Did you ever smoke? Do you still?
There can be little more frustrating than being cornered with no escape from a reformed smoker. They are more zealous, more smug and more judgemental.
Well, imagine having a condition for 29 years, trying everything from emu oil through homeopathy, flower remedies, yoga, meditation, diet, drugs, surgery, acupuncture, supplements, kombucha, and every well meant nonsense in between, just to stay as ill as the day you started.
It's a very, very, very long journey.
At some point you learn acceptance. You learn that this is your life for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. You learn that, in fact it might be til death you do part.
Does this mean that you give up? Far from it. The hope that somehow, some day you will find that golden key, that elusive part of the jigsaw that will finally unlock the doors of your own personal prison burns bright, just as it always did.
It is the day you stop asking "Why me?" and simply answer that internal plea with "Why not?"
Does it mean that you became cynical and closed your mind off to new innovations? On the contrary, I believe in fact, that it is the day you found acceptance. The day you decided that you would live your life as it is, not as it ought to be. The day you stopped being angry.
You learn to take one day at a time and live each day in the moment. You learn to submit to what will be, always hoping, as anyone does, that tomorrow will hold miracles.
Well, if you do smoke and you've ever been cornered by that born-again-smoker, just imagine what it's like to be sick and find yourself cornered by a born-again-sickie.
This person will have the same condition as you. They will have had a fairly mild case of it. After one hiccup, immediate treatment and a full recovery, they will have gone into remission, their lives will have been transformed by this episode as most lives are. The difference is they will believe that they found the golden key.
They almost certainly didn't. They odds overwhelmingly suggest that they went into a spontaneous remission. Nonetheless, they will have shunned all conventional, modern day miracles, forgetting the surgery that almost certainly save them. They will believe that All Medicines Are Bad. They will almost certainly say the words "proven cure for cancer" at some point.
Some are pseudo-scientific. They sit there, explaining how the the synapses or glands or cells can be stimulated into repairing themselves or reconnecting with themselves or generally behaving when soothed with some Amazonian tree-frog vomit combined with simple vinegar/honey/vitamins. The very little you do know about science makes you want to laugh out loud, but you sit and smile attempting an earnest, interested face.
If you are truly to go through the full zealout experience, they will tell you that you just did it wrong. They are certain you didn't try hard enough or stick to it faithfully or believe enough. You can't be meditating right if it didn't work. Somehow (they never say how) you are "blocking your own recovery." They unfailingly conclude immediately and certainly that "something is still troubling you" The fault is entirely yours. You are not as enlightened as them, not strong enough to do what they did.
Though the rictus smile stays painted on your face, you fantasise about shoving their born-again faces into the birthday trifle or wedding cake.
But at some point on this never-ending journey, you stop being angry. You realise that every last scrap of advice comes from a place of love. No-one bothers to waste their time on something they don't believe in. They have found their golden key and because they are good people, they want to pass it on. They want you to be well, they want you to feel the incredible new freedom they feel.
Sometimes it will be an acquaintance you met only once or twice, but they felt sad when they learnt how ill you were and read an article on your condition years later and sent it on to you. You've read it a hundred times before, but they don't know that.
Some will insist that you stop smoking/eating gluten/breathing/consuming dairy products/drinking. But they truly believe it will be healthy for you.
These friends and family, lovers and strangers have found their key. They just don't realise that no key opens every door. Golden or not.