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Curse That Cures

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"Sadly, science doesn't have a cure for cancer. The supernatural, however..."
Teen Wolf, "Master Plan"

Despite the obvious downsides, a Curse or inhuman transformation has one or two redeeming features that, to be frank, can make it a very tempting offer to someone already in the grips of an injury or disease. For example, undeath has the palpable upside of curing vast swaths of ailments and maladies... sure, it's by virtue of killing you and thus making the asthma/cancer/stubbed toe irrelevant, and it saddles you with a Horror Hunger, but hey! At least no more Incurable Cough of Death!

While this can be analogous to the "Awesome" part of Cursed with Awesome, the "Curse" part is not to be underestimated. It's basically the difference between "Nooooo! I don't wanna be a vampire! ...Of course, it DOES give me a superpower I could use to defeat the Big Bad," whereas this trope is more "I don't wanna be a vampire... but if I have to choose between dying of AIDS, or becoming a vampire... I'm gonna go with vampire." What's more, while Cursed with Awesome is about a "curse" that is actually pretty cool and useful, the Curse That Cures is at best an even trade and usually the one silver lining in an actually pretty crappy case of cursing.

Still, this silver lining is actually significant enough that at least some will rationally and calmly consider taking the "Emergency" out of Emergency Transformation fully knowing the many downsides it carries. In fact, vampires, werewolves, cyborgs, transhumans and the like may well try to sell a potential victim—err, convert with the fringe benefits while soft-pedaling the flaws. On the other hand, this trope can be paired with Transhuman Treachery if the convert knows the curse involves doing a Faceā€“Heel Turn.

Of course, given that life itself is a terminal disease, some people don't have to be sick to go looking for a cure.

Compare Disability Immunity, where an existing disability gives a character immunity to a harmful effect. Also compare Beneficial Disease, which (though possibly fatal) gives a character a power or immunity to something else. Contrast One Curse Limit, where attempting to put a second curse on someone fails because they're already cursed.

If the would-be recipient does favors for the curse/cure-supplier in return for the affliction, they're Working for a Body Upgrade, albeit one that comes with a downgrade too.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Black Blood Brothers, Chan was made a vampire using Kelly Wong's blood to save her life at her mother's request.
  • Subverted in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. At the end of the series, Tanjiro Kamado is briefly turned into a demon, but is then cured and restored to being a human. While it seems as though his demonization restored the arm and eye that he lost in the final battle, he mentions that he can't move his arm or see out of his eye.
  • In Gunslinger Girl, Rico is a cyborg, Professional Killer, Child Soldier, and for all practical purposes, a slave owned by a Government Agency of Fiction... and she loves her job despite actually remembering her previous life. Why? Because it beats being a quadraplegic. The same could be said for practically all of the girls, who would have been dead if it weren't for the Welfare Agency.
  • At the start of Hellsing, Seras is being held hostage by an enemy vampire when she finds herself between her captor and the business end of Alucard's pistol. Alucard asks her if she will agree to help him. When she nods, he mortally wounds both Seras and her captor. Alucard keeps his word and converts Seras to save her.
  • In Nightwalker, Shido's secretary Riho ends up mortally wounded by Shido's nemesis Cain. She asks Shido to turn her into a vampire, and he obliges.
  • This is the backstory to Nyanpire: a dying kitty is saved by a vampire, who turns him into a vampire by feeding him blood.
  • The manga One Piece has an interesting version of this trope. Brook ate the Revive-Revive Fruit, which meant that he knew that he'd be able to come back and live a second life as an undead of sorts. It isn't known how much he knew of the Fruit's ability; he probably assumed correctly that his body would revive regardless of its condition. However, he had no idea that due to circumstances of his death he would be Cursed with Awesome.
  • In Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, after Fay has his eye ripped out and is obviously dying Kurogane makes this call and convinces the vampire Kamui to turn Fay into a vampire who can live off Kurogane's blood. It works, but Fay is pissed at Kurogane for a long time after for more reasons than one, though they eventually reconcile.
  • In The Ancient Magus' Bride, Chise suffers a powerful curse that dramatically reduces her lifespan after draining the magical energy of a rampaging dragon. Later, she ends up taking upon herself the curse of Cartaphilus, the Wandering Jew, whose immortality without youth dooms him to a torturous existence as a fully sentient, but inert and decomposing corpse for all eternity. Because the two curses have directly opposite effects, they mostly cancel each other out, allowing Chise to live out her life without worrying about either.

    Comic Books 
  • The comic book Blood + Water has two vampires turn a friend dying of Hepatitis C for this reason. The change even completely undoes all of the physical damage he had suffered over the years of the disease. Interestingly, he confronts them over waiting those years before turning him, and they reveal it was because their Spider-Sense warned them doing so would have a dark consequence. In this case, awakening the ancient Food Chain of Evil that were prehistoric super vampires. They had chosen to ignore it because they cared too much about him to continue to watch him suffer.
  • Used as the setup for the graphic novel Harriet the Invincible, where the titular Harriet is cursed to fall into a Sleeping Beauty style sleep when she turns 12. However the same curse must keep her alive until her 12th birthday in order to come true; effectively rendering her invincible. She uses this loophole to follow her true passions of cliff-diving, monster-slaying and adventuring.
  • Dr. Michael Morbius was dying of a blood disease. He found a cure for it, but that cure ended up turning him int a "Living Vampire," forced to drink the blood of others to remain alive.
  • The 1988 anthology Strip AIDS USA (a charity AIDS relief book) had a story where lycanthropy proves to be a great cure for HIV. Luckily, the recipient becomes a Wonderful Werewolf.
  • An interesting variation is seen in Marvel's Spider Island (2015). A certain virus has turned everyone in Manhattan into humanoid spiders (superheroes included, up to Captain America, Iron Man and Hulk). So main characters come up with desperate scheme of neutralising the virus - infect them further with similar curses that tend to transform people in werewolves, giant lizards and green goblins. This decision brings its own obvious problems, but still works.

    Fan Works 
  • God Slaying Blade Works: Kaida's mother was put into a coma when she was accidentally completely purified of all "imperfections" like sin and the drive to eat and live. She is saved when Shirou uses his Authority Curses Without End to gradually reintroduce vices into her to restore her will to live.
  • Prince Charming:
    • Prince Adrien was blessed at birth with the power to brainwash everyone he interacts with into his adoring slaves (whether or not he actually wants to). After several failed attempts to strip himself of this blessing, he eventually makes a pact with Misfortune to be turned into a werecat: a change fundamental enough that he no longer is "Prince Adrien" and as such Prince Adrien's blessing no longer applies to him.
    • The same story also features the akumas, who have been effectively lobotomized by Black Magic, with more magic being set to govern their actions. This means that they are unaffected by Prince Adrien's blessing and are used by Prince Adrien's father to manage him.
  • One of the main characters in Project Tatterdemalion was on the verge of dying from Strickland's Disease (an autoimmune disorder that caused his immune system to attack his lung tissue). After the shinigami transformation, he still technically has Strickland's, but since he no longer has human lung tissue for the disorder to attack, it's a moot point.
    • The shinigami transformation itself falls under this trope. Despite being called a vaccine, it doesn't actually function by training your immune system to fight Madsen's Hollow, the way a regular vaccine does. What it actually does is transform you into a new species which is no longer vulnerable to Madsen's Hollow.
  • This is the idea behind the "'D' Program" in The Return, anyone in the program is eligible to be turned into a succubus if they are wounded seriously enough. Even if they are male.
  • The Spell Of Sealing: The titular spell locks a werewolf in his lupine form and costs him his human magic, but in exchange he no longer goes berzerk under the full moon and isn't infectious.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Corpse Bride, while being dead isn't exactly a picnic what with the gradual decomposition the dead suffer, it has its upsides. Mainly that any pains felt in life are completely gone. Mayhew, who died of a coughing related illness, actually was fairly happy at the turnaround.
    Victor: Mayhew! How nice to see... [notices he's dead] I'm so sorry.
    Mayhew: Oh, yeah. Actually, though, I feel great.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Daybreakers, becoming a vampire cures cancer and any other illnesses one had as a human, in exchange for not being able to go out in the sunlight and becoming dependent upon consuming human blood to survive. It seems like a good deal at first, but by the time the movie starts, 95% of the population has already turned, and they're running out of humans to give blood.

  • Subverted in Blood Price by Tanya Huff. Victoria is slowly going blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa. But she refuses to allow Henry to turn her into a vampire.
    • Invoked latter when the heroine was dying anyway. The reason she was against turning was Curse on the Vampires that invokes extreme territorial feelings in them and enticed them to fight and kill each other.(And for good reason.)
  • In the Bordertown series, one of the major characters, Wolfboy, was a drug addict when he was turned into a Wolf Man by a half-completed curse. This immediately cured the addiction.
  • One of the reasons Gerald Tarrant from the Coldfire Trilogy turned to The Dark Side and become a vampire-equivalent was because of a congenital heart defect that would have cut short his illustrious life. It comes back and nearly kills him when he becomes human again in Crown of Shadows; it leaves him weakened for the rest of the book.
  • Played for horror in Dragon Bones: Oreg is an immortal slave, who can only be killed by his current owner. He survives any injuries caused by someone else. His father and first owner, who had magically bound Oreg's soul to castle Hurog had him whipped by someone else in order to punish him without killing him.
  • Claudia from Interview with the Vampire. Louis and Lestat find her almost dead of the plague; they turn her into a vampire.
  • Invoked with a dose of Heroic Sacrifice in the Kate Daniels series. Being turned into a vampire is a fatal process, and there's no sentience on the other side. If you're infected and you can't fight the virus off, you die and leave a blood-crazed, berserking corpse behind. But The People, an international corporation dedicated to studying undeath and vampires and taking over the world will pay certain individuals to be infected, if they can have the vampire once it's been made. Basically, if you were going to die anyways, it's a way to leave your family with some extra money.
  • In one Mercy Thompson book, a werewolf talks his father into getting infected to save him from cancer. It does cure the disease but the father fears his werewolf side, which ironically only gets him more unstable (since he doesn't even try to get in tune with his animal side, he can't control his rage).
  • Referenced in The Misenchanted Sword, where a Wizard tells the protagonist about a man who came to him after being cursed with a horrific stench, and when they couldn't undo the curse, they instead put another curse on him that suppressed the sense of smell of everyone within 100 feet of him.
  • One of the Night World books is about a girl with cancer whose vampire boyfriend offers to turn her to save her life.
  • Secret Vampire: The plot revolves around James trying to turn Poppy into a vampire to save her life; if she successfully transforms it will effectively cure her terminal illness, but there's a chance she won't make it and James also didn't get permission to turn her, so she's an illegal vampire.
  • In Patricia C. Wrede's short story "The Sixty-Two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd", a curse is used to cure another curse—a local boy realizes the family's curse-induced lycanthropy can be cured by inciting the Caliph to curse them with something else, since there's a limit on how many curses one person can have at a time.
  • This is how Edward views vampirism in The Twilight Saga - on the bright side, he was saved from a horrible, wasting death from Spanish flu and is now impossibly beautiful. On the negative side, he is hard as rock, dead, can't go out in direct sunlight, constantly thirsts to kill people and has to go to high school for the rest of his life (which is forever). This is why he is unwilling to make Bella a vampire, despite the fact that she wants to be one, until he's forced to give her an Emergency Transformation to save her life.
  • Used in the book series Year of Rogue Dragons (a Dungeons & Dragons novel) by the Big Bad to force dragons to become dracoliches. He messed with an ancient curse meant to keep dragon's numbers down by driving them insane, and since undead are immune to Mind Control, they had to take his offer to become liches or die.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel reveals that Darla was turned while dying from syphilis. When she was later returned to life as a human, she nearly died of the same disease and only survived by being turned again.
    • An analogous situation arises later on the show, albeit in the opposite direction, with Darla again. She is "cured" from her soullessness temporarily by becoming pregnant with Connor. The catch is that, in order to give birth, she has to die (or, undie).
  • In Being Human (US), a Bubble Boy with a weakened immune system named Kenny asks Aidan to be turned into a vampire so that he can live a (relatively) normal life. Unfortunately for him, Aidan has been dosed with werewolf blood and any vampire he sires becomes a hideously mutated werewolf/vampire hybrid.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Lie To Me," a childhood friend of Buffy's sells her out to some vampires in exchange for being turned into a vampire to cure his fatal brain tumor. Buffy was quick to point out that the vampires in her 'verse don't have the soul of the human the body belonged to; his body would move around, and a demon might have his memories, but "he" would still die.
    • Spike's mother, Anne, had been dying of tuberculosis (an incurable death-sentence at the time) so he'd sired her shortly after his own siring. Post-transformation, she's perfectly healthy again, but is nothing like she'd been in life, proving Buffy's above point.
    • Spike himself had worn glasses as a human, but doesn't seem to need them at all as a vampire.
  • In Constantine, John is forced to allow the demon Pazuzu to possess him, knowing that it would heal his gunshot wound.
  • In one episode of Forever Knight a blind woman regains her sight after being turned.
  • Moonlight: Beth asks Mick to do this for her fatally wounded fiance. He refuses. He musta seen that ep of Forever Knight.
  • Nick Wolfe from Highlander: The Raven is dying from poison, but is saved when Amanda shoots him, triggering Nick's latent immortality, which dying from poison would not do (because a person's "first death" only causes their immortality to kick in if the death is violent and traumatic). Nick sees immortality as a curse, though, and angrily storms off while telling Amanda that he never wants to see her again.
  • In iZombie, Liv infects Major to save him from a mortal wound. He is not appreciative at all, so Liv injects him with the remains of the cure (it's later revealed that the cure is only temporary).
  • In Once Upon a Time, Rumpelstiltskin walks with a limp before he becomes the Dark One, and his Storybrooke incarnation Mr. Gold uses a cane as well, since there's no magic there. As the Dark One, his leg seems to be all right, although not much else is.
  • Stargate SG-1: Goa'uld symbiotes are generally viewed as this. A human who becomes a host to a Goa'uld enjoys extreme longevity (a minimum of 400 years without the use of a Sarcophagus), rapid healing, and curing of virtually any known disease or ailment. The downside? The symbiote gains complete control of the host body, and the Goa'uld are by nature so egotistical that they pose as gods to those they perceive as lower beings. So not only does the host lose any and all control of their body, but they may be forced to commit atrocities against their own kind for numerous centuries; the host of Apophis, the main antagonist of the first several seasons, was a scribe from ancient Egypt, and suffered this fate for many thousands of years.
    • The Tok'ra, sworn enemies of the Goa'uld Ra, are the benevolent version of this trope. While they are of the Goa'uld species, they don't completely take over the host, rather jointly cooperating, and only do so with the host's explicit permission. However, Colonel O'Neill still views blending with a Tok'ra to cure himself of a fatal disease as this trope. Initially, he refuses vehemently and repeatedly, but finally gives his consent when he has no other choice. Turns out he had good reason to refuse since the symbiote completely took over his body like a Goa'uld, resulting in him getting captured and tortured by Ba'al.
    • By contrast, Jacob Carter takes finding out about the stargate... and aliens... and the idea of sharing his body with an alien parasite very much in stride and views it as kind of an adventure, in addition to being a necessity (he was dying of cancer at the time). He and Selmak become major supporting characters for the majority of the series
    • Millionaire Adrian Conrad, desiring a cure for a terminal disease he has, kidnaps Sam Carter to research how her body changed due to her blending with Jolinar, in order to find a way to use a captured Goa'uld symbiote to cure his disease and then remove it afterward. It doesn't go well.
  • Teen Wolf: Scott loses his asthma once bitten. A minor upside to being low man on the Food Chain of Evil, getting an Enemy Within and a target of Van Helsing Hate Crimes.
    • In season two, Gerard Argent wants to use this trope to survive cancer.
    • Also, Erica had severe epilepsy which required anti-seizure medications with pretty bad side effects themselves, which didn't always work for her anyway. The bite took care of all of that, leaving her healthy, beautiful and confident.
  • Attempted in The Vampire Diaries. Caroline wants to see if vampirism can cure cancer, so she sires a terminally ill man who has the same type of cancer as her mother. It initially seems to work, but then it's revealed that the vampirism has actually made the cancer infinitely worse, and that the man is now in perpetual agony because his cancer has suddenly jumped from stage four to stage ten (and there is no stage ten).

    Tabletop Games 
  • If someone in Dungeons & Dragons is stuck with a curse that they're unable to break, one option is to exploit the One Curse Limit and take on a different curse. Hardly ideal, but if fell magic is sapping your mind, cursing yourself with something like infertility is pretty benign by comparison.
  • Similar to the Exiern example below, when Pathfinder was starting to work on the idea of transgender representation in setting, there was the idea that the common D&D cursed item of the Girdle of Masculinity/Femininity wasn't exactly a curse to people who wanted to transition anyways. Since then, the game has made transitioning mainly a matter of alchemy.
  • The Legion in Mage: The Awakening are mages who summon Abyssal spirits to consume and replace their body parts in exchange for Lovecraftian Superpowers. Some of the most powerful members replace their brains, rendering themselves immune to any form of mortal madness. Given the kind of people who join the Legion and where they tend to fall on the game's Sanity/Karma Meter, letting an unnatural being from beyond the walls of reality do their thinking for them is generally an improvement.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade when you are turned into a vampire all injuries, illnesses and disabilities disappear. However, now you are at the bottom of the pecking order surrounded by vampires who want to use you as a pawn and aren't shy of killing you if it helps them, must prey on humans to survive, can be smelled out by werewolves who will hunt you with prejudice and have to pretend you're human while dealing with the "burns in sunlight" thing.
    • Mind you, this isn't always guaranteed; there are a number of sample characters who were paralyzed before the Embrace and remained paralyzed after. But there are a large number of cases who got the Embrace because their sire didn't want to see a talent die to cancer, or TB, or syphilis, or etc. Perhaps the biggest example in setting is Clan Tremere, who came into being when a bunch of mages realized their potions of immortality were starting to have diminishing returns. So, they poked a bunch of captive vampires with sticks until they found a new form of immortality, effectively sacrificing the potential of True Magic in the process (but picking up Blood Magic as a consolation prize).
  • The whole point of worshiping Nurgle in Warhammer 40,000: if you are already covered in diseases and rotting flesh, you can't get old, and you won't feel pain. You also have the patronage and love (yes, actual, unconditional paternal love) of the only kind god in the entire galaxy.

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate III: Normally, hosting a Mind Flayer tadpole is a death sentence; days after the infestation, the host is transformed into a Mind Flayer. The tadpole changing the host's physiology to be a better Mind Flayer also has the side effect of suppressing Astarion's weakness to sunlight, running water, and showing up unannounced.
  • In Darkest Dungeon DLC, The Crimson Court, the Crimson Curse cures any hero to catch it of any previous diseases (Rabies, Syphilis, The Worries, etc.) and prevents them from getting sick again. However, the Crimson Curse is bad enough in its own rights to be avoided... until the late-game. After the Countess dies, the Curse becomes treatable in the Sanitarium, so you can end up with people deliberately infecting their heroes on repeatable Courtyard quests in order to safely take care of something in a location where disease is common, like the Warrens or Cove.
  • The postgame content of Dragon Quest VIII reveals that the hero was actually cursed to lose their childhood memories. This curse is so powerful that it overrides weaker enemy curses, making said character permanently immune to the Curse status in battle.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, becoming a werebeast cures all damage done to one's body during every transformation. The downside is being a berserk beast every full moon. It's recommended that you turn your adventurer into a werebeast if they suffer paralysis or lost limbs, since it's the only thing that will cure them and you maintain control of your adventurer even when transformed. Just make sure to save before getting yourself cursed, because it's a 50% chance that you become a vampire instead (which is also Cursed with Awesome, but does not come with super regeneration).
  • Corprus in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is a magical disease that transforms its victims into mindless, tumor-ridden monstrosities. However, it also grants its victims immunity to all other diseases. They also become The Ageless; it is kind of moot, of course, if you're a constantly mutating zombie thingy, but becomes an invaluable asset to the Nerevarine, who is cured from the negative effects of corprus while retaining the good ones.
    • In Skyrim Vampirism and Lycanthropy can cure any disease as well as making you immune to disease. However one of the cures for Vampirism is Lycanthropy. You cannot again become a vampire while having Lycanthropy, as Vampirism starts as a disease, which you are immune to. Each have side benefits/problems and you can only be 'cured' in this way by specific individuals.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: Kurogane is sworn to oppose Mayard, the Dream Demon King, but partway through the story is fatally wounded and seconds away from death. Mayard offers her a deal: swear herself to him and he will save her life. It becomes a pretty cool powerup that makes her even more combat-ready in the end game, but it's still to choose between dying on the spot or embracing the Dream Demon King that your lineage has been opposing for 48 generations.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has a perk "Rad Child" that makes radiation this. The healing from the perk is so potent the character can virtually absord incoming damage at higher irradiation levels. They, however, still fully experience the rather drastic penalties from irradiation, including instant death once it reaches a cap.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Shadow of Death, Sandro doesn't mind losing his flesh and blood when his transformation into a lich is complete. He's glad to be rid of distractions like footsores and body odor.
  • The second mission of Metal Slug 3 features a zombie outbreak. Getting hit by a Zombie Puke Attack turns your character into a zombie with a slow firing rate and movement speed, with another zombie attack (or yeti ice breath, in the ice tunnels) killing them outright. However, being zombified also renders the victim immune to conventional attacks, and also grants a wide-range blood vomit attack that deals incredible damage. There's two notable sections of the mission consisting mostly of human enemies (including the durable helicopters and tanks, which can be taken down in one fell swoop with the blood vomit).
  • In World of Warcraft human refugees from the area of Hillsbrad willingly accept being cursed with werewolfism (the Worgen Curse, it is called) because doing so will prevent them from being raised as undead should they be killed. On the other hand, several humans from Gilneas accept being raised as undead to prevent themselves from contracting the Worgen curse. Though to be fair, before the Night Elves helped them learn to control it, the Worgen curse made them feral monsters, which made the Forsaken seem like the better option by comparison, at the time.

    Visual Novels 
  • Hustle Cat's Landry had an unfortunate run-in with a bratty teenage witch, landing him with a curse he believed could potentially cause his heart to explode. In his panic, Landry allowed another witch to place a protective counter-curse which would turn him into a cat - the only time he can temporarily reclaim his human form is while on the second witch's property.
  • In Hakuouki, Kaoru encourages Okita to take the water of life and become a fury; sure, he'd end up with a debilitating sensitivity to sunlight and an overpowering thirst for blood, but at least the fury Healing Factor would cure his terminal tuberculosis. It's a subversion: Kaoru is lying, all just part of his dedicated campaign to torment Okita in order to make Chizuru suffer. Although the Healing Factor does buy Okita time, his tuberculosis continues to take a toll on his body, and in the anime adaptation it's a major factor in his death via The Last Dance.

    Web Comics 
  • In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, Mab needs to shield one of her friends from possible death at the hands of many possible assailants so that he can live long enough to bring about a revolution. However, she finds one possible solution unappetizing...
    Albanion: Ooh! You know what you could do! Let him get killed and then arrange him to be brought back as an undead! That would totally work!
    Mab: No! Ew ew ew! No! Friends don't let friends become zombies!
  • Endtown: Topsider deserters reveal the rampant mutation disease cures cancer (and presumably other diseases), but only if done right (everyone else mutates into something more mutational than cancer itself). Wally reveals that all you have to do to mutate into a bipedal sane furry is to contract the disease while unconscious. Unfortunately, the side effects of mutation are far worse than you'd think - Schism Syndrome (suffering a mental breakdown early into the mutation) drives one of the deserters into sheer insanity, followed by possession by a demon called "Eye" from another world, concluded with the mass murder of a hatchery of lizard people and the doom of all the other children. Even worse, the disease isn't caused by a virus; it has something to do with the dissonance of matter and consciousness from alternate realities, and every single furry is 'cursed'.
  • Exiern: One side character was inflicted with the same Gender Bender Curse as the protagonist, except, being Transgender, she's quite happy to have a new body that matches her self-image.
  • Happens in this Nodwick strip. Apparently, Yeagar, Artax, and Nodwick are so dumb, that when the Evil Sorceress She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed turns them into her brainwashed slaves, it makes them smarter.
  • Xykon from The Order of the Stick. It is revealed in the prequel Start of Darkness that he became a lich, under Redcloak's suggestion, to escape a magical disease that was preventing him from using his sorcerer magic. Also, they were prisoners of a powerful druid and had little other options for escaping. He also happily notes that becoming undead has cured his arthritis (he became undead at about age 80). Then he discovers that he can no longer taste food. Now his only pleasure is making people suffer. Which he proceeds to do non-stop. He didn't mind losing a certain body part, however. According to him prior to the transformation, "it hasn't moved on its own for 16 years."
  • The cures holding Velvare together in The Silver Eye. They do a good job, for the most part, considering he's supposed to be dead but sometimes Melete's magic is weakened, and he starts to fall apart again. The worst is in Chapter 10 when he's gone 8 straight days without sleep, and his cuts are bleeding so much, they completely soak through his clothes.
  • Sorcery 101: One side character is overjoyed to become a werewolf, which cures her of the chronic health conditions that had left her indefinitely hospitalized. Brad has major Supernatural Angst over being a werewolf and feels very guilty for turning her without her prior consent, but she makes very clear to him that she has no regrets.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The team discovers that, just before society collapsed, someone discovered a working cure for the Rash disease and tested it. One problem though; the "cure" is, effectively, a curse that halts the progession of the virus at the price of barring you from the afterlife. Once your body dies of the slow and irreverisble brain death that was the only known side effect of the cure at the time at which it was used, you're reduced to a deranged ghost that can't even remember its identity, let alone die.

    Western Animation 
  • Played for Laughs in The Simpsons when Mr. Burns gets a check-up at the Mayo Clinic and is diagnosed with everything, that is every disease known to man as well as a few new ones that were just discovered in him. However, all of the diseases manage to effectively cancel each other out, leaving him with no symptoms whatsoever. The doctor tries to warn him that this so-called "Three Stooges Syndrome" is so delicately in balance that even a slight breeze could throw it off and presumably kill him, but Mr. Burns is too busy thinking to himself that this means he's effectively immortal.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series becoming Metallo is certainly traumatizing for Metallo; he's no longer human, and cannot experience taste, smell, or even touching. However, at first he believes this Trope applies, believing it was necessary to save his life from a deadly disease. However, he eventually learns it was a cruel subversion; Luthor arranged to infect him with the disease on purpose to turn him into a weapon to use against Superman.
  • In Totally Spies!, Clover is fiercely allergic to dandelions; in one episode, where she's captured and implanted with small robots that enhance her muscles and control her movements, her two friends remedy this by shoving dandelions in her face until she starts violently sneezing, and sneezes the robots out.

    Real Life 
  • At least one person with severe allergies deliberately gave himself hookworm. The upside is that it distracted his immune system enough to free him of his allergies. The downside is that now he has hookworm.
  • According to legend, the discoverer of acupuncture used to suffer chronic pain, until he took an arrow to the knee. The older pain disappeared, and he deemed the new wound well worth it. Presumably he had to give up his life as an adventurer though.
  • The protist responsible for malaria lives and breeds in blood cells. Certain genetic blood disorders, like Sickle-Cell Anemia and Hemoglobin-C Disease, will interfere with this, functionally giving people malaria resistance/immunity. This is why native peoples in malaria-infested areas tend to have a higher incidence of sickle-cell or related genetic changes. People with only the traits of Sickle-cell or Hemoglobin-C inherit similar but possibly lesser protections but little or no illness from their ancestor's blood legacy.
  • There have been cases where people suffering from syphilis were cured by getting malaria, or otherwise catching something that produces a dangerously high fever — too high for syphilis to survive. This was later intentionally used as therapy and the person who developed the therapy even got a medical Nobel Prizenote  for it. Nowadays people mostly use penicillin.
    • To put this in context, syphilis was the HIV/AIDS of its time. It was a very slow painful death with no real treatment until this. The only other treatment at the time was based on arsenic and needed to be handled with the utmost care. Malaria was the safer treatment.
  • There are a few documented cases of people with autoimmune diseases who developed blood cancers or other conditions that required bone marrow transplantation, and were cured of the autoimmune disease as a side effect of their original immune system cells being replaced by those of the donor.
    • As of July 2022; there just five confirmed cases of AIDS being cured by blood cancer, because they happened to receive bone marrow, blood transfusions and stem cell transfusions from people who might have had a genetic resistance to AIDS.
  • In the late 1700s, it was discovered that milk-maids, farmers and cattle workers who had been previously infected with cowpox or horsepox were resistant to deadly smallpox infections. Thus, inoculation, the first form of vaccination (which even now is named for cows)note : people were deliberately infected with cowpox, survived and recovered from it (humans normally survive cowpox, although it's pretty nasty to live through), and came out immune to smallpox — the beginning of the end for that disease.
  • Zigzagged with the chickenpox virus: once you've had it you're rendered immune to it, and the older you are when you get it the worse it can be so it's best to get it at as young of an age as possible. The downside is having been infected with chickenpox leaves you susceptible to shingles at an older age: a painful skin rash caused by the reactivated varicella zoster virus. Where it was common to intentionally infect children with chickenpox to "inoculate" them as late as the 2000s, the risk of shingles has made this practice entirely obsolete in favor of vaccinations.