As someone who suffered badly from Crohn’s Disease as a kid and still deals with the effects today, I find the story of Ari Meisel inspiring. The NYC resident tells Fox News that he found a way to beat the disease, which is considered incurable.
A friend sent me the article and asked what I thought of it. The headline thrilled me: “Curing Crohn’s? Man says he found way to beat incurable disease.” I started reading and got more jazzed as Meisel explained how he radically changed his diet, embraced yoga, weaned himself off his medication and drove all the illness from his body.
Then came this paragraph:
“Although he realizes he fundamentally cannot be ‘cured’ of an incurable disease, he and [Dr. Bart Kummer, his specialist,] can agree he is in remission — for now.”
From the Resources section: Websites for dealing with Crohn’s Disease
The rest of the article is a debate over whether Meisel’s lifestyle changes made the difference or if the medicine he had been on — mercaptopurine, or 6MP — did the trick. Meisel never claims he cured himself. Yet Fox teases the reader with a headline suggesting someone has found a cure.
It’s a misleading headline that’s sure to disappoint those who suffer from Crohn’s Disease today. The article itself is good, and the lessons are important. But it is not about a cure.
I’m not going to rip Fox over it, because I’m an editor who has produced his fair share of dud headlines over the last couple of decades.
As for Meisel’s story, it’s inspiring but not surprising.
When a Crohn’s attack is on full burn, it will make you think you’re on death’s door. In fact, it’ll make you wish you were there. Today’s medications are better than what was available to me in the 1970s and 1980s, but like the Prednisone that drove me to the brink of insanity, drugs like 6MP have horrible side effects, including an increased risk of cancer.
All Crohn’s patients know that diet and exercise are key to keeping the disease in remission. Even then, all bets are off. That Meisel has found solid remission through a strict diet and exercise regimen is admirable but to be expected.
I’m lucky. Though the disease manifests itself in different ways today, I haven’t suffered a crippling attack since 1986. My doctors tell me that’s rare.
I know I’m not cured, though.
Whenever you see an article claiming a cure for this disease, go ahead and read it, because you’re always bound to find useful, actionable information.
But don’t think for a second that it’s going to somehow free you forever.