Taylor Muhl first noticed she was different as a little girl in dance class. She discovered that she was the only one in her class who had a straight line running down the center of her torso, halving her body into two different skin colors.
Muhl’s parents had consulted doctors, who wrote off the physical abnormality as a simple birthmark. However, her two-pigmented body was something much more complex than just a birthmark. As Muhl grew older, her health began to deteriorate.
“My autoimmune issues started pretty heavily as a preteen, and that was very difficult being so young, especially not knowing why I was sick,” Muhl tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Also, at times I did feel emotionally sad that my stomach appeared different than all my friends’.”
After visiting several doctors, she was finally diagnosed with chimerism.
Chimerism is a rare genetic condition that is caused when a person is composed of two genetically distinct types of cells. Muhl is a fraternal twin who fused together with her sibling in the womb, so that she now carries that twin’s DNA within her own body. Muhl has two different immune systems and two different bloodstreams. As a result, her immune system is constantly fighting off her twin sister’s cells, as it recognizes them as foreign, causing autoimmune issues.
Muhl’s condition has made her commit to a lifestyle that involves strong probiotics, many vitamin supplements, organic and fresh nutrition, juicing, exercise, massage, energy healing, and more.
“Even with doing all of that, though, I still endure autoimmune problems and food sensitivities daily, so emotionally it can get frustrating and wearing,” she says. “Mentally I’ve been forced to make the commitment to look at my circumstances, good and bad, in a positive light or else I feel nothing good will come of it.”
The California native visited the show The Doctors in March to discuss her condition. Geneticist Brandon Colby, MD, confirmed her diagnosis and shared some valuable tips on how she can navigate her life with chimerism.
“It’s important for Taylor throughout life to inform doctors that she has chimerism, so when they get these strange test results back, they know how to quickly interpret them correctly. This may save her life,” he said.
Very few people are known to have chimerism. There is not much information about it, which is why Muhl has decided to become an advocate and spread awareness about her condition.
“I want to spread a message to anyone who has a physical abnormality or medical issue like myself to know they’re not alone, they have support, and regardless of their circumstances they have no limits in trying to reach any dream or goal they have,” she says. “Don’t let any negativity influence your thinking when it comes to what beautiful is, what it should be or has to be.”
Muhl is a singer who has been in the entertainment business most of her life. She recognizes that although in her social media she might look normal and healthy, she urges people to never “judge a book by its cover.”
“Slowly, with time, I will be open to showing more of that part of my life only in hopes it will inspire others who are ill,” she says. “I want the real focus to be on spreading human-chimera awareness, that it can be linked to autoimmune and how important body positivity is in the entertainment business and the world.”