What’s the Cure for Annoying Advice?

What’s the Cure for Annoying Advice?

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?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (10)
  • Eva McCue Wilson
    5 years ago

    I have a Rheumatologist who is into medical/alternative treatment for RA (and other types of inflammatory diseases). He does studies and he recommends going Gluten free, also reducing red meat and avoiding dairy products. Not as a cure, but to see if there is a sensitivity to these types of food that are considered to cause inflammation. I tried this out for a couple of months and I noticed when I ate certain cheeses I would get a reaction like aching in my hands and wrists and the same thing when I ate red meat, but not all times. As far as staying off the gluten, the burning, dry irritation in my eyes went away and my skin became much clearer and healthier looking. It did give relief to my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). On the whole, I did feel better. Whenever I have had a bad flare up, he has counseled me to get off the bread (gluten). I believe there is much truth to this way of relieving the symptoms of RA. Maybe one day there will be a cure for RA – some time in the future…

  • Connie Rifenburg
    5 years ago

    Thank you Angela for voicing what so many of us feel, but can’t seem to communicate it as well as you do. I don’t have too many people who try to change what I’m doing for my RA except the organic,gluten free,leaky gut,natural foods, etal.along w/all the diets on infomercials or the internet…which include just about all my acquaintances! Mind you, I didn’t say friends.I think we all understand the difference. Family, well, sometimes it’s not what they say, but it’s what they DON’T say, but you know they’re thinking.

    I used to try all the suggestions when I was first diagnosed. Not knowing any better, I thought, MAYBE this or that would work. After 12 years of medical treatments that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t, I didn’t need any MORE ideas to try…believe me. At some point, and I really can’t remember when it was, I came to the conclusion that I would live with the hand I was dealt and enjoy things, including foods, that I liked or that gave me pleasure. I had enough pain without getting rid of all the things I enjoyed in life too! Yes, I’m careful with food items that show me they’re not worth eating :-), but for the most part, my pain level is no worse or better for what I eat or don’t eat!

    Because I have RA, plus other health issues that aren’t related to RA, I feel like I have so many rules and regulations I have to follow, that I almost rebel against even one more “rule” that is suggested by someone who isn’t a dr. or hasn’t walked in my shoes. So,for the most part, I just don’t care what most people think or say about my illness, and the ones whom I DO care about, I’m lucky to say that, for the most part, they give me support and don’t try to change what either I choose to do, or what the dr. chooses to do to treat my diseases.

    I really enjoy reading your posts Angela and poor Andrew L., he has heard me rant and rave for a while a few weeks ago while going through funding, financial woes, and was more than supportive! I do appreciate the insight that each person adds to this board, and even get a chuckle now and then…:-) Please. Tell me more about the gin soaked raisins!! hahah. Now that’s one I might even try.

    Sincerely,
    Connie

  • Norreen Clark
    5 years ago

    Wow there not in your shoes. If they were they would be quiet. Keep the faith and do what you think is right for you. I have given up gluten and other foods they have made a big difference in pain and now I have started meditating. But there is no cure.

  • Kathy P.
    5 years ago

    I’ve been told to do the Paleo diet, the Wheat Belly diet (gluten free), the Atkins diet, no sugar only stevia, drink bleach water, no this or no that. I try to tell people that I’ve tried a lot of the “natural” cures and nothing has worked so far. Then there are the cures that are a little too crackpot for me to even want to try. But I’d still like to have a snappy comeback that’s not snarky for friends and family that truly want to help me get better. So if you have any ideas, please post them!

  • Norreen Clark
    5 years ago

    Given up gluten has made a big difference in my pain. It takes time maybe 6 months before you see a difference. The ultra mind soluition by Dr. Mark Hyman has a diet in it to give all these foods up for 6 weeks and then introduce them back in your system one a time. Make a difference for me.

  • Cheryl Buhr
    5 years ago

    I used to be more patient when receiving such stupid advice. But it is getting more difficult to retain my composure. I just about bit the head off the woman who insisted on me trying the Cherry Juice Cure. It worked for her so it should work for me, too. Really?? Grr!

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator
    5 years ago

    Wow, Angela – I’ve had some annoying advice in my time but those examples are pretty crazy! I especially like how the first person advises you to stop taking medications OF ANY KIND. Because of course he/she knows your entire medical history and that you don’t have any other conditions you might need medication for!

    I think my worst experience with unsolicited advice was when I had just given birth to my son and, while struggling with being a new mom and the return of my RA, I went to a support group for new moms. After the group another mom took me aside and told me that my RA was caused by bacteria and all I had to do was get the bacteria out of my system and then I would be fine. I took a deep breath and tried to explain that while there was some scientific evidence that bacteria could potentially be involved in ONSET of RA, it wasn’t as easy as just getting the bacteria out of my system. She interrupted me to say “if you want to suffer for the rest of your life, that’s your choice” And I had gone to that meeting to find support!! So frustrating!!

  • Angela
    5 years ago

    As always you’ve hit it right on the head! I realize (most) people mean well but if they realized it’s just not “that simple” we’d all be better off. The part that blows my mind is when they (like your first email) turn it around as if you’re doing something to prevent your own well being! Do they really believe we enjoy constant pain&fatigue? As if there was nothing more I’d rather spend my time doing than popping pills, doctor visits, and physical therapy!
    Thanks as always Angela for making me feel like my constant frustrations are totally warranted!!

  • Diane
    5 years ago

    It has only happened once but I was so offended that someone would assume that they knew what would FIX me!
    I like the gin soaked raisins and cherry juice tho, great pain control! LOL!

  • Andrew Lumpe, PhD moderator
    5 years ago

    How about gin soaked raisins and cherry juice! 🙂 If I had a dollar for every bit of “advice” I’ve gotten, I’d be rich. And if I would just follow it all, I’d be cured of RA. Thanks for making it real Angela!

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