Article Written by Heather Won Tesoriero May 2, 2017
Your child is diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease and conventional treatments aren't proving to be effective. Doctors prescribe powerful medications that don't seem to work. Not only is your child not responding as hoped, he's withering from the side effects. What do you do? Journalist Susannah Meadows found herself having to answer this question when her son, Shepherd, was diagnosed at age 3 with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, joint inflammation that can last a lifetime.
When the drugs didn't work, Meadows was persuaded to look at his condition through a different prism and to consider the possibility that medications might not be the only answer. Meadows began speaking to parents who had sleuthed out alternative theories and tried things like radically changing their kids' diets and giving them Chinese herbal medicines. Like many parents of sick children, Meadows grew increasingly willing to venture outside of the standard treatments.
Her experiences spurred her to seek other stories of people with illnesses ranging from multiple sclerosis to epilepsy to ADHD who pursued unproven methods of treating their diseases. Their stories, as well as an account of her son's case, are compiled in The Other Side of Impossible: Ordinary People Who Faced Daunting Medical Challenges and Refused to Give Up, published Tuesday by Random House.