Tazzi Carter has seen her share of challenges, but she never guessed when she delivered her daughter Jonadya Daniels that anything could go wrong. That’s when she noticed something strange with her daughter’s right arm. Even as a newborn, she held the arm close to her body with little range of motion. It didn’t improve over the weeks and months.
Jonadya was soon diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand. The injury occurs when the nerves are stretched or, in most serious cases, torn. It can happen as a result of accidents, sports injuries, and to infants during childbirth.
Jonadaya was prescribed physical therapy, and Tazzi tried to resume the therapy at home. But Jonadya’s condition didn’t improve. When she was 10 years old, her arm and shoulder were causing her pain. Tazzi took her daughter to Children’s Hospital where x-rays were performed. She was told that because of the lapse in therapy her daughter’s shoulder blades had fused together and arm muscles had atrophied. She needed rotator cuff transfer surgery to correct the problem with physical therapy. The surgery was a frightening option, but it needed to be done. A few months later, Jonadya had the operation and was put in a cast that surrounded her torso for 18 weeks.
It was a tough time for Tazzi. Her oldest daughter, who has sickle cell disease and asthma, had a serious sickle cell crisis and had to be admitted to the hospital. And her youngest child, who has ADHD, asthma, and intermittent explosive disorder, was acting out. But Tazzi managed to support all her children with the help of her own family.
When Jonadya’s cast was removed a few months ago, her condition was greatly improved and her pain much more under control. She still does not have full range of motion, but it should improve with continued physical therapy.