Take Me Out of the Steroid Game: Implications for MS and Healthcare

Patient Expert

Today I'm a bit sick with a health care problem. It involves baseball players using anabolic steroids in the name of their "professional health care". I'm also sick over Roger Clemons' mother advising him to take Vitamin B12 for "health reasons" and to have his personal trainer Brian McNamee, a non-chiropractic health care provider, crack Roger Clemons' back in the name of some kind of "health care intervention".

I've put a few terms in quotes. They're my quotes because they help me to make a "health care" point, assuming y'all understand what health care is.

That's a big assumption since no one technically understands what health care is.....except maybe Roger Clemons, his mother, and his personal trainer. Oh lest I forget. There's also "health care expert" and former Yankee southpaw Andy Pettitte who decided to take Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to help "speed healing" since he had a baseball injury. Roger Clemons' wife may have taken HGH too, but that was more of a test dose for more general health care issues.

You see Jose Canseco ("The Chemist" to his close baseball friends) had this party at his Miami mansion in 1998 where Roger Clemons was a no-show although both may have "mis-remembered" (a Clemons term). It seems Brian McNamee said he was there talkin' steroids with Roger. Clemons alleges that rather than anabolic steroids and HGH, Brian gave him Vitamin B 12 and Lidocaine shots. That's a switcheroo that Brian denies. Well, to keep up his health care with or without those injections, Roger continues to take Vitamin B 12 by mouth. That's what his mother used to do. I'm not sure about what Brian's mother did or did not use for her health care. I sure hope she didn't have Brian crack her neck. You can get paralyzed from that type of maneuver.

I heard so much misinformation at these Congressional hearings it reminded me this whole Steroids in Baseball Investigation was helping me prove my point about the nonsensical debate over our national "health care crisis".

The line of questioning of Clemons and McNamee by congressmen was actually quite good in separating out important medical issues related to the wanton abuse of anabolic steroids, Vitamin B12, HGH and Lidocaine in the name of "health care".

Anabolic steroids abused by athletes are of course different than the anti-inflammatory steroids used by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. What an amazing class of drugs As a prelude to universal coverage for Disease Care, the MS community could lead a national discussion about the use and dangers of the steroids they take. Perhaps this would dovetail nicely into a conversation directed at high school kids and others beyond "Just say no" to anabolic steroids. A national education initiative would be launched concerning what steroids are and how different subtypes work. Sex hormones including testosterone and estrogen are steroids too. Our adrenals also produce a type of steroid that helps us hold on to water and sodium in our blood stream and to eliminate potassium in the urine. ACTH stimulates production of a different anti-inflammatory steroid manufactured by our own adrenal glands. Some of you know that ACTH can help some patients with acute MS attacks just as Prednisone by mouth and Solumedrol can do the same.

At this proposed Town Hall meeting over medical uses of steroids, it would be valuable to discuss the great costs of lifetime requirements for intermittent or daily steroids, not only in terms of the drug prices but related to expensive side effects from medicinal uses of steroids.

The discussion might be extended to present the difference between folklore and medicine as it relates to vitamins (B12 and others) and hormones (including HGH).