When Everyone Thinks They Have a Cure

When Everyone Thinks They Have a Cure

It was my umpteenth time in the ER for complications with lupus. My nurse was from the Caribbean (like many in this hospital in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York), and he had a thick Jamaican accent. He came in to do a vitals check and asked if I’m chronically sick. I told him I have lupus. Strangely, he perked up. “Oh me kno’ jus’ de ting. See, me cousin sell dis drink a called Noni juice. It a purify ya blood an get ridda alla dat sickness inna ya blood.”

I thanked him, but kind of waved him off. Before I left the hospital after my overnight stay, this nurse hunted my room down and gave me a complimentary bottle of this liquid Noni cure.

A few weeks ago, I was hanging with a friend. We got to talking over a bad Boston Market meal, and lupus came up. He said, “What if I told you [that] you could heal yourself?” I hid my side-eye. He started speaking about alkalinity, and I let him talk, although I’ve heard of this before. He brought up a script for green leafy veggies. I said I can’t have too much vitamin K because of the blood thinners I’m on that prevent me from having, oh let’s say, a STROKE, since I had a pulmonary embolism a few months prior. His only response: “Well, stop taking them. You won’t need them after a while, anyways.”

Everyone has the cure.

I see the value and appeal of taking your treatment into your own hands. I don’t know a person with a chronic illness who hasn’t gotten fed up with the constant stream of prescriptions doctors swear by that, due to side effects and blanket treatments, only seem to lead to a sea of more pills. And when many of us have gotten fed up, all these “natural cures” on the internet and in the media seem to be a better option. It gives us the sense of control that we miss as well. So, we push away the prednisone and start juicing. We do cleanses and special diets. And our doctors freak the freak-out.

I don’t blame medical doctors for pushing prescriptions. They are technically and chemically trained so that they cannot fathom something helping without knowing how. They need a “carbon + oxygen + phospholipid” trail to make it make sense. They can’t state, “I have no clue why, but it works.” And because they don’t know how it works, many don’t, or can’t, recommend it. Let’s not forget that a lot of these herbs in local stores haven’t been tested for effectiveness, side-effects, and purity.

Now, I do believe in the power of nature, and I have done the extreme switch from pills to potions — and gotten even sicker (and more broke) than when I started. I believe good health comes from a healthy balance of preventative and restorative medicine. I eat a whole foods diet, and I exercise and take yoga to de-stress, promote circulation, and improve joint function. But, I’m not afraid to get a steroid injection if need be. Any changes I’m considering or decide to make to my diet or pill regimen, I let my doctor know so that if anything goes really wrong, they know where the source may lie.

When dealing with people toting their magical healing concoctions, medical conspiracy theories, and tales of people curing themselves of cancer then walking on water, I tell them to email me sources (not just from the website selling the product swearing Dr. So-and-So cosigns this therapy) and say thank you. I don’t allow people to make me feel guilty for trusting a medical professional over an anointing from a pastor because I believe God gave mankind wisdom to come up with treatments for various illnesses.

Yes, I know capitalism and greed might be the reason we see more treatments and fewer cures today. But just as each body, person, lifestyle, and illness is special, WITH THE HELP OF YOUR DOCTOR, you have the right to mix your own cocktail of pills and potions to suit your own pallet.


Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.

Shanelle Gabriel is an HBO Def Poet, singer, and health and lupus advocate who has performed internationally. She has been featured on the Rachel Ray Show, Huffpost Live, and in several publications including Women’s Health Magazine. Visit www.shanellegabriel.com for music and poetry, videos, show schedule, and more.
Shanelle Gabriel is an HBO Def Poet, singer, and health and lupus advocate who has performed internationally. She has been featured on the Rachel Ray Show, Huffpost Live, and in several publications including Women’s Health Magazine. Visit www.shanellegabriel.com for music and poetry, videos, show schedule, and more.

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  1. Judy M says:

    I agree whole heartedly, everyone cares and has a solution, what they do not realise is that each of us with auto immune disease are different which is why the doctors have a tough time diagnosing and we try many drugs till we get the mix that works. I started myself on Hemp Oil after a lot of research and within a month felt so much better my anxiety dropped, my tremors disappeared and my general well-being is better. Patient Heal Thyself.

  2. For God’s sake if one more person tells me that acupuncture cured anything and everything under the sun I will beat them. Here’s what I know. I was deathly ill and no one had an answer. After 3 years I found the right rheumatologist who was chief of complex cases at a major medical center. Thank God. He put me on several meds. And I got better. Yes I drink green juice and try to avoid toxins. I actually love the probiotic drink Gut Bust that tastes like sauerkraut. I take vitamin supplements — the ones the doctor sees in plain black and white that I’m low on. And that’s where it ends. I believe in holistic living. I believe there are miracle cures in the Amazonian jungle. But those people are not exposed to the environmental poisons we are. There are problems with big pharm and I know that if I had cancer I’d want it cut out. No different with lupus. Now I’m off to swallow my life-sustaining pills.

  3. We are doing reasearch on how psychological stress management and moderate exercise can have an anti-inflammatory effects and, therefore, be effacacious in the treatment of lupus. While we do have strong preliminary data, I think it will ultimately be most effective as an adjunct therapy. In other words, to be used in conjunction with the recommended pharmacological treatment. However, I do believe that these non-pharmaceutical imterventions will lead to reduced disease activity and will translate into reduced frequency/severity of flares. Would love to talk to anyone about our work if imterested. I will include my contact info below and you can look up our research, as it has been covered in press-releases throughout the years too. Thanks.
    Nicholas Young, Ph.D.
    Research Scientist
    The Ohio State University Medical Center
    Department of Internal Medicine
    Division of Immunology and Rheumatology
    [email protected]

  4. Awesomely written and so true. Yes, different things work for different people. But especially with lupus, most cases are different and treatment is case specific. I don’t love medication but if it wasn’t for medication, who knows how alive I’d even be! I’m SO thankful for my infusions as well as my vitamins. It’s a balance for me, but that doesn’t mean it is or should be for everyone. Thank you SO much for writing this 💜

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