Television personality, author, and activist Jenny McCarthy shares her experience of raising an autistic child in her fifth book, "Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds."
In the follow-up to her New York Times best-seller, "Louder Than Words," McCarthy shares recovery stories from parents across the nation, and how they worked to find their own treatment for their children.
In addition, McCarthy continues the next chapter of her and her autistic son Evan's story, and describes her experience as an autism activist.
To visit Jenny McCarthy's autism Web site, go to www.generationrescue.org
Read an excerpt below and check out other selections featured on "Good Morning America" by clicking here.
Gina Tembenis: Mother Warrior to son Elias
Stan Kurtz had called me in tears one day to tell me about a family he knew of who had gone through hell. When he told me their story I couldn't believe it. I was with Jim at the time and I had to run away while Stan retold me their heart-wrenching story. I didn't want Jim to see me fall apart, yet again. I closed the door to my bathroom and crunched my body into the corner of the room while I pressed the phone even closer to my ear. I finally told Stan that I couldn't take it anymore. I knew I had to set up an interview with this family. There is a reason why Gina is the final warrior in this book and you are about to understand why. ***
My husband Harry and I brought our son Elias in for his four-month wellness appointment. It was December 26, the day after Christmas. My husband was holding him when he got the shots. When the nurse stuck him with the needle my son just stiffened up like a board and screamed. My husband asked, "What did you give him?" and they ran down the list, four shots for nine different diseases. My husband said, halfheartedly joking, "You know what? That would kill an elephant, let alone an infant." Boy, did he hit the nail on the head because when we brought him home, the beginning of the worst had begun.
They gave us the precautionary, "He might run a fever…a little swelling," the usual "blah blah blah" spiel they give.
So the fact that he was fussy when we put him to bed didn't seem so out of the ordinary. He kept waking up. So I kept going in, and checking on him but he was fine. My husband had to go to work in the morning and asked me if we could turn the monitor off. I said, "No, no, no, don't turn it off. Let's just turn it down low so at least I can still hear him." So, Elias finally fell asleep but then I heard him make this weird noise so I got up and started walking towards his room. When I walked in, I saw my boy convulsing in his crib. He was having a full-blown seizure.
I started screaming to my husband and he jumped out of bed and we put a blanket around him and ran out of the house. There was an ice storm happening but we lived really close to a hospital so we didn't even think to call an ambulance. We just grabbed him and jumped into the car. But when we got into the car, it was frozen. This whole time he was still seizing in my arms. I started freaking out and both of us ran to our other car and were desperately trying to get into it.
We finally got in, and foam was coming out of his mouth. I just kept saying to him, "stay with me, stay with me, stay with me."