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Two’s company

Sometimes it’s nice to know you’re not the only one, that someone else is going through a similar experience.  Even if you have never met them (and not likely ever will), but only heard their story on the radio.  That’s what happened to me a few days ago.

I was listening to one of my favourites, Outlook on the BBC World Service.  On Wednesday, 6 February 2013, it featured an interview with Susannah Cahalan, who a few years ago was struck down by a terrifying and for a while mysterious illness.  She was eventually diagnosed with “Anti-NMDA-Receptor Autoimmune Encephalitis”.

The whole interview was fascinating but the moment of connection came at the very end.

Thankfully, I have never had to suffer anything as awful as Susannah’s condition.  But I have in the past suffered from a different autoimmune illness (Myasthenia Gravis).  Like Susannah’s condition, we don’t really know what triggers is.  After talking through her experience of illness and recovery, the interviewer asked:

I was just wondering if you get nervous that it might be starting again?  […] For you that must be “oh my goodness, is that a warning sign?”.

Susannah then describes moments when something slightly strange happens (in her case, a light might look brighter than usual) and she instantly wonders if that is because her illness is returning.  Which happens to me on a regular basis as well.  These days, I normally never think about being ill.  But it doesn’t take much, and the fear rises to the surface.

Two’s company.  And sometimes that is nice to have.

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