For years, no one could figure out what was wrong with Vivienne Weil’s voice.
She didn’t begin speaking until she was about two years old – a year later than most children – and, when she did, it wasn’t much louder than a whisper.
Doctors in her hometown of Rockville, Maryland, suspected upper respiratory infections at first, then acid reflux, but no matter what they prescribed, Vivienne’s voice didn’t improve.
Then, in late 2013, a pediatric ear, nose and throat doctor discovered that the little girl’s problem was far more serious than previously believed, reported The Washington Post in an exclusive.
Vivienne, now eight, had rare non-cancerous tumors in her airway caused by two strains of human papillomavirus (HPV).
Her mother had passed the STI to her during childbirth and the tumors were now on Vivienne’s voice box and preventing her from speaking.
Vivienne’s mother, Natalia, told The Post that her daughter didn’t cry much as a baby and, during her toddler years, her voice was on the raspier side.
The pediatrician blamed Vivienne’s hoarse voice on a cold, and told Natalia and her husband, Jason, that it would improve in time.
‘We were first-time parents and we were worried but thought maybe we worried too much and should wait,’ Natalia told The Post.