Meghan King's 2-year-old son Hart has hypotonic cerebral palsy.
The Real Housewives of Orange County alum revealed her child's condition Tuesday in a new blog post in honor of World Cerebral Palsy Day, giving her readers an update on Hart's health after he was diagnosed with irreversible brain damage last summer.
"I was expecting this diagnosis," writes King, 36. "Even though he's the same kid I expected it to hit me hard. But it didn't. It didn't hit me hard at all. In fact I felt relieved."
The mother of three asks her readers to think of her relief as having felt like she was "going through life every day without putting the lid on the toothpaste and then finally, I got to put the lid on. That's how simple and right it felt."
"This is the once dreadful diagnosis I knew was coming since that fateful day I googled the right thing and it hit me like a truck: CP," she adds. "I knew it was CP since Hart was a few months old. I just knew."
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One more day of intensive therapy at the most magical place on earth. We will never forget our first time at @napacenter. Hart will continue to develop the skills he’s learned, build new neuropathways, and probably never even remember this time THAT WILL HAVE DEFINED THE REST OF HIS LIFE. #gohartgo #braininjuryrecovery #myheartisSOfull #hartisTIRED
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Today, my blog post announced that Hart was officially diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy yesterday, and as fate would have it, today is World Cerebral Palsy Day so I felt called to share his experience and my experience with you all in order to hopefully normalize this diagnosis. Something I’ve learned is that a diagnosis isn’t limiting, people are. We are all born beautiful and perfect and then we learn we are too fat, too short, too ugly, too inept, too… everything. We place others in boxes dependent on their labels and we unconsciously allow ourselves to live within those boxes: woman, college graduate, high-school dropout, professional athlete, Cerebral Palsy. I am choosing to celebrate what makes Hart different and raise my children with the encouragement to live their lives out loud and to never let their differences limit or define them. So today we CELEBRATE World Cerebral Palsy Day. ❤️
"Happy" Meghan King Edmonds Gives Update on Son Hart's "Progress" After Brain-Damage Diagnosis
King has been open over the past 15 months about Hart's treatments, including oxygen therapy, and how she has managed his condition while parenting his twin brother Hayes and big sister Aspen, 4 next month, amid her split from husband Jim Edmonds.
While doctors and therapists told King she "was just being an overly cautious mother" when Hart was born, she "insisted upon an MRI" — which "confirmed a diagnosis of periventricular leukomalacia or PVL which is brain death caused by lack of oxygen," she writes in her new blog post.
"This is often a precursor diagnosis to cerebral palsy," continues the former Bravo star. "Since that diagnosis I threw myself into researching treatments. I spoke with doctors in Chile, Panama and Egypt. I spent 6 weeks in Los Angeles with Hart doing intensive therapy. I spent 4 weeks in New Orleans going into an oxygen chamber with him every day. I continued the oxygen therapy in St Louis for an additional 8 weeks for a total of 60 'dives.' "
"I tried (and failed) to get him into a stem cell study at Duke using his sister's cord blood," King recalls. "I got him signed up with the Missouri state program, First Steps, to do every type of therapy available. I researched and found private therapists when we traveled so we never skipped a beat. I did all of this between his first and second birthdays."
At almost 2½ years old now, Hart "has somewhat plateaued in his physical progress which can be very disheartening for a therapy mama like myself," says King. "But he does all the typical things for a kid his age like goes up and down stairs, insists on buckling his car seat himself, 'jumps' from the coffee table to the couch (I quoted 'jumps' because he doesn't actually lift both feet off the ground at the same time), and hits baseballs off a tee."
Hart also "struggles with balance" — something King says is "hard to teach." As a result, her son's "therapy goals have shifted from physical therapy to making speech therapy the main focus" with the intention of helping him "learn to communicate and annunciate better (despite him speaking in many full sentences)."
The former reality star notes that there is a "very broad spectrum" of cerebral palsy, and her son's condition didn't fit what she had expected, having a cousin with cerebral palsy who can't walk, hear or speak.
King goes on to explain that Hart's hypotonic cerebral palsy "means he has low muscle tone, or 'floppy' limbs," but that therapy has helped him greatly in regards to his muscles that are more "stiff."
"If I hadn't advocated for Hart he would've lost 16 months of therapy until he got his CP diagnosis," she says. "The younger the brain the more malleable it is and able to form new neuropathways that will be there for life."
Hart will continue with his current therapies and his mama is confident he "will live a full, independent life." In the meantime, King is sharing his story because her "hope is that Hart can inspire others with a 'diagnosis' not to hide it for fear of judgement but to wear it as a badge of honor, a source of pride for all the hard work he's accomplished that most of us will never understand."
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