The Zebra Chronicles is a father/son platform that emerged from the challenges of navigating treatment for chronic illness. It seeks to elevate the conversation around empathy in places where it is too often lacking, including schools, workplaces … and in our healthcare system.
Raise awareness of the need for empathy–everywhere, but especially within the healthcare system
Empower patients and caregivers to request empathetic care at each stage of their healthcare journey
Influence healthcare culture
About Mitchell and Joshua
Joshua Weitzman, 22, is on leave from music studies at NYU while he seeks treatment for post-viral Long COVID, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Like a conductor, Joshua has orchestrated a symphony of specialists on his journey to better health.
Mitchell Weitzman, older than 22, is the proud father of a young man with an ‘old soul’ whose courage, resilience, and determination never fails to astound. Mitchell is a health care lawyer and author who hopes and prays that Joshua is granted the health he needs to share his talents with the world.
“The Zebra Chronicles”?
Already coping with Crohn’s Disease and Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Joshua asked one of his doctors to explain a sudden onslaught of seemingly random bouts of low-grade fever, migraines, racing heartbeat, and debilitating fatigue. The provider, however, shrugged off his symptoms as manifestations of pre-existing illness, citing an old medical school trope, ‘when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras.’ The trope suggests that a doctor should first think about what a more common or likely diagnosis is before exploring other possibilities.
Joshua left that provider’s office frustrated and dejected. He intuitively knew that his illness was significantly more complex than horses and zebras. But the encounter sparked a search for answers, a move across the country to access better care, and the creation of this blog. We acknowledge the support and knowledge Joshua has gained from other chronically ill patients posting on social media, and hope that this blog amplifies the call for healing and empathy.