Front Street Reviews
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Dying to be Young: From Botox to Botulism
Reviewed by Sabrina Williams
Dying to be Young: From Botox to Botulism by Dr. Eric Kaplan is not a dry medical admonishment of the effects of the latest cosmetic "miracle." Kaplan speaks with a fervor and activism that only the victimized can possess, and a victim is what Kaplan is. Imagine awakening to find that while your entire body is in extreme pain, you cannot move a muscle and while loved ones hover around you, offering words of encouragement, you are unable to answer them or communicate at all. In fact, you cannot breathe on your own. Machines are doing the work your body normally performs without effort. You are completely and utterly helpless. Even worse, your spouse is lying in the next bed over in the exact same state. Eric Kaplan and his wife, Bonnie, were the first documented cases of Botulism poisoning due to Botox injections, as they received more than 2,000 times the lethal dose of the toxin. More cases followed.
Unimaginable sums of money are spent every year on appearance-altering treatments such as cosmetic surgery, wrinkle creams, and drugs that promise to reverse the effects of aging and bring us back to our youthful selves. Few people can resist the temptation of the Fountain of Youth when it becomes so readily available. It is no surprise that a panacea that sounds as benign as "Botox" that is commonly administered via parties would take America by storm. However, few people stop to consider that the name "Botox" comes from the origin of the drug itself, the extremely lethal botulinum toxin. While we will avoid feeding our children honey before the age of one to protect them from such a harmful toxin, as adults we will unquestioningly allow doctors to inject us with the byproducts of the same strain if it promises to erase the lines of time. Just one gram of botulinum toxin has the ability to kill millions of people.
Dr. Kaplan relates the mental and physical struggles he faced when he became paralyzed as a result of his own vanity. Both he and his wife endured incredible hardships as they worked to rehabilitate themselves, several times teetering on the verge of death. Through the support and encouragement of friends and family and the availability of top-notch medical services, the Kaplans were able to survive their ordeal. Dr. Kaplan emerged with his own personal mission: to warn the public of the dangers of Botox and to help people discover and learn to appreciate their own inner beauty. A chiropractor and motivational speaker, Kaplan writes of his very personal and intimate mental anguish in the face of a debilitating illness and his subsequent discovery of a new spirituality.