Sunday, July 22, 2012

Things NOT to say to someone with Crohn's, part II

(Because mocking wellmeaning people on the internet is better punching them in the face)

1)"Well, at least you're thin. That's so stylish"
WTF? Not even going to comment on that.

2) Not a statement, but seriously the WORST gift imaginable for someone with Crohn's: Wraparound Pants. Yes. Do you even want to imagine how that's going to work out when I'm running to the bathroom 10x a day?

3) "I read this book about someone who cured himself from Crohn's, using diet and natural remedies. He's not undergoing any medical treatment- you should check it out." I strongly respect everyone's right to make decisions about their own treatment. However, consistent medication use is linked to lower rates of colon cancer (and, since 1 in 5 Crohn's patients develop colon cancer, that's a big deal). Crohn's is a disease that can look radically different from one person to another- I happen to have a great GI, who specializes in inflammatory bowel disease. He's seen hundreds of patients over the last couple of decades (bonus: my doctor has a medical degree!). When my doctor's advice conflicts with some trendy book, I'm going to lean towards going with what my doctor says.

4) "Obamacare is evil." Sorry, but I kind of like the idea of not dying in a ditch from a treatable illness. And if I happen to find myself dying of colon cancer in 30 years, I'd rather not be homeless because of it. Yes, there are conversations to be had about whether this was the way to do healthcare reform, and how much it actually accomplishes (personally, I think the maligned public option should be the core of any reform). But if you're just out to spew hate towards "socialized medicine", you'll have to find someone else to listen to you.

5) "I was misdiagnosed with Crohn's X years ago, I totally  know what you're going through." Generally followed by "I had to take these medicines, and they had awful side effects, and I quit taking them, and eventually I got a second opinion and my doctor decided I must have just had colitis/a bacterial infection/ etc.
No. Just No. You might understand the fear of chronic illness, and the expense of treatment, but the actual physical exhaustion and pain is a big part of my experience too. It's lovely that nothing happened to you when you were noncompliant with your meds- I tried that, and it was completely debilitating. My doctor did countless bloodtests, a colonoscopy, a biopsy and a CAT scan while I was being diagnosed. I'm sorry yours was less thorough and made a mistake. Come talk to me when your ankles swell up so much that you can barely walk, and we'll chat then.

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