Nonfiction | April 16, 2015

I was usually on the dean’s list, but that semester in my senior year things had nosedived. It began with a bout of influenza in January, followed by a sprinkling of angry red welts across much of my body. The rash was intensely itchy, and both a family physician and a dermatologist were confounded by its persistence. Antihistimines, steroids, prescription creams—all had proved powerless against the rash, which crept to new crevices on my body each week. An allergist at the university hospital advised me to stop eating wheat and soy, and then dairy, before finally saying he thought the rash might be a sign of an autoimmune disease, maybe lupus. He prescribed antimalarial drugs in addition to the other pills and creams and shook his head each time he scraped a line down my forearm and watched it swell.

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