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Welcome to the website of the National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (NOFASD) Australia.

NOFASD Australia Podcast

Pregnancy and Alcohol: The Surprising Reality

#16 FASD First Voices Part 4 with CJ Lutke

In this fourth and final episode in this multi-part FASD “First Voices” mini-series, Kurt’s quest comes to its conclusion when he talks with another adult who lives with this invisible disability, to learn more about how they live with FASD

Kurt is joined by CJ Lutke, a person with FASD, a member of the FASD Changemakers, an advocate, writer and blogger. They chat about her life, her writing and how she deals with her FASD symptoms. CJ lives in Canada, and you’ll notice that at times she refers to F-A-S when speaking about FASD. This terminology is still used in Canada, while in Australia this disability is now officially called FASD. Another reference made by CJ is to the ALC – this refers to the Adult Leadership of FASD Changemakers. They are a group of adults all of whom have FASD and advocate for the ‘nothing about us, without us’ approach, in that those with lived experience of FASD should be included in policymaking and advocacy for this disability. CJ also mentions ‘Winners’ which is a chain of stores in Canada.

To read CJ Lutke’s many insightful blogs about her experiences living with FASD, please see: https://www.nofasd.org.au/community/cj-lutke-blog/

For more information about FASD, please go to: https://www.nofasd.org.au/

Producers: Kurt Lewis, Louise Gray and Julie Flanagan

Interviewer: Kurt Lewis

Interviewee: CJ Lutke

This project is funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in collaboration with NOFASD Australia.

The copyright is owned by NOFASD Australia.

All rights reserved – No reproduction or use of this content without written consent of Kurt Lewis and NOFASD Australia.

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the interviewee. NOFASD makes every effort to ensure all content is free from judgement and stigma. NOFASD’s mission includes reducing stigma for families and individuals impacted by FASD.

CJ Lutke Biography

CJ Lutke is a well-known speaker on the topic of FASD, having presented at, and participated in, many conferences, seminars, training sessions and other events over the last 20 years.  CJ actively provides advice and consultation as well as participating as an advisor to FASD research projects. She also has written a series of informative and insightful blogs that are available on the NOFASD website. In these she outlines her experiences living with FASD, how it impacts her life and the way she deals with some of these challenges.

Episode Transcript

Kurt Lewis (00:03):

How much do you know about pregnancy and alcohol? The reality may surprise you. Alcohol exposure while in the womb may cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in unborn children. It may lead to lifelong physical, and, or, neuro-developmental impairments, such as problems with memory, attention, cause and effect reasoning and difficulties in adapting to situations. For such an impactful disorder it is rarely spoken about in the popular media. This podcast will take you behind the scenes to chat with the people who understand FASD. This is Pregnancy and Alcohol: The Surprising Reality.  

Welcome. welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to this episode of Pregnancy and Alcohol: The Surprising Reality. This is your friendly neighborhood podcast host Kurt Lewis. And this episode is part four of our FASD “First Voices” special. Today’s podcast guest is a blogger, FASD advocate guest speaker, and also a mentor for young adults with FASD – CJ Lutke. How’s it going, CJ?

CJ Lutke (01:09):

I’m good. How are you?

Kurt Lewis (01:10):

Yeah, not too bad. Just had this massive storm and now it’s – thank God it’s over. I don’t want it ruining the sound, but just it’s – thank God it’s over now. But you know, Australian storms are the worst.

CJ Lutke (01:21):

Oh, you’re in your winter now, aren’t you?

Kurt Lewis (01:23):

I know, it’s weird, isn’t it? But you are going through summer, aren’t you?

CJ Lutke (01:26):

Yes. <laugh> the summer dress.

Kurt Lewis (01:29):

For everyone listening at home. I’m wearing this very tropical looking shirt, which is somewhat opposite to my season, going through winter at the moment. But I always like to wear a good, fun tropical shirt. I think it just makes the podcast come alive. What do you think?

CJ Lutke (01:43):

I like them. My nephew wears them too. He loves them.

Kurt Lewis (01:47):

Mm. Sun sures the best. Out of curiosity, do you listen to podcasts? Do you have like a favorite podcast?

CJ Lutke (01:53):

I used to, I really liked some of the paleontology podcasts out there. I’ve never really gotten into them cause they were confusing, like trying to find them and stuff.

Kurt Lewis (02:03):

Oh yeah, you find them the right one. There’s just so many out there at the moment.

 CJ Lutke (02:07):

Yeah.

Kurt Lewis (02:08):

Getting – and I’ve never really heard of any paleontology podcasts, but you’ll have to recommend me something.

CJ Lutke (02:13):

Okay – some of them have gone by the wayside now, so that’s not good.

Kurt Lewis (02:16):

No, not good at all.

CJ Lutke (02:17):

No.

Kurt Lewis (02:18):

I know you’ve, you’ve written a number of blog posts about your experiences with FASD that you’ve had published with the NOFASD Australia website. What got you into writing blogs?

CJ Lutke (02:30):

I’ve always been a writer from early on and it’s just something I continued and it’s weird because I was like, I’d write or I’d – Mum and I would do the speeches for the conferences, and I would tell her things. She goes, “That doesn’t fit here” – so I would just do some writing on my own. And then she said, “Well, people want to hear this”. So that’s how it got started. I’m like, oh, people want to hear it. <laugh>

Kurt Lewis (02:53):

And then kind you, you write very great blogs and they’re very – lots of great descriptive, great information at the end of the day. And you just felt the need to write this all down to kind of like spread it out there.

CJ Lutke (03:05):

Yeah. I actually was offered by the Asante Centre, to do some blogs and then the, the NOFASD Australia picked up the blogs and I kind of went with NOFASD Australia and they’ve been so wonderful in sharing the message. I really am grateful for that opportunity. And things that are said in the blogs are specific, but they’re also, I want them to be universal. I want them more – “the theme of”, instead of, you know, today in my life this is happening, but sometimes like the memory blog where I lost my backpack or when I go for coffee – those are very specific experiences but can be shared with everybody because I think a lot of people that I know become overwhelmed in situations like coffee shops.

Kurt Lewis (03:49):

Definitely. Out of curiosity, when did you first get diagnosed with FASD?

CJ Lutke (03:55):

I was actually diagnosed at birth because my birth mum – there was alcohol in the amniotic fluid. I was the tenth child, that was the last child, and she was unfortunately drunk on arrival, and it was just an easy call to make. I got assessed when I was about five or six.

Kurt Lewis (04:13):

Was it good being diagnosed at an early age?

CJ Lutke (04:16):

It was because it opened up a dialogue between, and this is the thing, I also grew up in a house full of other people who had F-A-S and just a variety of things. And knowing early on we could talk about it. The thing about F-A-S is sometimes when a child gets diagnosed, the parents don’t talk about it. So, you talk about it, you can say, yes, this is hard today, or this is the reason you’re struggling. Yeah, that’s going to be hard. You’re going to have a harder time than other kids, but we’re going to get there eventually. We work a little bit at a time. The teen years, the teen years is harder. Even knowing that you have F-A-S the teen years just like, no, I don’t want anything to do with that. I, I don’t want to be different. I don’t want this. I want to be like everybody else. So that’s, uh, it’s a bump in the road.

Kurt Lewis (05:01):

Did that eventually change as you grew up?

CJ Lutke (05:03):

It did. It took a long time though. Even knowing that I have F-A-S, even talking about F-A-S like I did, it changed, you know, when I hit teen years and into my early twenties because that’s again, the time where there’s a lot of growth happening. There’s a lot of hormones happening. There’s also this expectation of independence and things. And you really see the divide between you and your peers for lack of better word. You just want to deny that you’re any different. You want the same things they do and it’s not coming in as easily. And then, uh, in your twenties, it’s rather dangerous I find to – to have F-A-S in your twenties more than in your teens, because in your twenties you’re legally an adult. So, then you’re told you have to be responsible for all these choices you make and are they really choices if you don’t understand the full reasoning or the full consequence behind those choices. And the desperation to make friends or be part of something, leads a lot of people down a really dark path that sometimes really hard to walk back from.

Kurt Lewis (06:07):

Yeah. I imagine it must have been quite kind of like a stumbling book in, in the sense going through your twenties with FASD – what got you through that?

CJ Lutke (06:14):

I’m a little different. I grew up watching my siblings, my older siblings, who had F-A-S – they went out and for lack of a better word, they failed, they fell many times and they would move back home so many times – right. And they’d go out back home and go out and move back home. And also, I saw their struggle with addiction. I saw all that and at a very early age I decided I wasn’t going to drink. I wanted a lot out of life, and I knew that drinking would not get me there. And I saw enough in my older siblings and their birth family that, that I knew that’s the critical thing that stopped them from a lot of their stuff. I also got a job at Winners – or TJ Maxx in the States – and I thought, okay, I have a purpose and a career – I’m going to be a manager one day.

(07:04):

And that again was a good focus until, it wasn’t, until I overworked, I was 24, I was 89 pounds, and I wasn’t sleeping, and I wasn’t eating, and I was just, I wasn’t functioning. I had to take stress leave for three months in order to get my mental state back in order. If my mum had not suggested, she said, “Well you can do this, you can take this much time off. You have to do this.” I wouldn’t have known, I may have gotten fired, and I probably would’ve ended up in a mental hospital just because of the not sleeping, the not eating. So, my mum and my dad saved my life and then my dad died 10 days after stress leave.

Kurt Lewis (07:46):

Mm. – that would’ve – must have been quite the blow.

CJ Lutke (07:49):

It was, it was. My mum – like I, I can’t say enough good things about my mum. Like she was amazing, and you know, having to, and just getting past that, my mum was the, you know …

Kurt Lewis (08:02):

Quite the support.

CJ Lutke (08:03):

Yeah. A lot of talks.

Kurt Lewis (08:04):

Quite the support I imagine.

CJ Lutke (08:05):

Yeah.

Kurt Lewis (08:07):

Your mum sounds amazing, by the way.

CJ Lutke (08:09):

<laugh>. She is.

Kurt Lewis (08:10):

Well, you sound amazing as well. You’re, you’ve clearly gone through a lot.

CJ Lutke (08:14):

I think everyone goes through a lot. It just seems like a lot when, when you’re a lot more open about it. Like, you know, I think everybody – and that’s the other thing people go through a lot. Everybody goes through so much and it’s just the idea that you’re not alone. I’m not the only one who, who’ve had, you know, stress leave. I’m not the only one who has lost a parent. I’m not the only one – right. But when you have F-A-S a lot of the time you’re made to feel like the only one in poor you and it’s, you have to balance that with, yeah, this sucks, but at the same time I’m not alone. And even though it feels like it, the critical point is life will get better and that’s really hard because in the moment you’re just living in the moment. It’s going to be like this, this forever, but it’s not. And it’s, it’s really important that everybody know that the moment you’re going through is not your whole life.

Kurt Lewis (09:02):

That that’s great advice. To be honest. I couldn’t, Yeah, I’ve said it, but you – that is clearly really good advice. Sorry. Okay. Sorry. Got me a bit emotional there myself. I..

CJ Lutke (09:15):

I’m so sorry.

Kurt Lewis (09:15):

No, no, no, no, not at all. I like hearing this kind of stuff. I like when it gets emotional cause that’s, when I  know, when my listeners are, listening, hopefully, they’re listening and going – they are feeling that too. What is it like living with FASD? What are the – can you give us any examples of the symptoms you kind of go through on a day-to-day basis?

CJ Lutke (09:34):

Uh, memory <laugh>, I can see memory right there. I’ve been on anti-anxiety and anti-depression since my stress leave and I haven’t gone off, which is great. However, remembering to take them sometimes doesn’t always work. The way I remember is either my mum or actually my son. The memory stuff is really hard. And the anxiety that’s linked to memory. It’s not anxiety for worry’s sake. It’s, have I remembered this? Did I forget anything? It’s a constant. My mind’s washing machine is, did I forget it? Did I remember it? Did I forget <laugh>? So, speaking of washing machines, I stay home like literally Wednesday is my laundry day. <laugh>, I do laundry, I clean on Wednesdays. I try not to leave the house because if I leave the house it won’t get done. Like, I’ll forget when I come back that I have laundry. I forget in the house that I have laundry, but it’s a lot easier to remember. So, memory, anxiety and money. Like maths, I’m quite frugal. I just – I worry about overspending or being impulsive with my money and I’ve been told that I’m the least impulsive to my money, but not with things that come out of my mouth. <laugh>.

Kurt Lewis (10:43):

Well, I mean, I guess being non impulsive with money, that’s, I think that’s kind of important. You don’t want to go out and spend what you don’t have at the end of the day. Like a lot of people do.

CJ Lutke (10:53):

Yeah. And I think it’s either, you know, one or the other. Like, I know that when some of my siblings, they’ll get their cheque, my mum had to like pay the rent and stuff right. Or pay their rent out of their cheque and stuff and then they just go and spend it. Or they’d rack up debt because it – it just happens so fast. And if you’re not supported, like I’m supported, like I live at home, and I’m supported and that makes a huge difference. It really does. I have a person to bounce off of. I can say, “Hey, is this a good idea”? And even if I – trust me, I did not like hearing my mother say, “Have you thought about this? Have you thought about that? What if that happens?” And I’m like, I don’t need to hear that. I’m young. I can do what I want – right?

(11:37):

So, it was a clash, but – but the supports are really, really important. I can’t stress that enough. I’m lucky to have a lot of people supporting me. Like I have my sister Angie, I have my sister Kitty, I have my mum, I have my son, I have my next-door neighbor and I have my friend Dave and Nicole. Nicole married a fantastic man named Brian, whose brother is Dave. And he’s a good friend of mine. And, and Regina – their support means so much. And I can never, I don’t, I don’t take that for granted because they’re just, they’re good people and I’m so lucky to have found good people.

Kurt Lewis (12:19):

You find that group of people that just really helps us a lot in life. It is support circle, a circle of support in essence.

CJ Lutke (12:34):

Yeah

 Kurt Lewis (12:35):

And I imagine it helps.

CJ Lutke (12:27):

Yeah, and you know, I – it goes both ways. It goes both ways. And oh my gosh, the ALC, the ALC…

Kurt Lewis (12:35):

The ALC, what’s that?

CJ Lutke (12:36):

Myles and Kat and Anique and Justin and Emily. Meeting them at like conferences is so much fun. And they get you. They’re just like, yeah, like my friend Kat. I can’t believe I forgot Kat. Oh my God. Don’t tell her I forgot her! <laugh> My friend Kat, she’s amazing. We talk almost every night and I’ll be like, “Oh, I forgot this”. And she’ll be like, “I know”, like she’s totally cool with it. Or she’ll forget something like, “I know”. And, and having that understanding with someone else with F-A-S is so, so nice.

Kurt Lewis (13:08):

Uh, just for the listeners who aren’t aware, what is the AOC? Am I saying that right?

CJ Lutke (13:14):

ALC

Kurt Lewis (13:14):

ALC, sorry.

CJ Lutke (13:16):

ALC – like, uh, like London, we’re a group of people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and we help with the conferences, and we actually put out two surveys, uh, one on health about five years ago. And the other one on quality of life, just recently. I think we’re working on getting that one published and we’re like community researchers.

Kurt Lewis (13:46):

Oh!

CJ Lutke (13:47):

We have different – we all have been from through different things, different walks of life for different ages, different genders, different uh, ethnicities. And we – the point of our group is that we are different, but we are very similar. And because of all of our different experiences, we can bring that to the table, and we can talk about it and we can empathise to one another and we can really get a – a picture of the different walks of life that F-A-S has.

Kurt Lewis (14:20):

Yeah.

CJ Lutke (14:21):

Because it does affect everybody. It doesn’t just affect the First Nations community. It doesn’t just affect low-end communities. It affects everybody. And I think that’s what people need to know is, is it affects everybody. I’m actually working on a blog on the unintended consequences of a hundred percent preventable message and what that says about people who do have F-A-S who are born with it.

Kurt Lewis (14:46):

I look forward to reading it. It sounds interesting.

CJ Lutke (14:48):

Because this is all preventable – and in a way we are, but in another way, are we – right? Like, are forest fires preventable?

Kurt Lewis (14:57):

Yeah.

CJ Lutke (14:58):

Smokey the bear says so but look at how many people accidentally flick out a, a cigarette not thinking.

Kurt Lewis (15:04):

Or lightning, or stuff like that.

CJ Lutke (15:06):

Mm. Yeah. It’s, and a lot of times addiction is, is a lightning strike also, it’s – part of the blog is, I grew up in the shadow of like ‘a hundred percent preventable’ and look at the future of these people. And that was the other driving force is I didn’t, I didn’t want to end up the worst-case scenario, cause I’m reading “The Broken Cord” as well, cause I’m going back to the very beginning. There was a quote, it says and ‘a lifetime burden’. I didn’t want to be a lifetime burden and I didn’t want to be a victim.

Kurt Lewis (15:34):

Yeah.

CJ Lutke (15:35):

So, I’m trying to write about how to move forward with those messages of healthy pregnancy and acceptance of sometimes people have F-A-S. So that’s what I’m working on. It’s – it takes a long time though to construct it though…

Kurt Lewis (15:46):

Yeah

 CJ Lutke (15:46):

…because all the different thoughts and all the different notes and…I’ve got post-its all around with quotes and stuff and I take them off. Does this what that is? And then I date them too. So, I know when I wrote them. <laugh>. Yeah.

Kurt Lewis (15:59):

With the memory too, what are some of the other major challenges you have to face with that particular symptom? I know you’ve mentioned a couple of examples in- from your blog. Is there any other kind of major things you, you face with that, with the memory, if you don’t mind me asking?

CJ Lutke (16:13):

Oh yeah. For work, if I don’t write it down, then I’ll forget it. But then I’ll write it down and I’ll lose it and then I will – so I, I messed up my work schedule tons and it’s all disability based. And in the blog, I was having trouble asking, cause I work in the fitting room asking for the, the number card back from the person.

Kurt Lewis (16:36):

Yeah

CJ Lutke (16:37):

And I had – they don’t work for Winners anymore for whatever reason. They don’t, I’ve had really great managers and this one she, I’m not sure – I’m, I don’t want to be paranoid, but I think she just didn’t really want me in her store because she said I was allowed to, cause I was forgetting. Cause I was stressed. It was, I had transferred to the store, and I was just trying to like absorb everything.

Kurt Lewis (17:06):

Yeah.

CJ Lutke (17:07):

And so, I’d forget, and she’d find the numbers in the back, and she said it was a loss prevention issue. Like someone could just say, “I have, I have five instead of six and look, I forgot my number in the back”. And so, I said, Okay, can I write a note? And she goes, “Sure”. And so, I wrote myself a post-it and I was doing really well. I’d look at the post-it and I’d ask, I’d look at the post-it and I’d ask, and then she found out that it was on – the customers didn’t even see it – but it was on the desk. It was just a little post-it. And she said, “No, you have to keep it in the drawer”. And I was like, “Well how am I supposed to remember the note if it’s in the drawer like that, I can’t see it”. So, and it’s also the lack of other people’s understanding of the memory. I’ll tell someone – like I was in a grocery store with my son – grocery stores and coffee shops are the same type of overwhelming, because everything’s going on.

(17:46):

Like, you just forget. You look around and go, Oh, sparkly thing. And you’re like, what was I doing? I’m like, Oh, look at that. What was I doing, <laugh>. It was, it’s a lot of that. And so, it’s a lot of energy. And I was in a grocery store with my son, because of COVID and, and where the grocery store is, they have a code to get into the bathroom and he had to pee. And I asked, the lady, I said, Well, what’s the code? And she rattled it off really fast. And I was like, “Can you say that again?” And she said it again. I said, “Can you write it down for me?” And she goes, “It’s four numbers”. I said, “Well, I have a memory problem and I, I need to get from here to there”. And she goes, “it’s four numbers”. Like, you can do it. You know, because I have a son, because I can take the bus, because of all this stuff. People don’t always see it as a memory problem. And it’s, it’s frustrating.

Kurt Lewis (18:37):

I can imagine it must be very frustrating dealing with people who don’t understand that you have memory problems and it’s just,

CJ Lutke (18:45):

It – it is frustrating. But again, I guess it’s about perspective because if you have not had experience, if a young person goes like, I have a memory problem, they’re probably going to be like, well, don’t smoke pot <laugh>. If it’s a young problem, then it’s like, well how do you have a memory problem? What does that look like? You know, everybody forgets, and they do, but it’s, there’s another layer.

Kurt Lewis (19:09):

<laugh>. Yeah.

CJ Lutke (19:10):

And it’s really hard to convey to somebody behind a glass partition asking for the code to the bathroom So, and in the moment, I don’t really want to launch into this, my son has to pee. He’s going to go on the floor before I finish talking to you, <laugh>.

Kurt Lewis (19:22):

Do you have any strategies to help you with these memory kind of issues with your FASD as a whole?

CJ Lutke (19:34):

Oh yeah. Lists. I write things down so much. I write them down. I will repeat like in my head. Like I will try and repeat out loud as well. There’s a lot of mumbling to myself. You know, if I’m mumbling to myself about remembering something, it totally keeps the seat next to me on the bus clear. I’m insane.

(19:55):

It works fine. I will ask somebody to help me remember. Like, I have some really great friends, like my best friend Nicole, we’ve been best friends since like sixth grade, which is amazing. And or, or people will text me or remind me of things and my, my friend will text me. Like my friend who works at uh, Regina, she works at Winners, and she’ll text me my schedule sometimes when I forget. Most of the people I’ve worked with been really understanding about how I function. And it’s just, it’s very humbling and, and very – I’m so appreciated about it because I found that a lot of people don’t have to be, they have their lives and I get it. And the fact that they will take the time to remind me. It’s just very humbling and – and I appreciate it.

Kurt Lewis (20:39):

I’m guessing that support network plays a really big part in helping you. You have your own kind of like support network. Would you kind of recommend to other people having like their own network?

CJ Lutke (20:51):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Yeah. A routine. A routine really helps routine. Like, like Wednesdays I do laundry, so I won’t forget my laundry. Theoretically, I won’t forget my laundry. I will forget to switch the laundry. It’ll take all day. But I won’t forget that I’m doing laundry.

Kurt Lewis (21:04):

Yeah.

CJ Lutke (21:05):

Cause that is marked off for laundry day. Lists for grocery shopping. My mum does a lot of the grocery shopping cause I’m – she says I’m not allowed at Costco anymore. There was, uh, there was an incident, <laughs>…

Kurt Lewis (21:16):

Oh!

CJ Lutke (21:17):

I – I don’t like a lot of people like around me. So, it was very like I was pushing the buggy and this lady stops in front of me, just stops. And she’s supposed to get something. She doesn’t put her buggy to the side like you’re supposed to. And I got mad at the lady, I got mad at the lady. I’m like, have some buggy. And it was Christmas. I don’t know why. So, mum’s like, we’re not, we’re not going to take you to Costco anymore. I’m like, oh good. I’m like, there’s online, like I love online shopping. It works so well, which is bad because I work in a brick-and-mortar retail store, and I’d like people to keep shopping. <Both laugh>

Kurt Lewis (21:55):

Leading by example.

CJ Lutke (21:58):

<laugh>. Exactly. But for groceries and stuff, it’s so wonderful to be able to have the list in front of you at your computer and just be like, I need this, or I need that. And you have a calculator right in front of you. You can do that. Yeah. So, shopping online really helps with the memory. Cause I’ve got the list and – lists are, are amazing. Texts are amazing when people text you things and uh,

Kurt Lewis (22:16):

Post-it notes.

CJ Lutke (22:17):

I think that’s it. Yeah. Post-it notes. Yes. I have about 10 of them right now. All over my room.

Kurt Lewis (22:31):

Like, it’s helpful for having them out.

CJ Lutke (22:32):

Yeah. Some of them are notes for blogs, some of them are notes for like books I want to read. And some of them are phone numbers and some of them are actually passwords. The great thing about – I’m always forgetting my passwords, they’re like, do you want to change your password? Like, yes. And then I’ll forget to change it.  I have like binders and books and stuff that I can refer to.

Kurt Lewis (22:55):

Do you have any advice or like tips for people with FASD, or caregivers who are helping a person with FASD who may be listening at home?

CJ Lutke (23:00):

I, I like the twenties are going to be a dog show. Just, just putting it out there. It’s not going to be easy. It’s probably going to be a lot harder than teen years. It’s going to be probably, unfortunately, the hardest time of both your lives. But please hang in there. It sounds dumb, but please hang in there – and just take – yeah- literally take one moment a time, one day at a time. And routine. Routine is so, so important. So important. Like, Wednesday is a cornerstone of my whole week – Wednesdays laundry day. I’ve become a little more flexible now. And then my son, he knows that Sunday is pancake day.

Kurt Lewis (23:39):

Ooh.

CJ Lutke (23:40):

And Friday is movie night. So, I get up and make pancakes for him. Mother’s Day was funny cause he gave me breakfast and bed and he said, “Don’t worry, you can make me pancakes after”.

Kurt Lewis (23:53):

<laugh>.

CJ Lutke (23:54):

So, like, thank you. I’m so, you know, he got me my yoghurt and coffee anyway, toast. And he said, “You can make pancakes when you’re done”. Just, you know, so that our Sunday wasn’t – completely out of routine.

Kurt Lewis (23:58):

<laugh> Oh, that’s cute.

CJ Lutke (24:03):

Yeah. So made pancakes and it becomes a habit. And it becomes a ritual, and it becomes a way to remember as well, because certain things don’t change. At the beginning, I was quite inflexible at – about Wednesdays, but now I can go to coffee for maybe, well not now, cause of COVID, but before like, you know, my friend would drive out, can we do coffee for an hour? And I go home and then I’d do my laundry, or I do my laundry before the coffee. Right? I could do that now. I could plan better. But it takes a long time to get a routine started and to get it so that you can work around the routine. It’s a – it’s a big thing is routine and sometimes you’re rigid on it. And that’s no fun for the person watching, but it’s, it’s a critical piece for the person who needs it.

Kurt Lewis (24:50):

CJ, I just want to thank you for all your amazing advice, all your amazing story. And I just, yeah, I was really just, I felt rather touched by it all and you’ve just, it’s just been, it’s just fantastic. Thank you for sharing this.

CJ Lutke (25:04):

Thank you.

Kurt Lewis (25:09):

Thanks again, CJ. I really enjoyed chatting with you and I know our listeners will, really value hearing your insights on living with FASD

Thank you for listening to this episode of Pregnancy and Alcohol: The Surprising Reality. Please tune in next week for another episode of our little podcast. If you like this podcast episode, then please show your support by leaving a rating and review on iTunes. Every little bit helps. All rights reserved. For more information about FASD then please go to www.nofasd.org.au

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