Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer's Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn't Understand Info
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Julie Rehmeyer felt like she was going to the desert to
Julie fully expected to be breathing at the end of the
trip—but driving into Death Valley felt like giving up,
surrendering. She’d spent years battling a mysterious illness so
extreme that she often couldn’t turn over in her bed. The top
specialists in the world were powerless to help, and research on her
disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, was at a near standstill.
Having exhausted the plausible ideas, Julie turned to an implausible
one. Going against both her instincts and her training as a science
journalist and mathematician, she followed the advice of strangers
she’d met on the Internet. Their theory—that mold in her
home and possessions was making her sick—struck her as wacky
pseudoscience. But they had recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome as
severe as hers.
To test the theory that toxic mold was making her
sick, Julie drove into the desert alone, leaving behind everything she
owned. She wasn’t even certain she was well enough to take care of
herself once she was there. She felt stripped not only of the life
she’d known, but any future she could imagine.
her scientific savvy, investigative journalism skills, and dog, Frances,
to rely on, Julie carved out her own path to wellness—and
uncovered how shocking scientific neglect and misconduct had forced her
and millions of others to go it alone. In stunning prose, she describes
how her illness transformed her understanding of science, medicine, and
spirituality. Through the Shadowlands brings scientific authority
to a misunderstood disease and spins an incredible and compelling story
of tenacity, resourcefulness, acceptance, and love.