Pre-School Decisions and DMD

by Melissa Vanderburg

about the author:

Melissa Vanderburg and her family found out in Spring 2021 that with her 2 year old son, Jericho, has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. To follow the DMD journey of the Vanderburg family as it unfolds, please visit their Facebook page, Jericho’s Journey.

Pre-School Decisions and DMD

My son qualified for an early headstart program. I was so excited for him to start school with his siblings. Honestly it was going to be great for his development and a much needed respite break for this overwhelmed momma of four. First day of school pictures and lots of joy as he was carried into school.

I quickly became aware of how exhausted he was becoming from school. He just wanted to keep up with the other kids. Since we are so early in the disease the teachers didn’t see how quickly he was getting fatigued until he was already past his limit. He was so exhausted he stopped eating, drinking, and sleeping. He would barely have the energy to play in the evenings. So I had to make a choice.

It is hard to pull one child out of school while the other 3 are still there. I feel like he is going to miss out on the joys, friendships and learning opportunities that school environment provides. As they send home his pictures he has colored and his cubby cards and photos, I literally just cried as yet another part of life Duchenne has taken from my boy.

This choice is hard on anyone but I want to give hope for those who have to make it. What I first saw as a loss was actually an amazing gain.

For the first time in a long time I was getting more quality time with Jericho while his siblings were at school. I was better able to work with him on his devolpment at his pace and specifically his way and what would benefit him the most. I don’t spend my days worried about if he is getting enough fluids or rest. I know he is thriving and safe.

We have had lots of play dates with friends so he still gets socialization. He now is talking to me and we sing and dance. I’m getting to enjoy every moment of his mobility and other him.

God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave me my children. I needed them to heal and learn how to love and lead by faith.

My life is forever changed from the first time this sweet momma’s boy smiled at me. He is so pure and full of joy. My goal for now is just to enjoy and soak up every moment of laughter and happiness that he and my other children bring into my life.

It’s odd to me that Duchenne could bring my other children and I closer. Yet somehow that’s exactly what it did. It’s amazing to me how in such a broken circumstance, God has turned evil for good and healed my family in ways I didn’t know we needed.

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