ALS Patient’s Unexpected Journey: My Patient as My Teacher

by | Aug 22, 2017 | Acupuncture Meridian Assessment, Brain/Cognitive, Case Stories, Chronic Disease

Several years ago, I wrote an article, Time to Heal at Last: The Story of Ron’s ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). The odds were against him to live more than few years after diagnosis of ALS, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease,” at the ALS Clinic at St. Louis University Hospital. ALS is one of the most dreaded, progressive neurodegenerative diseases that affect motor neurons. It causes one to lose control of one’s muscles, become wheelchair bound, and eventually, paralyzed and die from respiratory failure.

Ron was interested in writing a book to inspire other patients with ALS, and I wrote the article to inspire him. A few months ago, he finished, An Unexpected Journey: Searching for a cause and finding hope in the battle against ALS. According to the latest neurologic evaluation based on a nerve conduction study with EMG, he was told by his neurologist that today he does not have ALS. He felt they had made a mistake diagnosing him with ALS a few years ago since all ALS patients have progressive, irreversible neurologic degenerative disease.

I told Ron that he should tap dance when he got better in front of the neurologist to prove that he could reverse ALS and to prove that, “White Man Can Dance.” He was a little sheepish about dancing in front of his neurologist, but sent me a picture of him dancing with his granddaughter at a family wedding. The rest of the story is adapted from my forward to his book, An Unexpected Journey:

The book, An Unexpected Journey, by Ronald J. Unterreiner, is a personal story of his searching for a cause and finding hope in the battle against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig’s disease. I have known Ron for the last three years. He was told by two neurologists that he had ALS based on batteries of neurologic tests in which they were 90 percent sure. He had leg muscle weakness, dragging of his leg, spasms, and his left foot did not always want to cooperate.

ALS is a clinical diagnosis made by eliminating all other neurological disorders. When he is in a wheelchair and his symptoms become more pronounced, attached to a breathing machine or feeding tube because he cannot swallow, he will be officially diagnosed 100 percent with ALS. He was told by his neurologist that nothing could be done for his ALS and to go home and live as normal a life as possible, and come back every four months to monitor the progression of the ALS. He was not interested in a new experimental drug for ALS because of its side effects.

Ron was looking for alternative options rather than waiting for the inevitable progression of ALS. A wheelchair was not an option for him. He was on a mission, determined, searching for a cause and finding hope in the battle against ALS. His story became his book, An Unexpected Journey.

The book is easy to read, concise, honest, and challenges the current medical system. There are many practical tips and dietary guidelines from his personal experiences. While I was reading about his journey, I realized that he was teaching me how to become a better physician. After all, he was describing much of my medical approach to his illness: searching for the causes. His book also reminded me that I need to take better care of myself.

I could not put his book down. Ron wrote it to give ALS patients love, peace, and faith in searching for a cause and finding hope in the battle against ALS. The book also speaks to other chronically ill patients on why they need to challenge the medical system. Change your thoughts, change your belief system, and change your diet. He describes every step for detoxification to support needed changes in the body, and you will be inspired by the love, hope, and faith in his writing.

My patient became my teacher in this book, An Unexpected Journey: Searching for a cause and finding hope in the battle against ALS. I highly recommend Ron’s book not only for patients fighting ALS, but for all chronically ill patients with mysterious illnesses – and their families, fellow physicians, and other health-related professionals. This book may save you or your loved one.

Ron is a recently retired executive in the design and construction industry in St. Louis, MO. Ron stays active in the industry through his non-profit organization, PEOPLE, which assists minority contractors and helps connect them with majority contractors to more fully participate in the design and construction industry in St. Louis, which he founded in 2014. His book is available for $20 and can be ordered by contacting, and will be soon available on Amazon.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared the first Fungal Disease Awareness Week August 14-18, 2017, urging healthcare providers and their patients to, “Think Fungus” when symptoms of infection do not get better with treatment. This Call to Action is most timely, as problems associated with fungus, molds, and their byproducts, mycotoxins, have been exploding as a hot topic for the last 20 years.

Ron’s unexpected journey of ALS and other improbable, fascinating stories will be told at the Tenth International Alternative Medical Conference, Fungus, Parasites and Dental Conundrum: Curing the Incurable by Measuring the Immeasurable, to be held in St. Louis September 29-October 1, 2017.  Designed for licensed medical, dental and health professionals, interested patients, medical and dental students, and the general public.