Celebrity Illness: Based On Real Life, “The Big Sick” and No Diagnosis

Celebrity Illness: Based On Real Life, “The Big Sick” and No Diagnosis

People who are ill and are dealing with no diagnosis for themselves or a loved one know how terrifying it can be to have medical professionals working toward a solution, yet being unable to diagnose or treat the problem.

Recently, this tale was brought to life in the autobiographical rom-com The Big Sick, based on the real life love story of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon. Written by the pair, it chronicles the story of how the interracial couple struggled to stay together, only to find Emily in an induced coma after a mystery illness threatens her life.

Emily’s parents are played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, who fly in to Chicago from North Carolina when they hear the news about their daughter. They are met by a whole team of doctors and specialists, each one working from a different angle of their daughter’s care. Despite their efforts, none are quite certain what’s causing the infection raging through her body.

Family, friends, and patients with a hard to diagnose or “no diagnosis” status can relate to the feelings Emily’s loved ones go through in the film – the unknown medical jargon and the uncertainty about the effectiveness of treatment. Emily’s father fumbles with the spelling of the various medical terms and her mother frantically searches the internet for possible causes and treatments.

 

The film underscores the emotional traumas of searching for a diagnosis with a touch of comedic moments. It showcases how often medical professionals struggle to find answers and the process of elimination in discovering the underlying issue.

The real life Emily (Gordon) was eventually diagnosed with Still’s disease, a rare type of inflammatory arthritis often accompanied by the symptoms of fevers, rash, joint pain, sore throat, and muscle pain.

Some with Still’s just experience an isolated occurrence of symptoms. But, like Gordon, many experience a recurrence of symptoms. In an interview, Gordon and her husband talked about how they manage flare ups by preparing and planning around travel and knowing she needs recuperation time:

“It’s fevers — it’s a very intense, kind of just awful feeling,” she says about the symptoms of Still’s. “And if I don’t stop everything I’m doing, then I can get much more sick. So, if it’s more then I just have to kind of stop and let it leave.”

What the film illustrates, and many experience in real life, is how a no-diagnosis with a flurry of various medical professionals can be daunting not just for those suffering, but also for friends and family. Share Lawyers understands how working towards a diagnosis takes a community, and if you or your loved one are being denied the benefits you need due to an undiagnosed condition we are here to help.

 

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