A Day in January

Today we went to a chiropractor who has been doing applied kinesiology for Dennis. His functional medicine doctor sent him for this kind of therapy hoping to get some information that might have been missed before. He hasn’t been able to get rid of his tremor (both hands now) or regain strength with all of the treatments he’s been on, so she’s looking for something else.

Dennis likes the chiropractor. In one session he tested weak in an area and the practitioner asked if he had unresolved issues of shame in his childhood. It progressed into a surprising memory that surfaced and an emotional discussion that we all thought was beneficial. Today the doctor told me he felt there was still something more but it would have to wait until he could schedule a longer session with Dennis.

This search for reversal of his dementia is really calling on every bit of patience I can muster. There are so many things I have to do for Dennis to get him ready to go anywhere. He needs help with almost all his hygiene tasks, starting with being reminded that he needs to do them. His fingernails would be two inches long if I didn’t tell him they needed to be clipped – except for the right hand. He chews them off on that side.

Everything he is able to do himself is done at turtle sloth speed. His body resists his mind telling it what to do. For instance, the chiropractor has a very narrow adjusting table and it’s not the kind that starts with the patient standing up. Dennis has to lie down on it, and he is clueless how to do it. Lying on his back, with help, is do-able, but turning over onto his stomach without falling off the table is almost impossible. It took more than five minutes just to figure out a strategy let alone execute it.

All of these several times a day, plus all the pill supplements and his prescription meds for hypertension. It’s a lot to keep track of.

Light therapy, sound frequency therapy, essential oil therapy, as well as all the regular chiropractic adjusting gets done every time we go there. We also have potions from a company called CellCore for mitochondrial support and ATP function, Hydroxygen for energy and detox support, a mineral supplement and a parasitical. Evidently there are parasites present somewhere. But I really haven’t seen any positive changes over the last month. I know these things take time, but even the chiropractor thought there would be some improvement by now.

Dennis thought there would be improvement by now. I know he is getting impatient and wants to do something more, but he is not as good at researching any more. He has trouble reading anything, his hearing is problematic (as are the hearing aides), and he falls asleep easily. I don’t know if I should be taking up the search. I have my doubts that he is capable of carrying out the kind of program that would bring reversal, if it is even possible. I’m just having trouble taking care of both of us.


Time Goes On

I have not updated for a while. It has been a relatively quiet time lately and I hope it continues for several more months, if not for the duration. We are getting pretty good at living with things the way they are now.

Today we did very little other than visits to the local clinic. Dennis has been feeling good he says, but then he doesn’t deal with pain so seldom has real complaints. He hasn’t had dizzy spells, or been confused lately. Last week he walked almost every day at the hospital. But this morning, he had trouble feeling normal. His ears felt plugged and sounds in his head (his own voice) were uncomfortably loud. He said his swallowing was problematic. A good day to visit a doctor.

Our first appointment was a tele-conference with the functional medicine doctor. We were there at 10:15, only there were computer problems. Two hours and three nurses later, none of whom could solve the problem, we left. They told us to check back with tell-conferencing when we returned in the afternoon for a visit to our primary doctor.

We did get something done during the time at home between appointments. We both took a nap.

We had a good bit of news when talking with the primary doc. Dennis gets to stop taking the blood thinner – the one that costs $500 for a month’s supply. However, now that he is going off that med, he is clear to have investigation of the stomach mass that was seen on the scan in November. So now he is scheduled to have an upper GI endoscopy on Monday. They use propofol , which isn’t reputed to give problems to LBD patients. They might be able to get a biopsy through this means and it was the easiest first thing to do.

The computer problems were solved when we checked in with the tele-conference room so we were able to spend the 45 minutes with the functional medicine doctor that we missed in the morning. She went over some test results with us and recommended that Dennis go gluten free, and start several new supplements. Overall she was very pleased with test results, especially the lipid profile and A1c. Apparently he’s healthy as a horse (I searched for a better analogy… didn’t work). We walked one circle in the hospital halls afterwards and then went home.

I don’t know what to say about Dennis. He tires easily. He sits most of the time either looking at his phone or the TV. He goes to sleep early and wakes up late, and takes naps. He’s very slow in most movements, but can occasionally go faster if he thinks of it. His right hand tremor is still there and he thinks it’s starting in his left as well. But, he has been remarkable calm, self-controlled, and capable of taking care of himself for hours at a time. He still has a simplistic view of human physiology and is always researching new ways to clear the amyloid proteins out of his brain. The latest attempt is to take black cohosh which he thinks is a natural source of secretase, a proteolytic enzyme. I’ve tried to convince him otherwise – no luck.

He loves to think about spiritual things and enjoys our time reading Bible and having devotions. He’s very concerned about others, especially our sister-in-law who has cancer, and prays for them. He talks mostly about the things he’s seen on TV even when others don’t seem to be interested, so still not very aware. One other thing I notice is that his voice is always soft and breathy, like his throat is swollen. It makes me hurt to listen to him and I often have to ask him to repeat. His speech is flat and without vocal variety.

He wants, with all his heart, to believe that he is reversing his condition by the things he is doing and that Dr. Bredesen’s treatment of Alzheimer’s is working for him as well. I imagine it was disappointing for him to hear Dr. Sudak say that he was a little “ahead of the science” – that is, if he really heard it.

Our Functional Medicine Doctor

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.

Functional Medicine

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.