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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 18
    More: Asinine, pink ribbon, breast exams, lymphomas, purrs, breast cancer, cancer support groups  
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6716 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 02:36:48 PM  
3 votes:

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 12:35:34 PM  
3 votes:
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 12:10:09 PM  
3 votes:
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 07:26:23 PM  
2 votes:
James F. Campbell - The lives of the wicked should be made brief.
For the rest of us death will be a relief.


There's a hole in the world like a great black pit,
And it's filled with people who are filled with shiat,
And, its morals aren't worth what a pig could spit,
And it goes by the name of 'Internet'...
2012-11-26 12:54:33 PM  
2 votes:

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 12:20:57 PM  
2 votes:
Steve Jobs had the net worth of entire industrialized nations. You aren't going to make it.
2012-11-27 01:11:57 AM  
1 votes:
Whole lotta assholes up in this thread.
2012-11-26 07:40:57 PM  
1 votes:

orbister: 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.


False dichotomy. You can feel sorry for the guy panhandling outside a gas station, knowing that it's probably partly his fault and partly not, without inviting him into your home. Just like you can feel bad for a klepto family member after outing them, while not letting them near anything valuable.
2012-11-26 03:16:02 PM  
1 votes:
Munchausen by Web Proxy would have been a much better headline.
2012-11-26 02:37:36 PM  
1 votes:

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 02:03:56 PM  
1 votes:
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 01:29:35 PM  
1 votes:

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 12:59:49 PM  
1 votes:
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 12:53:21 PM  
1 votes:
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 12:41:40 PM  
1 votes:
That was a lot of words to say "there are a lot of crazy, lying people on the internet."
2012-11-26 12:40:43 PM  
1 votes:
Munchausen by Internet. Or "how blogging introduced one cancer patient to the internet's swirling den of crazy" LiveJournal.
2012-11-26 12:30:11 PM  
1 votes:
The lives of the wicked should be made brief.
For the rest of us death will be a relief.
2012-11-26 12:12:25 PM  
1 votes:

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


Reckon people are still trying to navigate through that tl;dr madness...
 
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