First, let’s just get this out of the way now. At some point along your journey, you will likely be confronted by some ignorant douchebag that is convinced that he or she can cure your IBD with a particular protein shake, a vitamin supplement, or by eliminating some major food group from your diet. How you choose to respond is entirely up to you; while I can’t condone violence as the answer, I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t my instinctual response 99.9% of the time. Instead, I typically take a more passive-aggressive approach, which both allows me to feel as though I’ve given a verbal sucker punch to the face while the recipient is made aware that I find his or her unsolicited bullshit rather offensive, which in my mind lowers the odds that they will make this vile mistake again.
Recently, my husband and I were lounging by our community pool one afternoon, a day or two after I had been discharged from the hospital for a bowel obstruction. One of our neighbors a couple of streets away strode up to our chairs and began to tell me that she heard I was recently in the hospital for my Crohn’s and wanted to let me know that she would love to work with me to get rid of the disease. Mind you, the pool was crowded that day and there were probably 15 people within earshot, not one of whom I had ever shared a drink with, let alone my entire medical history.
I gave her one of my “you’re going to be so sorry you did this” kind of smiles, and asked her exactly what this miracle profession of hers was. Magician? Plumber? Perhaps a chiropractor, being that she was probably in the regular habit of pulling her head out of her own ass? You can imagine my disappointment when she revealed that she was, in fact, a life coach. This woman standing in front of me, the same one who could not find the presence of mind to pick up the dog shit in her own front yard, was now offering me her expertise in life for a nominal fee. Seeing sixteen different shades of red, I told her that I thought selling false hopes to people with chronic conditions that she couldn’t ever possibly begin to understand for her own financial gain was a dick move.
Now, let me clear one thing up before we go any further – for the record, I am a huge fan of chiropractic care and utilize it as a part of my own regime for overall self-care, and life coaching, while kind of sounding rather new-agey and vague to me, is probably a very valid profession for some, though I don’t know that I would count this woman as one of them after this experience. I’m sorry, but hitting up sick people in public pushing your services on them isn’t the best business decision in my opinion. I mean, if you saw a dentist handing out his cards outside of a meth lab, you might be amused by his choice of advertising, but would you really want him to be your dentist? I digress.
Bottom line, if it smells like a tacky sales pitch from an uninformed jackass, tell Jack you don’t need his Magic Beanstalk Beans, or his fucking nutritional shakes, either. Do your own research on various alternative treatments and only choose those that make sense for your life and your symptoms. Having IBD can be outrageously expensive, and you don’t want to waste a bunch of money on something that’s totally pointless. And most importantly, have reasonable expectations. Going into something with an open mind to see if it helps some of your symptoms is a lot better of a position to be in than expecting one miracle treatment or product to cure your IBD. It takes a village and a small army to keep our bodies functioning, and while I would love to believe that one pill or supplement could magically cure us of this shitty (see the pun there?) disease, we’re just not there yet.
Yes, I might seem a bit pissy and harsh with my commentary, but it angers me when the general public treats us like we are lab rats for their own personal financial gain. I am a human being damnit, and so are you. If you are unfortunate enough to have IBD or another autoimmune disease, you’ve been through enough that you shouldn’t have to deal with their unsolicited bullshit, too. It feels damn good standing up for yourself and letting people know what you will and won’t put up with. I’m not saying it’s the first step in How to Win Friends and Influence People, but then again, that wasn’t the title of this blog, now was it???