Symptomatic: A Medical Mystery Podcast


How terrifying would it be to fight an unknown enemy? One you don’t recognize and didn’t see coming? What if that enemy was coming from within; a disease that even doctors couldn’t identify? Nearly half of all Americans suffer from some chronic illness and many struggle for an accurate diagnosis. Every other week on Symptomatic, host Lauren Bright Pacheco unravels the medical mystery of a patient’s baffling symptoms and explores how their lives were turned upside down in search of answers.  From the first signs of trouble, through a swirl of misdirection and failed treatment attempts, to the final relief at a confirmed diagnosis - these are their stories. This is Symptomatic. And for Season 2, we want to hear from you! Tell us what you think of the show or share your own medical mystery by emailing us at [email protected].

  • 39 minutes 39 seconds
    Case #16: Lauren

    Lauren is a professionally trained dancer whose biggest strength has always been finding expression and connection through movement. However, as she pursued her college career, she felt her body slowing down. Simple exercises became challenging, and her flexibility turned into stiffness. Lauren’s condition worsened after having children, and she periodically had to rely on crutches to accommodate her growing immobility. She was desperate for a doctor who could help her. Without a proper diagnosis, she was being torn between maintaining her two passions: dancing and family.

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    12 December 2023, 11:02 am
  • 34 minutes 33 seconds
    Case #15: Eliza

    For decades, Eliza dismissed her GI flare-ups and irritated skin. But after the birth of her first child, her concerns escalated, fearing she might faint while caring for her baby. She turned to her sister, who had paralleling symptoms, to explore any potential connection between their experiences. Ignoring the burning pains for so long, Eliza and her doctors dive into her symptomatic past and family history. They uncover a diagnosis that would restore normalcy in her life.

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    5 December 2023, 11:04 am
  • 32 minutes 34 seconds
    Case #14: Maria

    Maria is a neurological specialist who became a patient herself when she noticed problems with her mobility. She started to experience cramps in her hands that soon prevented her from driving or tying her shoes. As she saw her ability to care for her patients gradually decline, she faced the skepticism of her colleagues and the fear of not finding a diagnosis. Maria raced to get answers before she lost not only her profession but her whole way of life, as well.

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    28 November 2023, 11:07 am
  • 36 minutes 27 seconds
    Case #13: Alisha

    At just 7 years old, Alisha was diagnosed with plaque psoriasis - a condition that manifested in overwhelming flare-ups, covering nearly 90% of her body. Enduring both the physical toll and the harsh judgment of ignorant peers and their parents, she became so self-conscious about showing her skin. She would wear long sleeves in the middle of summer, would never go to the beach, and even feared she would never again be able to feel rain on her skin again. Alisha goes on a long, desperate journey to find a treatment for this disease, seeking not only physical relief but also respite from the mental and emotional trauma of living with psoriasis.

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    21 November 2023, 11:06 am
  • 5 minutes 53 seconds
    Symptomatic Speaks - UPDATE on Case #09: Michele

    In this bonus segment, host Lauren Bright Pacheco checks in with Michele from Case #09 to share feedback from the Symptomatic community.

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    16 November 2023, 11:04 am
  • 32 minutes 6 seconds
    Case #12: Chris

    After going through a challenging divorce and relocating cross country, Chris was struggling with depression and anxiety. For a while, he simply ignored his GI symptoms as they progressively got worse. His bowel issues were soon preventing him from living the life he loved: hiking, attending concerts, and participating in activities with his kids. The situation deteriorated to the point where he had to be rushed to the ER multiple times, sure he was having a heart attack. However, the reality was far more complex.

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    14 November 2023, 11:03 am
  • 38 minutes 14 seconds
    Case #11: Jerad

    Jerad had been battling an overwhelming amount of stress while juggling PhD studies, early parenthood, and work with the Minnesota Judicial System. Slowly losing his energy and ability to make it through day-to-day activities, he knew his developing condition meant something even bigger than just stress at work. With his wife’s fierce advocacy, Jerad hurried to find the source of his symptoms before permanent damage was done.

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    31 October 2023, 10:02 am
  • 33 minutes 43 seconds
    Case #10: Chuck & Dr. Kastner

    Suffering from incessant fevers, muscle pain, and mysterious nodules across his body for nine years, Chuck's hope was fading. No doctor could explain his sporadic flu-like symptoms. Then, he crossed paths with Dr. Daniel Kastner, an unconventional and brilliant physician with a unique approach to disease research. Together with his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health, their groundbreaking discovery might just hold the key to Chuck's medical mystery.

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    17 October 2023, 10:00 am
  • 36 minutes 9 seconds
    Case #09: Michele

    After the birth of her first child, Michele was hit with the onset of sporadic tingling and numbness on alternating sides of her face. Despite enduring years of the mysterious symptoms, she had given up hope of finding the root cause. Michele eventually built up walls of shame because of the uncontrollable flare-ups. It was the concern of her family and the unwavering support of her new partner that would reignite her hunt for a proper diagnosis.

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    3 October 2023, 10:00 am
  • 2 minutes 17 seconds
    Symptomatic is Back!

    Join Lauren Bright Pacheco for an all-new season of “Symptomatic” starting Tuesday, October 3rd.

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    12 September 2023, 9:00 am
  • 30 minutes 20 seconds
    Case #08: August

    Suffering from inexplicable sores & excruciating pain since he was 5 years old, August searched to uncover what plagued so many years of his life and threatened his mobility.  His dreams of a musical theater career quickly faded away as his condition worsened, so August decided to challenge the constant silencing of his symptoms and fight the cause of the irreversible physical damage.


    ****** SPOILER ALERT BELOW ******

    If you’re looking for more information on Behcet’s, you can check out the American Behcet’s Disease Association by heading to You can also find August Rocha on Instagram & TikTok @WithLoveAugust.

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    5 December 2022, 12:00 pm
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