“Perhaps there is no false hope, but only hope.” ~ Barack Obama
The subject line caught my eye. They had me at the word cure. So I opened the e-mail. The first line said, “This message contains information about an experimental therapy the government doesn’t want you to know about.”
So I examined a few paragraphs and was directed to hit a link that would lead me to more data.
I didn’t do it. But I can’t help but feel silly for entertaining the thought of following the link. I should know by now, miracles don’t come in spam emails.
Lately I seem to be getting a large amount of these types of messages. Last week I received a social media advertisement promoting a nutritional regime cure-all. For some reason I took the bait. I followed the link to a website that informed me I was consuming the wrong types of foods. The site began highlighting the benefits of eating large amounts of broccoli, spinach and other leafy greens. This unique food combining technique was advertised as a cure for cancer, multiple sclerosis and other afflictions.
It was so condescending and essentially blamed me for making myself sick. It then offered a remedy that could only be obtained by purchasing a book containing a rigid meal plan.
I know these types of magic potion treatments have no scientific evidence to back their claims. They are simply manipulations that exploit our vulnerabilities. A promised miracle when there is no known cure. And just like most schemes, they are based on false hope.
Nevertheless, I find myself wanting to believe the testimonies and personal stories I receive in my email. I still sometimes glance at articles explaining the benefits of various experimental therapies that reverse symptoms. And I can’t help but be amazed by the before and after pictures posted on social media.
I think I’m a pretty smart person. I understand my circumstance is out of my control. No amount of broccoli can make me well again. And because there is no known cure, the best I can do is work with my healthcare team to manage disease activity, ease exacerbations and perhaps slow progression.
I know hope is not a strategy. But no matter how skeptical, doubtful and cynical I am, for some reason, I keep falling for their nonsense. Hitting every link that promises me a cure. I can’t stop myself from looking. It’s just so tempting.
I keep thinking, “Maybe. Just maybe. This is the answer I’ve been looking for.”
But it always turns out to be a lie. That’s why I have to make sure I can recognize the difference between “false hope” and “real hope.” So my curiosity doesn’t have me believing in treatments based on wishful dreams and baseless information.
False Hope— Combining a hopeful outlook with a distorted reality. An unshakable faith your problem will be solved with no need to know any more information.
Real Hope— Combining a hopeful outlook with an accurate reality. To fully understand the difficulties and know you can prevail in the end. To be encouraged, despite the hard challenges that lie ahead.