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Putting health in balance Valley man shares discoveries of MS fight
Snoqualmie resident G. Patrick McIntire spent years looking for answers in his battle with multiple sclerosis.
He’s now put his discoveries into writing, in his first book, “Bouncing Back from Multiple Sclerosis,” meant to help other people find their way to deal with the disease.
McIntire, 58, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990. Before the diagnosis, though, he knew something wasn’t right with his health.
He first had an inkling that something was wrong while he was out on the golf course.
“I couldn’t line the golf club up with the golf ball,” he said. “It just bothered me that I couldn’t play.”
Later on , working in his office, he reached for a pen and noticed that his hand was an inch or so off.
In 1990, he woke up one morning to discover that he was blind. While his eyesight soon returned, McIntire continued to deal with disorienting and confusing symptoms, such as seeing flashing lights.
“I didn’t know what I had,” he said. “All I knew as that I was really sick. I thought I had a brain tumor.”
His doctor had him do an MRI, and McIntire was told that he didn’t have a brain tumor, but instead had multiple sclerosis, or MS.
Multiple sclerosis is an auto-immune disease, in which the body attacks its own nervous system. The disease affects more than 400,000 people in the United States, usually twice as many women as men.
While new — and costly — drugs have been developed in recent years to help people deal with the disease, they didn’t exist when McIntire was diagnosed. He had to learn how to live with the disease.
One way he did that was by turning to Ayurvedic medicine, a discipline that comes from India. McIntire began practicing meditation, and learned to give himself a daily sesame oil massage. He doesn’t eat dairy, and exercises every day, “all in moderation,” McIntire said. “Rather than these big spikes, I try to stay as level as I can.”
McIntire has reached a stable point, where he doesn’t expect the disease to get any worse.
“I am 58 years old, and am happy to be ambulatory and as balanced as I am,” he said. “Balance is the goal, long-term.”
His book’s origins started in those scary days when he didn’t know what was going to happen.
“Because I was in such physical and emotional trauma at that time, I started a diary, just to keep track of the changes I was going through,” he said.
“When you’re in the throes of symptoms, you are scared, you don’t know what to do,” McIntire said.
His book was written to help those who have just been diagnosed with MS find ways to cope.
“I wrote it with the idea of ‘What would I do now?’” McIntire said.
McIntire’s new book condenses seven spiral notebooks into a single chapter, with daily snapshots of his life.
Those daily experiences might help readers find ways to heal or cope.
“To the day, they can start helping themselves,” McIntire said.
His advice for those newly diagnosed with MS is to take control.
“You need to do your homework,” he said. “Start a journal, start writing it down.”
A book signing is planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at Nature’s Marketplace, 125 W. North Bend Way, North Bend.
“Bouncing Back from Multiple Sclerosis” can be purchased at www.booksurge.com or on amazon.com. Contact McIntire by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.