Hi, I’m Iris, and I’m a would-be grad student from California working towards a career in a STEM field. If you’re here, you’ll see I also have a huge passion for advocacy and writing. I have (or have had) a few neuroimmune chronic illnesses to contend with including PANS, ME/CFS, POTS, Lyme and their varying psychiatric consequences… And probably some other diagnoses I’m forgetting. I’m also autistic. My blog focuses on figuring out how to live with these challenges as a young(ish) adult.

Why Blog about PANS/PANDAS?

The Dreaming Panda began as a chronicle of my recovery from PANS, starting around the time I got diagnosed in 2014, through multiple treatments, several relapses, and now the longest period of recovery I’ve ever had. Having reached a truce with the condition, my blog is now more about life in the aftermath and figuring out how to move forward.

When I first started sharing my story of PANS, I wanted a Hollywood ending: years of misdiagnosis and then, BAM! I got treatment and lived happily ever after. Instead, it’s turned out that healing a brain and an immune system has been a very complicated process that’s left me with PTSD and a bipolar-spectrum condition that my doctors hope will disappear when my brain finishes healing. But (barring the occasional depressive episode) I actually am generally happy in spite of everything, so at least there’s that.

I Write to Show that PANS/PANDAS Affects Adults, Too

PANS is mistakenly considered pediatric, so the main reason I started this blog was to show what this illness does to adults. Again and again, I’d been told I was too old to have a condition for which the “P” stands for pediatric. The idea that PANS is pediatric is a common myth with no scientific basis, yet even some PANS non-profits continue to propagate it. Every time the pediatric myth gets retold, another adult like me doesn’t get the help they need.

I hoped if I kept shouting into the void that I (and countless others) are here living with adult PANS, someone would listen. Indeed, awareness has come a long way in the past nine years since I’ve been blogging. I don’t take credit for this, but I like to think I’ve helped in some way. What began as a quiet personal blog I intended to stop after a few months has now become a growing community with no signs of slowing down, especially as I work towards publishing my first book.

I hope that my blog will be an encouragement and a source of hope.  Will you join me for the journey?

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This website and all blog posts ©2014-2023 The Dreaming Panda. May not be adapted or published elsewhere without permission. Thanks!

9 thoughts on “About

  1. Thank you so much for this. I couldn’t find anything that was reassuring. I wished I had a gauge for adult PANDAS and I hope this will help me to some degree. I’ve been in turmoil for years and I have so much I want to achieve in my life, but I haven’t been able to do much because I’ve been hindered by illness. I feel like I’ve been lazy and haven’t achieved much in my life and I’d like to know when I may get better so I can make up for lost time.

    1. And thank you for reading! I started this blog because I wanted something like it when I was first diagnosed, but it didn’t exist. My hope has always been that it might help people feel less alone. But I’m sorry that you’ve been hindered by your illness. Fighting PANDAS is one of the hardest things anyone can do, so even if you’re not doing nearly as much as you would like in your life, I don’t think you’re lazy. I hope things start getting better for you soon!

  2. Hi Cheryl, can’t help dying when I was reading your blog, my son who just turned 21, has been suffering since he was 14. so many tests so many niddle poking for so many years, finally I discovered he has pandas through a parent whos son has pandas. I cannot tell you the very first time when I was watching the you tube videos of pandas, I was crying, up till 4 am “oh my Lord this is it!” my son lost it all ability to speak he became completely catatonic. we did plasmapheresis and one ivig, and we are leaving for San Fransisco tomorrow for another ivig. I miss his voice 🙁 but I am also thankful that he now has eye contact, he smiles and he watches tv, and he is eating, ofcourse I feed him … God be with you, you are amazing human being for posting your experiance, everyone should! you are so right!!! you can save lives, desparate parents are so tired of stupid doctors that want to drug the kids with horrible meds. these are the parents that sit and google and find your blog, Wow how wonderful is that? Big hugs to you and thank you for this blog 🙂

    1. Hi Claris, thanks for such a lovely comment. I’m happy my writing means so much to you. That’s why I keep doing this… It sounds like your son has been through too much. I’m sorry he’s dealing with all of this, but I’m so glad he is getting treatment. I wish all the best of healing!

  3. Hey there, my 14 year old kiddo just had his first IVIG 2 weeks ago- diagnosed at age 7 (but has had it since 3). His response is pretty amazing. He did the T&A in August earlier this year. I sure hope you stay at 95 and reach 100. Your writing is so much his story and SO much how I try and describe it to people trying to understand. I’m pulling for you. Keep sharing. I’m listening…

  4. What a wonderful blog you have created. It is sure to help others! I am so sorry you suffered for so long and so thankful you are now on the right path to recovery.

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