I’m Katie and I’m so happy to meet you! I’m terrible with small talk, so if you came over to my house, I would pour us a cup of tea, plop down on the couch, and let our kids run and play together while we talked about things that matter. I’d ask you to share your story with me and I’d listen to it wholeheartedly. A wise friend once told me there’s power in our stories, and I believe that with all my heart. I hope you’ll share yours with me someday. I would treasure it.
As for me, I grew up in Atlanta. I had a relatively uneventful life until I turned twenty-two. That year, I had a medical crisis that led to a lifelong autoimmune diagnosis, got engaged and then married to my awesome husband, and had our firstborn son. It was quite the year, my dear!
Our son was a healthy boy who loved to read books, climb trees, and meet new people. Then, when he turned two-years-old, he started struggling to communicate. He had daily meltdowns that would last for hours. And he could not sleep. He was diagnosed with autism in January of 2013. At that same time, my husband got a job in Massachusetts and we moved from our lifelong home in Atlanta to the Boston area with our son and his (then) 9-month-old baby sister. Two years later, we had our third bundle of joy! All three of them care for each other deeply through all of life’s ups and downs. They are now 10, 7, and 4-years-old. (Please note, I do not use our children’s names publicly. I may from time to time use their nicknames in my writing. If you know their true names, please keep them in your heart.)
For several years, our oldest son received daily therapies and services and was thriving beautifully. Then, in the fall of 2016, everything changed again. He caught what seemed like a flu with a combination of cold and GI symptoms, and within days was experiencing debilitating anxiety, mood lability, obsessive compulsive-like symptoms, and tics. His handwriting became illegible and he could no longer solve basic math problems or read more than a sentence of a book at a time (he formerly had been in the 99th percentile for reading and vocabulary). Within days, he could no longer attend full-day school. Within weeks, he could barely leave the house. Three years later, after countless appointments, testing, ER visits, and hospitalizations, he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that affects his mood, cognitive function, and development.
Along the way, I earned my Master’s in Education with a specialization in Special Education and worked for a non-profit that encourages and supports special needs families. I now homeschool all three of our little people and write to encourage other families walking unique journeys. I would love to write a book someday!
Our life has been full, of both challenges and blessings. It has led us down paths we otherwise would not have taken and has taught us to appreciate things we might otherwise not have even noticed. God has taught me again and again that He is in charge, that He loves my family wholeheartedly, and that suffering is not a punishment, but rather a journey that draws us closer to Him.