Author Archives: Richard Poulin III

Be Mindful of the Signs of Depression

Several years ago, sleepless nights plagued my wife, Judy, and me. This in turn allowed the fog of confusion to seep into every aspect of our life as we searched for answers regarding the mysterious affliction of our daughter, Rylae-Ann. Everyday challenges were only compounded by the emergency room admissions…

The Importance of Choosing an Employer Wisely

As the plane descended, my wife, Judy, and I peered out the window. We could see some city lights sprinkled across the island of Singapore, even though it was very late — or very early, depending on how you look at it. Despite the time and more than 24 hours…

The True Number of AADC Deficiency Patients

Earlier this year, CheckRare, a learning platform for healthcare professionals and rare disease patients, held a panel discussion about the rare disease aromatic l-amino decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency. The panel featured five leading experts in pediatric neurology and movement disorders, including two doctors I have spoken with…

Researching Symptoms of an Undiagnosed Disease

When my daughter, Rylae-Ann, was about 3 months old, she wasn’t meeting her milestones. Then came the “spells,” which we thought were seizures. These unknown occurrences were followed by misdiagnoses and several hospital admissions. My wife, Judy, and I were uncertain about the initial diagnoses. We weren’t…

The Road to Enrolling in a Clinical Trial

The chat message came late in the evening just a couple of weeks before Christmas 2018. My wife, Judy, and I lay in bed staring at our phones, trying to figure out how we could help our daughter, Rylae-Ann. We didn’t even know what she had at the time and…

How Change From Coffee Leads to Change in Lives

Late in the evening, a car-hailing service picked us up, and with a hurried but firm voice, we told the driver to go quickly to the emergency room. We crossed the island streets to the large children’s hospital at its center. The roads were soaked as rain continued to fall.

On Rare Disease Day, Remember Our Strength

What are the chances that a girl from Taiwan would marry a man from the U.S., whom she happened to meet in Thailand, and unbeknownst to them, they were both autosomal recessive carriers of an ultrarare disease known as aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency? Even though…

Why AADC Deficiency Is Often Confused With Cerebral Palsy

Every time doctors attempted to provide a diagnosis for our daughter, Rylae-Ann, we immediately would join the relevant support communities, start discussing things with other families, and scour the internet for interventions, only to restart the process after receiving a new diagnosis. We had three different diagnoses in six months…

Managing Excessive Sweating in Our AADC-deficient Daughter

Singapore, a tropical island located near the equator at just over 1 degree north latitude, is known for its lush gardens, warm waters, and year-round sunshine. As idyllic as this paradise is, it was not an ideal place to raise our daughter, Rylae-Ann, who has aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC)…