No diagnosis was pinned down until after a family vacation to Hawaii. Under the tropical sun, Caden had a major episode that left him blind and barely able to move.
Doctors performed more tests and more tests and finally came up with a diagnosis, which gave an explanation, but not a complete one.
The cause of alternating hemiplegia of childhood is still a mystery. The extremely rare disorder is considered to have some genetic component, but there isn't a lot of evidence that if one child in a family is born with the condition, siblings will also have it.
"They think it might have something to do with some people with migraines," Paige said, "and I get migraines."
But she added that she didn't start getting migraines until a few years ago.
There is no cure for Caden's condition, but there are ways to manage it and reduce the likelihood of an attack, although Paige said the attacks don't always appear to have a rhyme or reason.
"Something he did one day could trigger an attack the next day or even a few days later."
To minimize triggers, Caden doesn't play outside like other kids. During the bright and warm spring and summer months, he spends more time inside. When he goes outside, even in the kinder autumn months, he's supposed to wear a hat and special glasses.
There are medications that are supposed to help, but Paige said they're hit and miss. Sedatives meant to get Caden to sleep had the opposite effect. She said they're trying something else that's helping -- so far -- and there's supposed to be a promising drug in Canada, but it's not available in the U.S. yet.
After an attack, the only treatment is sleep. Sleep starts the process of putting Caden back to right, but it's not an instant fix. Getting back to normal can take weeks, which makes school, already a challenge for the boy, even more difficult.
"No one knows what to do with him," she said. "Teachers get frustrated because he excels at some things. Sometimes he needs help getting started -- and just sometimes he gets it and other days he doesn't."
For example, after an episode, he might have trouble recognizing his letters for a while until it comes back to him.
Otherwise, however, Caden seems like a pretty normal 8-year-old boy, albeit one dressed in a pig costume. He likes riding his bike and absolutely loves professional wrestling.
His favorite WWE superstar is John Cena.
He's also a huge movie fan.
"Caden doesn't just watch a movie, he becomes the movie," Paige said, acknowledging that he can kind of drive everyone crazy re-enacting scenes from films he enjoyed.
His favorite actor is Johnny Depp, who happens to share the same birthday as Caden.
"His grandmother helped him write letters to Johnny Depp and Ellen [DeGeneres]," Paige said and frowned. "He tried to write them himself, but his handwriting was so bad."
While excited to play Wilbur in the Alban Arts Center's "Charlotte's Web," he's looking forward to shows coming up, particularly one in the spring.
"I want to audition for 'The Hobbit,'" he said. "I know a lot about 'Lord of the Rings.'"
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.