Why was my girl com­ing home with bruises?

What was wrong with our sweet tum­ble tot?

Chat - - Contents - By Teresa Gulo, 30, from Rose­mont, Illi­nois, US

Stick­ing a plas­ter on my daugh­ter Kate’s grazed knee, I smiled. ‘All bet­ter now,’ I said. Kate, 1, hadn’t long started tod­dling.

She wasn’t very good at it, bless her! Al­ways seemed to be fall­ing down and hurt­ing her­self.

She’d al­ways been lively, but loved hugs and kisses.

‘Bet­ter watch this one!’ I said to my hus­band Kenny, now 38.

Ev­ery day, she left nurs­ery with a new bruise

But that was nor­mal, right?

Kate was our first child, but we knew all kids are a bit un­steady.

Still, when Kate was 18 months, her stum­bling be­came worse. She’d trip on thin air!

I no­ticed her lit­tle legs were far apart when she walked, too.

And it took her sev­eral at­tempts to sit up or stand.

Then her eyes would flicker and she’d have daily tantrums. ‘It’s just her age,’ Kenny said. But I was wor­ried, so I told the doc­tor at a rou­tine checkup.

‘Seems like an ear in­fec­tion,’ the doc­tor sug­gested.

Fluid build­ing up in her ears could af­fect her bal­ance.

He pre­scribed her an­tibi­otics, say­ing he’d mon­i­tor her.

But over the next three weeks, Kate de­te­ri­o­rated.

Her hands be­gan to tremor.

I was nine months preg­nant, ready to give birth any day.

Kenny and I were so wor­ried, he be­gan video­ing her tremors.

As I gave birth to Ja­son, on 17 Oc­to­ber, Kenny was show­ing doc­tors our wor­ry­ing videos.

Con­cerned, they ar­ranged to see Kate two days later.

As I was still in hos­pi­tal, I was taken from Floor 11 of Lutheran Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, Chicago, to Floor 3. Doc­tors set up an MRI. ‘Her be­hav­iour is con­sis­tent with a brain tu­mour,’ I was told.

My heart flipped.


The re­sult was nor­mal, thank good­ness, but Kate was kept in.

More tests fol­lowed. None showed any­thing wrong.

‘It could be her ner­vous sys­tem re­act­ing to a virus,’ doc­tors sug­gested. But she hadn’t been sick… Still, they di­ag­nosed acute cere­bel­lar ataxia – a com­mon re­ac­tion for kids re­cov­er­ing from chick­en­pox.

Their gait is af­fected, mak­ing them fall over.

Doc­tors said it’d clear in eight weeks, and we wept tears of hap­pi­ness.

We’d get our lit­tle girl back! But it got worse. On a bad day, Kate would fall over 100 times.

By Jan­uary, she couldn’t sit un­aided and had ter­ri­ble tantrums.

What had hap­pened to our girl?

Doc­tors had no an­swers.

I took sick leave to look af­ter Kate, in­stead of send­ing her to Kenny’s mum’s, as I was wor­ried she’d get hurt.

‘Mim­mie,’ she’d mut­ter to her Mickey Mouse toy.

Strange. She knew his name…

Other two-year-olds could string words to­gether, but my girl couldn’t say a sin­gle one with­out get­ting con­fused.

By then, she couldn’t hold a spoon to eat and col­lapsed when try­ing to sit or crawl.

‘Some­thing’s very wrong,’ I cried to Kenny. Ja­son was meet­ing mile­stones, but Kate was go­ing back­wards. I rushed her to A&E. The idea of a brain tu­mour crept back in. Kate’s eyes were

er­ratic when

We were so wor­ried, we be­gan video­ing her tremors…

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