Lana was the most easy-going, happy little baby. But her parents started to worry when she failed to sit up or roll over by the time she was 9 months old. Her pediatrician sent Tori and Matt to a Pediatric Developmental Specialist. Through MRI testing, they found that Tori got Cytomegolavirus (CMV) while pregnant, which resulted in their daughter having Cerebral Palsy.
CMV can Cause Cerebral Palsy among other Disabilities
CMV is a common cold virus. It is harmless unless someone has a compromised immune system or is pregnant. “When I heard Lana’s diagnosis and then learned about what caused it, I was shocked. I had never heard of it,” Tori said.
CMV causes a wide range of disabilities. Lana has problems with speech and eating in addition to cerebral palsy. Despite her physical limitations, Lana is very smart. She is learning to sign and thrives at school and in therapy.
This Family has Challenges and Joys LIke any Other Family
Matt is rarely home because he goes to school and works full time. He wanted to make sure Tori could be home with Lana. That convenience comes with some sacrifice. Matt makes his time home on weekends count. “I make sure she knows that even though I’m not home very much, I still love her,” Matt said.
One of Tori’s biggest challenges is getting Lana to eat. At three years old, Lana struggles to eat and Tori feels the pressure of helping her gain some weight. “Dinner time is probably my least favorite time,” Tori said. From a social perspective, Tori worries about how other kids will treat Lana. She obviously can’t jump up and run around with other kids. They would have to come and sit with her which isn’t necessarily what three-year-olds want to do.
Tori and Matt get through the tough times because of how happy their daughter is. One of the phrases she can say is “I did it!” She gets so excited when she accomplishes something, big or small. “She is our bundle of joy,” Matt said.
Best Advice: Help Each Other Out and Be Kind
“I feel like she is helping me become more aware of the fact that everybody struggles, so just be kind because you don’t know what someone is going through,” Tori said. For parents who do have a child with a disability, it is important to find a support group. Tori belongs to a Facebook group for parents whose child has been affected by CMV. She has been able to ask questions about cerebral palsy and get support when needed. They are also grateful for the encouragement that is extended to them by family and friends. “To see other people love your child who is a little different is heartwarming,” Tori said.