Monday, December 17, 2012


Diagnosis.  This word has taken on many meanings in our home.

In May of this year, the word diagnosis became a term referring to a possibility in the future.  It carried the weight of both hope and dread.  Both clarity and confusion.  Could it be?  Will it be?  A specifically named diagnosis might answer some questions, but we knew it would lead to some difficult decisions as well as new questions.

Over the summer, the word diagnosis referred to a process we were painfully going through in order to end at some destination with a name.  Unending paperwork, interviews, analyzing every little thing.  "Diagnosis" became more of a grueling diagnostic process.

In the fall, diagnosis became synonymous with a specific day, a long-awaited meeting.  We couldn't bring ourselves to say the name of the facility where this meeting would take place.  So we simply talked about the day we would be going for the diagnosis.  A looming day.  An anticipated and dreaded day.

That day we thought would never actually happen came to fruition on September 11, 2012.  That is such a historically significant date.  I remember "the first" September 11, the day that terrorism and homeland security became household discussions.  But this year, my thoughts were not reflecting on the day my college classes were cancelled and I waited something like six hours at a Red Cross to give blood.  This year, my thoughts were simply weighing every comment, glance, facial expression.  I waited to hear the final word, and I assumed it would be no diagnosis at all.

But there was a diagnosis given that day.

And it took us a whole month to even be able to say the words to each other.  So in the meantime, we just used the word "diagnosis."  We thought we'd never utter the words to anyone, but as time passed and we processed this new diagnosis 24 hours a day, we eventually decided to tell our families about all of it:  the questions about a diagnosis, the diagnostic process, and the final heavy words of an actual diagnosis.

I've kept part of my life tucked away in an invisible folder labeled "Diagnosis" ever since May.  It's a private folder.  Confidential.  For my eyes only.  But then I struggled at times with trying to write about other things when my mind and heart were consumed with the contents of my private folder.  I desperately needed prayer but didn't want to share why or be vague and mysterious.  I needed grace and understanding from others, but how could I expect that when I wasn't willing to share what we've been going through.

So, I think it's time.  It's time to exchange the symbolic word diagnosis for the real words.  They're hard to say.  They're even hard to type.  But here we go.

My son Griffin has Asperger's Syndrome.

To learn more about Asperger's, an Autism Spectrum Disorder, click here or here.

Now that I've taken the plunge to reveal my secret Diagnosis file, I am free to occasionally write about how this affects my family and my life as a mom.  I think I'd rather walk the scary path of honesty than take one more step hiding it.