Recently a friend posted a note to the rest of her friends on Facebook that she was ill again and would need surgery and expensive meds. I hurt for her, as do most of the folks who responded to her post. All of us offered support, prayers, hugs, and love.
Except for one idiotic twit.
In my friend’s post, she mentioned at least twice–maybe more, I don’t remember–that she didn’t care to hear from folks who have alternative healing techniques guaranteed to fix what ails her. She was very specific about it and announced she’d delete any posts violating her wishes.
Well, apparently her wishes weren’t important enough for this one insensitive, ego-centric jerk of a woman. She knows the answer to all, just ask her. For my friend’s problem, she wrote: “Asthma is often the result of a damaged lining in the lungs. The fix is nutritional. I talk about nutrition; doctors talk about drugs.”
Guess what? That’s not what is causing my friend’s problem.
I looked at the woman’s website. She sells some sort of snakeoil that I’m sure she and others swear by. On the internet, anyone can swear by anything, and there’s always gonna be some sweet, gullible someone who’ll believe them.
News for ya, kids, listen up: Not all things on the World Wide Web are true.
What so many people don’t seem to understand is that those of us with serious illnesses–chronic or otherwise–don’t need to hear what dietary fad or pound of supplemental pills you think can cure us. We’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to digest awful news about the state of our health, tons of time researching it, even more time trying to swallow the idea that only surgery or chemo or a bone marrow transplant can save us, and still more time wondering how the dickens we’re going to pay for it all.
Then some dimwit crops up and says, “Pshaw! Forget all that! Here–try my kale/snail/crud-in-a-pail smoothie. It worked for me, it’ll work for you!”
What if–think about this–what if someone took your advice instead of their doctor’s, and it killed them? Or made them worse? Or delayed proper treatment for so long it ceases to be an option?
Nutrition and supplements aren’t a panacea for serious conditions. And if you think they are, then tell me: Just what pill should I have popped to heal my burst appendix? What vegan diet would have prevented my body from attacking me and making me lose five feet of intestine to surgery?
Got an answer for that?
I guarantee you, someone out there will think she does, and she’ll argue you down and hound you with “Just try it!” until you want to forget your Christian roots and slug her. Take a satisfying swing and knock ‘er cross-eyed. I know. I’ve caught myself having to relax my clenched fists several times over the past few years.
That sounds awful, I know. But like I said, I’m hoppin’ mad. I’ll get over it–then I’ll have to pray for forgiveness for goin’ all high-tempered-redhead in this post.
Fad diets and pills can be dangerous for some folks–a high-fiber diet is incredibly dangerous for me. Maybe the fads and pills work for others, who knows? God’s grace as a Great Physician comes in many forms. And among those forms are the pharmaceuticals, biologics, and nuclear meds he allows scientists to discover and design, and the doctors in whose hearts he put the desire to heal, and the surgeons whose hands he guides. Am I saying there’s no place for registered dietitians? Not at all. I don’t know what I would’ve done without mine. They too are practicing by God’s will and grace.
Most of the folks who approach me with alternatives do so in love and best intentions. I realize that. But if you really love me, pray for me. And send chocolate.
Good for you, Linda! You are speaking for many of us without the guts to do so ourselves. Well, can’t express it as eloquently and rationally as you. Can’t add a single comment other than, right on!
I guess what happened on my friend’s FB post just threw me over the line. For years, I’ve listened politely while folks gave me their remedies for Mom’s heart condition and degenerative arthritis and macular degeneration and ulcerative colitis–not to mention my own recent Crohn’s attack. Some of the remedies sounded downright ridiculous, others sounded feasible. We even tried a few. We both reached the point we just didn’t want to hear ’em anymore.
Can I send love, too?
I’m guilty, too. Agreeing with a suggestion my daughter try a gluten-free diet, but knowing she probably doesn’t have the discipline to do it–likely because she doesn’t feel well enough to begin with–even though she wants to try. It becomes a vicious circle. I’m so desperate for her to feel well, to be well.
Of course, there are others who suggest that if she’d done this or that, or never done this or that, she’d never be sick to begin with. Like it’s all somehow all her fault. Sigh…
I love when your red shows.
From my research, all a gluten-free diet helps is Celiac disease. It won’t make a difference on Crohns. Is sweet daughter still fighting? I just hurt for her! It’s such an awful disease.
Love you–and give her a hug for me. Let her know I’m praying for her.
BTW: That’s exactly how it feels when folks tell us we should’ve done this or not done that. We feel like it’s our fault. Yeah, sometimes you’re paying for your actions from the past–but do you really need to be reminded? Do you really need someone slapping you in the face with that? How I wish all the do-gooders would think how their words and advice affect others.
Yep. She’s been off her methotrexate for several weeks (months?) because of antibiotic treatment for a pilonidal cyst that finally resulted in surgery. Now her insurance is whack again.
See how we grab at every possibility? I’ll give her your love. Love you back.
Yeah, Steve Jobs tried treating his illness with nutrition. We all know how that worked out. And you’re right about gluten. It’s a protein! Proteins are not evil. Only people with Celiac disease get any real benefit from avoiding it. People who claim to have been cured by one kind of diet or snake oil or some such are probably experiencing the placebo effect. So it won’t work for me if I think it’s bunk. Thanks for bringing this up, Linda.
Steve Jobs–great example! Thanks for writing, Kristen!
On the gluten-free, not true. My brother, I’m at his house right now on vacation, had allergies so bad he had to take shots, his sinuses were constantly swollen, and because of that he was having ear and sinus infections. I witnessed all this first hand while growing up.
He started going gluten-free 25 years ago, and it’s like he’s a different person. His allergies cleared up, and he’s been a hiking outdoors fanatic ever since. Now a days it’s easier to go gluten free. Grocery stores have whole sections dedicated to it.
If you have a wheat or gluten allergy or Celiac disease, going off it is amazing.
I have asthma. I’ve had it since I was a kid. If I have a severe enough reaction I could be dead in a matter of minutes. I have an inhaler, an airflow peak meter, pills, and antihistamines.
People send me articles all the time on how to control it. I don’t mind, because in one of those articles, might be something or a new break through on the treatment I hadn’t heard of yet.
I’m fifty, so I’ve gone through forty five years of getting advice. I don’t mind. I know it comes from an attitude of love. If someone hadn’t suggested to my brother that he try this new fangled gluten free thing twenty five years ago, he’d be a miserable sorry sack of himself today.
Does make sense that if you’re allergic to gluten, a gluten free diet would work. Doesn’t do diddly for Crohn’s though.
Lisa, I don’t mind getting advice when it comes from someone who understands the nature of Crohn’s Disease. If I did, I never would’ve learned about the wonder help “probiotics” are. I’d never heard of probiotics except from the commercial on TV, and even then I didn’t have a clue what it was.
But what set me off enough to write this article is that the woman who commented on my friend’s post hadn’t even read it all the way through. If she had, she would’ve known her response was both wrong and inappropriate. But she didn’t care. She had a product to advertise, and took the opportunity to do it.
Same happened to me during this recent flare. Some woman read enough of my article about my disease to tell me, “You should know that peppermint cures tummy aches!” Then she went on to promote her new book. Crohn’s Disease isn’t a tummy ache. Peppermint tea does work when I have one–I already knew that–but it doesn’t do diddly for a Crohn’s flare. And it doesn’t prevent a flare.
But she got to plug her book on my site.
Yep.. amen. I’m embarrassed to say, I fairly jumped down a gal’s throat after church years ago, when she tried to encourage me to subscribe to a magazine that touts all kinds of ways to get healthy. I was tired of people thinking they could offer a way for me to be rid of fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue syndrome. I was in a bad way. A really bad way, and suffered horribly.
Thank God, by His grace I’ve been healed … by the Great Physician! And after five weeks of crawl out of your skin withdrawals, the Lord took that too. Praise His Holy Name!
Gosh, I’m wondering if I goofed by telling a dear friend to have her husband buy fresh pineapple to help with her pain, because it helped me after the worst of my surgery pain was past…
I didn’t know pineapple helped with pain. Cool tip–and I’m sure she appreciated it. I think the time things like this get to us is when the folks approaching us don’t know what they’re talking about. Most of the time, we smile and nod and ignore them. But occasionally someone delivers that final straw . . .
It has to be fresh pineapple. Bananas also help. Must be the potassium. 🙂
Maybe so. I like fresh pineapple–and what’s more Mom likes fresh pineapple. I wish I’d known this after her surgery a few years back. Thanks for the tip!