Who Am I?

Why Anonymity?

Okay, so with a weird name like “The Dreaming Panda,” you’re probably wondering who I really am.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you. 🙂

After much debate, I chose to make this blog anonymous so that I could share as much as possible while maintaining some sense of privacy.  I’ve been through far too much, so I decided I was going to lay everything out here in the hopes that maybe some of it can help someone else going through the same thing.

I’m not in any way ashamed of my journey, but when people search my name or meet me, I don’t want this one unfortunate part of my life to be what they associate with me.  PANS doesn’t define me.  Believe it or not, I actually DO like to do other things besides work on this blog and talk about PANS (when I’m well enough, anyway).

My anonymity isn’t about hiding anything—it’s about having the most freedom to discuss my life with PANS/Lyme.  Besides, I like that keeping myself so generic means I could be any twenty-three-year-old you pass on the street.  PANS can happen to anyone.

Plus, with anonymity, this means you can know I have absolutely no ulterior motives, like attention, fame, or money, for doing this blog (in fact, I only lose money on web-hosting fees every year).  I have nothing to gain and everything to lose.  I’m just here to spread awareness and keep the focus on the message rather than on me.

Okay, a little more about me…

Well, you probably want a little more info on me as a person, apart from PANS, anyway, so I’ll tell you that I’m twenty-three years old, I’m originally from California, and I’m now a graduate student. Writing is one of my passions, but I’m working towards a career in a STEM field.  (Sometimes I do think about changing gears and writing full-time instead, but writing is essential for any career in academia.)  When I’m not too sick, I also like running, biking, cooking, and spending time with my friends.

What’s in a Name?

Some of you may know me as Iris, but I chose to call this blog The Dreaming Panda to reflect my diagnoses and also my hope of getting better. The “Panda” part is because I have PANDAS.

The “Dreaming” part came from the fact that hypersomnia was one of my worst symptoms when I started this blog. I used to fall asleep all day long no matter how much sleep or caffeine I had—standing up, sitting down, driving, taking notes, having a conversation, etc.  I was never sure if I was conscious or not, so I pretty much existed in a dream world.  Thankfully, this symptom disappeared after two IVIG treatments.

I don’t much like to talk about my illness in “real life” outside the chronic illness community—I save it for this blog. Even if you don’t know who I am or what I look like, I hope you feel special for knowing things about me that I don’t tell to anyone else.

6 thoughts on “Who Am I?

  1. I am so thankful to find your blog and find you doing well. I have 2 boys with PANS, one way more severe than the other. My 4 year old has a pretty intense chorea from this and is on IVIG. Because we have some untreated infections (we think Lyme and Bart) it has been dicey. It has been great at times and it has been terrible at other times. Both of my boys have severe CVID also so we get things covered for IVIG but it is a long and lonely road. It makes me so happy to see someone like you doing this blog and to see how you are doing well through the ups and downs gives me hope for both of my children. Thank you for being you!

    1. And thank you for reading! Not sure if you saw or not, but I also had horrible chorea a few years ago. It completely went away thanks to IVIG and antibiotics, though I still might get tiny chorea-like jerks if I’m exposed to Strep again. But yes, I’m so, so much better and even have a solid job in my field already! There’s hope. Your kids can absolutely get better from PANS and lead “normal” lives!

  2. Morning Dreaming Panda, Curious about the field of interest, Stem Field? Is this research in Stem Cell? I have been curious for so long. Other than that this is a wonderful Blog. My son who is 26 has multiple/similar diagnosis. Lyme, Bart.,High strep titers as child ASO titers over 1200 and to top it off, Mold toxicity (due to water damage bldg. most of his life) 🙁 We are in between thinking about IVIG at this late date. Not sure if it is a good fit, late in the game, Dr.s of choice, Insurance battles, etc. Have you looked into Camels Milk. A very exciting alternative practitioner is finding interesting results with very small doses. Gut immunology? I will keep reading your blogs and posts. I hope some day my son will find the courage to read things and have hope again. The depression is horrible, derealization and loneliness. Never mind all the other things you write about. Onward and good luck Mary

    1. Hi Mary, no, I’m not in stem cell research, but that’s an interesting thing to study for sure. 🙂 STEM in this case is actually an abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, so my career falls within these. I don’t say specifics in order to protect my identity… Anyway, sorry to hear your son has been through so much. IVIG has been effective for many people with PANS who have gone untreated for years, myself included, so it generally can’t be ruled out as an option just for that reason. Also, it’s easier to get it covered by insurance if there are low IgG levels and subclasses. I’ve heard about camel milk having immunoglobulins in it, but I haven’t tried it myself since I’ve been able to get IVIG. I hope your son can find something to help him soon! Thanks for reading my blog.

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I just discovered this blog after searching for side effects for meds my daughter is going to have to start tomorrow. She’s 9 and was dx with PANS a few years ago. Have read a few of your posts and will continue to read on. I’m so glad you’re writing this.

    1. Hi Carolyn, thanks for your comment! I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog. I wish you and your daughter all the best on this healing journey. 🙂 Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.

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