Saturday, May 5, 2018

I have a confession to make

Confession: This blog exists for many reasons and one of those reasons isn’t all that altruistic.

Here are the five reasons this blog exists:

Reason #1: I want to be a resource for families. When we received Emelyn’s diagnosis in September of 2015 there was only one medical journal about mutations in the DDX3X gene and their link to developmental delays and intellectual disabilities. There was no website, no foundation, no video, no brochure...nothing! This blog was my way of giving DDX3X a real spot on the world wide web for folks to learn about DDX3X.

Reason #2: Writing is a form of therapy for me. Each blog post allows me to unpack the latest Emelyn happenings, be it joyful or challenging, in a deeply reflective way. While writing does not possess this kind of therapeutic power for everyone, it certainly does for me.

Reason #3: Language matters. I’ve developed a love of language over the last few years and it’s important for me to put thought and intention into how I frame up Emelyn’s strengths and weaknesses. I never want to speak about Emelyn in a way that evokes pity or paints an unrealistic picture. This is especially important for families who just received their child’s diagnosis. I want them to leave my blog with hope for their daughter.

Reason #4: Emelyn has a fan club made up of family, friends, church members, co-workers, friends of friends, doctors, therapists, researchers, teachers, and even perfect strangers. These are the people who love and pray for Emelyn, donate money to the DDX3X Foundation in honor of Emelyn, fight insurance companies and school systems on behalf of Emelyn, and cheer for Emelyn at each and every accomplishment. Because of the love from these folks, it’s important to me that I keep folks informed of  how Emelyn’s doing.

Reason #5: Lastly, and here is where the confession comes in, this whole blog thing was a course requirement. Yes, that’s right, I had to do it! In early September of 2015, as I sat in my fourth course for my masters degree, I was informed by Dr. Ken Nicely that one of the course requirements was to start a blog. Seriously! What the heck was I going to start a blog on? Couldn’t I just write a paper or take a test. Then, as divine destiny would have it, just a few days later came the call from our genetics counselor with Emelyn's DDX3X diagnosis. It was that sequence of events that led to this blog.

While that course ended in December of 2015, the blog has lived on. No longer is this blog a four-credit course requirement for graduation—instead it’s a labor of love to share Emelyn’s story with you and to raise awareness about DDX3X.

It’s not always easy to keep current on the blog—for me as the writer and for you as the reader. We live busy lives. Some days I grow weary of writing. Between work, school, and volunteer work I have far more screen time that I’d like, but today I had confirmation that this blog matters. A mom from Australia was doing what every mom does when you have an undiagnosed child and desperately needs answers—she turned to the internet. This particular mom found this blog and saw her daughter in the words and photos of Emelyn. She visited to further her research. With her momma-gut guiding her, she consulted her daughter’s doctor and requested they look for a change in her daughter's DDX3X gene. Turns out, her momma-guy was right. Her daughter has a mutation in her DDX3X gene. Not only did this blog get me an A back in 2015, it got a family answers and direction.

So here is where I’m going to get a little sappy in you. Do you ever feel like God has a plan for you? I certainly do. He knew good and well that I wasn’t going to start a blog on my own—He (through Dr. Nicely at Hollins University) had to make it a course requirement to get me started. And because of that course requirement I’m helping others get answers to the questions they have about their child.

So, there you have it, I’ve confessed my intentions and I have to say, I’m proud of this little venture. And I’m proud of you, my faithful readers, for sticking with me. Your support means so much to our family.

(I leave you with the following video of Emelyn sporting her new helmet and walking like a champ.)


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