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Chapter 36: Author's Note

Updated: Jan 24

Dave in front of a locked door at Meow Wolf in Denver

The readers of Sit Down Before Reading—a real-time medical memoir about tragic misdiagnoses and the horrors of Lyme disease—are an astute bunch. When I boldly stated that I hoped to have the conclusion released this past summer, they apprehensively nodded. When I pushed that back to fall, they nodded again, just as apprehensively. But one confidant, a doctor whose advice has been invaluable over many of the 17 years of my own multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis, stopped nodding and told me what was going to happen.

“First, everything takes longer than you think,” said Kristin, taking on the role of Nostradamus. “And second, if you don't get it done by Labor Day, it won't be finished until next year.” Between Labor Day, the demands of Thanksgiving, and the bedlam of Christmas and New Years, she stated her prediction with the confidence of a boxer in a fixed fight: “You’ll finish the book right after that.”

So, we now have a date to scrawl on calendars, set alerts for on our phones, and commit to memory: Wednesday January 24, 2024, 1/24/24. That’s the day that the conclusion of Sit Down Before Reading, the epic known as Chapter 36, is scheduled to begin releasing to the public. This final chapter, The Bexfield Twist, is broken into many parts, each the length of a typical chapter. Initially, each section will publish Wednesdays—the revelations will start at a manageable simmer—but as the medical memoir gets deeper into discovery, the release of these parts may accelerate. Please keep an eye out for those publication dates.

When I last left readers on that day in late May of 2023, I promised a twist that would “revise the understanding of disease, dividing medical history into two—everything before the pages you are about to read, and everything after.”

That time is nearly upon us.

What to Expect

The “twist” is technically multiple twists, and they far transcend multiple sclerosis. One of two things is going to happen. Mysteries that have confounded physicians for years will be solved, answers to today’s most pressing health issues will tumble into your lap, and everything you think you know about chronic illness and disease will be thrown into chaos. Or a rando dude from Albuquerque is going to redefine what it is to be a horse’s ass. Now, before any of you start prepping equine butt memes, insisting there's NO WAY a layperson with zero medical degrees could make such a discovery, I would argue the opposite—that only a layperson could make such a discovery, wholly divorced from echo chambers, built-in biases, and the insistences of “it's the way it's always been done.” I don't hear those echoes, I don’t have those biases, I don't know those ways.

How to Prepare

You really can’t, sorry. But it may help to reread SDBR or, even better, listen to the audio version. Pay close attention and take notes. Does anything sound off, a stretch, in my analysis? Write those down, then revisit those question marks later to see if I’ve plugged those holes. With this being a near-live memoir, some of my hypotheses have evolved as new evidence has surfaced. To illustrate the evolution of this thinking, I’ve left earlier parts of Chapter 36 largely unrevised so that you can better see how I went from Theory A to B, before finally landing on C. I’ll provide other helpful instructions in the memoir itself, which I hope you will follow when the time is right.

Exercise Patience

I know, I know, you’ve already been exercising your patience muscles for some time now when it comes to this opus of mine. They’re undoubtedly pretty darn buff at this point. But this level of patience is different. When I peer into my crystal ball, what comes next is unclear. If I spike it with an extra heavy dose of skepticism and uncertainty, sure, the world may shrug, and pages may refresh without issue. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the exact opposite happens and, as word spreads, this website gets busy, then busier still, preventing pages from loading. I am trying to prepare for that contingency. Regardless, audio versions on YouTube, Spotify, and Soundcloud should be available.

Anything Else?

I had originally recommended to some readers that they have their complete medical records on hand along with recent and past blood work, lumbar puncture results, and MRI findings. I now believe that while that information will be helpful and provide extra insight, most of it is not essential at this stage. Other than perhaps tentatively scheduling a late Spring 2024 appointment with your primary care physician and/or specialist, there’s not much else you can do. Just make sure you follow the advice of my memoir’s title: sit down before reading (or listening). Lastly, be prepared to experience an unholy level of disbelief—the kind that initially stuns you, leading you to vigorously protest my findings—before it sinks in that I just might be on to something, and you start screaming into pillows.

Life for Laura and me has been anything but normal these past two years. It’s been unbelievably trying on both of us as we scramble for smidges of normalcy. We often travel on our birthday week—dates long infamous in history (she’s Hiroshima, I’m Nagasaki)—and this past August we embarked on a “normal” road trip, sashaying through Denver as anonymous husband and wife smitten with life despite its myriad challenges. It was like old times.

I read aloud the short stories of George Saunders as we drove, cringing at the cringeworthy parts. We saw in concert our favorite band from our snowboard years, Yellowcard, making new friends in the process (hi, Rachel with psoriatic arthritis!). The arresting abstract art and life of Clyfford Still grabbed us in unexpected ways as we explored downtown art museums. We even got a taste of home from the interactive funkfest known as Meow Wolf, which saw its beginnings in Santa Fe. Family, friends, and hugs rounded out our vacation: a first visit to my sister Kathryn’s home in Fort Collins, a first visit to my dad’s apartment a short walk away, a long-overdue visit to see my college roommate, Kin.

Dave in front of a Clyfford Still painting in Denver, Colorado
Captivated by the impressive works of artist Clyfford Still

A year ago, sitting on the beach in San Diego taking in the Pacific’s breezes and the carefree smiles of my wife, I remember worrying quietly to myself about our future, about how “the revelations from Sit Down Before Reading portend to upend our lives in ways I cannot begin to predict.” Those concerns are becoming more acute with each passing day. Know that I am still Dave, still a goof, still a purveyor of questionable jokes, and still deeply in love. But I also mighta discovered something kinda big. I certainly didn’t intend, much less plan, for that to happen—I really just wanted someone, anyone, to believe me when I determined that I had Lyme disease and not MS—but the science I followed, and kept following, insisted on big things. And psst, one more thing.

It’s okay to believe. There’s hope. Real, tangible hope.

Hope. That’s a powerful word for someone living, surviving, with a chronic illness. But if I am right, countless lives are going to be reimagined in the coming pages, as I jab into all your hearts an unmistakable, desperately needed injection of hope. If you are thinking of that scene in Pulp Fiction with Uma Thurman and John Travolta, good. It’s going to be something like that.

I’m beyond thankful that I’ve got Laura snugged up on my hip—and all of you in the increasingly crowded passenger seat—as we open this final door and careen into the conclusion of this grand adventure, this tale of tales. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dave's signature

Dave Bexfield


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