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Through the Shadowlands

A Science Writer's Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn't Understand
Narrated by: Julie Rehmeyer
Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Julie Rehmeyer felt like she was going to the desert to die.

Julie fully expected to be breathing at the end of the trip - but driving into Death Valley felt like giving up, surrendering. She'd spent years battling a mysterious illness so extreme that she often couldn't turn over in her bed. The top specialists in the world were powerless to help, and research on her disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, was at a near standstill.

Having exhausted the plausible ideas, Julie turned to an implausible one. Going against both her instincts and her training as a science journalist and mathematician, she followed the advice of strangers she'd met on the Internet. Their theory - that mold in her home and possessions was making her sick - struck her as wacky pseudoscience. But they had recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome as severe as hers.

To test the theory that toxic mold was making her sick, Julie drove into the desert alone, leaving behind everything she owned. She wasn't even certain she was well enough to take care of herself once she was there. She felt stripped not only of the life she'd known, but any future she could imagine.

With only her scientific savvy, investigative journalism skills, and dog, Frances, to rely on, Julie carved out her own path to wellness - and uncovered how shocking scientific neglect and misconduct had forced her and millions of others to go it alone. In stunning prose, she describes how her illness transformed her understanding of science, medicine, and spirituality. Through the Shadowlands brings scientific authority to a misunderstood disease and spins an incredible and compelling story of tenacity, resourcefulness, acceptance, and love.

©2017 Julie Rehmeyer (P)2017 Julie Rehmeyer

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  • Chris P
  • 29-08-2018

Fast Listen, Well-Balanced for Target Audience

Author drones on in some segments but her humorous voiceovers make up for that. Account of romantic life a bit too personal. But appreciate her attempt at an in-depth, unbiased appraisal of her avoidance experience and the patient community, especially the "moldies." There's enough self-critique, skepticism, and emphasis that what helped her was not a total cure (unfortunately), may not work for everyone, and isn't a viable choice for most ME/CFS patients. She also tries her best to put some science behind the mold and sick-building correlation, but finds few experts willing to follow, likely fearing reputational and legal assault from the construction and insurance industries.

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  • Jaron Cramer
  • 30-08-2020

Gives me hope. Great performance.

I could not put this one down. The way that Julie sees things scientifically and logically and struggled to fit that with her reality of the woo-woo-ish treatments that cured her and lack of scientific understanding of MECFS/Mold Illness, gave me a really good perspective on how I can change my mind to help myself heal from CIRS/Biotoxin Illness. This book is a must read for science minded sufferers of mold illness! Additionally, her story is interesting, well crafted with flashbacks and historic explanations, vivid pictures of what she saw and felt. She gave me hope. When I survive, then it is all extra, an incredible blessing.

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  • Bridget O.
  • 14-05-2020

Beautiful story of struggle and survival

I’m addicted to this book! It is a beautiful description of having CFS and she gives such awesome and accurate details of the daily horrors of this condition. At the same time I’m tempted to stop and get the paperback book though. I truly appreciate the author’s reading, but it sounds like she really needs a drink of water throughout the narrative. I’m having trouble getting over the constant dry, sticky saliva sounds. My guess is that she was on medication that caused dry mouth, which totally sucks cause I know what that’s like. Whoever presided over this recording should have given this exceptionally talented woman a few more glasses of water! Julie, well done!!

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  • Here&There
  • 18-08-2019

Great writing & voice - applies to so many of us without easily definable illness

Thank you, Julie, for your wisdom, passion and honest voice. As a post concussion syndrome person who doctors can’t seem to help at all, it was inspirational to hear your journey. So well written.

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  • srolfe
  • 17-06-2019

I felt less alone in dealing with my own illness

I am not diagnosed with anything specifically yet, But I definitely have some chronic issues going on. I listened to Julie read her book over the past few weeks (almost exclusively during a fatigue, dizziness, or migraine episode of my own). Her courage to become her own advocate when there seemed to be no logical answers for what she was going through has encouraged me to become more of an advocate for myself, as I strive to find what might be ailing me, And how I can best live my life in spite of it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-08-2018

powerful and profound!!

I'm still crying with empathy and joy 15 minutes after finishing this book. Julie writes beautifully about her health journey and helped me understand my own daughter's challenges with ME - CFS.

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  • John C.
  • 19-11-2017

Informative and engaging!

I like how the author intertwined personal experience with her own research into her condition, and self experimentation. It made the book easy to listen to, and engaging both at a personal level and an intellectual level.

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  • Andy Kokuu McLellan
  • 26-11-2017

One of the best books I have read on ME/CFS

As a fellow ME/CFS patient I was aware of Julie's work online before reading this, especially her part in the PACE trial controversy. However, I did not know most of her story and this is compellingly told in Through the Shadowlands, which she reads herself, interspersing autobiographical detail with a wider perspective on the illness, attitudes towards it, ME/CFS doctors and the colourful patient community.

Her voice took a little getting used to but I grew to love its intimacy and was really rooting for her by the end. Her dog, Frances, is a constant companion and the other star of the book.

If you have ME/CFS or know someone who does, or just like an inspiring story of a woman's struggle to heal herself and find answers, Through the Shadowlands is a wonderful and informative read.

Thank you, Julie, for writing it, and for your continuing work on behalf of the ME/CFS community.

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  • Lea
  • 05-07-2019

Interesting

Interesting look into the personal experience of a CFS/ME sufferer and her fight to get well. I enjoyed Julie's story and the way she shares her experiences.