marked by deception
Buoyed by this new ability to explain, I began to research the disease in earnest and became obsessed with understanding how our bodies are capable of such
the state of being susceptible to a disease or condition
We don’t understand how much impact environment has versus genetic
Or was there something
pernicious lurking around that messy Hell’s Kitchen apartment?
a conceptual separation or distinction
Just three years marks the
demarcation between a full life and a half-existence in an institution or, even worse, an early ending under the cold, hard tombstone.
tapered off my dose of steroids, Dr. Najjar prescribed biweekly at-home antibody IVIG treatments once the insurance company finally allowed them to be conducted at home.
contemptibly small in amount or size
Then I stood in front of my closet and examined my
Only a few things still fit, since I was well
ensconced in my “roasted pig” stage, so I chose my trusty black tent dress.
incapable of being defended or justified
It was an
untenable position. As a friend he was deeply concerned about my recovery and my future, but as a boss, he couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever be capable of returning to my duties as a reporter.
an energetic style
This fieriness contrasted with my lackluster performance right before I left work seven months before, when I couldn’t muster up the
verve even to interview John Walsh.
permeate or penetrate gradually
With those conflicting feelings
percolating in my mind, I placed my reporter’s cap firmly back on and interviewed my family, Stephen, Dr. Dalmau, and Dr. Najjar to get a portrait of my disease and its larger-scale implications.
serve as a means for expressing something
One parent described how her child tried to strangle her infant sibling; another heard low grunting noises from their normally angelic daughter; and another child clawed at her own eyes to communicate the inner turmoil that her toddler vocabulary could not
vary the pitch of one's speech
She also spoke in a bizarre, Cajun-
inflected accent, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which detailed her experience with anti-NMDA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis and subsequent recovery.
mechanical and meaningless repetition of another's words
Likewise, those who suffer from this type of encephalitis will display what is known as
echolalia, the repetition of sounds made by another person.
greatly exceeding bounds of reason or moderation
It had cost $1 million to treat me, a number that boggles the mind. Luckily, at the time I was a full-time employee at the Post, and my insurance covered most of the
exorbitant price tag.
put forward, as an idea
Dr. Najjar, for one, is taking the link between autoimmune diseases and mental illnesses one step further: through his cutting-edge research, he
posits that some forms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression are actually caused by inflammatory conditions in the brain.
intermittently stopping and starting
That night I went home and passed a night of
fitful dreams that blurred together.
not counterfeit or copied
Now antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases have become a
bona fide group of syndromes.
bring up a topic for discussion
But when I impassively
broached the subject with him he said, without hesitation, “That’s what I assumed we’d be doing.”
an abatement in intensity or degree
Unlike cancer, there is no
resistant to guidance or discipline
perversely, I would battle him, staying out late without calling and pushing his buttons about his constant check-ins.
an innocuous or inert medication
Fifteen students were asked to place one hand on a table beside a fake rubber hand, first after they had been injected with ketamine and then at a later sitting with a
lacking substance or significance
What else would come back, knocking me off balance and reminding me how
tenuous my grip on reality was?
a tiny or scarcely detectable amount
There was not one shred, one
iota, one shard of memory that connected me with that museum visit.
relating to or articulated in the throat
The older man thrashes, emitting primitive
a manner of speaking natural to a language's native speakers
What used to be called a “zebra” (in doctor
parlance, a very rare disease) is now increasingly recognized and swiftly treated.