Joe appeared perfectly normal at birth…or so the Apgar scores indicated. But within two hours of his birth, Joe is whisked away to the newborn intensive care unit in grave danger. He is thoroughly tested and found to have severe cerebral palsy. The specialist gives Nia and Alex, Joe’s parents, little if any encouragement. The experts all seem to agree that Joe will be blind and unable to speak, move or even recognize his mom and dad.
Nia and Alex are devastated but unwilling to accept the life sentence the doctors have given their infant son. Their lives are filled with a seemingly endless round of visits to specialists, therapists and healers. Nia is even more adamant than Alex; she simply refuses to accept the prognosis so often repeated to her. The doctors suggest she is in denial, but there is absolutely no denying that Nia will do whatever she possibly can to see that Joe has a life worth living.
Light therapy, oxygen therapy, patterning, tapping, music therapy, sensory therapy, Reiki, crystals, Chinese herbs --- Nia tries them all. In fact, it seems there is nothing she won’t try. The baby book, purchased in happier, more hopeful times, remains empty the first year. There are no milestones to record.
Nia reduces Joe’s drugs for epilepsy, against the advice and orders of the neurologist. Later, when the neurologist mentions that there are no traces of epilepsy on Joe’s latest examinations, he still won't admit there is no need for those drugs at all.
A milestone, so long hoped for, finally occurs. Movement! Joe reaches out, actually moving the muscles in his left arm for the first time. Nia and Alex, however, are drifting apart. Though their goals are similar --- giving Joe as normal a life as possible --- their lives are going in opposite directions. Alex has a job to occupy much of his time, and Nia is so focused on Joe that there is practically no time or energy for anything else.