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From Inside the Puzzle: Raising a Child with Autism Blog

Stage IV

Published November 4, 2015 12:25 PM by Devon Alley
I would like to apologize to my readers for my lack of entries and posts over the past couple of months. As a writer, I don't really believe there's ever a *good* reason to *not* be writing, but if there was one, I feel like I would probably have it right now.

My mother - and A.'s grandmother, whom she has affectionately called "Grasshopper" ever since she was a small child - has been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

The family is still reeling from the news, and I'm not entirely sure just how much A. truly grasps and understands. I've been reluctant to clarify the details, partially because I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all myself, and partially because I'm nervous as to how A. is going to react. She's so fiercely empathic, and she can be incredibly dramatic at times. Let us remember, this *is* the girl that was absolutely convinced and likewise despondent that the world was going to end in December 2012. While she has grown and matured a great deal in the past three years, I can't help but worry as to how she'll be able to deal with the possibility of grief and loss. We've been fortunate enough to have completely avoided these topics so far - we haven't even lost a pet yet - but they are topics we will have to deal with eventually; possibly much sooner than we would like.

The good news is, all things considered, my mother is doing incredibly well. She's going through chemo, and she's also on a trial drug that has had great results in testing so far. She's weak, and often feels sick and tired, but her attitude is great, she's relatively healthy, and the doctors seem optimistic that she may have several more years to spend with us. 

This, of course, is one of the major reasons why I'm reluctant to bring the seriousness of her condition to A.'s attention. Why burden A. with unnecessary worry and stress when it's very likely that "Grasshopper" will live to see her graduate high school? Possibly even college? Possibly even attend her wedding?

My husband, Thomas - always the pragmatist, and always the rational one - points out the obvious. Are we not robbing A. of making mature, rational decisions on how to process the illness, and on how to spend her time when she's around her grandmother? If we don't clearly explain the situation, how will A. feel if things *don't* turn out for the best? If A. doesn't know the details, how will she know to make the most out of every single minute she can spend with her grandmother *right now*?

There are definitely more conversations that need to be had. There are more therapy appointments to attend. There are more family visits to make, more road trips to travel, and more holidays to celebrate. And there are many stories I want to share with you about A.'s adventures over the past few months - to DragonCon, to the beach, at Halloween. And I hope you will be patient with me, as it may take just a little longer than usual to get those stories out.

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