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(The Stranger)   Munchausen by Internet. Or "how blogging introduced one cancer patient to the internet's swirling den of crazy"   (thestranger.com) divider line 65
    More: Asinine, pink ribbon, breast exams, lymphomas, purrs, breast cancer, cancer support groups  
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6717 clicks; posted to Main » on 26 Nov 2012 at 11:57 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-26 12:06:48 PM  
Poor subby, not a single person is interested in even commenting.
 
2012-11-26 12:10:09 PM  
Lesson 1 on how to survive cancer:

Don't believe what you read on the internet. See an expert. Don't be wooed by commercials and people who use scare language. Run far, far away from people who use words like "natural", "homeopathic", and "they don't want you to know this"

Never, ever, ever, eskew science-based treatment for something you see on a website or read in a book.

Don't waste your money on things like stem cell quackery.
 
2012-11-26 12:12:25 PM  

roblarky: Poor subby, not a single person is interested in even commenting.


Reckon people are still trying to navigate through that tl;dr madness...
 
2012-11-26 12:13:47 PM  
I stopped at the part about the goodbye letter to the breasts. Thats enough o' the crazy right there
 
2012-11-26 12:20:57 PM  
Steve Jobs had the net worth of entire industrialized nations. You aren't going to make it.
 
2012-11-26 12:22:39 PM  

cleveralthere: I stopped at the part about the goodbye letter to the breasts. Thats enough o' the crazy right there


I'm willing to give her pretty wide latitude if she's getting a major, physically definable body part cut out. If she's doing that to her appendix or tonsils, something that no one really gives a shiat about, then yes, she cray cray.

BronyMedic: Lesson 1 on how to survive cancer:

Don't waste your money on things like stem cell quackery.


Out of curiosity, why? It seems like every 6 months or so I'm hearing about some new breakthrough in stem cell therapy, growing organs, stuff like that. Is it because the science hasn't matured to the point of human consumption?
 
2012-11-26 12:24:49 PM  

spentmiles: Steve Jobs had the net worth of entire industrialized nations. You aren't going to make it.


That should be on a demotivational poster. It's the truth, but damn that's harsh. :)
 
2012-11-26 12:28:59 PM  

cleveralthere: I stopped at the part about the goodbye letter to the breasts. Thats enough o' the crazy right there


Oh, no. SHE'S not the crazy one in this tale. She hadn't even arrived in Crazytown yet.
 
2012-11-26 12:29:17 PM  

Comic Book Guy: Out of curiosity, why? It seems like every 6 months or so I'm hearing about some new breakthrough in stem cell therapy, growing organs, stuff like that. Is it because the science hasn't matured to the point of human consumption?


Partly, yes. The other problem is that whenever any new medical technology comes out, so do the quacks, and for a while it can be almost impossible to tell the good from the bad.
 
2012-11-26 12:30:11 PM  
The lives of the wicked should be made brief.
For the rest of us death will be a relief.
 
2012-11-26 12:32:06 PM  
Steve Jobs also avoided traditional therapy for alternative therapy for a number of months. Given his specific diagnosis, he'd likely still be alive if he stuck with the traditional stuff.
 
2012-11-26 12:33:07 PM  

Comic Book Guy: cleveralthere: I stopped at the part about the goodbye letter to the breasts. Thats enough o' the crazy right there

I'm willing to give her pretty wide latitude if she's getting a major, physically definable body part cut out. If she's doing that to her appendix or tonsils, something that no one really gives a shiat about, then yes, she cray cray.

BronyMedic: Lesson 1 on how to survive cancer:

Don't waste your money on things like stem cell quackery.

Out of curiosity, why? It seems like every 6 months or so I'm hearing about some new breakthrough in stem cell therapy, growing organs, stuff like that. Is it because the science hasn't matured to the point of human consumption?


'The first 90% of an endeavor takes the first 90% of the time. The other 10% takes the other 90%.'

In medicine's case, there's animal trials, patent processing, etc. befote you even START human testing, final FDA approval, etc.

It can be several years between having something in a lab and seeing it in hospitals, and that's even if it actually works outside the lab, and works how the researchers think it does and not an artifact of the lab equipment.
 
2012-11-26 12:35:34 PM  
cleveralthere:
I stopped at the part about the goodbye letter to the breasts. Thats enough o' the crazy right there

Have a doctor tell you your nuts need to removed and then get back to us about "crazy" cancer patients and their coping strategies.
 
2012-11-26 12:37:10 PM  

No Such Agency: cleveralthere:
I stopped at the part about the goodbye letter to the breasts. Thats enough o' the crazy right there

Have a doctor tell you your nuts need to removed and then get back to us about "crazy" cancer patients and their coping strategies.


No doubt.
 
2012-11-26 12:40:43 PM  
Munchausen by Internet. Or "how blogging introduced one cancer patient to the internet's swirling den of crazy" LiveJournal.
 
2012-11-26 12:41:40 PM  
That was a lot of words to say "there are a lot of crazy, lying people on the internet."
 
2012-11-26 12:46:12 PM  
This schmucky feeling is a byproduct of the internet.

As a pre-internet schmuck, I'm getting a kick...
 
2012-11-26 12:49:56 PM  
Celain:
Steve Jobs also avoided traditional therapy for alternative therapy for a number of months. Given his specific diagnosis, he'd likely still be alive if he stuck with the traditional stuff.

Likely.
.. it WAS pancreatic cancer, the disease where surgery to remove half your abdominal organs is the GOOD option :/ 

Seriously, f*ck cancer. I know it's a near-inevitable result of animals evolving multicellularity, but f*ck it :(
 
2012-11-26 12:50:27 PM  

Comic Book Guy: Out of curiosity, why? It seems like every 6 months or so I'm hearing about some new breakthrough in stem cell therapy, growing organs, stuff like that. Is it because the science hasn't matured to the point of human consumption?


There are certain things Stem Cells have matured for and are in active use for treatment by legitimate institutions.

There are other things which they are in an experimental phase for. The key thing here is that those research programs won't ask you to spend thousands of dollars to recieve treatment if you are selected for them.

Then, you have the quacks who sell stem cells as a cure for every kind of cancer imaginable.

These are people who bilk thousands out of despirate and gullable cancer patients, and who often encourage them to go overseas because what they do is illegal in the United States thanks to laws on human experimentation and anti-quackery laws. They will then implant, or inject, material they claim to be stem cells into these patients.

Actual "Stem cells" can cause other cancers if improperly used like this. In fact, it's one of the big risks of actually using stem cells.

Many times, however, you're not getting pluripotent or undifferentiated stem cells. You're getting either animal biological material, or inert placebos.
 
2012-11-26 12:51:05 PM  
"I have always found a modicum of snuff to be most efficacious..."

bananaoilmovies.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-11-26 12:51:06 PM  

cleveralthere: I stopped at the part about the goodbye letter to the breasts. Thats enough o' the crazy right there


That's not crazy; that's just a coping mechanism for a sucky situation. Lots of people do that sort of thing. You stopped reading well before getting to the real crazy.
 
2012-11-26 12:51:36 PM  
Most of my friends who've been seriously ill have confined their internet activity to venues where access can be controlled. The problem a lot of naive internet users have is that they want their stories to be open to the public.

I think the big mistake this woman made was to get so emotionally invested in someone that she gave her contact information. It's always a good idea to keep a distance from strangers on the internet until you've exchanged a lot of information with them. There is a point where the storyline breaks down (or not), given by the examples in the article.
 
2012-11-26 12:53:21 PM  
I don't know if anyone who has been on the internet and involved with online communities would really find this surprising at all. I don't know if I've ever read a reasonably large thread on any active board that didn't have at least one poster who was lying.
 
2012-11-26 12:54:33 PM  

cleveralthere: I stopped at the part about the goodbye letter to the breasts. Thats enough o' the crazy right there


You shouldn't have stopped there. You should, however, hope that saying goodbye to parts of your body that are going to be sliced off in an effort to save your life always remains a wacky, incomprehensible idea to you.
 
2012-11-26 12:59:49 PM  
As someone, much like many farkers, who has been on the internet pretty much my whole life, I can't say I'm shocked by any of this.

It is definitely sad and thoroughly depressing, but from reading this I was made angrier that it's being pushed as a diagnosable disorder. I know that's probably shallow, I'm sure there's some people out there with a sickness... but actually giving them a quantifiable illness is, just seems bizarre. If you claim to have Munchhausen by Internet.... does that mean you have it, or that you don't have it?

One possible bright side is this:

There is probably nothing as thrilling, fantastical, or bizarre as an online support group for Munchhausen by Internet - just imagine the sheer oneupsmanship that would entail. "Yeah, I'm dealing with this disease which is basically me just being a douche, and I'm doing it... AFTER NINJAS KILLED MY FAMILY!"

Maybe I'm alone in thinking how impossibly funny and simultaneously sad that mental image is...

For a CSB moment, a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer and I was brought into the loop early. I was, at the time, able to drop everything and basically help him out. Ironically it was right around the time 50/50 came out, though his initial prognosis was far less than that... there's very little heroic drama in helping someone navigate almost infinite levels of health insurance bureaucracy, and just trying to find the right group of physicians to treat an illness. There were definitely some funny or touching moments while I was down there, but my friend is a writer and playwright - if he wants to use that, he's more than welcome to, I have no such interest.

I guess the point is this, the reason people care about Munchhausen by Proxy is that it puts someone ELSE at risk, usually children. And while the article may be cavalier about saying that 1 in 5000 is low - and seriously, someone needs to discuss rates of say... any other crime with them to understand how insanely high 1 in 5000 is - that's a lot of children at risk. Where as if someone is doing all of this to themselves, well... f**k em.

As others have pointed on, on just these comments, there's no shortage of trolls and douchebags on the internet ready to use anonymity for their own gains. But this is no different than general grafting... I hate to put the onus on people running around the internet as a support group to help them... but I'd also be incredulous about alcoholics going to bars for advice. The internet is a shiatty place to get good or normal advice - the signal to noise ratio is just outlandish - and if you're in a vulnerable state to begin with... well, I can understand why she stopped blogging in the end entirely.

The internet - fantastic place for reference, news, and countless other things... but emotional support? Walls typically have more empathy, and they don't spew random racial epithets if you tell them something.


/Just a perspective...
 
2012-11-26 01:06:40 PM  
Or "how blogging introduced one cancer patient to the internet's swirling den of crazy"

Huh. I wonder how he happened upon the FARK Politics tab...
 
2012-11-26 01:11:24 PM  
There's simply no excuse for repeatedly, deliberately causing harm to other people. And I absolutely think she's capable of doing it again.

~shudder~
 
2012-11-26 01:22:00 PM  

spentmiles: Steve Jobs had the net worth of entire industrialized nations. You aren't going to make it.


Exactly. Or think about the Cleopatra, the Empress of the Nile. She was possibly one of the richest people in the history of the world, with the wealth of an entire nation at her disposal.

And yet today, she's dead.

Imagine that. All the best doctors in the world, unlimited money, and unspeakable power, and yet she still died. It's chilling. I hope the same thing doesn't happen to me.
 
2012-11-26 01:29:35 PM  

The Larch: spentmiles: Steve Jobs had the net worth of entire industrialized nations. You aren't going to make it.

Exactly. Or think about the Cleopatra, the Empress of the Nile. She was possibly one of the richest people in the history of the world, with the wealth of an entire nation at her disposal.

And yet today, she's dead.

Imagine that. All the best doctors in the world, unlimited money, and unspeakable power, and yet she still died. It's chilling. I hope the same thing doesn't happen to me.


I wouldn't worry about it. It's statistically unlikely you'll amass that much wealth or power.
 
2012-11-26 01:31:39 PM  
Back in the very early days of the Internet (1994 and 1995), I met a woman online while using a university account that I "borrowed". She was a college student. I was fourteen, she was eighteen. We talked, a lot. I was too young to realize it quickly, but I eventually figured out that basically everything she said was a lie. She said she got pregnant. She said her friend committed suicide. She said had cancer. She said all these things bizarre things that had her life be dramatic and crazy. Her boyfriend beat her. She was raped.

Even as young as I was, I figured that things were "too dramatic". I eventually just stopped talking to her. She tracked me down about a year later claiming she had joined the Navy (while still being treated for cancer). I stopped responding to her then too, having only responded because she claimed her mother had died (who knows if she actually had).

Years later I was hanging out on IRC and a woman started talking to me basically out of the blue, and we hit it off. It took me a couple of weeks of talking to her off and on to realize it was this same woman, using a different name and changing details of her past to try and talk to me.

In other words, crazy. So yeah, people who want to be drama queens love the Internet.
 
2012-11-26 01:32:25 PM  
ProfessorOhki:
I wouldn't worry about it. It's statistically unlikely you'll amass that much wealth or power.

It's true, he's much more likely to die in a pile of his own feces and unpaid phone bills.
 
2012-11-26 01:49:04 PM  
Tons of people lie about themselves to get attention and to hurt people. The only thing different about the people in the article is that it happens over the Internet.
 
2012-11-26 01:54:35 PM  
What a horrible story. As I sit here in my hospital bed, after my third nipplectomy (the result of contracting John Hodgeman's Lymphoma, after being bitten by a rabid Armadillo in the Outback in August of 2009), I can't help but wonder by someone would make up such vile lies.

While I can understand the need for attention (growing up, my mother paid far more attention to her pet rutabaga than to me), surely there are better ways to go about seeking it. Why not win a spelling bee, or grow a potato shaped like Tim Conway Obama Jesus? That way, you'd have your attention, yet wouldn't be taking sympathy from people such as myself, who are dying even as we speak.

I ask, not for myself, as my doctor has given me only another 4 seconds or so to live, but rather for all the other
 
2012-11-26 02:03:56 PM  
Just to sum up:

If you have a horrible physical disease you're deserving of all the sympathy the world has to offer. If you have a mental disorder that causes you to spin horrible lies that destroy any chance of having a personal relationship or a stable life you're a troll deserving to be exposed and shunned.
 
2012-11-26 02:05:49 PM  
one word: sociopath

we don't need another mental disorder for this. At most they could add to the possible symptoms of munchausen's "... or online" or something like that.
 
2012-11-26 02:06:01 PM  
This happens everywhere. I've been a member of a particular forum for 10 years and we've had three or four really really GOOD trolls. One in particular - five kids, bad husband, stories of beatings and abuse - it escalates slowly and almost organically - as if they have the whole thing planned out in advance to roll out in stages for the most impact. It got to where this group (mostly well-educated women in their thirties and forties) was organizing a gift shower for money and gifts after the crazy ex set fire to the woman's home and they "lost everything". Until some suspicious people started doing some fact-checking. She was outed as a complete fake and the community really suffered for it for quite some time.
 
2012-11-26 02:34:48 PM  
Just think if she'd wandered into the FARK Politcs tab..... THAT'S a swirling den of crazy
 
2012-11-26 02:36:48 PM  

Shostie: cleveralthere: I stopped at the part about the goodbye letter to the breasts. Thats enough o' the crazy right there

Oh, no. SHE'S not the crazy one in this tale. She hadn't even arrived in Crazytown yet.


TL;DR version:

1 - Valerie gets diagnosed with cancer, joins a support group, starts a blog.

2 - Valerie meets Beth online. Turns out Beth is a fake, so she cuts off all contact with her. Beth goes ballistic and keeps begging for attention. Valerie ignores her.

3 - Valerie meets Jen online. Jen claims to be a cancer-ridden orphan who was adopted by one of her professors, etc etc. She's fake, too. This time Valerie is outraged, outs Jen, and decides to delete her blog and take a break from the internet.

4 - Vindictive Jen fights back, by calling Valerie a faker (since she "disappeared from the internet").

5 - Valerie tries to get her reputation back, and is only semi-successful in doing so. In the meantime, a Nasty Troll shows up on her blog who "only wants to watch her die." Valerie ignores her.

6 - Valerie meets Alex online, and for some reason, befriends her as well. (You can see where this is going.) Alex takes it to another level by deceiving not only Valerie, but all of her real life friends.

7 - Valerie, understandably, bails on Alex.

8 - Anonymous Concern Troll emails Valerie to tell her that Alex is pregnant and she's "concerned about the baby's safety."

9 - Valerie does some investigating. Concern Troll and Nasty Troll both turn out to be Beth (yes, that Beth.)
 
2012-11-26 02:37:36 PM  

CheekyMonkey: What a horrible story. As I sit here in my hospital bed, after my third nipplectomy (the result of contracting John Hodgeman's Lymphoma, after being bitten by a rabid Armadillo in the Outback in August of 2009)


You think that's bad? I had John Hodgeman's, Johns Hopkins and John Houseman's at the same time. Thank god I found someone to help me get my money out of Nigeria to pay for the operation...
 
2012-11-26 03:10:55 PM  

Commander Cyclops: CheekyMonkey: What a horrible story. As I sit here in my hospital bed, after my third nipplectomy (the result of contracting John Hodgeman's Lymphoma, after being bitten by a rabid Armadillo in the Outback in August of 2009)

You think that's bad? I had John Hodgeman's, Johns Hopkins and John Houseman's at the same time. Thank god I found someone to help me get my money out of Nigeria to pay for the operation...


Thank god you avoided non-John Hancock's. I had a mild case of Jon Hamm once. It was not so bad. Kind of nice, actually.
 
2012-11-26 03:16:02 PM  
Munchausen by Web Proxy would have been a much better headline.
 
2012-11-26 03:26:48 PM  

dramboxf: Munchausen by Web Proxy would have been a much better headline.


There are seven different subcategorizations of that particular illness.
 
2012-11-26 03:35:49 PM  

Researcher: As someone, much like many farkers, who has been on the internet pretty much my whole life, I can't say I'm shocked by any of this.

[deleted]

I guess the point is this, the reason people care about Munchhausen by Proxy is that it puts someone ELSE at risk, usually children. And while the article may be cavalier about saying that 1 in 5000 is low - and seriously, someone needs to discuss rates of say... any other crime with them to understand how insanely high 1 in 5000 is - that's a ...


You have to look at these "need a crane to get out of bed" stories and wonder how much of that is Munchhausen by Proxy. At some point you can no longer lumber over to the fridge. And if that condition, how many others once the initial condition leaves the victim dependent?
 
2012-11-26 04:10:23 PM  

The Larch: Exactly. Or think about the Cleopatra, the Empress of the Nile. She was possibly one of the richest people in the history of the world, with the wealth of an entire nation at her disposal.

And yet today, she's dead.


Worse... she died and then got reincarnated into thousands of New Agey women. It's bad enough to die, but to die then get chopped up and recycled?
 
2012-11-26 04:11:34 PM  

Contents Under Pressure: I think the big mistake this woman made was to get so emotionally invested in someone a succession of people that she gave her contact information.


FTFY
 
2012-11-26 04:19:11 PM  

latent_ravening_ferocity: Just to sum up:

If you have a horrible physical disease you're deserving of all the sympathy the world has to offer. If you have a mental disorder that causes you to spin horrible lies that destroy any chance of having a personal relationship or a stable life you're a troll deserving to be exposed and shunned.


Just to sum up:

If you lie, cheat, defraud, mislead and abuse you're a troll deserving to be exposed and shunned. If you do all that but can induce a psychologist to diagnose something pulled out the arse of DSM, you're deserving of all the sympathy the world has to offer.
 
2012-11-26 04:40:55 PM  
img.photobucket.com
 
2012-11-26 04:43:21 PM  
So would it be meta- Munchausen's if that whole article was fake? Trolling people with fake stories of trolls?
 
2012-11-26 04:58:31 PM  

Veritas333: So would it be meta- Munchausen's if that whole article was fake? Trolling people with fake stories of trolls?


Only if people bit. The average netizen truly doesn't give a fark about such a farktarded story as this. "Oh watch out, anonymous people might not be telling the truth." fark this writer, fark her cancer, fark her crybaby shiat. My mother has been dying of cancer for 8 years, at least she doesn't cry about it.
 
2012-11-26 05:01:16 PM  

Researcher: As someone, much like many farkers, who has been on the internet pretty much my whole life, I can't say I'm shocked by any of this.

It is definitely sad and thoroughly depressing, but from reading this I was made angrier that it's being pushed as a diagnosable disorder. I know that's probably shallow, I'm sure there's some people out there with a sickness... but actually giving them a quantifiable illness is, just seems bizarre. If you claim to have Munchhausen by Internet.... does that mean you have it, or that you don't have it?

One possible bright side is this:

There is probably nothing as thrilling, fantastical, or bizarre as an online support group for Munchhausen by Internet - just imagine the sheer oneupsmanship that would entail. "Yeah, I'm dealing with this disease which is basically me just being a douche, and I'm doing it... AFTER NINJAS KILLED MY FAMILY!"

Maybe I'm alone in thinking how impossibly funny and simultaneously sad that mental image is...

For a CSB moment, a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer and I was brought into the loop early. I was, at the time, able to drop everything and basically help him out. Ironically it was right around the time 50/50 came out, though his initial prognosis was far less than that... there's very little heroic drama in helping someone navigate almost infinite levels of health insurance bureaucracy, and just trying to find the right group of physicians to treat an illness. There were definitely some funny or touching moments while I was down there, but my friend is a writer and playwright - if he wants to use that, he's more than welcome to, I have no such interest.

I guess the point is this, the reason people care about Munchhausen by Proxy is that it puts someone ELSE at risk, usually children. And while the article may be cavalier about saying that 1 in 5000 is low - and seriously, someone needs to discuss rates of say... any other crime with them to understand how insanely high 1 in 5000 is - that's a ...


Don't be angry that it's being pushed as a diagnosable disorder. Narcissism and psychopathy are diagnosable disorders, which, as the article states, are the two deviant personality types Munchausen most resembles.
 
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