It would be logical to assume that, being the longest yet by far, the third day of our road trip to Savannah would be the worst. I’m elated to report that would be quite wrong.
In fact, it was so much better than the two which preceded it that one would think great changes had occurred overnight.
One, anyway. We rested well and deeply. More than nine hours sleep in a wonderful bed courtesy of the Baymont Inn and Suites Biltmore. No, we did not stay at the actual Biltmore; pretty much everything within a few miles of the iconic destination has “Biltmore” in its name. But it was a damn nice bed.
Truthfully though, I believe that Jacquelynn was simply becoming accustomed to the longer days on the road. I had remembered her meds, of course, and we had a nice breakfast before hitting the road at a little past nine.
Aside from some serious fatigue and resultant confusion around the halfway point leading to an extended lunch stop, Wednesday went quite well.
It’s a story for another time, but we both almost immediately fell in love with Savannah. True, wanna-live-there love.
Ironically enough, Thursday, September 21 was World Alzheimer’s Day. It’s also the day we met, among other notables, Eli.
Eli is a therapy and service dog in residence at the Institute For Personalized Medicine. The instant we walked in for our appointment, Eli (who is also a huge attention monger) immediately queued in on Jacquelynn and nudged in close to comfort her. Clearly, he could sense her state of health and unease. He did what is called “tucking”, putting his snout in your lap or underarm if you’re sitting, or in your crotch, if standing. Of course, being a giant schnauzer, Eli could just about put his nose in her underarm while she was standing. Seriously; Eli is bigger than almost all the Great Danes I’ve met. Huge. A dog lover all the way to her cuticles, Jacquelynn fell in love for the second time in a day.
The remainder of our 3-hour appointment was spent with the very impressive Dr. Ross. Far from assigning her research work to others, Dr. Ross had very clearly read and thoroughly researched every bit of patient information I had supplied over four evenings of filling out extremely detailed (and secure) forms online. She had built a detailed timeline and had dozens of extremely well-considered, intelligent and deeply relevant questions for us, and we gradually honed in on the labs she would order and diet/supplements she would prescribe.
Yes, supplements. This is NOT a miracle-pill, magic bullet monotherapy. The quest for such a treatment for Alzheimer’s (and every other disease on the planet) has slowed true medical advances to a slow crawl. The refusal to address the patient as a whole, rather than addressing symptoms individually has frozen progress in its tracks. ReCoDe is a total and comprehensive lifestyle change; we will ingest only pure, clean, and organic foods and with those foods and a carefully customized cocktail of dietary supplements will provide the body with the necessary fuels to rebuild and regenerate lost neural cells. These are permanent changes, too. Every successful patient who has gone off the protocol has gone backward very quickly. Why? Because they’re immediately creating an environment that is both unsupportive of new neurosynaptic growth and toxic to the existing neurons. Yes, ReCoDe is also used as a preventive measure, especially for people who carry an ApoE 4 genotype and/or have a family history of Alzheimer’s.
As we had surmised, Jacquelynn does indeed have what is termed Type 3 Alzheimer’s Disease. Not caused or contributed to by any genetic factor (her mother, at 88, is still healthy as the proverbial horse, and her father passed away from a heart attack in 2014 at the age of 89), type 3, or Toxic Alzheimer’s, is the result of toxins building up in her body and even bone marrow over many years. Entering or approaching menopause, when the body begins to consume marrow and access needed hormones from the organs as their source grows weaker, can leach these dormant toxins into the bloodstream and begin to wreak havoc. Childhood exposures such as tick bites and mercury amalgam dental fillings, among many others, can, when finally allowed to express themselves, destroy brain tissue, neurons, and synapses at a terrifying rate. There comes a tipping point, when the toxins finally reach a level of saturation (for want of a better term), that the effect becomes profound and undeniable. While we may never know for certain, I suspect that the destruction from the inside of her kidney and its failure to adequately filter such toxins from the blood was her tipping point. Observed in reverse, it’s difficult to deny the timing is almost punch-for-punch. I think it quite possible that, without her kidney issues (especially when combined with the timing of menopause), she would have continued for many more years before developing this disease. Ultimately, she would have developed it. It will, in eventual hindsight, prove very beneficial that she developed it early and we were able to address it now, rather than waiting another 20 years and, in all likelihood, just surrendering to the inevitability of it as she neared 80 years old. When people develop cognitive issues at that age, we tend to just throw up our hands and say “well, they had a good long run”, and sit back to watch them decline. If we lick this thing now, and stay with it (which we will!), we won’t face that hurdle later.
The following morning, Jacquelynn donated ten vials of blood along with urine and hair for the first battery of tests that could be done locally. We took home with us orders for many more labs to be run once we got home, and just this morning donated 19 more vials to the cause. These tests are to check for everything from vitamin and hormone deficiencies to heavy metals (mercury, aluminum, copper, etc), micotoxins from mold spores, and even the lyme spirochete. Each and every one of the 36 “holes in the ceiling”* which fit her ApoE profile and medical evidence. The results of these tests will allow Dr. Ross to further focus the prescribed supplements to address those specific deficiencies and toxicities.
To empower the body to do what it is naturally and inescapably programmed to do; to heal itself.
*Dr. Bredesen and his colleagues at MPI have thus far identified 36 separate contributing factors which cause and/or exacerbate dementia. He uses the “36 holes in the ceiling” analogy to illustrate the futility of attempting to develop monotherapies for Alzheimer’s; If there are 36 holes in your ceiling, and you develop a patch for one of those holes, even if it’s a terrifically effective patch, you still have 35 leaks. There can never be a one-size-fits-all treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s and similar dementias because there are simply too many things for one medicine, no matter how much of a “miracle pill” it is purported to be, to accomplish effectively. It can’t work. You must, therefore, treat the entire patient and provide the body with what it needs to do its job most efficiently.