I was thirty-nine years old when my body and my mind failed me for the first time. I’d been married for nearly ten years, I was raising two adolescent stepchildren, a preschooler, and a toddler. I had a part-time job, in-laws who were elderly and in nursing care, and my husband was in the midst of a career crisis.

It started with a migraine on a sunny afternoon as I drank a cup of coffee and watched my children…