HIV and Her Brain

8 Aug

I am still  trying to blog about all we have experienced and learned about HIV in the past 6 months.  Today, I will share some about how our daughter’s brain has been affected by HIV.   We originally assumed that her delays were related to her orphanage life, but both  HIV and orphanage life are probably to blame.

This spring we had to have a MRI scan done on our daughter’s back because doctors thought she might have spina bifida or a spinal tether.  (She did not have either, Praise God!)  Since she was already needing this other scan our PID doctor recommended that we also have a MRI Brain scan done as well since she has so many delays.

What our daughter’s brain scan showed was “white matter changes.”  This is where the HIV virus has affected her brain probably prior to medication at the age of one.  Our doctor told us that “white matter changes” are common in HIV children, but when this occurs there will be some kind of learning difficulties.

We asked,  “Will our daughter have a learning disability or will she have  more profound mental challenges?  Our doctor said that both are equally possible.  She wants to do further cognitive testing in the future when our daughter has acquired more language skills. 

So will our daughter just have problems with higher level learning ?  or critical thinking?   
Or will her learning problems be more drastic like will she be able to learn to read?  or write? 

We don’t  know all the answers.  Our doctor said time will tell.  But she has some learning challenges due to this virus, and living her first two years in an orphanage did not help her. 

And yet delays and all…our sweet little daughter is perfect.  She is fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)  She is not worried in the least that she is delayed or that she has “white matter changes”.  All she knows is that she now has a momma and dada who love her and are here to help her.

We knew our daughter was delayed at her referral.  We thought sure she would be behind for a while, but she would catch up.  Now we know her learning difficulties will in some form be life long.  And we are ok with that.  God is in control, and we choose to trust him.  He knew this little blessing was perfect for our family.  He knew what knowledge we could handle in order to move forward in faith and adoption her.   And God knew what knowledge we needed to learn along the way.  God is faithful to give us the grace we need each day to move forward in faith and total  joy.


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