Bob Cafaro was enjoying a successful career as a professional cellist with the Philadelphia Orchestra when he was struck with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in December, 1998. After some serious denial and three increasingly nasty attacks, he was forced to confront the reality and severity of his diagnosis.
With Bob's eyesight worsening to the point of blindness and his hands unable to control the cello, it was only natural for his doctor to write him a note for permanent disability. And slip him a script for an antidepressant to help him cope with the loss of his profession, his livelihood, his passion, and his independent existence.
Bob pocketed but never filled the prescription for Prozac, and told the doctor to shove the disability letter up his – well, to use it as a suppository. And proclaimed that he'd be back in the orchestra in six weeks. And that he was going to beat MS.
Against all odds, Bob began a 24/7 (actually, he calls it a “25/8”) regimen to overcome the disease. In 2013, after being symptom free for a decade, he submitted to MRIs that confirmed that all 53 brain lesions and several spinal lesions were gone.
Completely. Fully. Entirely.
Bob was so free from MS, many started doubting the original diagnosis (which had been confirmed by five separate neurologists via symptoms and MRIs).
In 2015, Bob published his story in a book titled When the Music Stopped: My Battle and Victory Against MS. My friend Dominic Marro emailed me a review he had written about the book, and I contacted Bob and asked if he would share his story on the podcast.
He agreed, and we had a conversation that still has me vibrating with inspiration (and makes me wish I could play the cello ;).
In our Skype conversation, which we recorded in video as well as audio, we covered:
- Bob's early symptoms of MS
- his initial hopeful prognosis of “a very manageable disease”
- researching MS treatments on a 21-inch monitor with enlarged font so he could read the words
- discovering and implementing Dr. Batmanghelidj's Water Cure (and learning how to hold 64 ounces of water in his bladder during the first 75 minutes of orchestra practice
- the impact of losing the use of his hands and eyes
- how Bob started exercising relentlessly when advised against it, and why
- lifestyle lessons from Japan and Okinawa, where MS rates are much lower than in the US
- discovering the placebo effect (“why do 18% of men in the placebo group in the Rogaine trials start regrowing their hair?”) and using it to his advantage
- lessons from yoga
- Bob's panoply of inspirational examples, including some unlikely characters
- growing stronger through adversity (beatings, asthma, tendonitis, and eventually MS)
- using conventional drug treatments in addition to the “alternative” measures
- “finding the 3am weakness” of MS, and other advice from the US Army Survival Manual
- meeting the hero of Alive and inspiring him right back
- his daily rituals these days (“I don't even know if my TV works”)
- and much more…
Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.
BobCafaro.com (for more from Bob and to get a signed copy of When the Music Stopped
When the Music Stopped digital download on amazon.com
Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, by Piers Paul Read
Water for Health, for Healing, for Life: You're Not Sick, You're Thirsty, by Dr F. Batmanghelidj
The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, by Swami Vishnu-devananda
The Proteinaholic Debate:
Support the Podcast
Like what you hear? You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by becoming a patron. Click the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.
Thanks to the old guys who took it easy on me during tennis table in Saxapahaw last night, and to podcast patrons
- Kim Harrison
- Lynn McLellan
- Anthony Dissen
- Brittany Porter
- Dominic Marro
- Elizabeth Clifton
- Barbara Whitney
- Tammy Black
- Amy Good
- Amanda Hatherly
- Mary Jane Wheeler
- Ellen Kennelly
- Melissa Cobb
- Rachel Behrens
for your generous support of the podcast.
Check out my online TV show, Triangle Be Well. This week I talk with Silvana Rangel-Duque about her mission to get NC Triangle residents eating fresh, whole, unprocessed, and delicious meals.
I can help you navigate the medical system and adopt a healthy lifestyle
I'm available for one-on-one consulting and coaching to help you navigate the medical system, make informed decisions, take control of your health destiny, and achieve true wellness and not just medical management of disease.
Ask your questions or share your feedback
Connect with me
The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
This post may contain amazon affiliate links. I may receive amazon gift certificates from your actions on such links. I may buy fascinating books with these gift certificates. I may get health gadgets, audio equipment, or kitchen supplies. I may also blow the money on useless shit.