Hi, my name is Johanna Macpherson. Roman was my first pregnancy and my first child. I had him when I was 29 years old. He was a premature baby. He was born 34 weeks before the due date. We spent 4 days in the hospital and he was born through natural delivery.
As Roman grew up he always had gas problems. When I took him to the doctors they only said that it was because he was born premature. For the first six months he loved eating rice soups and almost everything else. During the first year and a half he continuously suffered from vomiting and diarrhea. despite of these problems he was still a very happy baby and enjoyed life. However, one-day things turned upside down, he was between the age 10 and 11 months at the time.
He started behaving strangely. He stopped responding to his name, he started walking very fast. Suddenly he was always into cables or I would find him just lost in some other world of his own. Things got even worse when I started taking him out with me. Every time we were out he just had meltdowns and he started crying for no reason. I could never understand why he was crying.
He stopped eating anything and only took milk. We had to go through five types of milk to find the one which was lactose free. I took him to the doctor for his diarrhea and vomiting and that was when the doctor told me that it was not just gastro problems, but it was also autism.
Knowing that my son had autism made my world go upside down. My parents at the time were in another country and we couldn’t afford the developmental pediatrician in US, so we decided not to keep waiting here so we traveled to Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico during the years 2014, 2015 and 2016.
During the treatment Roman went through a head scan and an egg test. The tests showed an irritation in the right side of the brain and poor development. The doctors told us that he has a 2 years mental delay which is why he was not speaking or eating any solids.
We stayed in and out of the hospitals for 18 months. He started receiving the early child intervention. Until he was 3 years old his health was almost always bad so I got used to of being in the children’s hospital or the medical city.
We didn’t have any relatives or friends in Dallas TX, so I started taking him out to the public parks and playgrounds to expose him to other children and have a social interaction. Roman was very happy, however until he turned 4 he got very sick so I had to stop taking him to the parks and he stayed in the hospital twice this year for a month each time.
He now started to cry saying that he wanted to die because he was a sick kid and I kept telling him that it was all temporary and will end soon. To find him a friend I got him a dog. The dog motivated him to get out of the hospital and eat so that he could look forward to something.
I am very happy to say that today we don’t have any stories of Roman’s disabilities in the papers. Roman was diagnosed with two diseases, autism and ADHD.
During all of this I started making online groups on Facebook and Instagram to connect with other mothers who could not afford Aba therapies and I learnt from their experiences and I shared mine with them too. I got involved in the community work. Meanwhile I noticed that Roman liked to swim and run so with the help of my husband I got him into the ymca.
Yes, it got lonely sometimes and sometimes we did not know what to do but the medications helped my son recover. The activities with the dog also helped to motivate him to fight himself.
We don’t go to the mall very often but last December he went with us and he enjoyed it.
It’s not an easy journey, some days are good and some days are bad. I just don’t post it on Facebook or Instagram.
I am happy to say that Roman is now 4 years old and he is talking.