What Matters Most:
When The Doctor Says
“She Won’t Amount To Much”
At four months of age I knew there was something askew with my daughter, Corinne. She was my second born and in comparison to my first born son, who was so very strong in every sense of the word, was the direct opposite. I loved how she was gentle, snugly and mellow. It was a nice change of scenery from the wiry, active, ball of energy that I had grown accustomed to with my first born, Caleb. I thought to myself, perhaps it is a difference of personality or because she was a girl and he was just an active boy. However, by four months of age, Corinne was not holding her head up or turning over (most babies are rolling back and forth by 3 months of age). I had that sinking feeling that something was not right and I went on a mission to find out what I needed to do to fix it.
You see, I am a die hard optimist. When others say something won’t work or there is no way, I take it on as a challenge. This situation was no different. She was floppy, or low-toned as they called it, so I sought out a physical therapist to help strengthen her muscles. Seems logical, right? But that is not quite how it works. The physical therapist explained to me that I first had to see a Pediatric Neurologist to get a prescription so that she could work with Corinne.
It was my impression that this prescription was just a formality or bump in the road. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was then that my whole world was turned upside down. I was expecting to be told how adorable she was and that she needed some physical therapy to strengthen her muscles. I would then be handed a piece of paper that gave the therapist permission to work with my sweet baby. Instead, I was handed a prescription with the words and diagnosis of right-side-hemi cerebral palsy. The doctor told me to just take her home and love her…that she “won’t amount to much.” Those words still pierce through my heart. How could this be? How could he say that? I was devastated. My arms felt like rubber. It felt like something was sitting on my chest because I could hardly breathe. It seriously takes a lot to rock my boat and this hit me like a tsunami. The “glass half full” girl was nowhere to be found.
I don’t know how I managed to get to my car but I remember closing the driver’s side door, holding my sweet 4 month old baby and crying out to the Lord to give me strength. I grabbed my cell phone and dialed my husband at work. He would have been there at the appointment if we had even an inkling that there would be any hard news. Through the ugly cry and squeaking voice I told him what the doctor had said, “just take her home and love her…that she will never amount to much.” We both were in tears, confused and scared for what the future held for our little one.
It is at times like this that we find out who we are and how real our faith is. In the midst of it all, through faith, we find what is coined as moxie. I didn’t even know that I had this thing called moxie. Somewhere between that diagnosis and the first few visits with our physical therapist, God carried me through, as He promises that He always will. I found that backbone, will, grit, gumption, moxie, or whatever you want to call it, to move forward and do whatever it took to give Corinne the best possible advantage in life…whatever that may look like for her.
I am not a quitter. I see myself as a go getter. My mom calls it down right stubborn, but we will leave that for another post. I’m a fixer and even though this Pediatric Neurologist, a true specialist in his field, told me that Corinne would never amount to much, I knew FOR SURE that she was so much more than that “life robbing sentence” that rolled off his tongue. I knew that I would fight for her to be all that God had for her to be. Whether she ever walked or talked or not, we were going to work hard and fight for her to be all that she could be…because that is what we Moms do.
I was cast into a world I knew nothing about and became a voracious reader of all things pertaining to cerebral palsy, low tone and how to best to help her. I constantly asked questions of the physical therapist so that I could better understand and work with Corinne. I watched how the therapists worked with her and did what they did at home. Corinne grew stronger and worked harder than any child I had ever known. It was often through tears, pain and exhaustion, but she kept on trying and pushing through. You see, she was strong inwardly, like her Mama and somehow, some way, the baby that was presumed to not amount to much, began to roll over, crawl and eventually walk. She was dubbed the walking and talking miracle by both her Pediatric Neurologist and her Physical Therapist.
Now at age 16 Corinne blesses so many with her gentle but strong spirit… And it is true that she is not normal or ordinary in any sense of the word – she is extraordinary and I am blessed to be her Mom.
Few people with a devastating diagnosis will come out on the other side and have their diagnosis reversed or marked as no sign of cerebral palsy as Corinne did… but I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, that every single person is meant to be here and each one of us does amount to much!
Please don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t or won’t amount to much. It will rob you of your life and all that God has for you to be and do!
Are you in the midst of a devastating diagnosis, feeling like you’ve lost your moxie? Please share below so that we can lift you up in prayer.
Tricia is a wife of 19 years, Mom to 9 children (6 biological & 3 adopted from Ethiopia) who has gone from surviving to thriving, helping others find health in their body mind/heart and financially. Tricia has gone from having gone from her husband traveling all week every week to living a life they once only dreamed of and now they desire to give hope & support to those who are dissatisfied with their current situation. You can read more about her on TriciaDixon.com and connect with her on her Facebook page and Twitter @TriciaDixon.