Perfectly healthy except for a bad case of Autism

On Thursday I met with Sophie's developmental pediatrician to go over the very thorough bloodwork we had done at the time of her diagnosis. I suppose I wasn't very surprised that it came back fine. But I was surprised at the bittersweet feelings that went along with it.

I guess a part of me was still holding on to hope that the blood tests will reveal something. Something that could be fixed of course. Perhaps a rare metabolic disorder that can be treated with enzyme supplements. Or maybe a mercury toxicity that could be cured with chelating agents. And I have to admit that maybe that part of me was still holding on to the hope that somehow these blood tests will give us a clue as to how to get our little girl back.

Perfectly healthy and perfectly autistic

That did not happen however. The blood tests confirmed what we already knew in our hearts: Sophie is a very healthy little girl who happens to have autism. The autism isn't detectable on the blood test and yet it is in every part of her; in her nerves which misinterpret and distort input from her senses, her weak little muscles that make everyday tasks so difficult, in her little tummy so much more sensitive than any of her siblings', in her skin prone to frequent rashes and irritation and of course in her brain which is enclosed like a silent fortress, unable to comprehend the subtle nuances of behaviour we understand to be a part of being human.

The blood tests did not show any of that though. The numbers and percentages fit perfectly with that of any other little girl her age. So is this what closure is supposed to feel like? Now that we got the "medical stuff" (as the doctor put it) out of the way, do we breathe a sigh of relief that she's ok, "just" autistic? I do of course. And yet...

How can I feel closure for something that isn't closed, actually it's barely been open? We are just starting our journey and now our path has been brought into sharper focus, with all side roads pruned away. She is autistic and there is no cure for that. But she is "healthy". And so it begins.


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