'Grey's Anatomy' star Chandra Wilson opens up about daughter's mysterious illness

Chandra Wilson diagnoses mysterious illnesses all the time as Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy, and one episode in particular was inspired by her own life.

The 47-year-old actress recalled that about six years ago, her 23-year-old daughter, Sarina McFarlane, became sick with nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. "It presented itself for a really bad case of food poisoning," she said on Thursday's Good Morning America of the mystery illness. "It didn't go away for four or five days, so because of that we went to the ER."

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Wilson said that a month later, "the exact same presentation happened" and it continued to occur for 10 months. "I started looking for patterns," she explained. "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."

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HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 19: Actress Chandra Wilson attends the The Paley Center For Media's 34th Annual PaleyFest Los Angeles - 'Grey's Anatomy' at Dolby Theatre on March 19, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Chandra Wilson attends the 8th Annual Oscar's Sistahs Soiree Presented by Alfre Woodard and Farfetch at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 22, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/WireImage)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'In the Air Tonight' - Meredith and Nathan have to confront their feelings when they are are stuck sitting next to each other on a plane, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, APRIL 13 (8:00-9:01 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Mitchell Haaseth/ABC via Getty Images) CHANDRA WILSON (DIRECTOR)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'You Can Look (But You'd Better Not Touch)'- Bailey, Arizona and Jo go to a maximum security women's prison to treat a violent, 16-year-old pregnant girl and her unborn baby, on the midseason premiere of 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, JANUARY 19 (8:00-9:01 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network. (Byron Cohen/ABC via Getty Images) CHANDRA WILSON
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'Roar' - A familiar face returns to Grey Sloan, throwing many of the doctors for a loop. With Catherine putting on the pressure, Bailey has to make a decision about Alex while a tough ER case makes Amelia's bad day even worse, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Jennifer Clasen/ABC via Getty Images) CAMILLA LUDDINGTON, CHANDRA WILSON, JUSTIN CHAMBERS
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'Both Sides Now' - Meredith and Bailey are at odds when both of their patients need a liver transplant, Owen seeks help from the other doctors when he is charged with babysitting baby Harriet for the day, and Amelia struggles with telling Owen some important news, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images) CHANDRA WILSON
Actress Chandra Wilson poses for a portraits at the Beverly Hills Ballroom of The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills at Disney | ABC Television Group's All-Star Cocktail Reception and Interview Opportunity. (Photo by Image Group LA/ABC via Getty Images Portrait)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Actress Chandra Wilson attends the opening night of 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' at Mark Taper Forum on September 11, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tasia Wells/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 4: Chandra Wilson from Disney ABC Television Group's 'Grey's Anatomy' poses for a portrait at the 2016 Summer TCAs Getty Images Portrait Studio at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 27th, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California (Photo by Maarten de Boer/Getty Images)
Texas Film Awards Honorees Carol Burnett and Chandra Wilson at the Gibson Showroom in Austin, TX on March 10, 2016 to speak at the Texas Film Awards Press Conference. (Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro/Corbis via Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 10: Ellia English (L) and Chandra Wilson attend the Austin Film Society's 2016 Texas Film Awards at Austin Studios on March 10, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'There's a Fine, Fine Line' - After a missing child forces the hospital into lockdown, Ben decides to operate on a pregnant mother without the proper surgical equipment. Miranda, as Chief, is faced with the repercussions of the event and whether or not Ben's impulsive actions were justified, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, APRIL 14 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Richard Cartwright/ABC via via Getty Images)CHANDRA WILSON
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 6: (L-R) Jerrika Hinton, Chandra Wilson , Camilla Luddington, Ellen Pompeo, James Pickens, Jr., Kelly McCreary, Justin Chambers, Caterina Scorsone and Sarah Drew of 'Grey's Anatomy' pose for a portrait at the 2016 People's Choice Awards at the Microsoft Theater on January 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Smallz & Raskind/Getty Images for The People's Choice Awards)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Actress Chandra Wilson attends the People's Choice Awards 2016 at Microsoft Theater on January 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'All Eyez On Me' - Meredith, Bailey, Jackson, Callie and Jo travel to a military hospital to perform an extraordinary and extremely risky surgery on a veteran with an advanced tumor. Meanwhile back at Grey Sloan, Andrew is tired of being Maggie's worst kept secret; Ben makes an impulsive surgical decision; and a team of cheerleaders wreak havoc in the ER, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, MARCH 10 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Ron Batzdorff) JESSE WILLIAMS, SARA RAMIREZ, CHANDRA WILSON
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13: Actor Chandra Wilson and show performers attend Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's 'Circus XTREME' VIP celebrity red carpet premiere at Staples Center on July 13, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David A. Walega/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Actress Chandra Wilson attends the celebration of ABC's TGIT Line-up held at Gracias Madre on September 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - AUGUST 12: Actress Chandra Wilson attends the 10th Annual (SAMHSA) Voice Awards at Royce Hall, UCLA on August 12, 2015 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Nearly a year after McFarlane exhibited symptoms, she was diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS). "The name gave a direction to go in," Wilson said. "And it put us in a community of people that seriously were going through the exact same thing stage by stage."

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In 2012, Wilson directed an episode of Grey's Anatomy in season nine that showed how hard it is to diagnose CVS. "Being able to be on Grey's Anatomy with all of those people able to watch it and hear it and say, 'Oh my God. That's what that is. I've heard of that. That's my kid. That's my husband. That's my aunt,' that's something that I can do sitting in this chair on the set," she shared. "Then my daughter has said, 'Go ahead. Go and do that.'"

Wilson also revealed that after years of CVS being dormant in her daughter, she recently started having symptoms again.

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