“Your disease course is so rampant, if you don’t start taking these drugs now, you’ll be wheelchair-bound within five years.”
From that decidedly impartial neurologist’s words to the stark, outdated exam room and the hellaciously typical Chicago parking fiasco that directly preceded this moment, I remember the day down to every last, painful detail.
Sitting across from this emotionless man deciding my fate with flippant disregard for my emotional state, I was only partially able to dial into the two letters that would then pass his lips:
I had M.S.
Oh, and of course, not just your normal garden variety of the disease. The most severe and immediately debilitating form: Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. He had decided, from the looks of my MRI with a lesion load in the hundreds, the odds were not so much in my favor.
“So, let’s get you going now—I’ll have my nurse come in with your prescriptions momentarily. In the meantime, you might want to check with your insurance. These are expensive drugs—some run upwards of $50,000 a year.”
Should I have immediately jumped at the opportunity to save myself from this fate, tossing all financial prudence and caution to the wind and do anything, anything, to stave off the inevitable?
Not. At. All.
“No thanks, but thanks for your info—I’m going to do some research first.”
Interestingly enough, this was the first inkling of emotion he displayed. It wasn’t concern. It was downright anger.
In sum, the sendoff went something like this:
Him: “I don’t understand your point. The longer you wait, the worse this is going to get. I can get you hooked up with a pharmaceutical rep if it’s a money thing.”
Me: “No, I just want to research my options first.”
Him: “That’s fine, but don’t bother coming back here an expert in MS because you read some Internet sites—in fact, I won’t see you if you don’t follow the treatment course I am recommending.”
Me: “In that case, have a great life!”
That’s when something clicked that would prove to usher in the single most intense and horrific but also educational and awakening period of my life to date.
Even then, when dealing with the reality of this life sentence, I knew there was something very different about the journey on which I was about to embark. And by different, I don’t mean it in that pacifying sense of the word often applied to situations with terrible outcomes over which people have no control.
Little did I know just how very different my experience would be…
When Good Health KC Magazine approached me about being a Good Health blog expert, I knew immediately my answer. With the voluminosity of information I have amassed throughout this now decade-plus journey, it eventually had to be put out there somewhere.
I’ve wanted nothing more than a platform from which to share with whoever wants to read it everything I’ve learned about leading a healthy lifestyle—without overwhelming my body with inorganic chemicals that often do little more than cause a requisite for yet another drug. And then another…
Because I’m already long and far over my word count for this inaugural post, I’ll save the diagnosis for next time, but here’s a hint: I’m still bi-pedal.
Until then, prepare to open your mind to ways of thinking you might have never before considered, mostly because it digresses from the orthodox medicine model to which we’ve all so readily subscribed. There’s just so much more to health, and I can think of nothing more exhilarating than the prospect of sharing it with you.
In Good Health,
Alicia McGarry’s journalistic endeavors began at The Chicago Tribune before her passion for all things Kansas City called her back to her roots. She has written for KC Magazine, The Kansas City Star and LakehomesKC and offers her unique perspective on holistic wellness each month for the readers of Good Health KC.