Sit Down Before Reading: A Memoir by Dave Bexfield
October 23, 2022, marks one year since I made the life-altering discovery that I have Lyme disease. After struggling with an incorrect diagnosis of multiple sclerosis for the past 17 years—7 failed disease modifying therapies including a stem cell transplant—the past 12 months have been such a rarity, as hope nudged aside dread and creeping disability. Hope. What a remarkable concept.
But despite my life’s unexpected arc, as you have read, the year still has been beyond challenging. The enormous difficulty of getting an official diagnosis, finding a doctor, and getting appropriate treatment have taken a toll, and that’s before the myriad daily tasks of just surviving with a profound disability, one that now requires a wheelchair, a boatload of aids, and the assistance of a dedicated and uber-patient caregiver (aka, my amazing wife, Laura).
So, on to the reason for this author’s note, as readers anxiously peer over the precipice into the breathtaking conclusion of this tale of tales. Before Sit Down Before Reading steams on with abandon into pivotal Part III and its promised groundbreaking revelations, I am realizing that I need to catch my own breath. Because this medical memoir is being written in near real-time—and we are now pretty much caught up live—there has been little time for R&R for me or my partner/editor/bed sharer, and that person deserves my full attention as a husband.
The last time Laura and I took a vacation, a true vacation, was March of 2020, days before the COVID pandemic would effectively strangle the freedoms of the world, particularly the immune compromised and their families. We had visited Big Bend, a sprawling 800,000-acre national park in the remote hinterlands of West Texas miles and miles away from the nearest two-horse town. Along with a bounty of Mother Nature’s cliffs and canyons of the Chihuahuan Desert, we experienced the richness of art in Marfa, the hotness of salsa in El Paso, and the unfortunate desolateness of accommodations for disabled people.
Treacherous terrain; Big Bend; Prada as art
Instead of another go-go-go retreat with the usual hurdles of traveling with a disability, for our long-awaited first trip in nearly three years we went full pamper (as in doting relaxation, NOT the other MSey undergarment). As you are reading this, we are wrapping up our respite, a brief holiday to the La Jolla edges of San Diego to get our feet wet figuratively and literally. Beach. Waves. And a wheelchair-accessible suite with a roll-in shower that looks out onto said sand and ocean. We’ve barely moved in the last few days, savoring the necessary refresh, the mental reboot. Because in the coming months, the revelations from Sit Down Before Reading portend to upend our lives in ways I cannot begin to predict.
Another thing I cannot predict: the official release date of Part III of my memoir. Each chapter in that seismic section is going to be a meaty read with information that I can confidently say will forever change the landscape of both MS and Lyme disease. At this critical juncture, accuracy is more important than alacrity. After much consideration, due to the gravity of my findings, each chapter of Part III will be released in rapid succession (say Mon, Wed, Fri) instead of weekly, and I hope to begin publishing in late November, early/mid December. In place of our weekly chapters in this space, I instead will issue a series of intriguing challenges to readers. Can you outsmart the researchers in multiple sclerosis and Lyme disease? To aid you in this formidable (but doable) quest, you’ll want to employ moxie and resourcefulness, take advantage of your God-given common sense, and refer to the previously published 22 chapters of Sit Down Before Reading, which contain a trail of ah-ha breadcrumbs if you pay attention to the details.
During this extended pause in preparation for the release of Part III, I also plan to turn the existing chapters of SDBR into a full audiobook/podcast. Not only will this expand the memoir’s reach to people who prefer an audio format, but it also will allow readers who have challenges with reading due to eyesight or cognition issues to join in the fun. Expect the first audio chapters to release sometime in November.
In the meantime, my best advice for readers? Patience. Then buckle up. And hang the hell on.
p.s. Concerned you may be misdiagnosed? Read our FAQ. Also note that while I’ve discovered MS misdiagnoses are rampant, if you’ve been diagnosed with MS, you are still statistically more likely to have the disease than not, despite my alarming findings. Getting proper treatment for the correct diagnosis is paramount to your long-term health.