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Why I Write About My Health

garfield pain

Occasionally, I write about my health problems and the struggles I have in my day-to-day life. Doing so, of course, will attract people who perversely revel in my pain and suffering or love telling me that my health problems are God’s judgment on my life, a precursor to the pain and suffering I will experience in the Lake of Fire after I die. Some commenters such as Tom/James/John/Joe go into graphic detail describing what God will one day do to the atheist named Bruce Gerencser. Yet, these same miscreants want me to join their Jesus Club and worship their God on Sundays. Even if God is real, and he’s not, I would never, ever worship such a deity. Such a God is a psychopath, as are some of his followers.

Most readers of this blog don’t have a problem with me writing about my health. I recognize that this site is not a blog about gastroparesis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, or hemorrhoids. People read my writing because they are interested in what I have to say about religion and politics, especially Evangelicalism and the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church movement. For the record, I have mentioned fibromyalgia thirty-three times, gastroparesis eleven times, and osteoarthritis twenty-one times in my writing. My health problems are an insignificant part of my writing, yet according to one Evangelical preacher I won’t mention by name, mentioning these things more than once is unnecessary (and evidently irritates his hemorrhoids). Of course, I could say the same thing about his writing. He’s mentioned God/Jesus thousands of times in his writing. Surely, mentioning the Big Kahuna and his sidekick Jesus once is enough. 🙂 Right?

There are several reasons I write about my health problems.

First, many readers want to know how I am doing.

Second, I am homebound. Due to declining motor functions and vision problems, I stopped driving in March 2020. I must now rely on Polly to chauffer me where I want to go. She works full-time, so there’s not a lot of time for me to be out and about. We go to the grocery and out to eat, but the rest of the time I am homebound. We do take short road trips occasionally, and when it gets warmer, I will wander out into our yard to do a bit of yard work, but most of my days are spent within the four walls of our two-story home.

Writing about my health problems and life in general allows me to connect with people outside of my claustrophobic world. The Internet allows me to maintain human connections with family, friends, and acquaintances, relationships that would have been impossible in a pre-Internet world.

Third, I want to be an advocate for people who suffer from the same diseases I do. I want them to know that I understand. Until you have actually had, say gastroparesis or Fibromyalgia, you can’t understand how these diseases affect humans. Much like reading the experiences of former Evangelicals, reading the stories of chronic pain and chronic illness sufferers resonates with people who are walking a similar path. When Polly, who has ulcerative colitis, had to have part of her colon and bladder removed three years ago and had a colostomy for eighteen months, she found it helpful to hear from readers of this blog who have had similar experiences. When Polly was diagnosed with A-fib, she appreciated talking to people who had A-fib too. There’s something comforting about knowing that you are not alone; that if others can make it to tomorrow, so can you. Don’t underestimate the power of a kind, thoughtful blog post, email, comment, or social media message. When you are suffering, sometimes, it’s the little things that often mean the most. Money helps too. 🙂

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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11 Comments

  1. Avatar
    missimontana

    Yes. It helps to connect with others suffering from the same problems. Why people are bothered by this, I’ll never understand. I’ve been on some atheist blogs where it’s “I hate religion!” mentioned hundreds of times. I prefer to hear personal stories, not rants and insults. I’m glad I found this blog. I feel I have a connection here.

  2. Avatar
    BJW

    This is your blog, and you get to write what you want. If you stopped talking about Christianity and the IFB cult, you would still have interesting stuff to say. I do appreciate you writing about your health conditions, as I share some. Plus, you do keep trying and that helps me when I don’t want to try anymore. Usually I can be more optimistic but I think the pandemic and the state of our country has drained a bit of that optimism, not to mention a new war. Still, we have people to love and that is enough. But thank you for what you do!

  3. Avatar
    Tammy Schoch

    My favorite posts on your blog are the ones that have stories about you and your family, whether it’s from days long past or currently. Keep it up – I love it

  4. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    What BJW said, especially the part about you keep trying and that keeps me trying.

    Besides, you’re doing a public service when you share the nasty religious nutjobs telling you all about how they delight in your suffering, but that’s a mild precursor to eternal torture in the lake of fire. It exposes the dark, dirty underbelly of their religion for all to see. Because Marcus Aurelius was right, and unjust gods don’t deserve worship, even if they do exist.

  5. Avatar
    clubschadenfreude

    I want to know how you are doing and I think that talking about health issues should be more accepted. Knowledge always helps. I had a particularly nasty health thing, a perianal abscess (yep, literally butthurt), and it was worse since I didn’t know what was going on. No one should be embarassed by such things.

    as usual a christain pastor is a moron.

  6. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    I do races for fun in which I try to conquer obstacles. You face obstacles every day. Some of your readers also face obstacles, whether they are physical, emotional, psychological. We all have our own situations, but we can show empathy to each other.

    The fact that some evangelicals come here to kick you when you’re talking about your health issues shows how devoid of empathy and compassion evangelical teachings can be. Why in the world would I want to be part of that again? Do they actually think that we will read their mean comments and say, you know, you’re right, i really do need to be a part of that?

  7. Avatar
    BJW

    OC, that is one of the reasons I left our denomination. That and the lack of acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. (I have gay and lesbian family members.) As it is, during the throes of my religious experience, I had little empathy towards those outside our community. It was a decade after I married before I could fully accept some family members.

    The pernicious doctrine that the Bible is perfect is key in that lack, as we could point to this and that and say, “Well, you’re a sinner.” Oh, I know many verses can be interpreted differently, but I just saw that as an excuse. I actually had to finally say, “Well, this Bible has to be wrong” without even studying its history. I looked at my family members, saw they loved each other even though the church and Bible condemned them, and came to the conclusion that they had true love so there was a lack in the scriptures.

  8. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Bruce, I am glad you talk about your health problems for selfish reasons: Since I’ve been reading your blog almost daily for about four years, I wonder how you’re doing and what goes on “behind the scenes,” if you will. Also, it helps me when I’m marinating myself in self-pity: Whatever I’m going through is nothing compared to having some of the conditions you’ve described.

    Like other commenters, I am astounded at how self-styled followers of Jesus revel in your suffering. I think there’s still, even among some secular people, a remnant of the notion that whatever ails us, if you’ll excuse the term, karma coming to bite us in the ass. That, I believe, is why people try not to look at or think about the infirm or disabled: They still have a fear, if subconsciously, that they have some cosmic bill due.

  9. Avatar
    Troy

    Bah, who cares what one evangelical troll has to say? I can’t say I enjoy the health updates, they upset me greatly, but if nothing else they are a reminder to treasure good health while it lasts. For those who aren’t interested, can’t they just read the headline and move to the next topic?

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Bruce Gerencser