Over the last two years, the pandemic has changed our lives in myriad ways. But for those who have battled debilitating symptoms from undiagnosable, “invisible” illnesses, the emergence and prevalence of long COVID has brought some much needed attention to these mystery illnesses.
When standard medical tests show normal results, those who suffer from exhaustion, body aches, and lack of concentration are often dismissed and told their symptoms are the side effects of modern living — that we should de-stress and allow our bodies to recalibrate. But chronic “mystery” diseases are more complicated, and not knowing the cause only adds to the frustration and stress.
Poet and author Meghan O’Rourke went on a quest for answers. After living for years with an invisible illness, she chronicles her decade-long search for a diagnosis in her book “The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness.”
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Jonathan Bastian speaks with O’Rourke about her personal 11-year search for answers. The author shares why traditional medical practitioners offered her little relief and how believing that her illness was all in her head took its toll on her body and her spirit. O’Rourke says that today’s so-called COVID long-haulers are providing some much needed attention to recognizing and treating autoimmune diseases.