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Experience: I cured my own mystery disease

Life and style | The Guardian

The surgery had been performed on rats and dogs, but never on humans. I reasoned it could be scaled up

Twenty years ago, on the first day of my final year studying biology at university in Missouri, I collapsed. My heart was racing, I was dizzy, disoriented and weak. I was 21 and had been feeling unwell over the summer;doctors thought it might be glandular fever, but this was much worse. When I didn’t improve, I was sure I had succumbed to the same mysterious, chronic illness that had crippled my mother since I was a child.

We were both in tears when I rang to say I was dropping out and coming home to St Louis. Bed-bound 22 hours a day, we supported each other, while friends helped with shopping. I had spent my life watching specialists fail to diagnose my mother, and now the same was happening to me: no condition they could think of explained our symptoms. Months, then years, slipped away as friends moved on with their lives, leaving me isolated and heartbroken. I realised that if I wanted a diagnosis, I’d have to find it myself.

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September 20th 2019, 5:31 am
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