At 8 months, Beth was taken by ambulance two hours away to a hospital. There a CT scan was done, and the doctors found a tumor the size of a golf ball in her brain. She was then airlifted to the Twin Cites by helicopter. She had surgery to remove what was a cancerous tumor. She also had different surgeries to have two shunts placed in her head because of extra brain fluid build up – hydrocephalus. Her suck-swallow-breathe reflex that babies have was lost due to the pressure and damage. The doctors truly thought she was going to die she was so sick.

Beth met her foster mom who would eventually adopt her when she was 16 months old. The nurse picked Beth up to give to her foster mom, and Beth cried, but when the foster mom held her, she calmed and looked up at her. “I knew that she was to come home with me,” said her foster mom. 

Artwork by Liv Peterson

At age 8, Beth was diagnosed with hyperacusis. This is when certain sounds will cause pain in your ears and head. Her reaction to these sounds is screaming. Even the thought of some sounds can trigger her to be hyper vigilant, protect her ears, and often scream. She has had to struggle for everything. With the loss of her ability to suck, swallow, and breath, she had to learn how to use her tongue to talk and move food around again. Through all of this Beth’s mom found that music helped to calm, soothe, and get more work from her. When Beth received her Developmental Disability wavier, at the age of 9, Beth’s mom decided to enroll her in music therapy. Music therapy has helped her to have more focus and has helped with her behaviors. The behaviors that used to last 45 minutes now only last 5 to 10 minutes. 

Beth is now 12 years old. For all she has gone through she has not given up. Come meet Beth and hear her story!