Drawings (2003-2005) > Mysterious Syndrome

Mysterious Syndrome

Total of ten drawings
Mineral pigment and graphite on paper
15”x11” each

Each drawing was “diagnosed” by me, and was given unique medical terms for each condition. Some of these diagnoses are called, Pseudopiggybackemia splenium, Oneirologothymia, and Phyto-nondactylo tendrilopathy. These are made-up names with suggestive medical terms. This body of work was influenced by my own experience of being frustrated from not knowing the correct diagnosis of my health condition; however, also not understanding the nature of my condition from the diagnosis once it was given.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in the spring of 2004, after suffering from chronic back pain for more than two years. Fibromyalgia is a form of muscular rheumatism and seems to be reaching epidemic proportions, affecting as many as 10 million people. Even though the condition is recognized as a medical syndrome, the cause and cure remain mysteries. Thus, I was given a great range of medications from antidepressant to various pain killers such as Bextra, Celebrex, Valium, Lidoderm to much controversial Vioxx, which was linked to patient deaths and resulted with $253 million verdict. After a year of trying various painkillers and pills with no improvement, I sought alternative treatments. Since then, my pain has been reduced significantly. Ironically, my overall health improved after I purged all the medications from my body. Throughout these experiences, I became aware of our blind dependency on drugs; big pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are encouraging us to consume even when the treatment is not effective.

This series reflects our desire for categorizing and naming our conditions; however, names of such do not necessarily always provide understanding. We are anxious to pathologize mysterious syndrome, but often times, patients are faced with ambiguity with its names. The baby in my work is challenged with the modern anxiety and new sort of disorder or syndrome that are not yet defined. These made-up diagnoses not only poke fun of inaccessible medical terms, but also leave us with partial understanding of each condition.

After the diagnosis and nearly three years of experiencing pain, I began to seek alternative treatment rather than Western medicine. I had gone through intensive acupuncture treatment and slowly reducing the amount of medicine to the point of not having any. After one summer of intensive acupuncture treatments, and three months after I stopped all the medication, I woke up one morning noticing that the pain was gone. I have since been healthy and never experienced the same pain I once carried. Throughout the illness, I kept up with my dancing and hiking. Moving my body was not only giving me physical relief but also emotional and mental relief. I'm healthy today and I still try to find time to dance whenever I can.