Unlike that IKEA Gevorgivøorganschmoöorgan daybed you recently purchased, illness doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Not even a crappy one that substitutes actual words with crude stick figure drawings. And no complimentary Allen wrench for you, so good luck figuring this whole thing out.
But all is not lost, fellow sickie. Over the five and a half years I have been dealing with my desmoid tumor diagnosis I have amassed a wealth of unsolicited advice and dicey information collected in frantic late night google searches. Being the generous philanthropist that I am, I’m more than happy to share it all with you. What can I say? I’m a giver.
With my guaranteed* patent pending** foolproof*** advice you can make this difficult time in your life as easy as possible. As well as please everyone around you, including your garbage man, your spouse’s third cousin once removed, and that chick you went to high school with who has never once interacted with you since you became Facebook friends 8 years ago. After all, their comfort with your illness should be your number one goal, right?
At the beginning of your search for answers, make sure to only find a physician through your insurance directory to ensure you won’t be overcharged. You’d be a fool not to take this cost saving step.
-Except that maybe you don’t want to do that because this is your health we’re talking about and the insurance company only wants you to use Dr. X because he’s cheap and saves them money. The insurance company doesn’t care about you. You should use the specialist my uncle’s mother’s cousin used to cure his cancer. He’d be dead if he’d gone to that guy the insurance company wanted him to see.
Once you’ve been diagnosed make sure you seek a second, third, or possibly a fifteenth opinion. Don’t be like your friend’s dad whose first doctor told him he had an incurable brain tumor. Turns out that doctor wasn’t right at all. It was just a smudge on his X-ray. So, you probably don’t even have what you have. Keep seeing doctors for the rest of your living days until you get the diagnosis you want.
-But also, you don’t want to waste your time on a second opinion because whatever you have could be killing you right now and you might die before you even get in to see that other doctor and how do you even know the second opinion is the right one, right? I mean, what if the first guy is right after all and you chose to believe the second one and by then it’s too late to help you?
After securing a diagnosis it’s time to seek treatment. You only want to depend upon FDA approved treatments that have been meticulously and repeatedly tested in double blind studies.
-But see, the thing is Big Pharma doesn’t make any money on a cure. They want to keep you sick. You can’t take that stuff. Have you heard about that rare melon from Lichtenstein? No, you haven’t because Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know, but it completely reverses cell damage. You should check it out.
As soon as you’re confident of your diagnosis and treatment plan you must become an advocate for your disease. You have a responsibility to others like you who may need to seek guidance. Become vocal. Wear the ribbon. Run the race. Be the face of your disease.
-Why do you always talk about what you have? It’s like it’s become your identity. You’re not your disease, you know? In my day we didn’t talk so openly about private matters like this. Have some decency about the whole thing.
Be open and honest with your friends and loved ones about how difficult it sometimes is to deal with symptoms of your disease and side effects of your medications. It’s best to get it out and not keep the stress of it all locked inside. Didn’t you know, stress only causes you to be more sick?
– Why do you always talk about how bad things are? Wellness is all about mindset. No wonder you’re sick. You’re too focused on the negatives. You have to believe you will get better or you never will.
It really is just that simple, and not at all confusing and exasperating, to please everyone around you when you’re sick. Why, it’s almost as simple as it is to put together that IKEA Gevorgivøorganschmoöorgan daybed by yourself with nothing more than scotch tape and paper clips after lugging 4 boxes that weigh approximately 1.5 tons up three flights of stairs and then realizing you’re missing the Allen wrench and 2/3 of the hardware. Super easy! So, good luck and happy sickness!
* ** *** Just remember that none of this advice is guaranteed, patent pending, or foolproof. This is illness. It’s not simple, nor easily dealt with. It’s messy and complicated. There is no one right answer. And, most importantly, you don’t have to please anyone other than yourself because the only way to get through this is to do whatever the fuck works for you.