In the fall of 1997, after I graduated from college, I began experiencing what I called “electric shocks”—tiny stabbing sensations that flickered over my legs and arms every morning. They were so extreme that as I walked to work from my East Village basement apartment, I often had to stop on Ninth Street and rub my legs against a parking meter, or else my muscles would begin twitching and spasming. My doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong—dry skin, he proposed—and eventually the shocks went away. A year later, they returned for a few months, only to go away again just when I couldn’t bear it anymore.

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Over the years, the shocks and other strange symptoms—vertigo, fatigue, joint pain, memory problems, tremors—came and went. In 2002, I began waking up every night drenched in sweat, with hives covering my legs. A doctor I consulted thought, based on a test result, that I might have lupus, but I had few other markers of the autoimmune disease. In 2008, when I was 32, doctors identified arthritis in my hips and neck, for which I had surgery and physical therapy. I was also bizarrely exhausted. Nothing was really wrong, the doctors I visited told me; my tests looked fine.

In 2012, I was diagnosed with a relatively mild autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Yet despite eating carefully and sleeping well, I was having difficulty functioning, which didn’t make sense to my doctor—or to me. Recalling basic words was often challenging. Teaching a poetry class at Princeton, I found myself talking to the students about “the season that comes after winter, when flowers grow.” I was in near-constant pain, as I wrote in an essay for The New Yorker …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Science

      

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