Maddie, our third child of four and our smallest, always seemed to be fighting off some type of illness. When she hit puberty, her health struggles seemed to get worse. I kept telling my husband and Maddie’s primary care physician something was not right, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
Maddie knew, too. She had hand tremors, her grades started to slip, and my otherwise well-liked, social daughter was becoming very withdrawn. A sleepover with a friend was not even worth it for her — it would sap her energy and set her back a few days in school. She spent most of her time at home, lying in bed, trying to cope with her headaches and fatigue. There were mornings before school that she’d make it to the top of the stairs with her backpack on and then just lie down on the floor. She would leave for school dragging, and I would just sob.