Part of my job at work is working in our Neuromuscular clinic, there we see many young boys who have been diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. This dreadful disease causes a progressive deterioration of their muscles leading them to an early death. We often discuss with the families how and when to tell their child about their diagnosis; some parents handle this awful task bravely and some avoid it at all lengths leaving these smart boys to find out on their own. Sitting in on these discussions I thought about the talk I haven't had with Elizabeth.
It took a couple of weeks to initiate it and each time I thought about doing it I felt sick to my stomach and then I would remind myself that other families have to give such tragic news to their children.
One day while putting on her AFO's she asked why she and her fiance (yep still engaged to her little friend who also has CP) needed to wear them. So impromptly the discussion began; I explained how she was so tiny and fragile when she was born and how hard she fought to stay strong and come home. Then I explained just like the scars she has on her body she has one in her brain that we can't see but that scar causes her muscles to be weak and her balance to be off. I explained this is called brain damage, it won't get worse but will always cause her to have difficulties with her walking. This whole discussion I am trying not to let her see me cry as it kills me that we even have to talk about this.
Elizabeth is satisfied with what we talked about and even during breakfast blamed her brain damage for some spill she caused. She often now will ask about her other friends with CP and if they were baby birds too. For now I just reply that yes they have a scar in their brain too.