Mak lived with health issues for years, but didn’t realize she might have an underlying illness until Covid-19 shut down the world. A musical theater performer and dancer, Mak was accustomed to her body being in pain after strenuous use and assumed it was normal. But when the world went into lockdown and she was no longer using her body as a creative instrument, her health problems kicked into high gear. Her pain levels rose dramatically, and extreme fatigue made it difficult to get out of bed. Preliminary blood tests indicated thyroid issues and inflammatory markers, leading her doctors to suspect some type of autoimmune disease. She has started the process of meeting with specialists, but currently remains undiagnosed.
In episode 20 of the Major Pain podcast, Mak discusses starting her diagnostic journey and finally searching for answers to her mysterious symptoms. She shares how feelings of imposter syndrome complicated her ability to identify with being chronically ill, and how her relationship to her body has changed since doing so. She also discusses the difficult interconnection between chronic pain and mental health challenges, made worse by doctors blaming one upon the other.