For #cpawareness month I want to make a point in sharing some of Carolines journey from when we found out her diagnoses to where she is now. Here’s our first story…it’s long. But take the time. It’s worth it. 🙌🏻💚
Caroline was diagnosed with having had a stroke (and subsequently Cerebral Palsy) at 8 months old after our sweet friend Abby who watched her for me while she was in Occupational Therapy school discovered that Caroline was not using her right side appropriately of her age, and was actually favoring the left. Little ones under 2 are not supposed to have a dominant side or favor one over the other- I did not realize this. Other than hitting some lat milestones- I never knew anything was wrong. She had an MRI at 8 months and thats when the news hit us like bricks. She suffered a stroke that would leave her weak on her right side the rest of her life.
We were devastated.
In the community of mothers who have children with any sort of diagnoses- the first thing we want after hearing sad news is to connect with others who can empathize with us. Nicole was the first person a friend of mine connected me with because her son, like Caroline, also had a stroke around birth, and also had right sided weakness and Cerebral Palsy. Knowing that I had someone to talk to and to cry to during such a devastating moment (because even though Caroline was here with us still her beautiful happy self- it didnt negate the fact that there was a loss. A loss of what we planned for. A loss of her “normal”, at least to what we defined as normal then…) Jackson Ryan was the boys name. He was much younger when we met him than he is now. It has been nearly 6 years…
And you probably don’t recognize the name Jackson, but maybe the name Ryan…
Nolan Ryan ring a bell….
Jackson is his grandson…and I wanted to share his video and a snippet of his story with you (posted in link below). But first- please read Carolines story below and how we came to know Jackson.
Jackson was the sweetest kid and when I met him I knew Caroline could grow and go to school with everyone else and could function as well as he was. It was so reassuring to me. I’m forever thankful I had a friend who didn’t know what she could tell me during my dark hour- but she knew someone who could help me. To her, she may have thought she is simply making a connection with me and her best friend, but to me, her connecting me to someone who walked in my shoes daily was a blessing. That connection opened up doors for me to connect with others like Caroline too. So through this friend and now a couple more- I now always have someone who understands and would be there if I needed it at any time to have someone to lean on. Or their kids for Caroline to lean on and who will be able to emphasize with her.
Now flash forward a few years. Jackson is not a preteen anymore. He is in high school and exploring the option of college baseball I hear. This video of him was shared with me by his mom and it touched my heart. It showed that CP knows no limits. It doesn’t define these kids. Yes it’s a part of who they are- but it doesn’t steal away their dreams or desires. Only if they let it.
These connections in our world are invaluable!!!!! (And if my friend reads this- she knows who she is- 💜💜💜 u!! And so thankful always M!) That that dark hour would only be temporary. Things would be difficult, challenging, and at times scary- but I knew from the moment that we met Jackson that Caroline would OK. She would walk. She would smile. Life would go on….and ultimately, she would live a happy, fulfilled life!
This video is such an inspiration and encouragement to Caroline, kids with CP, and in general all kids. Because if Jackson can get out there and follow his dream through his weakness & his challenges, it gives me hope. It tells me- what’s stopping Caroline! What’s stopping you!
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