01 December 2013

FSMA Conference

hi there.

thanks for hanging around. i haven't posted in months. lots going on but i've known exactly what i wanted to post the next time i logged in. so, here i am to document a few details from our trip to our first Families of SMA Conference, which was held at Disneyland this year. it was a successful trip. full of lots to do and not a ton of down time, but i really couldn't be happier with how it all went.

there was a program specifically for newly diagnosed families that we attended the first afternoon. i won't lie. it was hard. i sat and listened, holding T's hand, with tears streaming down my face the whole session. the president of FSMA spoke and has a very genuine, kind way of communicating. it was a relief to be somewhere safe, surrounded by people who knew exactly how we were feeling. at first, i kept thinking, "i hope i'm not the only one crying" but when we took our break, i saw that i clearly wasn't alone. i think that's what i loved the most about conference. we didn't have to explain why we were crying at any given moment. we didn't have to explain anything. everyone just gets us. in our every day life, we have a mostly positive attitude. we keep smiles on and carry on with our daily responsibilities. we're strong for one another (T & i) and for ruby. and because it doesn't do any good to constantly dwell on the pain that SMA brings. but i know that in order to carry on, we have to sometimes let ourselves sit with the fear and sadness that we have. some moments we have to give in to it in order to let it out, let it go, and move forward. so, the conference was good for me in that way. before the conference, i hadn't really reached out to the SMA community. after the conference, i was friending people on facebook like a maniac. :)

next year's conference is in DC and we are hopeful that we will be able to go. lots to plan for it but it's something we don't want to miss out on. i've connected with many families in the online SMA community and really want to be able to meet them in person, too.

we went to several different sessions but the one that i liked the most and has stayed with me was a writing workshop. it was led by a husband and wife, who were both writers, and who also have a child who is diagnosed with SMA. one of the exercises we did was to write out our recollection of a significant memory. i thought i would share what i wrote here.

a memory: ruby's diagnosis day

i see...
a lot of hard surfaces, tiles, counters
ruby playing with crayons
a lot of new faces

i feel...
ruby's toys all around us
terence's hand

i hear...
a lot of words. most of which i don't remember now, other than the doctor answering Terence's question about whether ruby will ever walk (no.)
the doctor's strong accent

i smell...
hand sanitizer and soap

the light is bright and harsh. it isn't soft. there iss no place to hide in it.

i want to leave.

i think that this can't be happening. it doesn't make sense.

i feel sick to my stomach. i feel shocked even though i knew this was the answer already, really.

we talk to several strangers & then we leave.

i call my family.

i say that my husband might need more support.

i realize that everything has changed. and that nothing really has at all.


  1. I've missed you :) Very well written Dany. I will never fully understand how your "new normal" is, but thank you for the glimpse into your world. We love you and think of you all often.

    1. thanks, my dear. I know most of our family and friends can't know what it's really like for us but you all do a wonderful job of being amazing supports anyhow. nothing but love for you, too.