A Note to the Turmeric and Yoga Crowd. tl;dr. You Aren’t That Sick.

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. 🤯🤯🤯

Comments Open.

16 thoughts on “A Note to the Turmeric and Yoga Crowd. tl;dr. You Aren’t That Sick.

  1. Jeez I forgot a few things. I’ve drank my own urine, stopped using soap, dyes and perfumes, used a Squatty Potty, strapped things to my abdomen and put things in my butt, stayed hydrated, grew up/aged out, ate clean, stopped eating completely and spoken my truth. None of it was a cure for Crohn’s and it also didn’t stop its progression over time. There are other things that are included in the broader categories which I won’t even bother listing. For example, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and aerobics all fall under exercise practices. I totally worked out to Jane Fonda videos you guys. On Beta! FYI it was super hard and not fun at all. And it did nothing to help me long term.

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  2. Thanks for reading anotherwoman. I write for you all, and for the archives, and for the internet. lol. BTW this post wasn’t directed at anyone in particular. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I know there are people reading here who know what it’s like to be sick-sick. It still amazes me that we share so many of the same experiences as “sick people” and that we hear the same things when we interact with other people. This is a big one. Organic food and mmj is still “working” for me but I’m not deluded enough to think it’s a cure. And even though I’m about 50% better than I was without it, I’m still really fucking sick. It sucks ass.

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  3. I can’t count how many times my hopes would soar over something working only to have them dashed later. I have even had this happen with pharmaceuticals for both physical and mental ailments. It’s all temporary when your diagnoses are chronic.

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  4. All I can do is laugh at it all at this point. It’s all just ridiculous how we have to live in this freak show and try to pretend everything is all normal and great or we’re the crazy ones. It is amazing in a really fucked up way how regardless of what kind of sickness you are dealing with you end up going through so much of the same shit and hearing the same reactions from people. When my mom says the same crazy shit your mom says I get upset but then after a little bit I can’t help but laugh at it.

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  5. Then there’s also the fact that all of us are biologically different in ways we can barely comprehend at this point in our understanding, especially when it comes to food and substances we consume.

    I think our ancestry has a lot more influence than people think about on what works for us and what hurts us. Plus the way our individual bodies work varies so greatly. Like I believe what people say that nightshade plants are bad for some people but I know they are good for me. I eat tomatoes every day, usually several times a day and I feel very good from eating them. I can mostly feel which things have a bad effect on me, like I think gluten does, but only if it’s a substantial amount. But tomatoes and other nightshades don’t affect me badly. I think because my ancestors have been eating them for a long time, they’ve been incorporated into Mediterranean people’s diets for a long time now, and also my individual system is just able to process them well and I’ve been eating tomatoes practically every day of my entire life.

    Our bodies crave the foods that we need for the vitamins and nutrients we require. We get cravings for bad things too, but I think I have a pretty good understanding of the difference between the bad cravings and the kind where your body needs something and I have such a craving for tomatoes if I go a day without them. They are the most perfect food ever to me.

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  6. I think part of the problem too is just the obsession that everything should have a cure. Life is fatal to us all eventually no matter what happens. Eventually our bodies all get worn down, even people who get to live a long time in good health. There should be more of a focus on making us feel better physically and mentally overall whether any of us have any particular illness or condition. Organic food and marijuana + lots of those other things are good for everyone but they’re not a cure all. We are so expected to be machines that it is hard to accept our bodies are so breakable, especially at a young age. If we were able to better accept that illness and various kinds of temporary and permanent disabilities are part of life we could be more okay with things just making us feel better and not “curing” us. But instead we live in this sadistic hell where we are expected to endless search for a cure regardless of it’s lack of existence rather than just helping ourselves feel better in whatever way we can and learning to accept pain and limitation with other people’s help. Because few of us have any fucking help so we’re left in impossible situations where our brains go around in circles trying to figure things out how to survive a world that doesn’t account for actually being human, especially not being a human woman.

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  7. While we’re talking about foods that help (but not cure). Ginger helps me so much. I have been getting bad nausea for years. Ginger is really good with helping that and I think it’s good for digestion in general. I know it’s good for me too because I feel it working with my body and have cravings for it. As my digestive issues got worse I started specifically eating ginger by itself instead of just part of meals. Like I’ll get the ginger that they just dry and add some sugar to and ginger candies. They mainly market the candies to pregnant women because of all the nausea that comes with that.

    Do you have nausea too with your issues? It’s one of my biggest problems and longest occurring problems since I had it happening long before I had any kind of digestive pain or troubles with anything else. I don’t get any kind of motion sickness or anything like that though. It’s just random attacks mostly.

    Also black pepper is really good for us. It is good at clearing out poison, and we all know how badly we’ve all been poisoned and anything that helps clear our systems is good. I love pepper and put tons of it on my food.


  8. Hi Michelle. I know what you mean about your hopes soaring when something starts to work. I felt that way with my Big Pharma when it seemed like it might actually be doing something, but then it stopped working, or I was getting worse so it just seemed like it wasn’t doing much anymore. No one explained to me how serious my disease was in the beginning, or that it gets worse, I got to figure that out on my own, all the while with people giving me the strong impression that if it wasn’t 100% cured it was my fault. I got a good 30 years out of it but people think that’s not an accomplishment and they wonder why I don’t have more accumulations even tho I spent probably tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket on this stuff over many years and I was getting progressively ill anyway and it was effecting my work by the end. That is no way to save money, let me tell you. But I’m sure you know all about it firsthand don’t you. lol.

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  9. anotherwoman, I think you have just described the subtext to all the suggestions and explained nicely why it’s so jarring and horrifying to hear this shit from people constantly. When they suggest turmeric what they are really saying is, “it’s your fault if you aren’t cured and therefore it’s your fault you are sick, it’s all or nothing, you are either totally well or you aren’t trying hard enough, and “we” don’t tolerate those among us who don’t try hard enough and PS. you are subhuman anyway bc female and we refuse to acknowledge death.” I hear the subtext clearly. Of course, when I watch television or live performances, I see actors working lol. This is especially noticeable when their “characters” are relaxing. I can see the story and the artform too but I also see actors working, esp if it’s something I’ve seen a million times I start scanning the background for their set design elements and to see what the “extras” are doing. I know most people don’t see what I see, but a LOT of sick people spend a lot of time mocking the turmeric and yoga crowd. Do they see or sense the subtext there, or are they just annoyed because people are stupid, or at a base level, annoyed at the noise pollution they cause with their unhelpful bullshit? Or what? I wonder.

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  10. Here is more subtext that comes through loud and clear: if you are still sick its bc you aren’t trying hard enough > we only help people who help themselves > we aren’t going to help you. So them telling you about turmeric or whatever really isn’t about them helping you at all is it? It’s literally them telling you the opposite, that they WON’T help you and that their failure to help is all your fault.

    No wonder that’s exactly what it feels like when they say it, and why it’s so fucking awful to keep hearing it from literally everyone.

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  11. Exactly, then the effect of that also is that people who do manage to get well enough to function normally again can be looked at like, “oh they can do it so anyone can.” Even if they are actually killing themselves to act relatively normal either through taking poisons or just pushing their bodies beyond what they can actually do, either way leading to a horrific outcome further down the line, that’s never even acknowledged.

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  12. Yeah I do agree it is actually the opposite of helping, even if the advice itself might be helpful it’s like an accusation that you are not doing enough and somehow you should be able to figure everything out cause of course doctors are totally helpful and it’s easy to go get help from people and the system and if you can’t figure it out you must just be a loser. It’s definitely not that we live in a sadistic society run by sociopaths.

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