Teen Mom 2 Star Shares the Reality of Raising a Child with Muscular Dystrophy
The difficulties of raising a child through adolescence have been well-documented, thanks to the MTV television show Teen Mom. No two mothers have ever had the same experience, but Teen Mom 2’s Leah Messer has had the additional challenge of raising twins, one with a rare muscular disorder.
Those who watch the show would already be familiar with Leah and her family’s story. It all began when, at age 16, Leah discovered that she was pregnant. That might be enough to cause distress for most people, but to make matters worse, the father was only a rebound. An ultrasound would later reveal that not only was she pregnant, but she was also going to have twins!
In December 2009, she gave birth to Aleeah and Aliannah Simms. As the girls were growing up, Leah and her then-husband Corey Simms began to notice that Ali was developing at a slower rate than Aleeah. Several consultations with doctors revealed that Ali suffers from a rare form of muscular dystrophy known as Titin muscular dystrophy.
Diagnosing the disease
Giving birth to twins has definitely helped in the early diagnosis of the condition. Having another child made it easier to notice that Ali was having difficulties with her eyesight and her feet. Other first-time moms might not have been able to detect and consequently act on these problems immediately. However, when Leah observed that the pair wasn’t reaching certain milestones at the same time, she knew that something was wrong.
Initially, the parents were led to believe that Ali was suffering from Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy. However, further testing revealed that the child actually has the highly elusive Titin muscular dystrophy. The condition is already a rarity in itself, but the case was even more unique because, prior to the family’s discovery, it had only ever been diagnosed in approximately 20 people in the world. All of them also happen to be adults, making Ali the only child reported to have the condition. Right now, Titin muscular dystrophy is severely under-researched, so how the disease will develop is not really known.
While the experience has been hard for Ali and her parents, her twin sister has also expressed her concern on the show. In the previous season, Aleeah was shown to be wondering whether it was her fault that Ali has been afflicted with the condition and she asked Leah while playing with her on the swings. It was then that Aleeah asked whether her sister was sick because she squished Ali while they were still inside the womb. The touching scene concluded with Leah reassuring her daughter that she wasn’t at all to blame.
Read on to learn more about how Leah and her family copes with her daughter's muscular dystrophy.
Photo Source: Leah Messer, Ali and Aleeah Simms via Instagram