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'Grey's Anatomy' Thursday episode based on illness of star's daughter

November 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Many people know actress Chandra Wilson as tough-talking Dr. Miranda Bailey on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy." But what they don't know is that behind the scenes, Wilson and her daughter, Serena, lived a real-life medical drama of their own.

Wilson's daughter was suffering and no one had answers. In 2009, Serena ended up in the ER with nausea and severe vomiting.

"I thought I was going to die from it," said Serena.

The days of non-stop vomiting happened again and again. Serena lost more than 20 pounds. Scans, scopes and other tests couldn't find anything wrong. Doctors told Wilson her daughter was either a drama queen or a drug addict.

"You're depressed, or you're suffering from anxiety, you need to go therapy, you're having problems at home. You can make yourself stop," Wison said, recounting what doctors were telling her and her daughter.

Wilson listened, but she knew her daughter.

"That type of writhing pain, that type of constant, non-stop all consuming nausea -- you can't make that up," she said.

After a year, Serena and her mom found Dr. Richard Bowles at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. He diagnosed her with Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome, or CVS.

"The vast majority of patients with this disorder don't know that they have it and they're not being treated appropriately," said Bowels.

Now, Wilson is merging real life with life on-screen by directing an episode dealing with Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome on "Grey's Anatomy."

"It's about the name, getting the name Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome, out there so that it can validate somebody else that's sitting at home going through what my daughter was going through," Wilson said.

Serena is being treated with high dose vitamins and medication and hasn't had any more vomiting. She hopes her mom's episode will help others.

"To have people watch that, I think people will actually start to get it," she said.

Bowles determined the cause of Serena's CVS is mitochondrial dysfunction. That means her cells don't make enough energy to fuel her body's needs.

The episode on cyclical vomiting airs Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC7.


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