In Part I of this series, I described the mind- and body-shattering symptoms of Crohn’s disease, a crippling autoimmune disease of the digestive tract that also causes systemic effects like joint pain, skin eruptions and fevers. Since getting my Crohn’s diagnosis, friends and family members have spoken and acted in such ignorant and hurtful ways towards me and my situation that I have unapologetically cut off contact with almost everyone I know. I just didn’t have the physical or mental stamina to deal with their hatred or to correct their misperceptions about me, my disease or my “new” life complicated by serious and debilitating chronic illness. When I say “hatred” I am referring to hate as a verb: the process and practice of othering me, my body, my experiences, my needs and my life. I am sure if anyone asked them if they hated me they would say they didn’t, not in the noun-sense of feeling hateful emotions towards me. But in the political, material sense, othering is hatred — the kind of hatred that civil rights groups have actively resisted and sought to eradicate because othering causes disenfranchised people to suffer and die when their needs, desires, interests, perspectives, histories and calls for justice are roundly ignored.
In this Part II, I will describe the horror of Crohn’s treatment which apparently one has to actually experience in order to understand or empathize with. In my experience, which I have seen mirrored in many online support groups for Crohn’s patients, the accepted treatments for Crohn’s are often brutal and offer minimal or no relief. Furthermore, with its toxic Big Pharma poisons, invasive tests and risky surgeries, Crohn’s treatment often causes “side-effects” that are as bad as or worse than the disease. For example, an immune-system obliterating series of infusions was the next weapon in my gastroenterologists’ arsenal and is known to cause opportunistic infections, cancer and even death.