Let me preface this note by saying that I was able to somewhat control my Crohn’s symptoms for 30 fucking years before I got sick. And when I say “sick” I mean sick-sick. The kind that is undeniably disabling, mostly doesn’t respond to treatment and never goes away.
Because I have explored and/or experienced these things firsthand, I know all about prescription and over the counter medication including oral, topical and other traditional medications, as well as Chinese medicine; homeopathy; reflexology; chiropractic; Ayurveda; herbal remedies and tonics; restrictive diets and enteral feeds; probiotics and fermented foods; vitamins, minerals and other supplements; trendy exercise programs and basic ones too; every form of detox, cleanse, fast and purge imaginable (and then some); acupuncture/acupressure/cupping/spooning; aromatherapy; crystal and precious metals therapies; therapeutic massage; meditation and relaxation practices; binaural beats and sound therapy; infrared therapy; Reiki and other energy work; atheist-prayer; talk therapy and otherwise working out your issues; knock-you-down-to-build-you-back-up emotional bootcamps; cutting “toxic people” and things out of your life; letting go and letting God; and thinking about something else for awhile. Did I miss anything? Jesus.
I’ve done it all and I’ve been doing it all for a very long time. This is not my first day, or year, or decade with alternative therapies: I was avoiding nightshades while some of you were still eating French fries with your Happy Meals. Think about that shit a minute. I’ve been doing every alternative therapy imaginable since before many of you were even born. And certainly before any of this shit became cool, or easily accessible, or at all normalized and/or mainstream.
Potatoes (and therefore French fries) are a nightshade BTW, for anyone who doesn’t know. And nightshades are known to be inflammatory. I recently had an old family friend clue me into the harm nightshades can cause. I recall trying to clue people into that in 1992 when I first learned about it but whatever right? He figured it out 30 years later, after being in pain for decades and after having both knees replaced. Good job dude. Seriously, well fucking done. These are the people, and the kinds of people, who are giving me advice. It is, in a word, maddening.
I’ve also been keeping up with the research. I research Crohn’s and other medical conditions weekly if not daily because I am interested in it and interested in the social commentary around it. Where there is none, or nothing interesting, I create social commentary about it on this blog. I know about fecal transplants and have written about it here, I know about so-called “Functional Medicine” and have written about that here, I know about stem-cell therapy (shudder) and Ketamine therapy. I know that there is a potential gene therapy in the pipeline which I will probably never get to try. Because these things cost money and are gatekept and are otherwise inaccessible and/or unsustainable over time. We have been over this. Even if these things work, there are reasons besides not knowing about it that prevent people from accessing them long term or at all. Have you heard of? Have you tried? Yes. Probably. Seriously, stop wasting my fucking time.*
And don’t get me wrong. Some of these alternative remedies “worked” or worked well enough that I was able to mostly do what I needed to do for a reasonably long time. I was able to finish school, and have something of a career, and maintain some semblance of a life through my thirties with the crutch these various pain relievers and anti-inflammatories provided me and they worked. Kind of. Until they stopped. When I finally gave in and saw a doctor for what had finally become unmanageable gut pain and symptoms — what turned out to be severe Crohn’s disease — I was 38 years old and absolutely everything I ate was making me sick. The supplements, diets and practices I had relied on for decades, and on which I spent all my discretionary resources for decades, no longer worked. Get it? They worked once, to some degree, but they didn’t work forever.
Please. Please hear and understand. Regarding alternative therapies, I have tried them all, or a goodly portion of them, and I know a lot of them work. They do! Kind of. Unfortunately, I also know that the relief they provide is temporary only. It’s temporary guys. And if these things are currently working for you, and if you are still functional and able to mostly do what you want and need to do because turmeric and yoga or whatever, it can only be because either your illness isn’t that serious, or it’s not progressive, or it’s both serious and progressive but you aren’t that sick yet. If you yourself are sick and you say you feel like hell and that this stuff helps you, I believe you, but you likely ain’t seen nothing yet: if you have an incurable, progressive chronic disease, things are going to get much, much worse for you, and eventually there won’t be a fucking thing you can do about it. And I am so, so sorry about that.
Here is how my 30 years’ journey with various alternative treatments turned out: eventually, my meager and last-ditch anti-inflammatory diet of unseasoned chicken, cauliflower, water and a bevy of supplements and practices no longer worked and I could no longer eat no matter what I did or didn’t do. I had reached the end of that road — what I am calling the yoga and turmeric road — and I was extremely, extremely ill. And it wasn’t because I was cheating on my diet(s), or being surreptitiously glutened, or that I hadn’t tried long or hard enough.
I can only conclude that these practices stopped working because turmeric and yoga and things of that caliber might work in the beginning, but they do not work long term, and they will not, because they cannot, work forever on serious, incurable and progressive disease. Crohn’s disease is a serious, incurable and progressive disease and the whole time I was doing absolutely everything I could to treat my pain and symptoms, my Crohn’s was doing exactly what it was supposed to: getting worse over time. What a shock, a disease that’s known to be progressive, progressed. It’s in the name innit.
*This might’ve been my favorite suggestion though.
Q: Have you tried therapeutic fasting???
A: Well, I almost starved to death a couple of times. Because Crohn’s. 🤯🤯🤯