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Waiting for life to settle in to Kevin…

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SUNDAY, JULY 19, 2009 2:33 PM, CDT
I know, I said the update would come in June, but when I have I been on time with anything!?! Besides, we were waiting for life to settle in for Kevin – and it is. He completed nearly a full load of classes thanks to tutors, supportive teachers and summer school. He is eating, playing, occasionally smart-talking back (and I am actually glad to hear it – how wrong is this?) and now officially taller than me! The surgical adhesion pain continues, but the more active he becomes, the faster these adhesions should loosen their grip on his abdominal walls.

Most importantly, time spent thinking or dealing with his medical condition and related fall-out is rapidly shifting to forward-focused time spent working on his driving skills, playing with friends, planning trips and hanging out – just as we dreamed would be the case thanks to the relaxed pace of summer. 

Naturally there are emotional and physical elements that we continue to work through. This, it seems, could only be expected after two years of pain, uncertainty, disruption, fear and isolation from friends and traditional adolescent development. We continue to seek and have support to deal with this portion of Kevin’s recovery and make the best choices we can to work through what feels to be the final phase of recovery.

One way that Kevin and I are working through this is through writing. Kevin wrote what his English teacher, Ms. Hooker-Baker felt was an outstanding summation for his “This I Believe” assignment. If you have not had a chance to listen to this segment on NPR, I would suggest going on line and hearing some of the essays individuals share. I close today’s update with Kevin’s essay. I hope that it teaches you, as it did me.

Kevin Whiting

This I Believe

I believe that listening has the power to save lives.  Believe me, I know what it feels like to be ignored. For a year and a half, I told doctors over, and over again that the pain in my stomach was real. And not just everyday paper-cut pain; I’m talking extreme, intense pain.  I couldn’t function, go to school or even eat.  And instead of listening, the doctors completely ignored me, told me I was depressed and bulimic, and threw ten prescriptions for anxiety and depression at me.

Obviously I wasn’t depressed, so the anti-depressants made me depressed, and at times even suicidal.  I lost more weight (the opposite of what you want in a 14 year old who already only weighed 68 pounds.)

Luckily, I had a few good listeners on my side, including my mom, my family and friends and our family doctors. My mom listened and wasn’t afraid to speak up for me when doctors ignored what I had to say.  My family and friends were listeners. They heard my pain and gave me hope when times got really tough.  Fortunately there were doctors who listened, asked questions, and ran the necessary tests to figure out what was wrong. I had a surgery that fixed the problem, and I am now recovering.

I was knocking at death’s door for nearly 18 months and for the first ten months the people that needed to listen to my story thought they already knew what was wrong so they didn’t need to listen. Now that I have found the right people who listened to me, I have gained 40 pounds, and am on my way to being a normal teen.

Listening literally saved my life.

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About the Author:

Professor and award winning author, world traveler, Mom, thought leader, mentor, friend, and advocate Vicki Whiting, Ph.D. is dedicated to the facilitation of learning and the development of leaders in all walks of life.

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