welcome to the organic green doctor blog

i am a family physician who was diagnosed with
early mild cognitive impairment(mci) amnestic type on december 21, 2010
this is a precursor to alzheimers disease
because of this diagnosis i have opted to stop practicing medicine
this blog will be about my journey with this disease
please feel free to follow me along this path
i will continue blogging on organic gardening, green living,
solar power, rainwater collection, and healthy living
i will blog on these plus other things noted to be interesting

Friday, August 10, 2012

to or not to


here are my qualifications for writing about medicine for
alzheimers and the treatment and management of this

i was diagnosed with early mild cognitive impairment
thought to be due to alzheimers disease
i am presently on aricept (donepezil)
my mother probably my father and my younger brother had or
has alzheimers disease
i am a study subject in the largest and most important
research study that has been ever been done on
alzheimers disease called the alzheimers disease
neuroimaging intiative (adni)
i read most of the articles that are written on this disease
i am a family physician who has treated alzheimers
patients in my practice

so yes i feel like i am as qualified as anyone to talk
about alzheimers disease

i am frequently asked by patients families and friends
whether to take or not to take aricept (donepezil)
for alzheimers disease

my answer is
take it
its all we have that can be used against alzheimers

dont take it and the disease symptoms will progress faster

dont take it and your family member friend or yourself if
you are the patient will lose time in this battle against
delaying the diseases progress

take it and you could gain 6 months to 5 years of delayed symptoms
when you look back or your family looks back later after the
disease has taken over you or they will be glad that the aricept (donepezil)
was taken
and they had you around for that additional time

yes take it

of the ones that take it 33% get slight improvement 33% stay the same
then 33% arent helped at all
if you wait to take it then later it wont have as much effect
the earlier you take it the better it works
thats why i started it as soon as my diagnosis was made
as it will work better in me because i am early in the disease

if you start it dont stop it as the disease can progress more
rapidly to the point it would have been without the medicine

for me its a no brainer
take it

alzheimers disease is a progressive disease that has no cure
it will win eventually

there is no other treatment that can help despite what you
read or hear

aricept (donnepezil) dosent cure alzheimers it just slows it down
for awhile then the disease marches on

it works by blocking an enzyme that breaks down a chemical
called acetylcholine which makes the nerve cells in the brain
in alzheimers the acetylchholine levels drop as more and more
nerve brain cells are damaged
the symptoms are then delayed for a period of time
-the time you will appreciate later when your love one is gone-

it has side effects but nothing compares to the effects you will
notice with the disease
they are all tolerable and manageable
nausea diarrhea insomnia leg cramps blurred vision restlessness
many of these symptoms improve after it is taken for a month
ive been on the medicine for 2 years now and have some side
effects but they are less severe
again as ive written before i love those dreams i call my aricept

do dont let the side effects list prevent you from taking the medicine
remember you are dealing with a fatal disease that has no cure
you are only gaining time with your family or family member or friends

its like a terminal cancer thats incurable but chemotherapy can
keep you around awhile before it finally takes over
but you have gained time by using medication

the cost is minimal
i pay a $5 copay each month
the cash price at costco is $27.92 for 90 days of medicine

to take it or not to take it
yes i say take it

if you are the caretaker
if you try to do it alone it will be a long long lonely path for you
contact the local chapter of the alzheimers association
you can locate the local chapter by going to www.alz.org
remember you need help dealing with this
let your friends and family help you

the organicgreen doctor


  1. Amen to caregiver support groups thru the Alzheimer's org. Lots of resources & help. Made friends, too. Even if you feel odd at first, keep going. Others are in your boat!

  2. Thanks for the insight and encouragement for all affected--whether caregiver or patient.

  3. This is a very important post. Thank you for your candid assessment. Your insighst are so valuable because you have looked at Alzheimers from the outside as a doctor and from the inside as a patient. My family doctor also had Alzheimers. He was also a close personal friend. I wish I had known all of this years ago when he was diagnosed.

  4. need help finding support groups for us caregivers that have s trying to understand dementia. my mother-in-law is 91 and has come to live with us. and has been diagnosed with dementia. please help.

    1. ron
      if you live in central texas go to www.alz.org/texascapital and go to the
      bottom of the pages to support groups and
      click there. most communities have a support
      group. if you live elsewhere go to www.alz.org
      and find your local chapter for information on
      support groups. also the www.alz.org have a good
      discussion group online for caretakers.
      hope this helps some