A to Z Challenge – Day 7 – G



This one was a surprise!  Emily sat down at the table and wrote away while I napped on the couch and try to will myself back to health.  The flu that hit Jonathan than myself has to be the strongest flu out there!  Lucky for us, we caught it early in Emily and the medication has saved her from the worst.

Emily’s love of giraffe is not new.

When Emily was 7, she wanted to move to Kenya.  She learned about Kenya in 1st grade and was fascinated by the landscape, the animals and the culture.

January 1998, we offer her the next best thing, a trip to Disney with a room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  This is 9 year old Emily looking at wild animals from our balcony.

Disney Jan 2008 406

Following is what Emily wrote about giraffes.  I believe google helped her with this!

She told me some of the key words she wanted to write about and she wrote about them.

My big win on this post is definitely Emily’s printing!  Look at it!

When Emily was diagnosed with Cri du Chat Syndrome, we were told that she would do nothing.  Not walk, talk, recognized us or understand us.

We’ve worked with physiotherapist and occupational therapist for every milestone Emily has achieved.  We’ve learned how to work with her to help her grow and developed new skills.  Her printing above is such a big win!!!


A to Z Challenge 2016 – Lessons from my Daughter (PR) #914


Lessons from my daughter is on Facebook!

You can also find me on Twitter at @plebrass

and on Pinterest: Lessons from my Daughter

Find more about about Cri du Chat syndrome at 5p- Society

Emily has a her own page in the family stories , you can find it here: Emily


14th Anniversary

Yesterday was our 15th Wedding anniversary!

Today is the 14th anniversary of Emily’s diagnosis.

Even if I wanted to forget today’s date I can’t!

14 years ago, when we celebrated our first wedding anniversary, we were still waiting for Emily’s blood work.  We had received all the other test results.

We knew something was not quite right with the white matter in her brain.  We needed a MRI to confirm exactly what was going on.

As per Wikipedia,

White matter is one of the two components of the central nervous system and consists mostly of glial cells and myelinated axonsthat transmit signals from one region of the cerebrum to another and between the cerebrum and lower brain centers. 

White matter, long thought to be passive tissue, actively affects how the brain learns and functions. Whilst grey matter is primarily associated with processing and cognition, white matter modulates the distribution of action potentials, acting as a relay and coordinating communication between different brain regions.[1]


We had appointments the following week with Physio and Occupational therapist to start a therapy plan.

We needed to see an orthopedic surgeon  and many more doctors…

We celebrated our first anniversary knowing that it could all fall apart.  Wondering what was wrong with Emily’s brain.  Worrying about our future.

14 years ago on this day, Jon and I went to work while mom kept Emily home.  She was visiting us for the week to allow us to go out for dinner on our anniversary.


Mom called me at some point during the day to tell me that Emily’s neurologist had called home looking for us and would call back around 6pm.

Jon and I knew it had to be the DNA testing… we figured that they had found something…

That afternoon didn’t go by fast enough, I couldn’t concentrate, I wanted to go home.

Once home, we waited for the phone to ring…

It rang.

I talk about the call in this post: the phone calls that changes my perspectives on life

October 6, 1999 – Call #3

We got the call after work, the genetic testing results were in.  Emily has the Cri Du Chat Syndrome, she is missing part of her 5th chromosome…  Jon and I are on the phone, listening to the doctor but I can’t hear anything, I am getting words here and there but my brain is numb, my stomach hurt, it feels like I have been stabbed (not that I know what being stab feels like but it can’t hurt more than what I was feeling at the time!)  I asked only one question, β€œDoes it means that she is handicapped?”  The answer : β€œYes, permanently and severely”

I was destroyed, lying on my bedroom floor crying…  my mom was visiting that week, she brought Emily to me and told me that regardless of what that phone call was about, that Emily was still my baby girl, she was the same little girl from before the call and that now we would know how to help her!  I LOVE MY MOM!!!


Today’s anniversary is about the worst and best day of my life.  It’s all jumbled together.

The Worst:  The hurt and pain of knowing that my baby would never have a “normal” life.  She will forever struggle!  She will forever be different.  I had to mourn the baby I thought I had, I had to give up on dreams and hopes.

You can read more about these feelings in one of my most “liked” post: Afternoon Tea in Bermudas

The Best:  The relief of having a diagnosis.  The weight that is suddenly lifted from your stomach.  You can breathe again for the first time in months.  There is nothing that can compare to the unknown.  Not knowing is harder than knowing.  Knowing allows you to look forward and start planning for therapy.  Knowing allows you to get to know your baby all over again!

Here she is, our Emily, a couple of days before her diagnosis.