Joey’s smile lights up the world and the hearts of those who know him. He is a beautiful three year old boy with thick dark hair, large brown eyes, and a contagious smile.
Within hours of his birth, Joey began to have seizures which are now only partially controlled by medication. Joey was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy when he was seven months old. Mito robbed Joey of the ability to walk, sit, stand, speak and swallow but it hasn’t robbed Joey of his joy for life.
Joey gets to where he wants to go by rolling and he can roll fast! “Sometimes we find ourselves saying ‘Where’s Joey?’ and then we realize he’s rolled himself into his room and hidden behind the door.” Joey smiles, reaches for objects he wants, babbles, rolls, and clearly expresses his likes and dislikes to those around him. Roseanna, Joey’s mother, said “I sometimes sing to him at night and I have a terrible voice and Joey will reach over and close my mouth.”
About a year ago, Joey could not stop having seizures so the doctors placed him in a medication induced coma for fifteen days. Joey defied his doctors’ predictions by gaining back most of the skills he’d lost during the coma. However, he has not yet been able to regain the skill of swallowing. For now, he’s fed through a feeding tube.
“We will be blessed if Joey lives to be five years old,” said Joey’s mother. The reality of Mitochondrial Disease takes its toll on Joey’s family but is overshadowed by the joy of loving and being loved by Joey.
© 2008 Anne Reckling PsyD