Advertising vs. Reality. Crohn’s Drug Commercials are Big Pharma Propaganda, People! It’s Not Real!

Big Mac (Real vs. Advertised)
It’s been awhile since I ate a fast food hamburger, but as I recall, it was even flatter, (somehow) both wetter and drier, and even more repulsively englobulated than the one on the right.  Englobulated, it’s a real word because I say it is!  Because everything anyone ever says about anything has to be true and people (and multi-billion dollar for-profit corporations) never make shit up to create a mental picture or steer the conversation and they definitely never lie.

Thank you RA Warrior for addressing the vast discrepancy between depictions of patient suffering in Big Pharma advertisements and what actual real patients actually experience in real life with their diseases and when taking Big Pharma drugs to treat our serious chronic illnesses.  RA Warrior blogs about rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disease like Crohn’s is: both are systemic autoimmune diseases that cause body-wide inflammation and symptoms including organ and eye damage, and RA causes particularly notable joint damage while Crohn’s causes particularly notable gastrointestinal damage.  Notice I said damage, not just “symptoms.”

While RA sufferers are progressively crippled from damage to and deterioration of the large and small joints in the body, and have other systemic issues as well like organ and eye damage and just feeling like crap all the time from head to toe, because systemic, Crohn’s patients are progressively crippled from damage to the GI tract including ulcers and erosions, fistulas, adhesions, perforations, and partial and total obstructions and have systemic effects on organs and eyes and feel like crap everywhere all the time too.  Yay!  And while most patients eventually figure out from painful, exhausting and crazy-making experience that the most prevalent (or only) cultural conversation about their disease isn’t true, most healthy people seem to have no idea and never learn what these diseases are really like, how much havoc they wreak on the body as a whole including organs and joints, and that they are both incurable and progressive.  That means that chronic, incurable and progressive diseases like RA and Crohn’s never get better and they only get worse despite the fantasy of effortless healing and full, glorious recovery being pushed by the global Big Pharma propaganda campaign hawking expensive and gravely dangerous poisons to unsuspecting and desperate patients and their families.

Honestly this answers so many questions for me where I have wondered what the hell is wrong with people who seem physically unable to grok that a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease is extremely bad news, like some of the worst news anyone could ever get, and that the reason it’s bad news is because as I said (and may keep repeating) Crohn’s is extremely painful and disabling, it is both incurable and largely untreatable, it never goes away and only gets worse.  That’s right Big Pharma — I said it’s largely if not entirely untreatable, meaning that it commonly does not respond well, at all, or for long to Big Pharma “treatment” even though some of these treatments can cost many thousands of dollars a month per patient and cause terrifying side effects like diabetes, opportunistic infections and cancer.  I have linked to this video before and it’s worth watching again: this woman has been through the Crohn’s wringer, having tried about every drug there is and having experienced only varying degrees of failure and is still quite ill.  Trust me, if she wasn’t still feeling like hammered shit she would be singing the praises of her most recent medication but she’s not:

In my own case, when I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease I was more than willing to be a compliant patient and to follow my doctors’ advice and treatment in order to “get better.”  Maybe because I was young and had always thought I was relatively healthy (despite having experienced what I now recognize as Crohn’s symptoms for some 20 years by then including systemic inflammation, arthritic joint pain and gut issues) I didn’t know that there was any disease or condition that could completely cut me down in my prime and that there would be nothing I could do about it.  I have had multiple minor surgeries, illnesses and injuries before, I’ve had double pneumonia as a child, been sick as hell with the flu and drove myself half-conscious to the student health center in college, and missed two entire weeks of law school from a kidney infection.  I thought I knew what it felt like to be sick and I did in fact know what it’s like to be temporarily infected with a pathogen or injured as a generally healthy person.  Chronic illness like autoimmune disease is another beast entirely where there is no pathogen to kill, there is no injury to heal from, and you are no longer generally healthy but are in fact generally, systemically and permanently ill.

As I have described here before, I’ve actually had the flu once since having Crohn’s and because the flu was so gnarly and I literally couldn’t eat for days, I actually felt better than I did on a normal Crohn’s day.  That’s because when I am untreated or only taking ineffective treatments that don’t work, eating food makes me extremely, extremely ill because of my Crohn’s — the lining of my stomach is red and irritated, my small intestine and ileum are infested with too many aphthous ulcers (aka. canker sores — OUCH) to count, my colon is thick and boggy with inflammation and the partial bowel obstructions from inflammation and (probably) scar tissue make passing food or anything nearly impossible.  In other words, eating food puts me in extreme distress.

Some Crohn’s patients actually pop from the extreme bloating after meals — their inflated guts literally bust through the muscles of the abdominal wall and have to be stuffed back in surgically and the hole in the muscle repaired, otherwise known as hernia surgery.  From eating and digesting food.  If I hadn’t fallen ill with the flu and been unable to eat right before I was scheduled to move across the country to treat with medical cannabis I honestly have no idea how I would’ve made the trip and I might not have made it at all, and I was treating with Big Pharma poisons at the time.  Do you see what I’m saying?  I was that unable to function normally including eating and digesting food even with “proper” conventional treatment — the same kinds of Big Pharma treatments they are hawking with these propaganda campaigns showing people eating in fact, and doing stuff, and things.  Whereas I couldn’t do anything, not even eat, and I honestly felt like I was going to die.

As RA Warrior describes so well, these Big Pharma propaganda campaigns are not fact- or reality-based — it is a complete fiction, a fabrication that does not match the experience of most (any) real patients with regard to either the disease or the treatments.  In the case of RA treatment campaigns, the actors (not real patients!) in these commercials are either completely physically healthy or do not suffer from the disease at issue, or if they do it is a very mild manifestation of it by definition if they are able to go dancing, wash their pets, stick their heads up their own asses, and do whatever other physically dextrous tasks they are accomplishing directed to demonstrate for the camera.  These are not seriously ill RA patients who are being successfully treated with the Big Pharma poisons they are hawking.  They are young, healthy actors who use all their spare time and discretionary income on activities and pursuits which make them look and seem even healthier and even more attractive than they already are in real life.  On top of that they are made-up to perform in front of the camera.  And on top of that, editing.  Think about that.  It’s not real.  It is false and illusory on every level.

And even if they were in some type or degree of distress they are trained to be able to convincingly act as if they aren’t and that is in fact what we see in these commercials — people who are or who seem like they are in no distress at all.  From beginning to end these drug commercials propaganda campaigns are a pro-Big Pharma fantasy, making it seem like the treatments for incurable progressive illnesses actually work and necessarily implying that they can be made not-painful and not-disabling as long as the patient complies, leaving everyone to blame the patient when this toxic Big Pharma garbage doesn’t do what it says on the tin.  And as the cultural conversation around chronic illnesses like RA and Crohn’s mirrors the Big Pharma propaganda campaign so exactly and completely, this shows that there is little or nothing readily available to contradict the lies or to destabilize the narrative or add to the conversation sponsored by Big Pharma who is trying to sell a product to sick people and their families to consume mentally, emotionally and physically.  People believe these representations and take them deep inside their hearts and minds and there is no obvious reason why they shouldn’t.

Patients believe the narrative too — I believed it.  Until just recently I had no idea why I was so ill and I wondered if I may have cancer or something in addition to the Crohn’s because nothing I had seen or read made me believe that Crohn’s by itself could make me so sick.  To be fair, there are some diseases that are often comorbid with Crohn’s and cancer is one of them so I could have both, and you can also have more than one autoimmune disease at a time and you can have autoimmune and other diseases at once.  But no one ever told me, and I had no way of knowing until I deliberately looked elsewhere and away from the Big Pharma influence, that all by itself Crohn’s is very likely to ruin your life and render you permanently disabled, perhaps even totally disabled from being gainfully employed or performing the activities of daily living and self-care.  If you can’t eat and digest food, you can’t do anything.  That’s not even living.  I cannot think of any condition or any thing that is less compatible with life than that.  Being unable to breathe isn’t even less compatible with life, it’s just quicker.

Reading the RA Warrior blog has really improved my understanding of my own disease because RA and Crohn’s are very similar being incurable, progressive, systemic autoimmune diseases.  Maybe I just hadn’t looked in the exact right place yet, but before a couple of weeks ago I had never seen a Crohn’s blog or forum specifically talking about drug advertisements and the false hope — and misplaced blame including patient self-blame — they cause regarding Crohn’s disease itself and how treatable it is or isn’t.  Of course, if I had thought about it the pieces were there to be put together where Crohn’s patients often talk about how sick they are no matter what treatments they take and no matter what they do, avoid, or pray for.  I mean obviously, yes.  And it is obvious isn’t it?  That’s how hard Big Pharma must be working to make everyone think and believe the opposite, even patients, who like me sit around half-dead wondering what the fuck is happening and how I could possibly be so sick when Crohn’s isn’t that serious anyway and I’ve done everything right, meaning everything my capitalistic patriarchal doctors and their Big Pharma overlords told me to.  Astonishingly (or not) I simply had no realistic idea about how serious Crohn’s was, what the real symptoms would be like, or what I could expect from the treatments, and I have been living with, treating and extensively researching this condition for 6 years.

In the end, the best and only thing I could’ve done was to abandon Big Pharma and start treating my previously untreatable Crohn’s disease with medical cannabis.  Although even on my best days I am still significantly ill, because systemic, incurable and progressive, at least now I am able to eat and digest food relatively well and have regained a quality of life I was never able to regain or maintain with Big Pharma poisons that didn’t work and were only making me worse.  That is where I have finally found and maintained relief from the unrelenting agony of un- and undertreated Crohn’s and I have paid dearly for the privilege but it worked.  How to maintain my new-found relative health after having liquidated my assets and bankrupted myself just getting there, and whether maintaining health is even possible under capitalism and patriarchy that has so much to gain when we’re sick and ignorant of the Big Pharma propaganda campaign, remains to be seen.  Frankly, however, it does not look good.

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One thought on “Advertising vs. Reality. Crohn’s Drug Commercials are Big Pharma Propaganda, People! It’s Not Real!

  1. it’s a sick, sad world, like the show Daria watched. =/
    at least terri strange is spreading the gospel of your writings and site on youtube. ❤

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