I have an autoimmune disease (ITP). I will always have an autoimmune disese. Such things are genetic. I have accepted this, and realize how lucky I am that one simple blood test was all I needed for diagnosis.
Others are not so fortunate. People with Lupus and Fibro (among many others) will probably go through tens of doctors and hundreds of tests before entering The Land of Diagnosis. These people are understandably scared and upset, especially if the ultimate diagnosis is Lupus or CFIDS or something else that no one really knows how to treat because no one knows what’s going on with it. To a snake oil salesman, this is known as An Easy Target.
Snake Oil comes in many forms in our modern world. There’s the traditional “take this pill and it will cure you omg!” crowd that advertises on late night television. These people are more invested in the weight-loss market, although they are making inroads into autoimmunity. But what I see more of and am angrier at are the crunchy new age snake oil salespeople.
These people go around saying “take this authentic Chinese/Indian/Mayan/Egyptian root/herb/essential oil/bat shit and it will cure you!” They hide behind things like ayurveda and claim that a “simple” diet change and/or detox (whatever the fuck that means) will completely alter a person’s genetics and make the disease go away. You have to balance your humours, see.
A lot of these people don’t even know what the hell they’re talking about (big surprise, no?) and when challenged, claim that your “negative thinking” is what’s causing your disease. (Really? I’d like to see the positive thought that could cure me.) They don’t understand remission, they don’t understand simple genetics, and they hide behind Sanskrit or other Asian terms to pretend that they have The Answers. They use people’s frustration with modern medicine to claim that doctors don’t know what they’re doing and will only prolong your illness to make more money whereas a “natural” approach will heal you lickety-split. They also make sure that they claim they can only cure diseases that can’t be easily diagnosed. And they fucking piss me off. I cannot stand people who take advantage like that. Especially when they claim that “they only want to help people” “I’m not making any profit on this” or “I know people who were cured of X by doing this.” I know people who think a lot of crazy crap. Doesn’t mean they’re right.
Now, I’m fairly crunchy and new-age. I treat my ITP both scientifically, by going to the doctor and getting regular blood tests, and alternatively, through meditation and yoga. I firmly believe in a holistic treatment plan for chronic illnesses. But I hate hate HATE people who say that their particular brand of quackery is the One True Way to a cure. I’ve seen too many dying children when I was getting treatment in the pediatric hospital to be comfortable with people proposing pseudomedicine to sick adults. And I wonder why, if I had to get ITP, I couldn’t have gotten the package that allows me to set fires with my mind.
(Yeah, this rant sucks, but this is the highly sanitized version composed after a good night’s sleep erased most of my rage.)