‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Star Chandra Wilson Discusses Her Daughter’s Mysterious Illness

Known best for her role as Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy, Chandra Wilson plays a powerful female doctor who diagnoses mysterious illnesses all the time. According to Entertainment Tonight, one episode of the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy was inspired by a mysterious illness that affected Chandra Wilson’s personal life.

Chandra Wilson attending an award's show
Chandra Wilson discusses daughter's illness [Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]

It was during an appearance on Good Morning America this week that Wilson recalled six years prior when her daughter Serena suddenly because sick with a mysterious illness. According to Chandra, her daughter became nauseous, started to vomit, and had significant abdominal pain.

“It presented itself for a really bad case of food poisoning. It didn’t go away for four or five days, so because of that we went to the ER.”

According to the Grey’s Anatomy star, the exact same symptoms presented themselves a month later and then continued to occur for the next 10 months. Wilson started to look for patterns as she tried to figure out what mysterious illness was plaguing her young daughter.

“When you are the parent of someone who is a chronic pain sufferer, you end up creating these binders for all of the hospital stays so you can keep track of every visit and any new thing that comes out.”

Chandra’s daughter experienced these symptoms for nearly a year before she received an official diagnosis of cyclic vomiting syndrome (or CVS for short). Wilson claimed that getting a diagnosis gave her and her daughter a direction to move forward from. It allowed them to learn more about the mysterious illness and allowed them to connect to a community of people who were living with CVS.

It was in 2012 that Chandra Wilson had the opportunity to direct an episode of Grey’s Anatomy during Season 9 of the series. The episode Chandra directed focused on just how difficult it was for doctors to diagnose the very mysterious illness that her own daughter had suffered from. For Chandra, being able to apply what had happened to her and her daughter in real life to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy was an incredible experience.

Chandra Wilson and the cast of Grey's Anatomy at an event
Chandra Wilson and Grey's Anatomy Cast

During an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Chandra Wilson revealed that her daughter started to experience the symptoms of the mysterious illness when she was just 16-years-old. It was when the symptoms became painful, repetitive, and started to take a toll on Serena’s physical health that Chandra knew she needed to seek medical help.

According to Chandra, her daughter weighed around 100 pounds when she started to have spells of uncontrollable and prolonged vomiting. The side effects of the mysterious illness caused the Grey’s Anatomy star’s daughter to lose 30 pounds.

“That was scary to watch. Then, once the meds were introduced, she went completely in the other direction. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. It’s the strangest illness, but it can be incredibly debilitating.”

Chandra and her daughter admitted to being scared, depressed, and frustrated in the months prior to her diagnosis. Wilson’s daughter was even bullied at school over the mysterious illness as her classmates though she was throwing up simply to lose weight.

Chandra Wilson with two of her children at an event
Chandra Wilson and two of her children [Image by Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images]

The Grey’s Anatomy star told PEOPLE they went 10 months with more questions than answers and endless trips to the hospital before her daughter was finally diagnosed. It was in 2010 that Chandra’s daughter was diagnosed with mitochondrial dysfunction (severe depletion of the body’s cellular energy supply) and cyclic vomiting syndrome.

The Grey’s Anatomy star reveals the mysterious illness did shift how she cared – and continues to care – for her daughter who is now 23-years-old. She also revealed that the illness does go dormant as well as making reappearances.

Do you know anyone who suffers from this mysterious illness?

[Featured Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]