A Mysterious Illness: Parasites, Facebook, And Other Things with Gabrielle Glancy

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For close to three years Glancy suffered from a debilitating illness. She describes her attempts to get help from doctors as frustrating, exhausting and invalidating. Despite her profound weakness, she sought help from many health practitioners, hoping for one of them to believe that what she was experiencing was real, and to have an answer. Glancy was subjected to numerous tests such as CT scans, EEGs, EKGs, colonoscopies and more. Still, the diagnosis remained elusive. She discovered that tracking what was drawing her attention offered hints to what was going on inside her body. Ultimately, despite the advances in western medicine and the extensive capabilities of computers, machines, and the internet, the cause of her illness was discovered with one very simple test. Glancy draws a parallel between her experience and the condition of our modern society. She asserts that the growing cases of uncommon illnesses, allergies, and sensitivities are not being adequately addressed. “There are those among us who are saying something is wrong with the way that we’re living…and there are those naysayers who are very complacent…and there are those among us who are sounding that clarion call.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Gabrielle Glancy is an award-winning poet and translator whose work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Paris Review among other publications. She’s also a top expert in getting high school students into college. She is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gabrielle Glancy is the author of:

To learn more about the work of Gabrielle Glancy go to www.gabrielleglancy.com.

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How is our culture a reflection of her mysterious illness
  • How did the doctors respond to her illness
  • Why is persistence so important
  • How did social media both contribute to her frustration and help solve the problem
  • How did she finally discover what was going on inside her body
  • How did recording images that caught her attention help her make that discovery
  • How has the medical industry changed for the better and for the worse
  • How have computers become so invasive and indispensable
  • • Where is the interconnection between foreign bodies and the self
  • • Why are we becoming more vulnerable to so many illnesses
  • How are we living in harmony with germs

Host: Justine Willis Toms      Interview Date: 3/26/2015      Program Number: 3538

Music Playlist

From Album: Weya
Artist: René Jenkins
2014 VibeTherapy Records, www.VibeTherapy.org

Opening Essay: Track 03 Udu Moi Noodles
Music Break 1: Track 03 Udu Moi Noodles (reprise)
Music Break 2: Track 01 Koi
Music Break 3: Track 04 Water Drops