An Open Letter To The One Who Returned My Daughter

Dear Dr. Bark,

My husband and I would like to thank you, however the words, “thank you,” do not seem to do justice to the overwhelming sense of gratitude that we feel as the recipients of your expertise in treating our daughter, Maddie.

For the purpose of this open letter, I am choosing to include some information here that might appear to be redundant to you, for you already know in great detail the symptoms with which our ten-year old daughter was struggling. However, I feel it important that our readers understand both the severity and depth of Maddie’s symptoms prior to our visit with you.

As you well know, Maddie was a highly medicated child when I first made contact with your office. Your assistant, Sara, spent a great deal of time with me answering every question that I had and formulating a plan to facilitate the best possible outcome. In July of this year, Maddie was taking, on a daily basis, the following medications: Vyvanse, Intuniv, and Singulair. While many people will state that for an ADHD kid, that’s really not too bad in the dosages she was receiving, they were high enough to cause a flat affect and stunt her growth, in both height and weight. This was a small price to pay though, we were assured, for the peace that our family enjoyed, and the excellent marks she was bringing home from school.

Uneasy, uncomfortable, angst, worry… guilt. Those are just some of the feelings I had every morning when it came time to medicate my daughter so that the two of us could make it through the day. On the meds, life was good. Off the meds: chaos. Impulsivity. Inability to focus. Lack of awareness; she didn’t seem to know where she started and ended. She would fight with her sibs for the sake of fighting, and her relationships with her brother and sisters tanked. Grades would slip and A’s turned to F’s, understanding turned to blank stares. This is where we started, and this is where we ended up any time we tried to stop the medication. There had to be a better way.

I prayed. I read. I researched. I vowed to reclaim this beautiful child of mine, a girl from whom I had not seen a genuine smile in months; a girl who would not tell me she loved me. Not that I believe that she didn’t, I just don’t believe she felt it and could say it. I don’t know that she felt anything. Apathy, compliant, flat. That was my Maddie.

I came across your ad in Chicago Parent Magazine. I felt like it was an answered prayer before I had even discussed it with my husband or made contact. I knew that you would be able to help me; that I saw that single ad, the only one I even remember from the magazine was, to me, a miracle.

I will admit that I was skeptical. Everything that I had read flew in the face of what I was about to do. The cost, to us, was staggering though not unexpected. We had to sell some things to pay the fee that our insurance company would not cover, and for six weeks I questioned whether or not I was making the right choice, not because I did not believe in you, but because I did not believe in myself. What if it didn’t work? What if we went broke trying this? What if… What if… What if…

“What if it works?” was the question that we always came back to. We didn’t know, but we had to try. Not just to appease our own guilt, but for Maddie. She did not want to take her medicine anymore. She hated it and would beg me,

“Mommy, please! I don’t want to take it! I like to be able to eat, and please… we’re having my favorite lunch at school today.”

She would frown, and acquiesce. Swallowing those tiny pills, designed to balance the unbalanced neurotransmitters in her growing, developing brain, she would look sadly at me, her pleading eyes questioning,

“Why can’t I just be normal?”

Dr. Bark, we had a difficult summer; I will not lie to you, nor will I lie to my readers. The choices that we made, removing one medicine at a time beginning the first week in July, were difficult because we knew the consequences. We knew the behavior that we were in for; we knew what Maddie was in for. It was HARD.

We had hope though, and after we met with you, our doubts disappeared and we were encouraged. You and Sara were there to support us every step of the way, answering any questions we had, and reminding us that the struggles we were experiencing were temporary. There would be an end to this ADHD medicine, and end to Maddie’s struggles.

There would be Normal for Maddie.

We started to see a new child emerge in mid-August, as the final visages of her medications lifted and she worked through some things that emerged after taking her homeopathic remedy. This child we saw, this daughter of ours, was amazing.

We noticed right away that she had such a pretty smile. At the same time, we realized how long it had been since we’d seen that smile. She began to have conversations with us that weren’t laced with hyperactivity or lack of emotion. She revealed to us in conversation, deep, insightful, meaningful thoughts.

She told me she loved me. Every day. Often.

She started to give the most wonderful hugs. She’s started to eat well and grow. She is maintaining a healthy weight, and no longer resembles an emaciated child. She loves school, and brings home fantastic grades, which she is so proud of! She has healthy, engaging relationships with her Dad and I and her brother and sisters, and she is a joy to be around! And, she is totally off her medications.

We have always loved our daughter, but we knew we had to help her, had to find a way to be rid of the medicines that she so despised. You helped us to do that, and in doing so, you returned our daughter to us.

Thank You.

For more information on the services offered by Dr. Toni Bark, please visit

You can also email or call (847) 869-7740.

You will not be disappointed.


9 responses to “An Open Letter To The One Who Returned My Daughter

  1. Wow, I am sitting here at my desk in tears. What a powerful story! Thank you for sharing this with us. I am so glad that this has worked for you and that you made it through the summer! I am so glad that you are hearing “I love you” again and that her smile has returned. I am crying just thinking about how devastating that must have been for you. Thank the Lord for answered prayers!

    • Yes, Jill! This was an answered prayer for us, for sure. She is doing so well now, and I can’t tell you how good it is to only have to remind her to take her vitamins every day! THAT, she’s willing to do!


  2. I was doctor Bark’s nurse for the years she was Good Shepherd’s Integrative Medicine director. I have been in healthcare for 25 years I have NEVER met a doctor who can diagnose patients like Toni. Just recently for my grown daughter Dr. Bark figured out her symptoms were related to , among other things, the high altitude in Denver, you see Melissa moved there 6 years ago, about the time her problems began. What doctor thinks of that AND uses the same treatment the Peruvians use (they of course have a high altitude as well).

    • Hi Cheryl!
      Great to hear from you! I am so happy to hear that your daughter is well, also! There is nothing quite like the relief in a mother’s heart when her child is well. Take care!

  3. It’s amazing how much power God’s whispers can have on people. I am glad you have your daughter back and I know that is the most important thing! I know your family will be blessed for a long time.


  4. So, I’m curious. were there drastic dietary changes that helped in her transformation?

    • I wouldnt call the changes drastic. We did make some, but nothing we weren’t already familiar with. She has always had a sensitivity to artificial dyes, flavors, and preservatives. We have discovered that artificial sweeteners are an issue for her, so we avoid those. Instead of shopping at Wal-Mart and buying a ton of prepackaged foods that are full of junk, we cook from scratch and shop at Trader Joes. That eliminates almost all of the foods that are an issue for her, and it ended up shaving a LOT off of our grocery bill!


  5. Sarah, you know my special relationship with Maddie, so you know I cried the entire time I read this. It has been amazing watching her transform. She is such a delight and beautiful girl inside and out! So proud of you and Tim taking a risk to help her. Praise God!

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