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Mothers of Misfits
99: Overcoming a "Failure to Thrive" Diagnosis | Debi Lewis

99: Overcoming a "Failure to Thrive" Diagnosis | Debi Lewis

health long term illness Mar 22, 2022

Debi Lewis spent years trying to get an accurate diagnosis for her daughter - something other than "failure to thrive." She shares the challenges of navigating a broken medical system and the journey her family went through to finally get answers.


  • "Why I wrote the book was because it wasn't my fault. And it isn't your fault parents out there whose children are diagnosed with failure to thrive, it's a very vague diagnosis and should be the trigger for the medical system to do much more thorough investigation, not point the finger at mom and ask mom to give the child another protein shake. This book is for those moms." - Debi Lewis
  • "Coordination of care is not something that's built into our medical system here. There's not a lot of team meetings when it comes to a kid who's not actively hospitalized." - Debi Lewis
  • "This idea that, some foods are good and some foods are bad and unless you have an allergy or a condition, like what Sammy was diagnosed with... Food is neutral. It's food. It's fuel. And having a healthy relationship with food... was much more important than whether or not my daughter liked kale." - Debi Lewis


  • 00:48 - The impact of diet on kids

  • 05:14 - What to do when medical professionals don't seem to be listening

  • 12:21 - How to know when a diagnosis isn't right

  • 14:21 - Creating a 504 plan

  • 16:30 - Keeping a healthy relationship with your kids through the diagnosis process

  • 20:30 - Find Debi's book!


  • Connect with Debi
  • Book: Kitchen Medicine: How I Fed My Daughter out of Failure to Thrive
    • Debi's book is about learning to feed her daughter through medical challenges. It’s for people who cook for fuel and those who cook for love; for those who see the miracle in the growing child and in the fresh peach; for matzo-ball lovers and the gluten-intolerant; and for parents who want to feed their kids without starving their souls. 



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