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Medical Warriors

Jodi Shenal by Jodi Shenal Additional Needs

Jodi Shenal

Jodi Shenal

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabil...


These are all qualities that I admire in my children, and other children with Autism and special healthcare needs.

However, I have never fully appreciated the depth of their strength in times of adversity until today.

After having an MRI scan done to diagnose the source of my back pain, I am completely in awe of how courageous these medical warriors truly are.

Lifting and carrying a non-ambulatory child several times a day is not a burden; it’s a job I’m proud to do as a Mom.

Its just part of our daily routine and it’s a privilege to provide that care for my daughter.

However, over time, back pain has become constant and bothersome.

After months of trying to ignore it and sucking it up, my physician sent me for an MRI scan to determine exactly what was going on.

My daughter has had several of these scans done in the past on her brain, so I was familiar with the procedure.

Until I was lying there myself, motionless in the narrow tube with a loud symphony of noises all around me, I was clueless as to how terrifying this contraption truly was.

There were constant sounds reminiscent of a jackhammer, buzzer and an alarm clock gnawing at my brain.

Earplugs dulled it a little, but the noise was still deafening.  I kept my eyes closed tightly and continuously reminded myself to breathe.

In that moment, I thought of my children.  My daughter who has endured major, painful hip surgery and a myriad of medical tests, would have sailed through the procedure.

She’s been through spinal taps, endless rounds of bloodwork, EEGs, catheterizations, countless x-rays and invasive kidney reflux tests.

She’s handled them all like a champ; barely shedding a tear, in response to the fear and pain she’s been forced to endure.

My mind then went to my son.  Being on the Autism Spectrum, I imagined how daily life must be for him.

Sensory overload is something I definitely found myself feeling during that short test…he has to live with heightened senses every day of his life.

Worrying about the threat of loud, unexpected noises is something he deals with routinely.

I can remember times when fire alarms terrorized him.  They caused in him an ultimate fight or flight response.

Over time, he’s learned self-calming techniques, and shown great bravery in tackling those anxieties.  He’s achieved quite a victory in controlling and managing his fear.

There’s much to be learned from our children with special needs.

They are equipped with an innate gift; possessing an unshakable sense of heroism.  They stand tough through the obstacles that life places in their way.

When we as parents feel weakness, we need only to look to our little medical warriors.  That’s where we uncover our greatest strength.


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