What’s the Cure for Annoying Advice?
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Profile photo of Angela Lundberg

If you have RA or any form of arthritis, I doubt you’ve been able to escape receiving at least some unwarranted and unwelcome advice about how to help or even cure your condition. For some reason, there seem to be so many so-called “experts” out there (even among family and friends) who have THE ANSWER to all of your arthritis problems.

Luckily I haven’t had to deal with this too much throughout all of my years of having RA. But like the rest of you, I’m guessing, I haven’t been able to completely avoid it. Since starting my blog about RA and having a presence online, I’ve attracted more of these “experts,” telling me all about their cures for arthritis. The following are some recent examples of e-mails I’ve received.

E-mail #1:
Hi, I just wanted to let you know that, despite what everyone says (everyone who isn’t well informed), arthritis is reversible. It is as simple as this, you have to stop eating these foods:

Meats (all); Eggs; Fish; Cheese; Milk & Dairy (Yoghurt, Cheese ect..); White rice; Pasta; White bread; Added sugar; Added salt; Refined products; Alcohol; Coffee; Tea; Medications (of any kind).

This is what convinced me (I had arthritis by the way): for 1 week, I ate only fruits. Not even vegetables. Not even water (although with all that fruit I wasn’t thirsty). I ate to my fill, whenever I was hungry. The arthritis was gone.

All the best Angela, I wish you can have the strength to take the responsibility for your well being.

After I copied and pasted this ridiculous e-mail into a document to save (because of its ridiculousness), I hit “delete” and got it out of my inbox. I’m not even sure a real person sent this to me, but I think it’s legitimate. The kicker at the end of the e-mail is that he tells me he wishes I can have the strength to take responsibility for my well-being. As if I’m not already doing that? How rude! Never mind, sir, that you just pestered me with a bunch of advice I didn’t ask for, but you then went ahead and insulted me on top of it. Of course one e-mail isn’t worth getting upset about, but when you continue to receive several of them, it can be pretty annoying.

E-mail #2:
Hello Angela,  

I found your blog when I was Googling inflammation. If you are interesting in losing your rheumatoid arthritis I suggest visiting www.wheatbellyblog.com it may be caused by wheat gluten.   IF you put “rheuamtoid arthritis” into the search field thre relevant posts will come up. Dr Davis has said that going off wheat generally takes 6 months to two years to reverse RA but you can always ask him questions, he is quite accessible!!   There’s a ton of stuff on the web re gluten/gliadin/wheat/inflammation. Hope this helps, I was very impressed with your accomplishments!

Well, yes, I am interested in “losing” my rheumatoid arthritis. However, I don’t think it’s quite that easy. If it were, wouldn’t we all have already “lost” our RA? This e-mail also got quickly sent to the Trash folder. I just don’t have the time or patience to investigate every little “cure” that somebody might thrust upon me. I also don’t trust e-mails that misspell “rheumatoid” and “three,” but that’s just me.

I understand that most people are trying to be helpful, but where do they get the confidence/arrogance that makes them think they’re an expert on how to cure diseases? I’m an educated and fairly intelligent, well-read person, but I would never dream of telling, say, my cousin who has diabetes, that if she would only drink less Diet Coke she could cure her disease. What? That would be crazy. I’m not a doctor nor do I feel I have any right to impose health advice on other people. If I’ve tried something and I’ve had success with it (such as going gluten-free for a while or giving up caffeine), I’m happy to share that with people. But I wouldn’t want to boss them around or aggressively push my agenda on others. I hope I never do that.

By now I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard someone tell me to give up gluten in order to cure my RA. A former boss of mine also used to repeatedly tell me to drink some kind of berry juice. I don’t remember the rest of the often weird, nutty advice I’ve heard in the past, probably because I’ve blocked out most of it.

Yeah, yeah…okay, fine, I’ll drink that rare berry juice while doing this special yoga pose and sniffing incense while drinking a dirt smoothie. And then I’ll roll around in a pile of copper and magnets. Sure. I’m not against alternative treatments or therapies for arthritis at all. Hardly. I’ve even tried some of them, such as acupuncture. I just get irritated by people who believe that they know what they’re talking about (when they obviously don’t) and insist upon making you their personal arthritis experiment.

Living with RA is an exhausting and stressful full-time job in itself, and I don’t have time or energy to deal with this sort of thing. I also find it insulting that people don’t seem to recognize that I might already be doing everything possible to manage my health and take care of my arthritis. There’s no easy fix or cure. THERE IS NO CURE. So please, you well-meaning but ignorant advice-givers: educate yourselves a bit before telling me to drink the special berry juice. How does everyone else deal with annoying arthritis advice?

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