The Invisible Kingdom


The Invisible Kingdom

Meghan O’ Rourke’s The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness was a National Book Award Finalist. This book presented the grueling hardships of the author’s struggle with the devastating illnesses of autoimmune diseases. Her struggles began in earnest as a young woman at university and persisted later in her life.

Eventually, Meghan was able to find suitable help after visiting numerous specialists. During these encounters she was upset by the lack of knowledge concerning autoimmune diseases, physicians’ inability to make a diagnosis, and hearing that sufferers of such an illness must have a psychological problem.

After years of trials and errors she was diagnosed as having Lyme disease. Meghan received a treatment of antibiotics that helped. Yet, she continued to suffer with bodily pains and brain fog, but at times she felt better. Well, enough, to make trips, teach classes, and be able to work out. It was after having a fecal transfer in England she got a boost. Meghan soon became pregnant and gave birth to a son.

Caring for a new-born child, she was also faced with an ailing father. With her husband Jim and child, her dad moved into their home in Brooklyn. Her father who was suffering from lymphoma cancer got well enough and moved back to Connecticut. But these experiences were a further strain on her ailing body. With other health setbacks, and times of feeling well, Meghan was pregnant again, and gave birth to another child.

The book concluded with the author feeling rather conflicted. She wrote that she did not want to give a false sense of the meaning of her suffering. As she put it, at times she felt lousy, and sometimes better. But the illness itself robbed her of many precious moments she missed as a young woman because of her health. She did not even know for sure if she had Lyme disease, in addition to several other autoimmune diseases. However, she was presently feeling better, but has continued living with chronic disease with her family.      



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