Author of Two Amazon #1 Best Selling Cookbooks

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Thoughts on Chronic Illness, Based on “Chopped” Reactions


May 29, 2014 health , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 20 Comments

The internet is a safe haven for people to act nasty, but it is also representative of cultural opinion at large. Based on this knowledge, I am extraordinarily dismayed that with all the PSA’s for Lyme Disease and new info circulating around it, it still doesn’t “count” as a serious illness to many people.

Of course all the details about my late stage neurological Lyme, like how I had fibromyalgia so bad I couldn’t move my limbs for a spell, were cut from Chopped, and the CO poisoning was played up because it made me look insane that a stove tried to kill me. The reactions from people, though, were still shocking: I didn’t have cancer, how could I call myself a survivor? My illnesses didn’t compare to cancer. The other two contestants had cancer, and I need to GET OVER MYSELF. Never mind that my CO poisoning– which I have very real blood work and medical records from, just like my Lyme– involved a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s by a Cedars Sinai neurologist, and the gas killed my ex’s cat, it was considered “trite” compared to cancer.

Lyme disease has a tendency to keep people laid up for years, and many simply never get well. There is no “cure,” only methods of treatment that very thankfully work for some, like me. My family and I did intensive research to find holistic treatments for both my illnesses when they each occurred, and thankfully, I successfully moved past both. My mom had cancer, and was mortified when I told her yesterday about people’s statements of my illnesses being “nothing” compared. Pain and suffering are pain and suffering, and one thing that can kill you is no less bad than another thing that can kill you.

There is simply no need, ever, to compare illnesses and minimize the suffering of others. People used the hashtag “#killerstoves” to mock my experience as minimal compared to cancer. Some even said there is no way it happened, because I’d be dead, which is clearly untrue: the ventilation problem was real, and was fixed by real HVAC people. The exposure was slow and low and not detectable on an alarm designed to only detect life threatening levels. It left me with a huge array of brain damage related troubles, all of which I have recovered from fully via holistic methods. (And most definitely NOT only with avocados, that was some fun editing.)

Our culture is rife with judgment, and social media fuels our ability to depersonalize others. We are all critics from our couches. I write this not to say I feel I was perceived unfairly (that’s a whole different blog!), but to ask people to realize that being laid up for years is a nightmare, whether or not one is sick with cancer. Period.