One of my favourite podcasts has a catch phase: “cure alls cure nothing!”
They say this because they are a medical history show that likes to explain (using comedy) how humans have often latched onto things, and claimed they “cured” everything from boils to cancer. The premise is, the more it claims to help, the less likely it is to work.
The thing is, not much has changed.
Living with chronic pain and illness, I have had my share of advice from people. I’ve also seen a lot of stuff online that I always have to question whether or not is good information, useless nonsense, or something that could actually harm me.
Whenever I hear something I have to question it. So, if you are a dear friend and you’ve just told me about a “cure” you’ve heard about, I need to stop and question it.
1. Does this treatment actually address my condition? How? (I’ve been told about treatments in the past that are completely irrelevant to me, all because people don’t actually understand what my condition is.)
2. Is this treatment approved by the regulating body? If not, is it approved elsewhere, or considered safe? Why might it not be approved?
3. What are the cons? Is it expensive? Could it trigger other symptoms? Is it difficult to get? Would it interrupt my life a lot?
4. If this worked for so and so, did they have the same condition as me? The same severity? Were they using other medical treatments too? I have to question this because I don’t know the whole story, and I can’t base my entire medical plan based on a second hand account.
5. Is it likely to help?
Now, I don’t say this to discourage people from suggesting things. In fact, I’ve appreciated some advice at times.
However, I’ve been most thankful when the person giving it understands that I need to take their suggestions, and do my own research. Then, leave me to make my own decision.
Because those people understand that perhaps not all “cures” out there are actually real, or even just appropriate for me.
If you want to suggest a treatment to myself, or someone else with a chronic condition, please simply bear in mind that they will need to think about the questions above, and how it fits into their treatment plan.
Also, please don’t take it personally if we don’t use your suggestions, if we’ve determined it’s not the best option for us. It’s not personal towards you, we are just doing what we feel is best for our health. Remember that you might not even know all the relevant information needed to make these decisions, nor are you our doctor, so please try not to push your treatment on us, as that could actually cause harm.
Don’t worry, we know your advice comes from a place of love and worry, but you can understand the frustration that having someone pushing dangerous advice on you can bring. Or people telling you to ignore your medical plan to try some unproven drink because a distant relative was cured of their condition (which is not like yours), and they won’t take no for an answer.
That’s why it’s important that you be respectful when giving us advice. I guarantee we will appreciate it! 😀