Day 31 of FREE to be YOUng: Is Disability and Death Lurking in the Small Print?

For me surviving as a Super-Ager has depended on reading the small print warnings on prescription indications. I nearly caused myself a lifetime in a wheelchair by not reading the small print.  I learned the hard way:

Twelve years ago my borderline cholesterol test results disturbed my doctor. He prescribed a statin drug. I bravely continued taking it after the first wave of nausea passed. He had warned me that this might happen.

I had just started to build my current business, Piano On The Run. Two days a week I taught piano part time at a Music Conservatory after work. It is located on the second floor of a small commercial building. The staircase has 40 grueling steps. It became harder and harder for me to climb the stairs. I could barely make it and was in pain. After a few weeks I went back to my doctor and said, “I think I’m ready for the hip replacement, my arthritis is worse.”

He said, “That’s not possible. Your arthritis could not have gotten that bad in such a short time. What drugs are you taking?” He saw the name of the statin on his computer screen and quickly said, “That statin is weakening your tendons. Stop immediately! Throw the remainder away!”

Obviously, I was relieved to know what was happening. When I went home, I read and reread and shockingly reread (a very good policy when taking any prescription drug) the warnings. They were drastic for me. The doctor didn’t mention that that particular statin for people with my reaction could cause a lifetime disability. Yes, if I had continued I could have been crippled—in a wheelchair for life! After stopping that statin and using a cleansing diet, it still took five weeks for my tendons to recover. The hip replacement came two years later!

In less than a week, the next statin he prescribed caused a feeling of a wire brush scraping through my intestines.  I stopped it instantly after realizing it wasn’t something I ate! That reaction by the way was not written in the warnings and seemed particular to me.

So, I refuse the offers of statins to control my cholesterol results. I eat a lot of fiber: nuts, seeds, greens. I still drink delicious French press coffee. I do give in and put half a filter under the press to remove some of the oil.  When I do not use the half filter my cholesterol goes into a beware zone. I do Tai Chi and Classical Stretch and am attempting to convince myself to do weight lifting. All of that is working. I’m not poisoned and my cholesterol has stayed constant for twelve years!

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