Then the worst of the worst happened. I felt his heart stop. I fell to my knees as I watched Evan's eyes dilate and watched his lifeless body lay still. The paramedics rushed in and began to perform CPR on him. All I could do in my head was scream, "Why? Why? Why?" Then I heard a voice inside of me say, "Everything is going to be okay." I didn't know how I was able to stay calm in the midst of the hell we were in, but peace had suddenly come over my whole body. After two minutes, the paramedics revived Evan. I silently screamed, "Thank you, God. Thank you, God."

Because there were no helicopters available, we had to transport Evan to the Los Angeles hospital by ambulance. It was a three-hour car ride and in that time he had another seizure. At the hospital he had seven more seizures within a seven-hour period and after two days of being there and wondering what was going on, they came to me with the diagnosis of epilepsy. My instinct was screaming, "There's more, there's more!" I decided to get a second opinion and met with one of the best neurologists in the world. He politely put his hand on me and said, "I'm sorry, your son has autism."

I died in that moment but my instincts told me that this man was right. All those beautiful characteristics that I thought were Evan—the hand flapping, the toe walking, the playing with door hinges and lining up toys—weren't Evan characteristics at all. Who was my son if he wasn't all these things? The neurologist saw the look on my face and said to me, "Hey, this is the same little boy you came in this room with. He's not any different. He's the same boy." I looked at the doctor and replied, "No, he's not. My son is trapped inside this label called autism and I'm gonna get him out."
Excerpt from Mother Warriors by Jenny McCarthy © 2008.
Published with permission from Dutton, A member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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