Prize Fighter – In memory of Melanie Hamilton-Baldwin

“In the blink of an eye, your life can change due to disease.  Your goals, dreams and priorities are forced to take a different turn.  You are grateful for the little things, and worry less about the big things.  You leave behind the history of yesterday, and determine how you will use today’s energy.  This is your life, and there is no time for drama.” – Unknown

What many people don’t know is that our family experienced a scare 3 years ago.  I, the matriarch of our little family unit, was experiencing some scary health symptoms.  I began seeing a gastroenterologist who scheduled an emergency colonoscopy to rule out colon cancer.  I’ll admit, I was scared.  I’m usually prepared for everything, but I was not prepared for this.

Thankfully, colon cancer was ruled out and a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis took its place.  While life changing, the auto-immune disease is not immediately life threatening, though it absolutely increases my chances of developing colon cancer down the road.  With that, the fear lingers…not so much the fear of death, but the fear of leaving behind a family who needs me….especially a special needs child with a diagnosis of autism.

The reality of it is, and what many don’t realize, is that many mother’s of children with autism are experiencing significant health issues themselves.  There is a higher instance of autoimmune disorders and cancer.  As any mother knows, children’s needs don’t take a break when you’re not feeling well and the needs of an autistic child can be greatly overwhelming, even for a healthy person.

This is why I greatly admire, and proudly fight beside the women who have acquired the label “autism mom.”  It is an exclusive club of women who are ‘tough as nails’ on the exterior, but extremely vulnerable on the inside.  These women have such a deep love and innate defense mechanism when it comes to their children, that they are often forced to put their own needs and health issues aside.  On a daily basis, they must gather the energy to care for their family and often fight for their special needs child.

One such fighter is an autism mom known as Booty Kicker, a founding member of the group known as The Thinking Moms Revolution.  This group of moms work diligently to educate the community at large about the causes of autism and healing strategies.  They are deeply involved in all facets of autism, whether it be political, medical, emotional, nutritional, or therapy driven…and they give hope to the many families struggling with a child on the spectrum.  In their book, “Autism Beyond the Spectrum”, Booty Kicker’s (Melanie Baldwin) chapter is inspirational, and faith-driven, sending a message of peace and hope, despite the fact that she was battling her own diagnosis of breast and bone cancer, both of which she survived.

The group recently posted the following message:  “TMR is reeling tonight – our very own Booty Kicker (Melanie Baldwin), is critically ill. If you have ever read our blog or our book, and we helped you in a time of need, please consider donating. Melanie has beaten cancer twice (breast and bone), but it is back in her spine, liver and hip. She has a severely affected son who needs constant care.”

This message hurt my heart.  It felt like defeat.  I only vaguely understand the fear she must feel as she struggles to overcome this new diagnosis while her severely affected autistic son, Luke, still requires 24/7 care.  In addition, their medical bills must be OUTRAGEOUS!

I had the recent privilege of attending one of the Garth Brooks World Tour concerts, and heard Trisha Yearwood’s first single in 6 years.  Her new release is called “Prize Fighter.”  As they displayed the lyrics on the overhead screen, I could not hold back the tears…as I thought, not of my own personal struggles, but those of Melanie Hamilton-Baldwin’s.  The lyrics (below) are so fitting, and I dedicate this post to her.  Sadly, Melanie passed away Oct 5, 2014.  She was 43.

Prize Fighter by Trisha Yearwood

Here you are face to face
With your greatest test of faith
It ain’t looking good but
You wouldn’t run even if you could
Cos you know what’s on the line
It’s win or lose, do or die
Every swing is coming fast
And the punches knock you back

When you hit the ground
You find your wings
You go one more round
When that bell rings

They say you’re done, but here you come
You’re a hammer – hittin’, spittin’ fire
Prizefighter

When you’re sweating from the fear
You look it in the eye
Turn the sound of defeat into your battle cry

Stakes are down, you’re outta luck
Look at you – smiling with a shiner
Standing higher
Prizefighter

When you see them shake their heads
That’s when you start seeing red
From your head down to your toes
You find your glory, strength and hope
Come on, come on, comeback kid
Show ‘em how you never quit
You’re gonna rise from the pain
And like a hurricane

When you hit the ground
You find your wings
You go one more round
When that bell rings

They say you’re done, but here you come
You’re a hammer – hittin’, spittin’ fire
Prizefighter

When you’re sweating from the fear
You look it in the eye
Turn the sound of defeat into your battle cry

Stakes are down, you’re outta luck
Look at you – smiling with a shiner
Standing higher
Prizefighter

When you’re sweating from the fear
You look it in the eye
Turn the sound of defeat into your battle cry
Stakes are down, you’re outta luck
Look at you – smiling with a shiner
Standing higher
Prizefighter, yeah, yeah!

Look at you standing tall
Look at you standing tall
And you still ain’t had enough
And you still ain’t had enough!

Look at you standing tall
Look at you standing tall!
And you still ain’t had enough
And you still ain’t had enough!

 

To donate to the Give Forward Fundraiser for Melanie, please CLICK HERE.

Advertisements

About Shelley

Originally from Montana, I am now a working mom with 3 small children in the suburbs of Atlanta. My first born son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 4 years old. Having a degree in psychology and an educational background in science, I began researching ways to help him. On my quest to recover him from the disorder, I stumbled upon a world of natural healing that has helped our entire family. As a researcher and teacher by nature, I have an internal drive to compile and share this information with others. I believe that we should all strive to live a more natural and healthy lifestyle. Please check back often as I continue to build and update the content of this site. Also, please feel free to send me suggestions for content that you would like to see.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s