CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - You might have read about Tesla Camden on social media. Her mom has been posting, trying to get her insurance company’s attention. The efforts worked: She says they’re now in talks after the company was repeatedly tagged.
But an insurance battle ISN’T what this post is about. Though many of us can relate to back-and-forth drama with an insurance company this post is instead about introducing you to Tesla. She is the newest one of our amazing #MollysKids.
This south Charlotte 7-year-old was recently diagnosed with a rare condition that’s becoming more frequent, though many kids go undiagnosed.
Tesla has Central Precocious Puberty. Goes by CPP for short. In its most simple form, CPP means a child—a young child—goes through puberty early. Most of the time there is no underlying medical cause.
That’s the case with Tesla: No known reason for what is happening.
This 1st grader is the tallest in her class at Hawk Ridge Elementary. If you’d see her standing with her mom, dad, or grandfather—all three whom she lives with—you wouldn’t think anything of her height. Her mom, Melissa Thompson, is 5′9′'. Her dad, Chris Camden, is 6′1′'. Her grandfather and uncles are all between 6′3′' to 6′4′'. So when all together, you just assume Tesla has tall genes.
“But that’s not it,” said Melissa. “Her rapid recent growth spurt is NOT because of family height.”
Without going into great detail out of personal protection for Tesla, in first grade this child’s body is going through what most girls go through as pre-teens. That includes stronger body odor, height/weight gain, etc. In fact, last September she went from 95th percentile in height/weight to “simply off the chart.” Her pediatrician referred her to an endocrinologist, but Melissa said the pediatrician also suggested just waiting to “observe” any changes.
“It didn’t seem too serious in that moment from the doctor’s perspective,” Melissa said. “So, we decided to wait.”
But by this past February, Melissa started noticing pimples on her daughter’s face, slight underarm hair growth, and an attitude shift.
“She seemed distressed,” Melissa said. “I called the doctor who agreed the signs were related and we set up a virtual appointment with the Pediatric Endocrinologist. That turned into an in-person visit.”
At that visit they realized Tesla had grown four inches in six months.
If CPP is left untreated, a child can rush through puberty, then when it’s over suddenly stop growing. That potentially leaves CPP kids wildly tall for a short time, but then under 5-foot for life. Melissa says as Tesla’s mom, that’s not even her main concern.
“It’s the psychosocial impact of possibly being an 8-year-old with a fully developed body,” she said. “Teasing, bullying, self-esteem, depression, and substance abuse are common in adults who had CPP. Because of this, the condition is almost always treated with a synthetic hormone blocker. That hormone blocker pauses (not reverses) puberty. It comes in the form of a yearly implant or regular shots until age 11. It’s expensive. The cost of the implant is $50,000, and the shots, if you add them up, are about the same.”
That’s why Melissa was posting on Facebook—she hadn’t heard back from the insurance company and needed a decision sooner than later on whether they’d cover the implant. As you can imagine, the condition is time-sensitive.
“We are now in talks,” she said. “It’s not a done deal but at least they’re listening.”
Couple more photos Melissa wanted to share of beautiful 7-year-old Tesla below in comments.
Thank you for the real-life education, Melissa. Maybe if someone reading this has a child going through similar situations as you describe for Tesla, yet never heard of CPP until now, they might take note of the signs earlier and not dismiss them.
Welcome, Tesla, to #MollysKids.