THE ROADMAP

Stories about anticipating, planning for and navigating life’s twists, turns, tragedies, and triumphs.

Will Haste and Heavy-Handedness Improve Health Care ?

July 31, 2009 I am beginning to think that contracting breast cancer in 2003 was a blessing in disguise. For if proposed health care reforms are enacted, I question whether future breast cancer patients would have my positive experience. These thoughts persist as I attempt to follow the debate about health care rationing, cost containment,…

The Challenge of Texting Teens

June 25, 2009 School’s out, and for the next couple of months young fingers will fly across keyboards as classmates strive to remain connected during the school recess via text and Facebook. That may work for them, but what about their parents? Recently, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that 28 percent of Americans surveyed…

Warriors in Pink and Blue

May 22, 2009 I walked into the Mall of America the day before the annual Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure and came face to face with the registration signs. In the six years since my breast cancer diagnosis, I had never participated in the event. My cancer encounter was successful but was quickly…

Join the Crowd, Imperfect Mom

May 10, 2009 The bags were packed, the boarding passes printed. My passport rested on my desk, unopened since I last used it two years ago. Months of planning this save-my-sanity getaway would soon culminate in an escape from a frigid, gloomy winter. Hours before our scheduled departure, my husband breezed into my office, picked…

Autism and the Struggle for Acceptance

April 2, 2009 Today is World Autism Awareness Day, designated by the United Nations as a day to increase knowledge about autism as well as to inspire compassion, inclusion and hope. I salute the millions of parents with children on the Autism Spectrum who share my struggles, yet embrace strategies and beliefs as disparate as…

Look Me in the Eye

March 12, 2009 Last year I stumbled across a book called “Look me in the Eye.” As a parent who spent years trying to get her son with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to do just that, the title intrigued me. The insights of author John Elder Robison were even more fascinating. Robison was diagnosed with…

Octuplets: It’s Not Too Late for One Unselfish Choice

February 15, 2009 My husband and I watched the primetime television debut of Nadya Suleman, “the most sought-after mother in the world.” The 33-year-old mother of six used in-vitro fertilization to implant six embryos last spring in the hopes of having one more baby, but delivered octuplets instead. Apparently, she was determined to compensate for…

Trade Latitude for a Paycheck? Bad Idea

January 23, 2009 All around the world, eyes focused on the Capitol steps Tuesday as our 43rd president relinquished power, authority and responsibility to our 44th. I was intrigued by what the historic moment meant for the wives who stood beside them. They belong to an elite group of women who, neither hired nor elected,…

A Generation Accustomed to Adding Learns to Subtract

December 25, 2008 When we visited our son with autism over parents’ weekend this fall, he hugged his dad, then handed him a list of 24 items he would like for Christmas. He lives a cloistered lifestyle at a remote, old-fashioned school that has no Internet or TV, where they play Wiffle ball and parlor…

An Effort to Balance Competing (and Compelling) Interests

December 11, 2008 “I would rather be in a gunfight than have to watch my grandson go through what he is going through.” This statement expressed the sentiments of many at a November meeting of the Minnesota Autism Task Force. The state-Senate-appointed panel is investigating the causes and statewide incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)…

Drearies Begone, There’s Wonder in the World

November 22, 2008 It’s that time of year, when the drearies materialize after a strong wind blows in, whisking colorful leaves off the trees and ushering in gray skies for a long, and most unwelcome, stay. This year, it is especially difficult to fight the November blues, particularly if I’ve indulged my news-junkie tendencies and…

Pushing Back Against Labels and Narrow Lines

November 2, 2008 Recently, I was honored to receive the 2008 Community Media Excellence Award from .  Arc of Minnesota. During the awards program, a group of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities performed a skit that railed against the ‘r word.’ Their provocative, take-away message: We’re pushing back against a demeaning and demoralizing label…