Is the absence of a few wrinkles worth dying for? A couple in south Florida learned the answer the hard way. Kaplan and his wife Bonnie are upset with themselves, the government, and the doctors they trusted to make good choices, not choices that would cause them to fight for their lives. In his book Dying to be Young, From Botox to Botulism, Kaplan traces his family’s horrific journey through some bad choices to an understanding that everything happens for a reason.
In 2004, Kaplan, a successful chiropractor, author, and public speaker, and his wife Bonnie were living a dream-come-true life when they got caught up in the look-like-a-dream hype of Botox. The FDA-approved and licensed Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox) is derived from the waste of a bacterium that causes botulism food poisoning. The Kaplans received injections to paralyze facial wrinkles without any negative side effects. After all, everybody was doing it. But as the author remarks, “Cosmetic procedures gone wrong are the quiet epidemic sweeping America that no one in the drug industry wants you to know about.”
A routine health habit of the Kaplans was to visit Advanced Integrated Medical Center run by a longtime friend and associate who offered cutting edge practices that blurred the supposed divisions between traditional and complimentary medicines. Dr. Kaplan received a vitamin IV to ward off a bronchial infection and Bonnie received another round of Botox. “All I want to do is turn back the clock,” she told her son Michael and her husband in the waiting room. Kaplan ended up agreeing to Botox injections that day as well. “Little did we know we were about to hit the fast forward button,” he writes.
For reasons yet to be clearly defined through investigations and law suits, the Kaplans were injected not with the attenuated dilution of supposedly safe Botox, but with 2,800 times the amount of pure, raw botulinum toxin, “the most poisonous substance known to man.” What followed was a harrowing episode that left the couple teetering between life and death as the toxin paralyzed their entire bodies.
Without condemnation toward the reader, Kaplan tells of the horror he and his wife have known as a result of their choice. He details the frightening results and provides a laundry list of life rules. Even though he omits the word karma, he attributes his Uncle Herb to the adage, “A lesson in Life is repeated until learned.”
Kaplan believes he and his wife returned from the brink of death to warn others about the dangers of Botox injections. He explains that vanity is not a good reason to take even a calculated risk. They hope and pray that nobody has to learn the lessons of Botox the way they did.