Of course after watching this, as YouTube always does, it comes up with suggestions for you to watch. The next video that came up for me was this:
Now that I've composed myself I can attempt to communicate how this has affected my family. Sebastian has so far been very lucky. He has had minor developmental delays, but he has already caught up academically. He seems to have the tendency towards ADD (learning disorders are very common with NF), but as long as someone is there to help keep him focused, he does very well in school. At home, we notice that keeping him active and limiting his screen time, helps enormously with this as well. Physically I'm not too concerned at the moment. He's very good on his bike and is catching up on walking and running. He has some very small bumps on his back that we're watching, and now we're noticing some on his stomach as well. Maybe these are nothing, or maybe they'll be neurofibromas. It's too soon to tell, and even if they are, we won't do anything about them unless they cause a problem. He has had no signs of major tumors or illnesses.
He has not had a rough time with NF so far. The issue is the not knowing. We simply don't know what's going to happen to him. Some people go through life with little to no symptoms. Others are very sick from it. There is nothing we can do about it. There's no treatments. There's no prevention. There's no cure. We can't give him medicine or change his diet or exercise or anything to help or hurt it (although I would bet keeping him healthy won't hurt). It is an incredibly frustrating thing as a parent to know that your child could get very sick at any moment and there is no way to prevent it. Or maybe he'll go through life without a problem. We just don't know.
These statements are all true for anyone really. Life is unpredictable at best. But when you or your child has a diagnosis like NF, it makes these things that much more of a reality for you. Especially since there is very little information about Neurofibromatosis. For a disorder that is more common than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and Huntington's Disease combined (http://www.ctf.org/Learn-About-NF/Facts-Statistics.html), you'd think there would be a wealth of information about it. But there are no answers to our most burning questions. More research needs to be done so that people and families affected by this disorder can have the information they need to live as normal a life as possible. Or even better, so that they could someday find a cure.
So please help us spread awareness so that we can all someday #ENDNF. If you're in the Portland area, join our team on July 26th as we walk to raise money and awareness for NF research. If you have time to give and are interested in volunteering, please let me know! If you have money and not time, you can donate on this page as well.