Cheyenne Floyd has been open about the difficulties of being a young parent on Teen Mom OG — and that includes her daughter Ryder’s congenital condition, VLCAD deficiency.
On the Oct. 29 episode of MTV’s classic, Floyd — who shares Ryder with The Challenge alum Cory Wharton — talks about how the 18-month-old tot’s VLCAD affects their lives. But what is VLCAD?
VLCAD deficiency stands for “very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency” and is sometimes referred to by the initials VLCADD. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is “a condition in which the body is unable to properly breakdown certain fats (called very long-chain fatty acids) into energy, particularly during periods without food (fasting). Signs and symptoms can occur during infancy, childhood or adulthood depending on the form of the condition and may include low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), lack of energy, and muscle weakness.”
In September, Floyd, 25, spoke exclusively to Us Weekly about her daughter’s medical problems. “We’re starting a nonprofit,” she tells Us. “It’s really rare and I knew nothing about it up until I had her. It’s a huge part of our lives, and we’re opening that up to the viewers as well.”
There are three different forms of the disease: “a severe, early-onset form; a hepatic (liver) or hypoketotic hypoglycemic form; and a later-onset episodic myopathic form,” according to the NIH. Treatment and prognosis varies greatly depending on the type. For people with the severe, early-onset form, continues the government organization, the potential resulting heart “cardiomyopathy and arrhythmias can be lethal.” Others with VLCAD may remain largely asymptomatic for most of their lives, writes the NIH.
When Wharton spoke to Us about his daughter’s condition last year, he said that Ryder’s type was on the milder side, but still problematic. “She can’t process fatty foods into energy,” he explained to Us in December 2017. “When she was a newborn, Cheyenne would have to wake up every two hours and feed Ryder. With the condition, she has no side effects, but we still monitor it. She has to take medicine, she sees a specialist.”
Floyd and Wharton had a brief fling after meeting on The Challenge: Rivals III in 2016. In fact, Floyd had assumed her boyfriend at the time was Ryder’s father, and didn’t discover it was Wharton until she had to take a paternity test following Ryder’s diagnosis with the rare genetic disorder.
Luckily, despite her medical condition, Ryder is an active, happy toddler. “Ryder has the most energy in the whole wide world so we keep her extremely occupied. She has dance class and gymnastics class throughout the week,” Floyd tells Us. “We have to keep her stimulated because she takes everything in, she’s at that age! She’s beautiful and she’s healthy. We adore her.”
Teen Mom OG airs on MTV, Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.
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