Meet Gabrielle Elizabeth Strozier, we call her Gabby. She's our fourth child and was born in November of 2004. Her birth rocked my world. As soon as she was born I knew something was not right. She looked different. She looked like something was wrong with her. She looked like she was "slow". The medical staff assured me that everything was fine. She cried, she had a perfect Apgar score, her muscle tone was great, she breastfed right away, but something was wrong. A mom knows when something isn't quite right. Nine months later we found out that she had a rare syndrome called Cri du chat or cry of the cat. The medical profession calls it 5p- syndrome. "Cri du chat is a deletion on the short arm of chromosome 5. It's a rare condition, occurring in only about 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 50,000 newborns, according to the Genetics Home Reference." My husband and I were both tested to determine whether or not we were carriers. We found out that we are not carriers, this was simply a mutation during her early fetal development.
Having a child with special needs was - at the time - the worst thing that could happen to me. You never expect anything like this to happen to you, at least I didn't. In my mind it was always someone else's story. I have experienced - and still experience - everything from anger to depression, loneliness, resentment, joy, gratitude and contentment. Nevertheless, she is our baby girl and we love her. We have learned to embrace everything cri du chat has offered us. With cri du chat comes "behaviors". I was not even familiar with the term until I became the mother of a child within the special population. "Special population" another term I learned and accepted. Anyway, some of Gabby's behaviors have changed over the years and some still remain. We have had to deal with biting, pulling hair, throwing things, head banging and other self-injurious behavior.
Well, in March 2018 Gabby had a behavior. We were in the house and she wanted something. I cannot even remember what it was. What I do remember is "all the signs" that a behavior was brewing was there. I knew I needed to calm her down because we were on our way to church. We got to the garage and things escalated! What I mean is Gabby was in full behavior mode, stomping, hitting, crying, pulling away from me, and grabbing my clothes. After she calmed down, I got her into the minivan, sat her in the seat behind me, got her buckled in and prepared to back out of the garage. Welp, I guess Gabrielle decided that she was going to win this battle. She unbuckled her seat belt, jumped out of her seat and grabbed my right arm. She pulled my arm back and held it there. She would not let go and I knew if I fought to get my arm back the situation was going to get worse. I asked her several times to let go and she very adamantly said, "NO"! I literally had to facetime my husband on my phone so that he could help me get my arm back. LOL! I laugh now but girlfriend, it was not funny.
Months later I was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff. Unfortunately, physical therapy did not work (Shout out to Meredith my physical therapist from UNC Orthopedics right here in Goldsboro). I had surgery on December 3, 2018. I've been journaling my recovery process and I have learned so much about faith while in the valley. While going through this experience, I want to share the pain, tears, and mental anguish of rotator cuff repair and recovery. These next few weeks are going to be blog posts that are very raw and real. I hope to encourage your faith.