Why the Zebra?

I'm often asked "why the zebra?"

Well, when medical students are taught "When you hear hoofbeats think horses, not zebras", meaning to look for the most obvious and common reason for a person's symptoms. 


Such as for fatigue check a person's iron levels, white cell count etc - looking for that horse; the common cause for the person's symtoms.

"We are a rainbow of possibilities"
However when no common reason can be found, often years later, someone starts to look at the rarer possibilities behind a person's symptoms. It can be a lonely and frustrating and difficult road to go down with many let downs and misdiagnosis'. But like zebra's, rare/complex illnesses do exist, just like zebra's. And like with a zebra's stripes no two cases are the same despite having the same diagnosis. Zebra's might look similar at first glance but thing a closer look, we like a zebra's markings, are unique. 

So those with rare and often complex/rarer illnesses, like myself are ofter referred to as 'Medical Zebra's'.

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