Broadcaster Jacinta Parsons was in her twenties when she first began to feel unwell – the kind of unwell that didn’t go away. Doctors couldn’t explain why, and Jacinta wondered if it might be in her head. She could barely function, was frequently unable to eat or get out of bed for days, and gradually turned into a shadow of herself. Eventually she got a diagnosis: Crohn’s disease. But knowing this wouldn’t stop her life from spiralling into a big mess of doctors, hospitals and medical disasters.
What’s most extraordinary about Jacinta’s story is how common it is. Nearly half of Australians live with a chronic illness, but most of these conditions are not obvious, often endured in secrecy and little understood. They are unseen.