Mette was 14 years old when she experienced her first autoimmune symptoms and was diagnosed with psoriasis. She noticed three red dots on her neck, then woke up the next day covered in them. “The shock in and of itself was pretty disturbing to a young girl,” she told WellBe. This was the beginning of a decades-long struggle with autoimmune symptoms and chronic illness, which led to five more diagnoses, a ton of drug prescriptions, and, ultimately, the realization that she wasn’t far from death. That’s when she decided to take control of her treatment, find true health — and build the symptom-tracking app Mymee that helps others do the same.
A change in climate and some supplements helped clear up Mette’s psoriasis, but other autoimmune symptoms began to accumulate. She couldn’t drink any alcohol without becoming sick for days afterward, and she began gaining weight rapidly, despite a restrictive diet and intense exercise program. Through it all, her blood work showed that she was in perfect health.
After moving to LA from Denmark, a new and alarming issue presented herself: she began losing her eyesight. As she describes it, “I’d be going into the kitchen to fetch something, and I could see the kitchen clearly, but as I would get close to the kitchen table, it would all grey out.”
As the instances of vision loss continued, she also began getting hot flashes and fainting unexpectedly. Still, her blood work was fine, and so she began to find ways to work her life around her autoimmune symptoms, walking up stairs carefully so she wouldn’t faint and seriously hurt herself.
“That’s one of the things that I think about with chronically ill people,” Mette said, “that we kind of come across as okay because we find ways around it.”
Soon, she couldn’t climb one flight of stairs without becoming breathless, and upped her search for an answer. She went to a psychiatrist, hoping in vain to be diagnosed as a hypochondriac, and even saw a veterinarian — seriously! — who ended up diagnosing her with insulin resistance.
From there, things spiraled. “My latter half of my 20s pretty much was collecting disease labels and drugs like candy,” Mette said. “I got psoriatic arthritis. With that came Humira.”
She began avoiding doctors so as not to accumulate more diagnoses and more prescriptions for her autoimmune symptoms. To all of her treatment providers, she would ask the same question: Is there anything I can do, any changes I can make to help? Each would always answer no, and she didn’t question them.
Taking Control and Creating a Symptom Tracking App
Then in her mid-30’s, she had a wake-up call: one day, her doctors called to tell her they had great news. That news, she soon learned, was that she wasn’t going to die “in the immediate future”— and they all seemed happy with that prognosis.
Mette, on the other hand, was not. Finally understanding how dire her situation was, she put her economist training to use and began tracking everything — diet, symptoms, and more— in detailed Excel spreadsheets. She looked for patterns, did A/B tests, and adjusted her behavior accordingly. Slowly, she watched autoimmune symptoms fall away — and with them, the collection of diagnoses that had defined her life. Today, her symptom-tracking app Mymee guides autoimmune patients through the same process, helping them identify triggers to reverse symptoms.
Just 16 months after she took things into her own hands, Mette normalized her blood work and got off all medications. “I’m seven years drug- and symptom-free today,” she told WellBe, knocking on wood.
Watch the full interview to hear why some of Mette’s friends had no idea she was suffering, how being a CEO influenced her approach to her illness, and the role the healthcare system played in her journey.
Watch Mette’s full interview to hear why some of her friends had no idea she was suffering, how being a CEO influenced her approach to her illness, and the role the healthcare system played in her journey.
The story above is anecdotal and specific to this particular individual. Please note that this is not medical advice, and that not all treatments and approaches mentioned will work for everyone.
Mette Dyhrberg is the founder and CEO of Mymee, a digital health innovator committed to improving the quality of life for those with chronic disease. Mette holds an M.Sc in economics from Aarhus University and is a certified health coach by the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy. Find out more information about Mymee here.