Terra Jole, who many know from Little Women: LA, Terra’s Little Family, and Dancing With the Stars, has struggled with the health of both her son and daughter. But, this season on Little Women: LA, fans get an inside look at some of the issues Jole, her husband, and daughter Penelope “Penny” Charlevoix Gnoffo are faced with. Penny has had difficult walking and the doctors voiced that it could be attributed to extra fluid on her brain, which is known as a condition called hydrocephalus. Penny is just three years old and has the same kind of dwarfism as her mother, achondroplasia.
In 2016, Penny had to go into the hospital for issues linked to her hydrocephalus. At the time, Jole explained to Entertainment Tonight that, “The most concerning issue is she’s damaging her spinal cord, and they’re gonna have to carve out a larger hole so that the fluid flows evenly … It’s scary, it’s all scary.”
On the show this season, Jole confesses that, now two years later, her little girl is still having trouble being able to walk and the doctor thinks it may have to do with her hydrocephalus. Jole revealed on the show that, “The doctor called and said like, if she’s not walking in six months, [she has to get a shunt]. It’s been like, all of a sudden, I was like ‘Let’s look up everything to try to get her to walk’ … As a mom, I don’t want a shunt. Shunts have a 50 percent chance of failing. I don’t want to take away something that will give her a better life. I just want her to feel like a ‘normal’ little person like I do. I feel like a normal little person, and I feel selfish for saying that.”
Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like Jole has had to put her daughter through surgery, at least not yet. In an interview with People, in May 2018, Jole revealed that, “She’s still working on walking, and we’re still in the process of that. It’s been difficult because like I said, my son’s in daycare but my daughter sadly can’t get into the — oh my gosh. I was not going to go here. [She] can’t go into a daycare until she can walk.”
While Penny took her first steps in the summer of 2017, using a homemade walker, she hasn’t yet been able to carry out steady walking. At the time of her first steps, Jole gushed to People that, “I’ve learned to throw all expectations out the window with our children. We are all made differently, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that … Seeing Penny take her first steps was the most unexpected victory I’ve ever experienced, and [we’re] beyond overjoyed to have captured it on film.” Watch Penny’s first steps in the below video.
According to In Touch Weekly, Penny was born on March 16, 2015. Penny was dubbed a “miracle child” by her mother because of the difficult pregnancy and delivery. Fortunately, there were no complications.
While Terra Jole and her husband Joe already have two children, she says that she would love more, though her husband would be satisfied with just the two. Jole told In Touch Weekly that, “If it’s up to me, I would love a big family — three to four kids would be great!”