Peanuts, pickles and pig trotters

I feel like when people judge me they’re not judging me, because they don’t know who I am.~ Gisele Bundchen

I know this post is going to upset some people and that’s okay. You can’t stir a pot without expecting some spill over. I hope if you respond viscerally, that you can stop and breathe before you judge.

I have a chronic illness that impacts all areas of my life. The formal diagnosis is segmental digestive tract paralysis complicated by gastroparesis and hereditary angioedema, In layman’s terms, that means that my gut no longer works. Peristalsis is almost non-existent and I rely on gravity to keep things moving through. I live with chronic pain that would put many of you in the hospital. I am also insulin-dependent diabetic, hypothyroid and have had a TBI that affects my speech, memory and balance.

Just for the record, there is no cure for diabetes. Changing lifestyle and diet can help, but it won’t cure the disease. There is no cure for thyroid masses that cause you to have your thyroid removed. There is no cure for physical trauma to the vagas nerve that controls everything that happens in the abdomen. There is no cure for the effects of traumatic brain injury. There is no cure for autoimmune disorders. There are no cures for the genetic defects that cause random things to happen in my body.These are facts that you can google-doc all you want.They aren’t changing.

Recently, a number of non-medical people have been offering advice on how to cure my various illnesses. Apparently, my consumption of Diet Coke will kill me (okay, but I suspect something else will beat it to that point). If I only ate a vegan diet, I would be fine ( except for the surgery that would be required to remove the food from my stomach). Paleo would be perfect (except that much protein would kill off my kidneys). If I drank Shakeology (yes, I’m picking on it by name) all my symptoms would disappear (um yeah, after another surgery to fix the damage caused by the ingredients) . The only thing that would disappear is money from my wallet.

Eat more kale, mix honey and cinnamon, soak my feet in Listerine, drink aloe juice, drink vinegar, detox from copper, try acupuncture and chiropractic. Meditate, pray, turn my life over to a higher power. Whatever you do, make sure that Western medicine isn’t part of it!

Seriously. I have multiple diagnoses. If you believe I haven’t at least looked into other treatments, you don’t know me very well. Just because you know someone who has a similar set of diagnoses does not mean you know much about me. I acknowledge your need to “fix”  me. But, sometimes there is no fix.

So, please, just stop. I have enough to deal with in my life that I don’t need to know your great, great-aunt on your mother’s father’s side of the family was cured by eating pig trotters. Your advice may be offered out of thoughtfulness, but it comes across as judgment.

Live and let live people. You can’t fix everything. You are not being “negligent” by keeping your “cures” to yourself. I’m glad pig trotters worked for you. Now let me be as I keep trying to stay alive with the best quality of life I can have.

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