pace backfired. As soon as we completed a few tests either the results would lead us to more testing, or something else would come up. The appointments were never ending.
During this time, we had so much support from our friends and family. Thinking about the outpouring of love brings tears of gratitude to my eyes even while I write this. My parents became a strong foundation of love and strength and I saw a degree of compassion from them I never knew existed. However, the one person that will always stand out the most to me as being the force behind my strength is my father.