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Tag: Unsolicited Medical Advice

Dr. David Tee Shakes the Dust Off His Sandals, Calls Me Names, Says He Will Never Write About Me Again

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Much like the raccoons and possums who have worn a path in our back yard from coming to our house multiple times a day, Fake Dr. David Tee/David Thiessen/TheologyArcheology continues to cut a deep digital path to this site. Unable to have any original thoughts of his own, Tee has written more than a hundred posts about me and my friend Ben Berwick.

Several days ago, I wrote a post titled Humor: How You Know You Have Gastroparesis — Part One, detailing my battle with gastroparesis. Tee, knowing that I DON’T like people offering me unsolicited medical advice, decided to offer me medical advice anyway. I responded to Tee’s ignorant, unscientific medical advice with a post titled Eating “Right.” This, along with the post How Evangelical Churches Exploit Children to Advance Their Agenda, led to Tee writing a tirade against Bruce Gerencser, the Evangelical pastor turned atheist. Filled with attacks on my character, Tee let it be known that he is done with me. He (actually we) has knocked the metaphorical dust off his (our) sandals, saying I am worse than the Sodomites in the Bible story about Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah. (Tee can’t help but let his latent homophobia leak out when he is outraged.)

What follows is Tee’s latest post about me. For some reason, Tee decided to add Ben Berwick to his post. My response is in brackets.

We Did It [did what? Get laid? Why not own your behavior David and say, I DID IT. Not WE, YOU. You are the one who writes your posts. Not God. Not your wife. Not the Holy Spirit. YOU, and YOU alone.]

The most recent response we got from BG [Bruce Gerencser. Try writing it out, David. You can do it. Stop being so lazy.] was the straw that tipped the scales. This will be the last time we will link to a web page on his site as there is no sense of decency in that man [no, my problem is with you personally, David. Most people think I’m a kind, thoughtful man. Just ask Polly or my children. I double-dawg dare you to ask them. And then you can apologize for your repeated attacks on my character, your lies, half-truths, and distortions.] Instead of being gracious [guilty], he was mean [lie], hate-filled [lie], and downright insulting [guilty].

So we have knocked the dust off our sandals from him and his site. It is because he was about as nice as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. [I treated you in kind, David. Want to be treated better? Don’t be an asshole.] There was no point for him to take that route [you don’t decide what I write about or why. Want to be portrayed in a better light? Stop being a lying asshole.] but knowing him [you have gone out of your way to NOT know me, to ignore, discredit , or distort my autobiographical writing] all we can say is that it is par [par 3?] for the [putt-putt] course.

He quit [first attack on my character] which makes what happens in the church, none of his business. He will forever be known [only in your mind] as a quitter [second attack on my character] as he gave up on Christ and turned into Jesus’ enemy. How Christian parents raise their children is also none of his business [sounds like my post got too close to home].

His posts are just reminders to everyone [no, just you] that he could not hack [third attack on my character] the Christian life and he serves as an example of what happens to believers when they start listening to evil and unbelievers. [What, exactly, happens? I’m happy. I have a wonderful wife, six awesome children, and thirteen super-duper grandchildren. I am blessed beyond all measure. All praise be to Loki!]

We did our best [lie] to understand his point of view [lie] but as we read the stories of his life that he so happily promotes to the world, we found that he was not leaning on God [fourth attack on my character] or following God’s instruction [fifth attack on my character] throughout his ministry [lie].

He is an example of those preachers who do things on their own strength [sixth attack on my character] and use their own ideas and thoughts to serve God [seventh attack on my character]. That is not how servants of God are to act. For us, being called by God is a humbling experience and one that tempers all of our actions.

We do not try to do anything on our own strength [lie] using our own ideas [lie] but always look to God for what we are to post here [lie]. That way our heads do not get too big [which head? Tee gets a boner every time he reads my writing]. The credit goes to God and we are fine with that, after all, it is his ministry and words [lie], not ours.

Do we care what he writes on his website [is the pope Catholic?]? Sometimes we do because he is trashing God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and those acts make it our business [ooh, David is God’s business manager!]. But he is just another pastor among a myriad of pastors and missionaries, as well as church leaders who have walked away from the faith [I’m one who has a blog read by thousands of people. I have more followers than Jesus did during his earthly ministry. Talk about someone who was a failure.]

We can find the same errors in thinking from other atheists who are a lot nicer than he is (and who are not so narcissistic [eighth attack on my character]). He has no story [lie] except one of failure [ninth attack on my character] and that is not something that should be broadcast anywhere [change the channel if you don’t like the broadcast].

We taught with a guy in Korea for 2 years who did nothing but brag about his failures he was not very much fun to be around. Nor did we hang out with him except at the Hagwon we taught at. [Tee is a failure himself. No longer a pastor, he rages against atheists and “false Christians” from a dimly lit basement in the Philipinnes. I have no problem with how he lives his life. Each to his or her own, right “we”? :)]

Failure is not something one should talk about [I suspect most of the readers of this blog appreciate my willingness to write about my mistakes and failures. That’s what makes me human.] unless they found a better way to live [I have, but Tee refuses to acknowledge it. Why? In his truncated mind, only Fundamentalist Christianity is a life worth living] and BG [David remains too lazy to type out my name.] has not. Or if they found where they made their mistake and made a comeback. BG is just one of the many that Jesus warned us about, those who fell away from the church [Jesus mentioned me by name?].

He is not special [ninth attack on my character] and with his refusal to change [I did change, big time, from Evangelicalism to atheism/humanism.] or try to return [why would I want to return to the bondage of Egypt?], there is nothing anyone can do for him. We see the reality of the words of scripture about those who deny Christ after once believing and crucifying him all over. That is what BG does and it is embarrassing and shameful [close your eyes, David] to see take place.

So in the next 38 posts or so, we should have different content from different sources. We cannot get anything new from his website [Tee finally admits he has nothing original to say; that he uses my site for content for his blog and its handful of readers] because it is the same old story- Christians are bad [lie] and our [Tee’s personal God-on-a-Shelf diety] God does not exist [lie].

We won’t be using MM’s [Meerkat Musings, Ben Berwick] site that much either because it is the same story from him [nope. Ben is not an atheist. Ben has corrected him about his numerous times. Tee continues to lie]. They are two men who want everyone to ignore Christ and his ways for their ways [lie]. That is wrong. They are wrong.

As for the linked article above, Christians do not indoctrinate children [yes, they do, as I have repeatedly shown]. We know that the unbelieving world does but that is par for the course for those who do not believe. They like to accuse Christians of the very same acts they commit on a grander scale.

As you go through life, do not be like MM or BG [good advice :)]. Proverbs 3:4-6 [my life verse when I was a Christian] has some very good words for all believers to follow. Look to God to guide you, lean on his wisdom, acknowledge him.

Being humble is one key to a good Christian life it is a gift we should never throw away like it was trash. The life is hard but it is precious as it is the only offer of salvation we will get. Why give salvation up for nothing?

Will David Tee write another post about me or Ben Berwick? Stay tuned. 🙂 My money is on yes.

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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Bruce, Have You Tried . . .?

unsolicited medical advice

Every time I mention my health in a blog post — as sure as the sun comes up in the morning — I will receive emails and social media comments from readers offering me unsolicited, unwanted medical advice. These people mean well, but their “advice” is not welcome or helpful. Their advice says I am not doing something right; it is my fault I am sick and in pain. If I would just follow their “advice,” I would no longer be sick, nor would I be in pain.

Often, the “advice” I receive comes from proponents of alternative treatments — unproven treatments purveyors promise really, really, really work (for a price). There seems to be an assumption by the people who send me unsolicited medical advice that I am ignorant; that I have not investigated other treatments for gastroparesis, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.

Last Saturday, I published a post titled, Health Update: I’m F**ked. In this article, I mentioned the results from an MRI I had last week:

I had X-rays. Normal. CT scan. Normal. And now an MRI of my thoracic spine. NOT normal. I have:

Disc herniation (T7,T8)

Disc herniation (T6,T7)

Central spinal canal stenosis (T9/T10, T10/T11)

Foraminal stenosis (T5,T6)

Disc degeneration/spondylosis (T1/T2 through T10/T11)

Facet Arthropathy throughout the spine, particularly at T2/T3, T3/T4, T5/T6, and T7/T8 through the T12/L1 levels.

Hypertrophic arthropathy at T9/T10

I quickly received several emails and comments telling me that I need to try this or that diet or supplement. These people have no idea about what my diet is or what, if any, supplements I take. They assume that because I am sick and in pain, that I must not be doing what they suggest I do. One long-time reader sent me a link to a video and suggested I go on the KETO diet. I tersely replied that I was on the no-food diet (gastroparesis); that I have lost 120 pounds; that my A1c is 5.3. She means well, but her emails and comments are NOT helpful. The same can be said for emails from people saying that if I just became a vegan, all would be well.

Let me be clear: I think Reiki, chiropractic treatment (with a few exceptions), homeopathy, supplementation, essential oils, acupuncture, magnets, faith healers, etc., are unproven, unscientific modalities. The same goes for diets that advocate unbalanced, unhealthy eating. There’s nothing wrong with my diet. I eat lots of vegetables, seafood, and other “healthy foods. Yet, I am still sick. Why? My problems are not diet related. There’s no diet or supplement known to man that will “cure” the structural damage in my back. Go to a chiropractor? Are you fucking kidding me? Think about that for a moment: a chiropractor pushing on my herniated discs. What could go wrong? The only solution is to treat and manage my pain.

I am a proponent of science-based medicine (SBM). I have confidence that my doctors are providing me the best possible treatment. I keep myself informed about the latest treatments and studies for my various maladies. I suspect I am better educated on gastroparesis, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis than are any of the people who offer me unsolicited medical advice. I have friends I trust who will send me links to reports or studies they have read. I have no problem with them doing this. What irritates the hell out of me is the unsolicited medical advice that subtly suggests that I am at fault; that if I would just do _______, my decades-long illnesses and pain would magically go away.

If you want to help me, continue to read my writing, leave pithy comments, and support my work financially. Leave my medical care to my doctors and me. Trust me, we have it under control. I know the limitations of modern medicine. I know that no magic treatment that will “cure” me is lurking around the next corner. I expect my doctors to do what they can, but I have never expected them to be miracle workers. Sometimes, life sucks. I am a realist. I know that I will battle chronic illness and pain until I die. Friends, family, and blog readers, genuinely wish I weren’t in pain. They tell me that things will get better in time. “Surely, better days lie ahead for me.” They think I need encouragement or happy visions of a seal bouncing a beach ball on his nose. I don’t. Sure, there are things people can do to help me, but how about asking me what help I need instead of assuming I need ______________?

Let me kindly ask again that readers do NOT send me unsolicited medical advice. And that includes leaving comments on this site, making comments on social media, or sending me private Facebook/Twitter messages. If you truly love and respect me, PLEASE stop.

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.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Please Do Not Offer or Send Me Unsolicited Medical Advice

chronic illness

My health is very much a part of my story. It is impossible for readers to understand where I have come from and where I am today without me telling them about my struggles with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis. Over the past decade, I’ve not been shy about sharing with readers my health history. Unfortunately, in doing so, I have opened myself up to unsolicited medical advice from people who have diagnosed me from afar. In recent years, I have received emails, letters, telephone calls, texts, packages, and personal visits from people who are certain they know the cure for what ails me.

One woman — a former church member — would stop by my house every few weeks hoping to sell me super-duper, cure-all shakes that she was certain would return me to perfect health. I had to hide in my bedroom and have Polly lie to her about my availability. After months of attempts to evangelize me, the woman finally took the hint and stopped. At the time, she was on the shakes. Today? She has abandoned this miracle cure and continues to face debilitating health problems.

Well-meaning people have told me that this or that drug, this or that supplement, reiki, spinal adjustment, surgery, acupuncture, iridology, yoga, chakra alignment, mindfulness, homeopathic concoctions, essential oils, Native American rituals, magnets, diets — need I go on? — would infallibly cure me. Today, I received in the mail a list of books from a blog reader — some of which I have read — that, if followed, would supposedly put an end to my chronic pain. The gist of the books is this: your pain is all in your head.

I go out of my way to avoid interaction with readers when they put on lab coats and play doctors. I either ignore them altogether or I quickly say “thank you” and change the conversation. Yet, it seems no matter how many times I say, PLEASE DO NOT OFFER OR SEND ME UNSOLICITED MEDICAL ADVICE, people continue to ignore my request and offer advice anyway. What is it that says to some readers that they are free to disrespect me as a person? Is there anything ambiguous or unclear in PLEASE DO NOT OFFER OR SEND ME UNSOLICITED MEDICAL ADVICE? Do some readers think I am stupid or ignorant or lacking competent medical care?

I get it. I am the kind of writer who has swung open the door of his life, inviting such advice. However, I have politely asked that people not give me unsolicited medical advice. How hard can it be for readers (and family members) to respect my wishes and leave me alone? Can they not see that their tactics are no different from those used by Jehovah’s Witnesses or evangelizers from Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches? “Sir, we are here today to offer you something that will change and transform your life!” Never mind the fact, that I am not ignorant about what they are peddling, be it Jesus or a “cure” for Fibromyalgia.

Let me be clear. I am under the care of a team of competent medical professionals. I am well-educated concerning my afflictions. Unless researchers come up with new treatments, I am going to die “Just as I am.” I have resigned myself to the fact that a combination of what ails me will eventually lead to my demise. And I am okay with that. I do what I can to manage my symptoms. If I read of something that “might” be helpful, I bring it up to my primary care doctor. In the twenty-three years he has cared for me, he has NEVER said no to me; never refused an off-label drug or treatment that “might” alleviate my pain and suffering. “Let’s try it and see if it works.”  My orthopedic doctor treats me in a similar manner. He knows, based on x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, that I have arthritis from head to toe. He knows that surgery is not a good option for me, so he does what he can to alleviate my pain. The scans tell him that the pain is not in my head.

unsolicited medical adviceI know that writing this post and making it prominently available will do little to stop certain readers offering unsolicited medical advice. It is not like I can ban them or anything. As long as I have a widely read blog and make it easy for people to contact me, I am going to receive emails, letters, telephone calls, texts, packages, and personal visits from pretend doctors. That doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t bitch about it. Praise Loki for the power of bitching, amen? Amen!

Let me conclude this post with several excerpts from articles that address the issue of unsolicited medical advice. The first article is titled, Your Unsolicited Health Advice Isn’t Just Irritating. It’s Damaging. Sarah Blahovec writes:

You may be thinking, “These people [people who offer unsolicited medical advice] sound irritating, sure, but why are you making such a big fuss? They’re just trying to help!”

Of course, I get that they’re trying to help, and in some cases, it really is just a pet peeve that I’ll politely accept or decline and move on. But the thing is that constant unsolicited advice, questioning, and imploring to try something different becomes very invalidating. You don’t just hear a helpful tip to try, you hear that you aren’t trying hard enough, that using medication to treat your condition means that you’re giving up or aren’t willing to seek out a non-medicinal alternative. You hear that all of the work that you and your doctors have done, the tests, the procedures, the trial and error of different combinations of medications and treatments aren’t enough, and that you need to try a different path. You hear that if you did give these suggestions a shot in the past, you didn’t try long or hard enough, you weren’t following it correctly, or you bailed and took “the easy way out.”

It is frustrating to constantly hear the message that not only are you not trying hard enough to improve your own health, but that you and your doctors are not the most knowledgeable about your medical and lifestyle needs. A stranger or acquaintance took it upon themselves to say that they know more about your condition from a bit of Googling and a few books than your doctor with their experience and education, and you with your everyday, lived experience of actually having the medical condition. It is emotionally damaging to not only hear that you aren’t living with your disease correctly, but to always have to educate others on why their unsolicited advice is unwanted and harmful. Unfortunately, they usually just they reply that you’re overreacting and become offended that you won’t take their suggestion. This only adds to the emotional pain, and very often, the physical pain of a medical condition that can be triggered by stressful situations.

My message is this: please, please do not give advice when it is not specifically requested. If someone wants information about your lifestyle, your choice, or your product, they will ask you and they will do the research. If you do give advice and somebody says that they aren’t interested or asks you to stop, just respect their wishes. Nobody should be coerced into trying something they don’t want to try, and if you push forward with your advice, not only would they not listen, but they may become stressed, hurt, and invalidated by your inability to respect their wishes.

Trust that disabled and chronically ill people and their medical teams are the most knowledgeable about their own health and their medical and lifestyle needs. Trust that they will seek out you or the proper sources if they’re interested in what you have to offer. And out of respect for disabled and chronically ill people everywhere, please stop forcing your unsolicited advice upon those who don’t want it.

In an article titled, Please Give Me Your Support, Not Unsolicited Medical Advice, Megan Klenke writes:

I would rather spend the rest of my days banging my head against a wall than to continue trying to explain to people that their essential oils and kale will not cure me. OK, I’m being dramatic, but not as much as you might think!

If you’re anything like me, when you first became chronically ill (if you’re reading this as someone who’s sick), you possibly went through a naive stage early on in your illness. The stage where you believed the random person in an elevator who’s known you for two whole minutes who said that snake oil was God’s gift to the ill, or your aunt’s cousin’s brother’s half-sister who swears by this new detox where you only eat eggs for a month and every illness ever will be reversed, or some crap like that.

But seriously, there was a period of time at the beginning of me being sick that I desperately held onto the belief that I had control and would get better, so I tried anything and everything anyone presented to me. The worst was this “joint juice” concoction my dad ordered off an infomercial that tasted worse than words can describe. Yuck.

After awhile, it became something I did out of spite. Eventually there were few things left that I hadn’t tried, but when someone offered me something new, I would try it to prove to them how wrong they were.

When people constantly offer up these things, especially after I’ve spent time telling them my story, it doesn’t come off as helpful. I know, I know. People generally mean well. Sure. I’d like to say I believe that. But there’s condescension there almost always. And disbelief. And disrespect. It’s a smack in the face. It’s basically people saying to me that I just must not be doing enough or else I’d be better.

We as humans don’t like to lose control. We don’t. I certainly don’t. It’s not fun. We try to control every aspect of our lives. We love to plan out how every minute of everyday is meant to be spent and we think we can control that.

But the truth is, we can’t control everything. We cannot always control our bodies and our health. I know it’s scary to realize this, but it’s true. And I think that’s a big reason why one of the most common reactions people have to finding out that I’m chronically ill is to give me advice (that I didn’t ask for) on how to get better (from my incurable diseases). They want to help, but they want even more to keep up the illusion of control in their world. They’d rather believe that it’s essentially my fault that I’m not better because I’m not doing something right, because I don’t have the proper self-control, than to acknowledge the lack of control we have over our lives.

So what all of this unsolicited advice says to me is, “I didn’t listen to anything you just said because I’m scared of facing our lack of control and my mortality. I think you just don’t know what you’re talking about. I know better.”

That’s the truth of it. So the next time you’re thinking about offering up unsolicited advice to someone who’s chronically ill, it’s probably best to just…not.

Thank you for your love, kindness, and support. Many of you have come alongside me and brought understanding and encouragement during difficult times. It is enough for me to know that people care.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Bruce Gerencser