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How to be a Person in the Age of Autoimmunity by Carolyn Lazard

This begins with the last meal I ate without being afraid. I remember it vividly. My friend Buyong was visiting me in Paris. I had already stopped working at that point because of pain in my joints. I was living off some money I’d saved. I was cautious of anything having to do with French bureaucracy, but mostly avoided seeking financial assistance because I had no idea what the fuck was going on with my body and assumed it was temporary. It was not.
I’d moved to Paris after graduating from college in the States. I needed a change and was trying to avoid New York for as long as possible. Paris wasn’t supposed to be a brief stint; I intended to make a life for myself there. In the year I lived there before I got sick, I worked part-time in a restaurant and part-time for a documentary production company.
Buyong and I were at some restaurant in the Marais—the kind of place populated by middle-aged French ladies who lunch. This was good. Buyong was in France and I wanted her to have a very French meal in an extremely French place. We were winning. We started off with foie gras, followed by mussels and fries, crème brûlée, two espressos, and some cigarettes.
That night, I puked. The next day, I puked twice and shit ten times. Over the course of the following weeks, I continued to puke and shit exponentially: a scatological nightmare. Every cigarette made me puke. I lost over forty pounds and grew weak. My mother, across the Atlantic, cried into the phone. She thought I was dying. I finally took myself to the hospital and was admitted…READ THE REST