Life, the Universe, and Alzheimer’s

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It has hit our family.

On Wednesday, we were given as definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease as one can get.   So, now the battle begins.  Ronald Reagan called it the long good-bye.  Our family has decided not to look at it that way, and to fight it the way one would fight a “normal” dastardly illness.  One of my mother’s comments was, “We know how to fight this thing.”  Previously, we had been given the dreary diagnosis that my father had some form of a hardening of arteries in the brain, and there was no treatment at all.  You know it is rough when you look at Alzheimer’s as “oh, we can fight this.”

One of the big arguments the past few days is telling him that he has the disease.  Having survived melanoma, I’m of the right between the eyes school of medical disasters.  Just give me the information and I’ll do the rest.  My mother has hesitated to talk to him about it.

This morning he told her he figured he had it.  He told her he did not want to go into hiding, wanted to travel, and when he started drooling, he would then withdraw.  Until then, he didn’t care.

We have friends who are going through the same thing.  The family has withdrawn, hiding the disease.  That’s bunk.  It is a disease, like cancer.  You don’t hide a cancer patient.  We’re not hiding this.  We’re attacking it head on, literally.

My father has always wanted to see the Grand Canyon.  I’m going to get something scheduled for fall, I hope.  He wants to go to Memphis.  I guess we’re doing that.

I am going to ram the crossword puzzles down his throat.  I told my mother, who has hesitated about getting iPhones for them, because she is afraid he can’t work one, that they are getting one.  It is about learning something new.

The Pink Flamingo is one of those weird people who is into alternative medicines.  The minute we finally knew who the enemy was, I began researching what to do.  I’ve found some fascinating things.

  1. My father is a diabetic.  If a person is a diabetic, their chances of developing this monster increase by 65%.
  2. If one is a diabetic and consume more than 25 grams of fructose via fresh fruit, the odds are even worse.  My parents live on fresh fruit to the point where that is one of their primary food sources.
  3. My father has always been into whole grains.  Add that to the list of bad things to eat for the brain.
  4. My mother has relied on good nutrition – all the right things.  By relying on the “right” things, she may have been dooming my father for years. (Limiting beef, eggs, lamb, etc)
  5. My father has never been into learning new tasks  to keep the brain exercised.

By the time you add those factors, he has been a ticking time bomb.  The reason I’m forced to go into “other factor” is there is not one single instance of this disease in his genealogy.  I should know, I’ve taken his family – every branch of the tree – back at least 300 years.  With the exception of the Martins and the Millers, I can go back to Edward III with just about every line.

It’s not there.

In our family, it is not genetic.

If it is not genetic then we must consider chemical and nutritional.  I’ll meet with the pharmacist today and pick up the medication the neurologist has suggested.  I’ve ordered vitamins for both he and my mother.  We’re going to start him mega-dosing B-12 ASAP.  There are fascinating results with that, and with coconut oil. I suspect coconut oil is going to be, on of these days, one of the great “secret” cures for numerous ailments.  There is a direct correlation to the rise of obesity in this country and the damning of coconut oil as bad for you.

From what I’ve reading, a diet to prevent Alzheimer’s and to nurture the brain is in direct conflict with Michelle Obama’s new “plate”.   Her dietary experts are now saying that a person should eat all the fruit and veggies one wishes, but to leave off all but complex carbs, grains, and only have good “protein”.  If what I am reading is any indication that there is a dietary connection to this horrible disease, then the Obama nutritional guidelines are going to doom this country.

We’re putting my father on old fashioned foot.  He’s going to be eating more beef, lamb, and salmon.  I told my mother to cut out most of the fruit.  They don’t do soy, so we get a break there.  They’re going to go go more European style breads, and ditch the whole grains.  And, we’re going to be pushing the eggs down him.  He likes all of the above, so that helps.

I know, we’re probably grasping at straws, but it’s worth a try.

As for The Pink Flamingo Blog, it may not be updated as often.  I’m dealing with my father and a 81 year old mother with a serious cardiac problem.  I stay packed.  I have an ER kit by the door.  This is going to be my life for awhile.  And no, I’ve not touched the book in months.  I’ll get to it when I can.

I’ve begun keeping a blog about what is going on with APR.  I’m calling it The Pink Flamingo’s Father. Please, feel free to read it.

 

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4 thoughts on “Life, the Universe, and Alzheimer’s

  1. What’s so hard is that there is really no definitive diagnosis of Alzheimers. Since you have no family history of the disease it makes it more difficult to determine what is causing it. Did your father ever have a head injury? Perhaps during the war? Some years ago they tried to connect the disease to aluminum, but I haven’t heard anything about that lately. It is good that you are starting him on vitamins. What about B-12 injections? A deficiency can cause some types of dementia. Sometimes people don’t absorb B-12 orally. What do they say about giving him fish oil? Fish oil helps eliminate plaque, which may help. The important thing for you to do now, is to keep yourself healthy. You will need plenty of rest and you will need some recreation to get away from it all. Don’t neglect yourself. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. There was no head injury. We are asking the same questions. I keep going back to the fact that he is a diabetic and the possibility that too much fresh fruits and grains can cause a problem in the brain. My mother has kept him in the straight and narrow as far as diet for at least 30 years. The one connection I find is the fact that they live on fresh fruit. (OJ in the morning, a banana, dish of berries in mid morning, a huge dish of something fresh for afternoon, then berries on ice cream at night). That’s just not a good idea.

    They eat a tremendous amount of salmon, all the right stuff. There is a problem with plaque in the brain. We’ve found that.

    Now I start educating myself about this disease. Having overcome (so far) melanoma, I’ve learned you need to know more than most doctors.

    Thank you for your prayers. They are felt!

    SJR

  3. My oldest brother was in the Pacific during World War Two. He was at Tarawa, Makin Island and around the Solomons. He contracted a skin disease which puzzled all the doctors. He went to his grave without knowing what it was. It is possible that your father came in contact with some chemical or substance which brought this condition on. Like you said, Doctors don’t know everthing!

  4. I’ve thought of that. He was in the Merchant Marines during WWII, transporting who knows what all over the South Pacific. He was all around that area. Then again, it could be connected to Lyme Disease.

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