I’m 33 years old and I decided to embark on my first solo trip. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed travelling with someone else. I like to share my adventures. And sometimes that makes the adventures different (and better) than what I would’ve done alone. But alas as I decided it was time to return to Los Angeles, I couldn’t find anyone to come with me. So fuck it, here I am on my own.
What I’ve found (and new going in) has been really good for me on this trip so far, is the personal growth I’ve had. By nature, I’m quite shy. But on my solo trip, I talk to everyone. Last night, for example, I went to a drag show at a hamburger place (gotta love LA – shout out to Hamburger Mary’s WeHo for an amazing time) and sat with a woman from Windsor, ON and an actor from LA who was at the show doing research because he was just cast as a drag queen in a film with RuPaul. We all chatted and had a great time. And this isn’t the first time this trip.
This video doesn’t exist
LA is also my happy place. I never feel like a better person than I do when I am here. Truly. Maybe it’s the California sunshine, where there is not a cloud in the sky. The weather is beautiful all day, and when the desert gets cool at night that just means long sleeves. I love the hills, the desert scenery, the beaches and ocean, the abundance of seafood. But really, it’s just the feeling the flows over me when I’m here. I also have way less joint pain. A bit when I’m out in the sun too long (mostly restricted to my hands/wrists) and when I’ve gone on intense hikes but overall, very little. Maybe it’s because I’m on vacation but I truly think it’s just the California weather, air and life that has an effect on me.
Lately I seem to be watching a lot of movies that are either documentaries on drugs, pain, disease, or fictional narratives on the same subject matter. In the case of this Netflix original, it’s actually based on a true story about a woman in her twenties who ends up being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.
As someone who struggles with an autoimmune disease, there are clear signs very early into the movie, which stars Chloe Grace Moretz as Susannah, a New York Post reporter who has been healthy her whole life, up to the point where the movie begins. Numbness on the left side of her body, and a feeling of being “off” were the flags for me as a viewer. The movie does make you want to second guess this though. Could she be schizophrenic as her doctors believe? She hallucinates and hears voices after all. But then she has three seizures, which is why her parents keep pushing doctors to find another answer. Schizophrenics don’t typically have seizures. As someone who is taking courses in psychology, I can see how the doctors would come to this conclusion. Especially after all her tests come back normal. Normal for autoimmune, normal for infectious diseases, normal for everything. It isn’t until a specialist comes and does a number of other tests and uses some ingenuity that her rare disease is discovered (she’s only the 217th person to ever be diagnosed with it).
The movie itself is a bit scary; to think that something like this can happen to someone young and healthy, and the symptoms themselves are a bit terrifying. But remember, this is a true story. This is what people with autoimmune diseases, and especially rare ones go through. The biggest takeaway I got from the film, and one everyone should get, is how important it is to keep pushing for answers. If you feel that the doctors are misdiagnosing you, or dismissing you, don’t just sit back and accept it. Seek other opinions. Find the answer.