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Portrait Of A Hero - Kathy


Today’s hero is Kathy Radigan, author of My Dishwasher Is Possessed blog.

I had a delightful time doing a phone interview with Kathy.  It’s a lot of fun to hear the voices of some of my favorite blog friends.  While visiting with her, I began to see how important ATTITUDE is in dealing with the trials we face in our lives.  As you read about Kathy, I hope you will see what I’m talking about.

Kathy  has been married for 18 years.  It took a while for them to have children (you can read about her 4 miscarriages on her blog).  She is now the mother of 3 kids and all of them have health issues.  As Kathy puts it, “My life is crazy and great…I love it.  My kids give me purpose in life!”

Her oldest son is 12 year old Tom.  Tom has Dyslexic issues with sensory problems.  He is not fully autistic.  “I did a lot of calling to people and specialists to help with Toms issues.  We didn’t send him to a special school. It was right for him to attend a regular class so he could learn not to fear.  Tom is a bright child.  He has a mind like a sponge…the encyclopedia type of knowledge. He asks great questions,   and works really hard. Tom has his challenges but does really well.”

While I was interviewing/visiting with Kathy on the phone, I could hear Tom in the background.  I asked Kathy if he wanted to talk to me and we had a fun little visit that went something like this:

Me – Tell me about your family.
Tom - It’s good being in the family. 
Me – What do you like to do in school?
Tom – I’m having a big concert at school.  I’m in the chorus. 
Me – What kind of music do you like?
Tom - I like the Beetles. 
Me – You have a pretty cool Mom!
Tom - I love my mom and I like her blog. 

Lizzy is 9 years old.  “When she was 6 wks old, I realized something not right.  We started going to specialists to see what was wrong.  Lizzy didn’t fit into any one category, so the doctors thought her condition was temporary.   She was not consistent with other case histories.  She would progress and then slide back, then start progressing again, retaining everything she had learned before.  For a long time she wouldn’t talk and we wondered if she could, the she surprise us one day by speaking intelligent, and complete sentences.”

Kathy talked about how as a mother, she would stay up nights wondering what they might be missing. Did Lizzy have food allergies? Was there something they were not noticing that would account for Lizzy’s condition?  The hardest to manage would be Lizzy’s mood swings.  She could go 24 hours without sleeping, she would have intense screaming fits and then come out it and be fine. 

Finally, they found a Child Psychiatrist at Columbia Hospital.  “This doctor took time with us, studied the symptoms and found that Lizzy fit closest to the bi-polar model.   She is on meds now to help her get control.  Along with the bi-polar, Lizzy has seizures and is growing too fast.  At age 7, her body was that of a 12 year old. A lot of the time Lizzy lives in a fantasy world.  Sometimes she is with us and sometimes she’s not.”

Kathy and her husband spent a long time dealing with “a whole lot of fear and no answers…But everything is holding right now.  I used to think that if a child has this and this wrong, then we should be able to know why…but we don’t know why.  It’s amazing to not have a diagnosis and be able to join clubs where we can talk to other parents dealing with the same issues.   Instead of asking myself am I doing something wrong as a Mom?  Is there something I can do to change this? I understand that at this point, this is where we are."

Peter is 6 years old and Kathy calls him her secret wish child.  “He is the comic relief in our home and gets along well with everyone.  He is strange but part of the family cause we’re all strange.  He is creative in building things…the only family member that is gifted in this area.   Peter is very visual, and has Spectrum quirks. 

Sometimes he would come home  and would get frustrated and hit…If Peter had been my first child, I would have a hard time with this, but after raising Tom and Lizzy,   I understand that this is not a problem…it’s a challenge and we’ll get through it. Nothing really throws me anymore. This is just who we are, we all have something and it just works.   I deal with it using humor.”  (If you’re familiar with Kathy’s blog you’ll know what I’m talking about!)

Kathy has some very wise advice for you…

“Go with your gut feeling if you feel something is wrong/right don’t let others sway you.  Stand up for yourself and your kids in a helpful way.  You will not always know what it is, but you have a certain feeling…go with that feeling.  Trust in your mother’s intuition.  Force the doctors and teachers to look at the whole child not just the test scores.   Doctor’s, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, and friends, all have their opinions, but trust your gut feelings.

Have FUN!  I get upset and cry, just like everybody else, this is normal. Every child will come up with something different.  As a parent we are to guide kids on their road, but it’s their road and they have to live it.  Pain helps us learn…its messy, its sticky and then you move on.”



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23 comments:

  1. Another GREAT guest post Becky Jane! I stopped over to My Dishwasher is Possessed and said hello. Of course I told her I came from your blog.

    Thanks again for letting us get to know new bloggers.

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  2. Becky, thank you for featuring Kathy in your Portrait Of A Hero series.

    Kathy, your children are absolutely beautiful and I love your spirit, in spite of the challenges you all face. May God continue to strengthen you and bless you.

    Rosann

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  3. Awww.....both of you ladies are hero's of mine. You know that.

    I remember when I found out our 4th had aspergers. Oh I cried, I was sure it was some random head injury during birth and it was all my fault. And then a little 22 year old girl I used to work with looked at me and said, "Ya know, I'm grateful God chose you to be his mother. I know you can handle it better than anyone else could have."

    I was 34 at the time. Sure put me in my place.

    Lots of love ladies.
    Sharon

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  4. Candida and Rosann, I just love it when you girls comment. I always feel so uplifted!

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  5. Sharon, I know for a fact the the Lord chooses special Mom's to be the Mothers of HIS special little ones. You and Kathy are for sure those special Moms.

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  6. Now I am crying... What a wonderful story Becky Jane. It is so good to read about someone like Kathy who can "Rise Above" and come out with a smile on her face. We are reading through Philippians and I keep encountering people like Paul who are grateful for the trials. I love, love, LOVE it when God does this. It's the way He speaks to me and shows me that He is here with us. Thanks again ladies for the God moment <3

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  7. SSS, Knowing the Lords plan for us makes a great difference in how we deal with trials. Thanks for your insight!

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  8. Becky Jane, thank you for featuring Kathy. She is an amazing woman with enough love for the whole world. It was wonderful to get to know her better!

    Christina
    http://spilledmilkshake.com

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  9. She is certainly filled with love! So are you...it's such fun keeping tabs on your blog!

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  10. Thank you so much Becky!! This is lovely and really choked me up!! You are an amazing woman and I'm so glad I have had the chance to get to know you a bit better.

    Thank you all for your etremely kind words!! I always appreciate the support, it means the world to me!! Much love to you all!!

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  11. What a great portrait! Kathy is all ready one of my heroes and I visit her blog often. She is so positive and inspirational. Not too mention, she is an amazing writer! Thank you for highlighting such a great woman, Becky Jane!

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  12. I loved this guest post--an inspiration to moms, especially those of us who have children with different gifts.

    Kathy's advice at the end is perfect--I remember the self-doubt when I was searching for answers about my son's health. I am glad I was his advocate.

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  13. Great post Becky :) Imagine how important educators are in children's lives. It's so important that we as educators don't misdiagnosed a learning disability. If we think about it, it can affect a child's life forever and how that child interprets the books and literature he reads.
    Awesome interview,
    Barbara
    Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)

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  14. What a lovely guest post and so inspirational.
    Love makes everything work out alright.

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  15. I said it yesterday and I will say it again today I love seeing all my blog friends in the same place. Thankyou Becky for featuring Kathy she truly has been an inspiration to me. I love that she has taught me no matter what Braeden has in store for us we will get through raising him. Kathy and her family truly are God's handiwork. They are all here for very specific reasons and it is a pleasure and privilege to get to know them through Kathy's blog as well as spotlights such as this. I consider her not only as a friend but as someone I look up to as she likes to remind me she is a little older than me. But you know what, I am glad she is because not only do I learn from her but I respect her that much more! Much love to both you ladies. I only hope I am shaping up to be half the mothers you all are!

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  16. Kathy and I have the best commenters for friends! Thanks everyone!

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  17. awesome article! I stopped over to visit Kathy via Vb and of had to read the feature on her. She sounds like a very special lady and I can't wait to get to know you all on Vb better and follow your blogs. I followed you on GFC. Feel free to follow me at http://mamalousgems.blogspot.com/

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  18. I love Kathy's blog! I'm glad you shared her story here. Attitude is so important in life and her attitude shines!

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  19. What a great post - and such a brilliant blog here! Reading to inspire and motivate!
    I found you through the weekend hop and am very glad I did. I shall look forward to reading more!

    I’m following you now and hope you’ll stop by my blog sometime too! Have a lovely weekend.
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

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  20. Becky I agree, we do have the best commenters!!! You guys really are making me cry with your beautiful words and support!! Becky, thank you agin for spotlighting me!! Much love to you all!!

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  21. What a wonderful mother for three beautiful children, ...Kathy is amazing mom....Becky Jane thanks for the sharing ...incredible journeys that others make revealing their victories, and their fears connects us and makes us one in that we are "not alone"!

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  22. Thanks for featuring Kathy. Learning about her and her beautiful family has been a gift for me.

    Kathy, I especially love your quote, "this is not a problem...it's a challenge." I needed to hear that today.

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  23. Kathy, I LOVE YOU!!!!!

    Thanks, Becky, for featuring my dear friend. I have two spectrum disorder kids too -- and I LOVE having a friend who shares the same heart to help kids become the best they can be. Not defined by their "disorder" but challenged to persevere and learn from it.

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