This piece is excerpted from The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness by Meghan O’Rourke, a guest at Amherst College’s 2023 LitFest. Register for this exciting celebration of Amherst’s literary life.
The stories we tell about illness usually have startling beginnings—the fall at the supermarket, the lump discovered in the abdomen during a routine exam, the doctor’s call. Not mine. I got sick the way Hemingway says you go broke: “gradually and then suddenly.”