Thursday, December 31, 2015

Everything Happens for a Reason... Even 2015

This year kind of sucked.

In March, the matriarch of my family died. I think about Granny just about every day. I miss her. Within a week of her death, The Broadcast was cancelled. Talk about a bummer. I loved that job and I hated to see it end. The week after that, I was still mourning the loss of my job and my income while laying Granny to rest. March super sucked.

Then in June, I started having those familiar hyperthyroidism symptoms - fatigue, hair loss, heart palpitations, insomnia. I knew it was back. CRAP! I'm confident that all of the stress I'd dealt with earlier in the year triggered it. Then I had my hysterectomy in October. Between surgery and my thyroid being all out of whack, I still don't feel like me. I'm tired of being tired. I'm so over it.

But there were so many amazing things that happened this year. We continue to be blessed by our fellow warriors in the autism community. We continue to be inspired by everything organizations like Generation Rescue, KultureCity and the Autism Treatment Center are doing to make our lives better.

I worked a lot this year. From hosting the FC Dallas pregame show and web segments for CultureMap to working on several other projects including commercials and industrials, it was a good year.

I'm finally ready to get back to work and I've decided to open a solo practice focusing on special education advocacy. Creating the practice will be my number one goal for 2016. I've missed work. I've missed helping people. I'm ready to jump back in the saddle.

I hope that 2016 brings me better health. I'll start by following the Myers Plan and making some major life changes when it comes to food. I'll blog about my journey - I'm a sugar addict and a major Pepsi-holic. It will be hard to give up gluten and cheese (I love cheese) but hopefully my health will improve when I do.

I'll be competing in Mrs. Texas again in 2016. My 8th go-round. I wasn't thrilled with my top ten finish last year, so I'm hoping for a better outcome this time around.

I don't know about you... but I'm over 2015. Bring on the new year.

And I'll write about the Myers Plan tomorrow. I'm certain it's what will get me back on the road towards good health.

Happy New Year Everyone! Make 2016 spectacular!


The hair loss started back in June. I'd wash my hair and clumps of curly strands would be entwined in my fingers. It was more than usual. 

Then the heart palpitations picked up. They were constant and kept me awake at night. 

Then the insomnia picked up. Even after popping an Ambien every night I'd still be up at one or two o'clock in the morning. And the exhaustion... there is a reason why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I was always tired and had very little energy to do more than lay in the bed. 


Walking up stairs... by the time I made it to the top of the staircase in my house I'd be out of breath. 

And I lost weight... and I'm talking a LOT of weight. Between my hysterectomy recovery and my thyroid issues, I'd lost about 15 lbs. It was cute... I looked sick. Totally lost my booty.

And sweating... I was always hot and sweaty. Any time Ryan says he's fine and I'm burning up, I know it can only be one thing...

After about 8 months of feeling pretty good, my thyroid decided to act up again. I wasn't surprised - the months leading up to my thyroid problems were full of stress. The Broadcast ended and my granny died within a week. It was devastating. And stressful. And I'm certain the stress triggered my issues.

My endocrinologist ordered an uptake scan a couple of months ago to confirm my thyroid was working overtime again. I'd put it off but figured I'd get it down since I'd met my out-of-pocket expenses on my insurance. Uptake scans are interesting. You swallow a pill full of radioactive iodine. The thyroid is the only gland in your body that sucks in iodine so if a bunch of it ends up in your thyroid, it's overactive. The normal uptake range is 5-20%. Mine? 95.7%. My thyroid lit up like a Christmas tree on the scan. My Grave's disease was confirmed. It's an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid to overwork. And I have it and it's screwing up my life.

The technician was really nice, but she starts going into her spiel she gives everyone in this situation. "You have two options. You can take another radioactive iodine pill with a stronger dose that will basically kill your thyroid. But you'll have to take medication for the rest of your life. I can give you that pill today... It started sounding a bit like Charlie Brown's teacher to me. Womp, womp, womp, womp, womp. "Your other option is just a band-aid. You'll take medication and you'll gain weight and your thyroid probably won't ever get better." Womp, womp, womp, womp, womp.

I stated that I was going to wait to talk to my doctor before making any choices. The options given to me today seem like last resorts. I have another plan... and I'm hoping and praying it works. I'll write more about it tomorrow because it's going to be a difficult journey but well worth it if it works. So check back tomorrow for deets!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Texas Tornadoes

Earthquakes. In California where I grew up, we worried about occasional earthquakes. There were always little tremors - I dare say I kind of got used to a little ground shaking every once in a while. Occasionally though, there were bad ones like the Northridge earthquake in '94. But it was California, and earthquakes happen.

I guess the same can be said for Texas and tornadoes. They happen occasionally. The tornado sirens will go off and we'll take cover in our downstairs closet. It happened about a month or so ago - right in the middle of the night. We woke the kids up and hustled them down the stairs and into the closet. We put them back to bed after the sirens stopped, and then five minutes later they went off again. Back into the closet. At times, the drill seems like a bit of a nuisance... the tornadoes haven't really gotten THAT close to us since we've lived here (the closet was about 30 miles or so a couple of years ago). But tornadoes happen... and they happen here... in Texas. 

Last night's storms were forecast. Weather folks on the news have been warning about them all week. But I don't think anyone expected them to do what they did yesterday. So far, 11 are dead; homes and businesses destroyed. Because tornadoes happen in Texas.

We had plans to attend a hockey game with some friends of ours from out of town. We'd already told Will about the game and he was so excited to go. The first tornado touched down way south of us a little after 5 pm. Just as we were ready to leave a little before 6 when our city's sirens starting going off. Ryan and Will ran to the closet while I tried to corral the cats. It didn't work.

The sirens went off for a while (20 - 30 minutes on and off it seemed) and the entire time Will kept asking when we were leaving for the game. We finally decided to leave around 6:30. Sure enough, the second we hit the tollway, the sirens started going off again. We kept driving. We made our way to another highway in another city and sure enough, the sirens started going off. We were watching a local news broadcast the entire time and knew there wasn't an actual tornado near us (the closest was about 30-40 miles away) so we made our way to the game. We made it safely, but as we watched the news in our game suite and saw that cars were tossed off a freeway as a tornado churned by (at least 5 people died this way last night), we'll just have to deal with Will's disappointment because we won't do that again.

Please pray for the folks in North Texas. The damage is horrifying. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

CONTEST: Concussion Tickets

I'm giving away two pair of tickets for an exclusive screening of Will Smith's new movie Concussion. The screening is on Wednesday, December 16 at 7:00 pm at the Angelika Dallas. Two winners will win a pair of tickets each. So here are the rules:
  1. "Like" my Dawn Neufeld fan page of Facebook.
  2. On the Dawn Neufeld fan page under the Concussion thread, tell me a little bit about what football means to you. Include the hashtag #ForThePlayers with your post.
  3. Make sure all entries are received by 5:00 pm on Sunday, December 13th.
This contest is open for folks in the DFW area who can actually make it to the screening. Ryan and I will review the entries and pick our favorite two. I'll let the winners know on Facebook Monday.

This is going to be an amazing movie. Will Smith stars in Concussion, a dramatic thrilled based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu's emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with on of the most powerful - and beloved - institutions in the world.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

My Broken Heart

I remember the first time I had a heart palpitation. I was home for Christmas break from my first semester of law school. I'd gone to bed, and as I laid there trying to go to sleep, my heart started taking little breaks...

Thu-thump, thu-thump, thu-thump, THU................................... thump, thu-thump, thu-thump.

Over and over again, my heart would take a little pause mid-thump. Scared the crap out of me because of my dad. This slight variation in my heartbeat brought up every bad memory of my dad passing away from a heart attack when I was nine. I finally got to sleep that night, and made it through Christmas break with the occasional THU...... thump. When I made it back to school I went to the health center and had an EKG. Everything checked out. Stress, they said.

Fast forward almost twenty years later. I see a cardiologist once, maybe twice, a year. I'm four years shy of my dad's age when he died from his heart attack so I get checked. Regularly. EKGs every year. A full stress test a couple of years ago. I passed every test. No red flags. And everyone has palpitations here and there... some of us are just more sensitive to them. At least that's what I've been told.

Enter hyperthyroidism.

When I had my first really bad pre-diagnosis episode a little over two years ago, I went to urgent care because my feet were swollen for no reason. I could tell my heart was racing, and as the sweet nurse checked my pulse, he said my heart was beating at a rate of 147 beats per minute. That's high. Normal is between 60-100. After they hooked me up to an EKG machine to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack, they pumped me with fluids and sent me home with some Potassium pills.

My palpitations started increasing. They happened all the time (except for when I'm hooked up to an EKG machine - without fail, they stop as soon as I'm hooked up to that machine). I found that if I laid off the caffeine and hit the gym more frequently, my heartbeat would sort of regulate itself. When they started happening more frequently without ceasing though, I knew something was up. When I was finally diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, I was told a fast heartbeat and palpitations are par for the course.

Now that I'm in the throws of my thyroid issues again, living with palpitations is pretty much my reality. They happen all the time and there's not much I can do about it until I get my thyroid regulated. And it's tough. I can't sleep on my left side - I can feel the palpitations more on that side. And when they happen frequently (sometimes as often as every couple of heartbeats), it feels like I'm losing my breath. The palpitations are such a pain in the behind, but with the hair loss, fatigue, etc. I have to deal with them until I get this nonsense under control.

The good news is I saw my cardiologist two months ago and I checked out fine with him. But goodness, I can't wait until my heart is thu-thumping normally again.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Gridiron Goddess is Struggling

I haven't written in a while because there just hasn't been much to write about. Thanksgiving happened, decorating happened, and now it's time to get ready for Christmas. But first, let me lay down and take a quick nap before I can move on to my next task... because I'm tired.

Shortly after testing hyperthyroid again a few weeks ago, I got sick. Like, really sick. Like, so sick I didn't get out of bed for a couple of days sick. Like, so sick I missed events and had no appetite to eat so I survived off of Canada Dry Ginger Ale for a few days. Shoot... I was just sick. I'm ALWAYS sick. It's clear my immune system is shot.

Yesterday I had a little scare, albeit a familiar one. I was typing a response to an Instagram post and I couldn't get the words out. I knew what I wanted to say, but couldn't formulate the thought. Scary, right? The same thing happened in 2014 when I ended up in the emergency room. I thought I was having a stroke. Thankfully, it was a bad migraine and it made me do the same thing I did yesterday with the forgotten words. 

Sure enough, as I'm getting dressed in case I had to call 911 to come rescue me just in case (and yes, I brushed my teeth), my head started throbbing in the exact manner it does when a migraine is coming on. Disappointed there were no firemen to rescue me yesterday, but the good news is I took my medicine and things got better. And I've called my neurologist to schedule another MRI or CT Scan in a couple of weeks for my peace of mind.

What this all means is that I have issues... health issues that are causing me pain, stress, and a whole bunch of other things. One minute I feel great. The next, not so much. It's strange. I'm waiting for one of the doctors I'm seeing to put the pieces to this puzzle together and fix me.... because I'm getting a little desperate.

So here they are... my symptoms:
Heart palpitations (they are pretty constant)
Rapid heartbeat
Muscle weakness (I couldn't run around the block if I wanted to right now)
Hand tremors
Weight loss
Blurred visions
Hair loss
Skin dryness
I've developed a goiter on my neck - ew.
These are just the ones the hyperthyroidism is causing me.

There are other symptoms I'm dealing with: headache, blurred vision, gut issues (I've been constipated and definitely not constipated); inability to say what my mind wants me to say, pain in my belly area that feels like bad gas occasionally. It's just all bad. And I'm dealing with all or some of the symptoms on any given day and it's making life hard. 

So what do I do? I do something about it. I'll be seeing an awesome doctor in a couple of weeks who I am certain can fix me. It won't be easy... I'll be cutting foods out of my diet that I've loved for years. But I know I will feel better. I'll document how my treatment goes with her with the hope that it might help someone else. So stay tuned on this mission to get me better. I can't even begin to tell you how much I want to feel normal again.

And please share if you have issues with thyroid dysfunction, autoimmune issues, etc. and how you've treated them. I'd appreciate it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hey There Rudolph!

First a little update...

I'm FINALLY beginning to feel a little more like myself now that I'm six-weeks post hysterectomy. I'm afraid my thyroid is acting up though and that's causing some setbacks. I have heart palpitations all the time. Sometimes I feel like I'm losing my breath because of it. My hair has been thinning and falling out (thank you clip in hair extensions). I'm tired all of the time but I have trouble sleeping at night even after I take Ambien. My body temperature is usually low - it was 95.5 a couple of weeks ago. My hands get a little shaky. I get a little more anxious. These are all symptoms of hyperthyroidism and I'm afraid I'm going to be put back on medication. The meds didn't make me feel better and I gained 35 pounds in about 3/4 months. So I'm not really happy about it. I'm waiting on labs from my endocrinologists office to see what my levels are. Then I'll check in with my OBGYN to get me all cleared post-surgery. I'm ready for baths, working out, and, um, you know... WORKING OUT! I'm scared because of all the weight I gained last time - I don't want to look like this again. This would really bum me out.

But on to the fun part of this post - Bryn and I got to shoot a commercial together for the Gaylord Texan resort. It was the first time we worked together and it was a lot of fun. She's a natural and I'm thinking I need to get her out on some more auditions. It was super fun getting to hang out with my baby girl all day. I can't wait to "work" with her again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Caring Santa

Santa visits can be pretty tough for kids with special needs - check out this great program that can help!

“Caring Santa” is coming to malls nationwide on Nov. 22 and Dec. 6.  Children with special needs and their families can participate in the time-honored tradition of taking a photo with Santa, but in private sensory-friendly setting before the mall opens to the public. Malls will make necessary adjustments to the environment to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of children of all abilities for this special event. Kindly RSVP at to hold your spot

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Well... Boo (Hoo)

For years we made the long trek over to Flowermound to visit the enormous and crowded super popular pumpkin patch. It was always fun but far. We were thrilled when we found out about another pumpkin patch a couple of years ago - the Big Orange Pumpkin Farm. It was much closer to home and was a truly fabulous experience. From the petting zoo to the scenic hay ride, we've looked forward to going back every year.

Unfortunately, the pumpkin farm changed locations this year. It took us an extra 20 minutes to get out to the new location in Gunter earlier this week. The drive is probably equivalent to the time it takes to get out to Flowermound. And the new location is underwhelming. It lost the homey-feel of the last location in Celina. The hay ride takes you around a square, yellow field while the last location took you on a scenic green adventure around a lake and past a little church and a barn. There were plenty of spots for photo opps at the last location... not so much at the new one. The petting zoo is always a highlight - we love seeing the majestic longhorns and other animals. We were given little Dixie cups of feed like usual, but it seemed like we were given a lot less of it so the pet feeding experience was very, very brief. And after a weekend-full of heavy rain in Texas, our pumpkin patch visit was pretty muddy and we had to venture into a water-filled field to pick out our baby pumpkins. Fortunately it was a beautiful day and we were able to get a few good pics.

We'll probably head back out to Flowermound next year.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Surprise - Will Still Has Autism!

Back in August, I wrote about our continued struggle with an issue that plagues so many families dealing with autism - insurance coverage. We sought out a developmental pediatrician to document Will's autism. After several appointments, we can now confirm that Will still has autism and hopefully the insurance fight over this issue will cease.

Of course, we found out a couple of weeks ago that United Healthcare is getting rid of our current PPO plan. We'll either have to switch to another one of their plans (an HMO) and watch our individual out-of-pocket expenses increase from $1,500/year to $6,950/year or try to find another insurer that is in-network with Easter Seals (Will's therapy provider). The fight continues.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Football + Golf = FUN!

Ryan and I are so excited to co-chair the upcoming Equest Men's Auxiliary Golf Classic this Sunday and Monday. Equest provides therapeutic horsemanship activities and therapies to children and adults with special needs. Many of the riders have autism - an issue near and dear to our hearts. We look forward to hearing football great Mike Singletary speak Sunday night and we're crossing our fingers someone will win $100,000 during the ball drop Monday. Tickets and foursomes are still available. For more information and tickets, visit 

Finally Back to Work...

Tomorrow marks three weeks post-surgery and I'm finally getting back to work. I had the pleasure of hosting the FC Dallas pregame show again last night and it was awesome! My in-laws are in town and it was so excited they could see me in my element. FC Dallas closed out the season with a win and are getting ready for playoffs. Can't wait to see how they do!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


I was laying in bed yesterday afternoon and I kept telling myself that I was fine. The thermometer readings kept changing... 98.6... 99.6... 97.1... 100.4 (note to self: get a reliable thermometer, like, the old school kind you put under your tongue because these high-tech gadgets fail miserably sometimes) but I felt warm. I was sweating... but cold. I had chills. My lower back started aching. I finally called my doc's after-hours line around 6 pm and was told I needed to head to the emergency room to rule out any infections. I started crying... I was hurting enough that I knew I had to go but I sure didn't want to - I hate going to the emergency room.

So I Ubered over to Plano Presby. I got there a little before 7 pm... and so did every one else apparently. The waiting room was pretty crowded and the young lady behind the desk told me the wait was about an-hour-and-a-half. Geez. 

There were three TVs in the waiting room - one was on ESPN, the other on the Disney Channel, and the third was off. I asked the receptionist if she could turn on the presidential debate - she told me she couldn't find the remote. M'kay. I was in for a long night. 

I was there a while before I finally saw a triage nurse. By then, my temperature was around 100 and I was shaking with chills. I was sent back to the waiting room and was there for a while. My chills were getting worse and the pain was increasing. But I waited, and waited, and waited. And I people watched. There was a mom there with her two young kids. She was sick - the flu, maybe? Her kids were running all over the place and she couldn't move. I felt awful for her. Then there was the kid who came in with his arm in a splint. He was wearing his football uniform - full pads. He'd been crying. Poor baby. Then there were the husband and wife who came in and sat next to me. At one point after they'd been waiting a while I hear him say to her, "Well, if you fall out onto the floor they aren't going to let you die." I feel you homie. It was surreal.

I finally get called back and put into a room after I'd been at the hospital for about two hours. My back pain had become unbearable. The guy who came in to see me told me he'd get me some pain meds - I'm not sure if he was a doctor or a nurse. It was a while before I saw another human being - a tech finally came in to get me for a CT scan of my abdomen. But she had to wait because they hadn't started an IV line. A nurse finally came in to start the line... OH MY DEAR GOD! As he's telling me that he wouldn't mind Donald Trump getting elected (then, if we're not happy with him, we can just impeach him) he's trying to insert the line and he failed. Miserably. Once he stuck the needle in my arm he poked around for a couple of minutes trying to find the vein. It was excruciating. He finally gets it in and starts drawing blood... I could hear it gushing into the vials. I thought I was going to pass out. Once he was done a nurse showed up to give me my pain meds but the CT folks were still waiting. I went to have the CT which was pretty quick. My arm was aching when I got back to the room. The IV line was so painful I had another nurse redo it on my other arm. My vein collapsed on her first attempt so she had to find another one. Once she was done she finally gave me some morphine and I started getting some relief. I was about 4 hours into my visit when I finally got pain meds.

Fortunately, all of my tests came back negative for infection. The CT scan showed some inflammation around my bowels but that was it. After another dose of morphine, I was free to go home. I left the hospital a little after midnight.

The aches and chills have subsided a bit but I'm sore and tired. Both arms are bruised and I still don't have much of an appetite. I'm on the mend nonetheless. Thank you all for the prayers, calls, texts, etc. They are much appreciated!!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Take It Easy... No Cartwheels!


I had a hysterectomy Monday morning. I've had "chick issues" for years - polyps, irregular bleeding, etc. and figured since I will never have enough time to take six weeks off to recover, the right time for the surgery was now. 

As I was heading to the hospital early Monday, I got emotional. Even though I've known for years that we're done having kids, there is something very gut-wrenching (literally) about having the organ that allowed me to birth two children removed from my body. It's just so... final. And then I started thinking about the "what-ifs" - there is something very sobering about making sure your husband knows where your power of attorney is "just in case." There were a few tears. I was scared.

The procedure went well though. I had a decent-sized fibroid on the front of my uterus. We knew it was there but thought it was about the size of a plum. Nope - more like a lemon. My doc took pics and I can't wait to see them. The procedure was done totally laparoscopically - I've got three tiny incisions in my belly and one in my belly button. I feel like I did after my c-section with Bryn - sore, tired, stiff and in need of some serious abdominal support. I ordered Belly Bandit yesterday that will be here today. That'll help.

I'll spend the next couple of weeks recovering and doing a lot of nothing. I've had so many people insist I take it easy "because they know me." Well, I've mastered the art of doing absolutely nothing. I should put it on my list of talents. Of course, here I am writing this blog instead of sleeping, so there's that.

I'll keep you posted on my recovery. As of right now, I'm all good. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

BLAH Blah Blah

Since we were hanging out with the Generation Rescue crew last weekend, we finally had Will's birthday party today. Will loves going to the movies so we decided to host of private screening of Hotel Transylvania 2 for him and his friends. There is a Cinemark nearby and they hosted the perfect party.

We had to be at the theater early - 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning, GASP! But we showed up with donuts and milk, a red velvet Nothing Bundt Cake (Will's fave) and some bundtinis and were ready to go. Snack packs with popcorn and fruit snacks were included in the package price for the kids. And we sent each friend home with a Cinemark gift card (not included in the price). I have to say - this is one of the least expensive birthday parties I've hosted and everyone had a blast.

We had a wonderful hostess who had two tables set up for us and made sure we were all taken care of. I'd mentioned in email conversations with the manager at Cinemark that Will has autism and some of his special friends would be joining us. The theater folks were incredibly accommodating - I can't say enough good things.

I would host another party at Cinemark in a heartbeat. I do love it when a plan comes together.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Movie Review: PAN

I don't get to see too many 3D movies. Actually, I don't get to see any. Will doesn't like wearing glasses during 3D movies so we've missed some great special effects and storytelling in these special flicks. Thank you autism. Well, Will had a Miracle League baseball game this morning so Bryn and I had a chance to check out a special PAN screening. And special it was!

I loved this movie. This prequel is to Peter Pan as the play Wicked is to the The Wizard of Oz. You learn more about the characters you love (and love to hate). We learn about Peter's mother and how he ended up in the orphanage. We meet aloof but good looking James Hook and we see that he and Peter are going to be BFFs after overcoming Blackbeard's pirates. Tinkerbell makes a cameo. So do the Lost Boys. The gangs all here.

The good:
  1. I loved watching this in 3D. There is something about a cannonball that was shot out of a flying pirate ship coming straight towards your head that is just... intense. I'm curious to see how the movie looks in 2D - I want to know if it can still capture the magic of the 3D version.
  2. The movie was magical. From the beautiful triplet mermaids with their Cara Delevigne likenesses to the sparkly fairies, the movie was visually stunning. Even the fight in the sky between warplanes and the pirate ships was out of this world - literally.
The not-so-good:
  1. At one point I thought the movie might be a musical. Legions of men belting out "Smells Like Teen Spirit" reminded me of Moulin Rouge and Baz Luhrmann's genius, but it never quite hit the mark. There were a couple of songs, but the movie wasn't a musical. Was it?
  2. If you take your small kids to the movie, know there are scary clown pirates, fairies being incinerated, and news shared about a beloved mother's death. I looked down to real tears coming out of mini-me's eyes. She recovered.

The verdict: thumbs up! I loved this magical flick and I look forward to insisting on seeing more 3D movies in the future. I'll go see it again in 2D just to compare if the lightweight version can spread the same magic.

PAN starts October 9th. For more information, check out the Pan website.

Monday, September 28, 2015

What a Weekend

What a weekend! I still haven't recovered. Ryan and I hung out at the Hotel Intercontinental with other autism parents, practitioners, doctors, presenters and businesses that support Generation Rescue and it's Autism Education Summit. Ryan spent Friday evening bonding with autism dads - it was a first-of-its-kind forum where the dads could relax, drink beer, and talk about their unique struggles on this journey we call autism.

Saturday, Ryan and I were on the celebrity keynote panel with Jenny McCarthy, Jacqueline Laurita and her husband Chris, Jodi Gomes and Ryan Blair. Hopefully we inspired the packed ballroom with words of hope.

We had a great time that evening at a wonderful VIP party hosted by Jenny and her cutie pie husband Donnie Wahlberg. They raised a ton of money for the foundation that will benefit families trying to recover their kids from autism.

But the highlight of that night... a young lady who decided to hit on my husband while I was standing right next to him. That hasn't really happened since his playing days. The trick asked Ryan if he still played ball and when he said no, she grabbed his arm and remarked that he was still built. Good thing I was in pseudo-shock. All hell may have broken loose.

But such a wonderful, fun, memorable weekend. I can't wait until next year!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Autism Education Summit is HERE!

I always hate it when I log on to this blog and realize I haven't posted in weeks - like I have nothing to talk about. Geez.

But here's a quick reminder that the Autism Education Summit is this weekend! Ryan will be speaking on a dad's panel on Friday and we'll join Jodi Gomes, Jacqueline and Chris Laurita, Ryan Blair and Jenny McCarthy on the celebrity panel Saturday afternoon. It's not too late to register - enter the code "NEUFELD" at check out for a sweet discount! For more information, check out

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Five Whole Years!

Can you believe it's been almost five years since Football Wives premiered? I'll be sharing some of my favorite memories from the show over the next month or so. Good times.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Upcoming Events You Don't Want to Miss!

My weekends in September are a little INSANE but for so many good reasons. Here's a quick look at some super fun upcoming events:

September 12th - ESTEEM Fashion Show benefiting the Elisa Project

One of my favorite places to shop in Dallas - Tootsies - will be hosting this amazing fashion show benefiting the Elisa Project. The organization is dedicated to the development of healthy children and adolescents by promoting the awareness and prevention of life-threatening disordered eating through education, support and advocacy. Both Bryn and I will work the catwalk.  

Click here for more information.

September 13th - Touchdown Tailgate benefiting Cafe Momentum

I LOVE Cafe Momentum. This Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training facility transforms the lives of at-risk youth by providing a positive environment to learn culinary, job and life-skill training as well as mentorship and support. Chef Chad Houser runs this ship and he's truly a man with purpose. I love that I'll be able to support Cafe Momentum at this fun event. I'll be one of the celebrity judges at this yummy fundraiser!

Click here for tickets. 

September 19th - Pegasus Ball benefiting the Autism Treatment Center

Hands down, this is one of my favorite galas of the year. The black-tie event at the gorgeous Fairmont Hotel in Dallas benefits the Autism Treatment Center. The ATC is an incredible LOCAL autism service provider that is doing some pretty incredible things in the community. The Pegasus Ball is a part of an entire fun-filled weekend and Ryan and I are so excited to support this amazing organization again this year.

You can find ticket info here.

September 25 - 27 - Generation Rescue's 2nd Annual Autism Education Summit

We are so excited to be included again in this amazing resource for autism families, caregivers, practitioners, etc. Ryan and I will participate on the parent panel but they've added something special this year - a dad's panel. Ryan and other autism dads will have a break out session to do some bro-bonding. It's so important - everyone always talks about "warrior moms" and so often dads fighting this autism battle don't have a voice. They will this year! And we'll get to hang out with Jenny McCarthy and her amazing hubby Donnie Wahlberg again. It's a fun, hope-filled weekend not to be missed!

Info's available here.

Our buddy Garth Brooks is coming to town in a couple of weeks - can't wait to see him in concert. And another amazing event - Mane Gait's Gala at the Gait is September 26th. I love fall in DFW - so many great events going on. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Great advice at the end of a tough Monday

Autism Chronicles: A-holes and Twitterballs

Twitterballs - I coined the term during my Football Wives days. You know how bold people get when they're hiding behind internet anonymity? I call it Twitterballs - all of a sudden folks grow a pair and say things they would never in a million years imagine saying to your face. Like the girl who tweeted me once and said Will was my karma for being a bitch. Yeah... someone said that. Crazy and unimaginable, I know. But it happens.
It happened today.
I tweeted that we received a phone call from our insurance company telling us that Will's autism therapy claim is going to denied due to lack of documentation (that he (a) has autism and (b) that the treatment is medically necessary - more on this in a moment). So this random troll responded... and it was mean. I try not to respond to these pricks - they get off on getting a response from folks. But I had to respond. One response... and I was done. I've got bigger things to worry about right now.
Back to the insurance issue. And oh yeah... our insurance carrier is UnitedHealthcare.
I wrote about the issue a couple of weeks ago. I've been waiting on the denial - we aren't the only ones this is happening to in Texas. It appears UHC is trying to circumvent state law by requiring autism families to provide oodles upon oodles of medical records, therapist records, etc. to justify claims for therapy. A simple doctor's note is apparently insufficient. The extensive evaluations done by the school district (therapists, psychologists, etc.) don't count either. And this is going to be a problem for us.
We've now got Will scheduled for intensive, multi-day medical testing so we can have him officially diagnosed with autism to justify his need for therapy services. While the testing is "covered" by insurance (ha ha ha - what a joke), there are co-pays and deductibles, missed days of school and work, time spent on phone calls, stress, etc., etc., etc. Trust me when I tell you this stuff takes a toll.
Anonymity. Will is just a number and some claims adjuster (sitting behind a desk who was so busy a couple weeks ago it took her a week to return my first phone call) is getting ready to force us into a fight that's already got me exhausted. I hate insurance companies. A-holes. They can be worse than trolls.

Friday, August 28, 2015


Seems like we blinked and summer was over. We had all of these plans to take some staycations and enjoy being home for the summer. Yeah... that didn't happen. The summer just flew by. And now we've got a 5th grader and a 2nd grader in our ranks. We're looking forward to a fun year!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

KultureCity: #18forlife

It started with a social media connection. Many of my autism warrior friendships started that way actually. We've become a large extended family - all fighting the same battle. We pray for awareness and acceptance. We encourage each other through stories of triumph and hope. We understand the importance of small victories like delayed first words and eye contact; we fear things like wandering and the heartbreak many of our families have experienced in its aftermath. We get it... and we're surrounded by friends and loved ones who get it too. Our village.

Then there was the email I received back on May 1st from Michele Maha. She and her husband Julian founded an organization in Birmingham, Alabama called KultureCity. Their mission is an amazing one. While many autism organizations focus on awareness, KultureCity's goal is to provide tangible help and equip businesses and the community with to aid and understand children and families affected by autism. From art and music camps, scholarships, connections to service providers, IPads, and their lifesaving lifeBOKS, the Mahas have dedicated themselves to making a difference in the lives of our families and communities all over the world. And they understand... they have a son with autism. 

A beautiful reminder in Birmingham.

Michele invited me to learn more about KultureCity and I was impressed by their mission. The number one complaint I usually hear from autism families is that there is enough awareness... we need help. Real, tangible help. And KultureCity seems to be filling that void. Check out some of their amazing initiatives here.

Michele invited me to Birmingham to receive an award for my autism advocacy. What an honor. I was truly blessed to be among some of the movers and shakers in the autism community. I'm still in awe of this amazing group and all of their accomplishments. From an NFL great, a child prodigy, and a fellow reality star, the list was impressive!

My KultureCity trip began with a presentation and panel discussion at the Ignite conference. It was pretty incredible. The following morning, we were treated to a VIP party at jewelry store Kendra Scott. We sipped mimosas while customizing jewelry and having some fun and much needed girl time. It doesn't get much better than that.

A highlight - I finally got to meet my autism sister Jacqueline Laurita of the RHONJ. We've been "Twitter" friends for years and finally got to connect in person. It was great! She and her husband Chris will be in Dallas next month for Generation Rescue's annual conference - can't wait to see them in the big D!

And then... there was the KultureBall. Over 500 people dressed to the nines came out to raise tens of thousands of dollars for KultureCity and its lifeBOKS and #18forlife program. $18 will provide a potentially life-saving kit to our families. There have been so many autism wandering deaths recently - sad, tragic, preventable stories. KultureCity is trying to prevent them and these kits are making a difference.

My family and KultureCity knows how to throw a party for a cause. What a memorable couple of days in Birmingham. I'm so blessed to be a part of the KultureCity family and I look forward to helping out as much as possible in the future. Because that's what family does... (and I have to send a special shout out to Diane Zaragoza for being such an incredible hostess).

With Kevin Spencer and Dahn and Alimi Ballard

With the man... Jacob Barnett. Google him.

Mike Vo (we2o founder) and Patrick Whaley (TITIN Tech)

c. David Bley Storytellers

c. David Bley Storytellers