December 4th was the long awaited appointment time with the functional medicine practitioner.
Dennis was very excited about the book “End to Alzheimer’s” by Bredesen and wanted to find a doctor who would put him on that protocol. The book pointed us to a website of functional medicine doctors and lo, one of the ones listed was in our medical group.
Armed with all his records, and having filled out numerous detailed questionnaires, we made the 90 mile trip to Duluth for our morning appointment. Dr. Nancy Sudak, who is also a family medicine practitioner, spent 90 minutes with us! That is more than we could have hoped for, but even with all that, she had to tell Dennis to stop his stories and let her get to pertinent facts (in a kind, respectful way).
We liked her demeanor, and she was patient with Dennis. She did allow him to talk about his spirituality, his words from God, etc… without making him feel demeaned or demented. At the conclusion of the interview she even approached the subject of needed changes by asking him to ask God about the changes. Would God want him to consider going gluten free or dairy free in his diet? I thought that was pretty clever.
She also had heard of Dr. Bredesen’s protocol and was interested in it. She ordered some of the pertinent tests which we remembered from the book. (GImap, bloodwork) She also was able to recognize the measures Dennis had already implemented and encouraged him in them.
Overall, it was a good start. The only disappointment was that she had basically nothing to recommend until the test results returned and couldn’t give another appointment time until February. It will be a tele conference this time, so we won’t have to go so far.
Some things are so complex they must be digested in small portions. That is what I’m feeling now, since reading the “End to Alzheimer’s” book.
Dennis has been questioning why we aren’t rushing down to the medical lab in Eau Claire and having him tested so he can begin the reversal process on his LBD. Last night I followed up on the tests recommended in the book – some 50 of them, each from $100 to $300 cost. It was difficult to tell if the lab offered the specific tests that we would want. It was also difficult to know which should be done first, if some were more important than others. It was above my pay scale to figure it all out. Which led me to the recommendation to search out a functional medicine doctor.
I really like the direction functional medicine is taking. I ended up watching an hour long lecture by a doctor at Cleveland Clinic. He was explaining functional medicine, where it started and why it was needed. I totally agree. It has added another very complex area of information to consider in the battle to save Dennis’s brain.
I will not take the time to explain what functional medicine is except to say that we are seeing the results in the medical news when we hear about inflammation being the roots of so many chronic diseases. That comes from discoveries in functional medicine. Also the new emphasis on our microbiome and the problem of “leaky gut”. That also come out of functional medicine research. These doctors are interested in the root cause of chronic conditions. They are aware that each patient has different reasons for becoming ill and different remedies are needed. Good stuff.
I tried to give the simple picture to Dennis – why we are not rushing into the lab work. The good news is that there is a functional medicine practitioner in our health network. The office is 90 miles from us but we are used to going that far for specialists. I’m hoping we can make an appointment and get help sorting through the complexity of testing.
Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure we’ve been doing some of the right things in the magnesium supplementation, and the ketogenic diet (which we need to follow a bit more closely…) Dennis is feeling and acting better. We do not know if it is in response to what we are doing or just a fluctuation of LBD. Time will tell. At any rate, things are better right now and I, for one, am enjoying that part of it.