As time goes on, Susannah becomes used to brushing off people's questions about her disease by saying simply that her body attacked her brain. When Paul emails, however, Susannah jumps at the opportunity to try to answer him fully. She has to ask Mom to repeat the name of the disease several times as she tries to search for it on the internet, but she finds only a few medical journal articles and a newspaper column. Though Susannah finds some detailed answers about the particulars of the disease and can answer Paul with a coherent paragraph, she's still confused. Paul remarks that Susannah's writing skills and sense of humor have returned, and Susannah becomes obsessed with researching her disease.
At this point in her recovery, Susannah is ready to begin to truly interpret how her identity interacts with the disease that's been shaping it for the last six months. In this way, she seeks to better control her relationship to the disease by learning more about it and being able to tell others about it. The lack of information she finds begins to explain one of the reasons behind this memoir—reading it is a simple way for others to learn about the disease, given that there's still relatively little known about it.
Susannah explains to the reader that nobody knows why people get the disease, especially when they don't have teratomas. Most doctors believe that autoimmune diseases are triggered in part by environmental factors, though a genetic predisposition is often also to blame. None of Susannah's doctors believe that her birth control, which she began right as she started to get sick, is the culprit, though her gynecologist now refuses to re-prescribe the patch.
These passages drive home how ineffective and unhelpful the medical community can be at times: though this information is undoubtedly useful to have, it also explains very little about the disease itself.
With how little doctors know, many focus on streamlining the diagnostic process and making treatment fast. Despite how awful the disease is, most people survive. Susannah says that her experience taught her just how lucky she was to be in the right place at the right time. If she'd gotten sick only three years earlier, she might have spent her life in an institution—or died.
This realization illustrates the intense importance of the fact that Dr. Dalmau was able to name and identify this disease. Now, people like Susannah don't have to die or even spend as much time mysteriously ill as she did, because naming the disease allows other doctors to treat it.