For three decades Jean Abbott thought her spastic movements and difficulties walking were caused by cerebral palsy. But then she met an insightful doctor who recognized what was really causing her problems and banished her symptoms with a simple daily pill.
Abbott, now 38, was diagnosed as a child with a type of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia. Her symptoms seemed to perfectly fit the diagnosis, so no one questioned it.
Though the condition made life difficult for Abbott, her family never coddled her.
"My family treated me like anybody else in the family," she told NBC's Kate Snow in a segment that aired on TODAY Thursday. "Nobody babied me. None of us were about to let this disability define me."
And it didn't. Though it did slow her down a bit.
Abbott was using a scooter to get around when she met her husband, Steve. And had to lean on him when they cut their wedding cake.
They soon had two little girls. But Abbott's condition made things tough. She couldn't drive her daughters to activities or even make them lunch for school.
"As a mom, you just feel inadequate," she told Snow, her voice starting to crack. "People that didn't really know me, they would come up and say, 'Do you have cerebral palsy?'"
Then, in her late 20s, Abbott saw a new doctor who asked a surprising question.
"Are you sure you have spastic diplegia?" Abbot remembers the doctor saying. "Because something just doesn't seem right."