This is mommy vlogger Bonnie Hoellein. I have written about this woman before after both she and her sister were constantly vlogging about crapping themselves in public and I wondered aloud if one or both of them suffer from autoimmune conditions, specifically inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis or the hideous, disabling disease I suffer from, Crohn’s disease.
In the last year or so, Bonnie has had at least 2 rounds of cosmetic surgeries to correct various things she didn’t like about her body. Both times, she suffered horrific complications from the surgery including delayed healing, infections, and what her husband has described as being at “death’s door.” Based on my research this woman’s surgical complications and delayed healing from medicalized trauma is more evidence that she probably has an undiagnosed (or even a diagnosed yet publicly undisclosed) autoimmune condition.
Whether or not she knows she is ill, this woman — like a lot of women surely — keeps putting her health and life in danger by undergoing elective surgeries. The medical research indicates that autoimmune patients do indeed suffer from delayed and complicated wound healing:
Patients suffering from immune diseases have significantly larger wounds and their time to heal is much more prolonged compared to the general population. Leg ulcerations have been monitored in several autoimmune diseases, especially in those linked to connective tissue pathologies. The highest rates of ulceration are recorded for rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. However, ulcerations were also seen in primary antiphospholipid syndrome and other autoimmune diseases.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are predisposed to develop chronic leg ulcers. Foot ulcerations in rheumatoid arthritis are frequently recurrent, and the significantly extended time needed for them to heal, further, increases the risk of infections. The aetiology of the ulcers was found to be multifactorial with the most common factors being venous insufficiency, trauma or pressure, arterial insufficiency, and vasculitis.
Bold mine, and I would underscore that trauma surely must include medicalized trauma, or that which is caused by medical treatment including diagnostic and surgical procedures. Autoimmune patients, then, must seriously consider whether they are socially, financially, mentally, physically and otherwise supported as they contemplate elective, medically indicated or even emergent surgery that is likely to seriously compromise their health, and where doctors and others may be blindsided by the cascade of complications that might follow surgical intervention and medicalized trauma on autoimmune patients. Since most autoimmune patients are women and not men, women and doctors who treat women need to be vigilant about this and suspect autoimmunity where female patients experience so-called “complications” or otherwise fail to properly heal.
The really scary part, of course, is that many autoimmune women don’t know they are suffering from autoimmune disease until very late in the game if they are ever properly diagnosed at all. In the case of delayed healing from trauma, it is likely that many autoimmune women won’t even suspect they are at increased risk of serious complications until after those complications have already happened. Like the mommy vlogger above, they will probably think that their preexisting conditions of incontinence, joint pain, rashes and the like are insignificant and that their surgical complications are a one-off; they will therefore believe the assurances of their surgeons and others who promise them that their experience is not the norm and probably will not be repeated.
Believing they are “normal” and healthy, and because they don’t identify as chronically ill even though they are, women risk going under the knife again and again and again, being surprised each time at the complications they experience and wondering why, again and again and again, they are failing to heal. But it’s not just elective surgeries that are dangerous and put autoimmune women at serious risk. Some undiagnosed autoimmune patients are even misdiagnosed and subjected to what turn out to have been medically unnecessary surgeries to cure conditions they don’t even have. Others are subjected to exploratory surgeries to find out just what in the hell is wrong with them after months or years of confounding and untreatable disease; in both cases, these interventions would only end up making them worse, or end up killing them because they are autoimmune and therefore unable to properly heal.
Even scarier, perhaps, is that medicalized trauma including surgical intervention is routinely visited on known, diagnosed autoimmune patients when inadequate and dangerous Big Pharma solutions fail to heal them. For example, Crohn’s disease patients are routinely subjected to abdominal surgeries including bowel resections and removal and ostomies when Western medicine is unable to control their inflammation. “Crohnies” are also prone to experiencing either fistulas or bowel obstructions or both as the natural progression of their disease and bowel obstructions especially are life threatening and require emergent surgical correction. But once you start operating on autoimmune patients, and begin the cascade of complications that come from visiting trauma on them specifically, it is likely to start a dangerous progression of cascading interventions that is unstoppable. And autoimmune patients will still experience what all patients experience the more frequently they are subjected to invasive medical care: increased chances of dangerous medical mistakes, otherwise known as medical malpractice.
In fact, it appears that a standard of care for autoimmune patients that allows or requires surgery means that autoimmune patients will be heavily traumatized (read: medically abused) until they die from it. A standard of care that was sane and expected to actually help autoimmune patients — rather than one that will predictably torture and kill them — would seem to be one that avoided medicalized trauma including surgery and the need for surgery at all costs. For patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, that would seem to require both the liberal use of powerful anti-inflammatories* and refraining from subjecting Crohn’s patients to medicalized trauma they will inevitably fail to heal from including colonoscopies, PICC lines, and the like. Immunity decimating pharmaceuticals like biologics and chemotherapy would be right out as they are known to cause opportunistic infections and additional iatrogenic injury and disease, which only necessitate more interventions and more dangerous medicalized trauma.
Considering the evidence of impaired healing in autoimmune patients, women who are considering surgery for any reason should simultaneously also consider whether they too might be suffering from undiagnosed, underlying autoimmune disease before they do something they regret. Firstly, they should consider whether the complaints for which they are seeking surgical intervention in the first place are likely being caused by autoimmune disease like gastrointestinal issues, joint pain, allergies or inflammation. If so, surgery might not be the best option for long term relief. Secondly, if a woman is already suffering from allergies or inflammatory processes unrelated to the condition for which she is a surgical candidate, that allergic and/or inflammatory response is a sign of autoimmune disease and her risk of serious complications from any surgery may be higher than average and worse than anyone expects.
And finally, it certainly seems as if diagnosed autoimmune patients would do well to avoid all physical trauma including medicalized trauma to the extent they are able, because they will likely be unable to properly heal from it and we know this. This is what the research indicates, although no one says it directly, do they. Funny that.
*One of incredibly few known powerful anti-inflammatories is, of course, marijuana, and its side effects, to the extent they exist at all, are decidedly non-traumatic or of the type that would cause unhealing wounds in compromised autoimmune patients: the main side effect of marijuana is “feelings of euphoria.” Euphoria.