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'I have this weird, incurable disease that seems like it's from outer space.' Folk legend Joni Mitchell's battle with rare illness that made her a hermit for years and made her feel like she was being 'eaten alive'
The life of legendary folk singer Joni Mitchell, 73 is explored in new biography Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell
The singer-songwriter has been plagued in recent years with health problems, including brain trauma, post-polio health issues and Morgellons syndrome
Joni said: 'Morgellons is a slow, unpredictable killer - a terrorist disease: it will blow up one of your organs, leaving you in bed for a year'
Many victims appear to have a history of drug-taking and Joni admits that she took mounds of coke when on a road tour with Bob Dylan and Joan Baez
Joni lost her virginity while in art school and became pregnant, giving birth to Kelly Dale Anderson in February 1965 and putting her up for adoption
She was involved in a string of romances, including husbands Chuck Mitchell and Larry Klein, as well as David Crosby, Graham Nash and James Taylor
Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson also pursued her but she declined their advances. The three went to dinner but Joni took her own car so she could exit
Born on the Canadian prairie in the far reaches of the province of Alberta in 1943, eight-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, 73, had no early dreams about being a singer.
'Basically I liked to dance and paint and that was about it. I was anti-intellectual to the nth. As far as serious discussions went, at that time, most of them were overtly pseudo-intellectual and boring', she has mused in the past.
Early on she rejected the world around her and instead created her own, becoming rebellious after surviving a devastating case of polio when she was 10 years old.
More health problems tragically followed the icon into her later years, experiencing brain trauma in 2015, post-polio symptoms and the incurable Morgellons syndrome.
Joni said: 'I have this weird, incurable disease that seems like it's from outer space.
'Morgellons is a slow, unpredictable killer - a terrorist disease: it will blow up one of your organs, leaving you in bed for a year.'
Now, in his new book Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, music critic and Syracuse University professor David Yaffe explores Joni's legacy of folk music in the 1960s and a career spanning more than forty years. her experiences with drugs and rock star lovers and her tragic medical issues. https://www.amazon.com/Reckless-Daughter-Portrait-Joni-Mitchell/dp/0374248133?tag=en-us-entertainment-convert-20
Speaking of her Morgellons syndrome, Joni said: 'Fibers in a variety of colors protrude out of my skin like mushrooms after a rainstorm: they cannot be forensically identified as animal, vegetable or mineral'.
At times she couldn’t wear clothing as she continually felt that she was being 'eaten alive', and was unable to leave her house for several years. Sometimes, she felt her legs cramping up so much that she could not walk and had to crawl across the floor instead.
While Morgellons is often described politely as a 'mysterious' disease, the overwhelming medical opinion is that sufferers have a psychological — rather than a physical — illness.
Many victims appear to have had a history of drug-taking. Predictably, given her counter-culture past, Joni admitted to taking a lot of drugs over the years, including mounds of coke.
Joni opens up about her suffering in the intimate biography written by David Yaffe which richly details the Canadian's life and is set for release on October 17.
He writes: 'Joni Mitchell is more than a 1970s icon or pop star. She is our eternal singer-songwriter of sorrows, traveling through our highs and lows, the twentieth century master of the art song tradition.'
Joni, born Roberta Joan Anderson, viewed the biggest gift of her Canadian childhood was nature, a religion in its own right.
But despite the serenity of the outdoors, it was a difficult childhood as Joni's medical problems began at an early age.
When Joni turned 10 years old in late 1953, she woke up one morning paralyzed. It was quickly diagnosed and she was shipped to a polio colony in Saskatoon - similar to a leper colony designed to halt the spread of the disease.
She said of her isolation: 'If you got into the iron lung, chances are you'd never get out. And there was the possibility that I would never walk.
'I was frozen and many of the muscles in my back were lost. As a result my spine was crooked, and arched up like a broken doll'.
There are reports of Morgellons disease in patients with Lyme disease. https://www.medicinenet.com/what