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

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

my story revisited 16

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even though i had prescribed aricept (donepezil) several times and i read off the side effects to the patient or their families
i really didnt understand what those side effects were until i started taking it

now i understand why so many folks stop taking it
had i not been ready for those side effects the first month or so
had i not known that they would slowly get better
there is no way i would have finished taking that first months prescription
i am quite sure i would have stopped it too

now almost 9 years later i realize that having started aricept (donepezil) so early may be one of the reasons that my symptoms have improved and stayed that way
i also understand that if its the aricept (donepezil) thats made my memory better
it will eventually wear off and the memory will start to fade since the disease wins in the end

below in one of the old blogs posted today a month after i started i wrote about how the aricept (donepezil) works
basically it keeps the acetycholine levels elevated in the brain and elsewhere in the body
this makes the nerve cells keep firing even if slightly damaged
thus slowing down the symptoms

it also elevates the levels elsewhere in the body
thus some of the side effects
like abdominal pain and nausea
mine happens in the morning only so i eat small frequent snacks in the morning
it doesnt bother me much after lunch

another probably the most disturbing side effects is it interferes with my sleep
this is the side effect that most affects my life
i have programmed into my day an early afternoon nap
this allows me to make it through the late afternoon and early evening
without that nap
i feel zombied out in the afternoon and evening
you may find me not being very conversational or wanting to do much

the nap prevents that
even if i miss my nap
i still dont sleep longer at night
i wake up early anyway
nap it is

another side effect that i have that is rarely bothersome is my vivid dreams
i call them my aricept dreams
in a couple of blogs that first year i describe some of them

i do sometimes act out them at night
i will yell out and try to attack those monsters in the dark which i wrote about recently

once when i was trying cbd since there was a hint it may slow down alzheimers disease
and may help sleep
after a few nights my dreams changed to a more bothersome violent disturbing restless sleep
so i stopped the cbd and my dreams returned to the usual pleasant ones

it likely was due to the interaction of the cbd and the aricept (donepezil)

i would say if i could change one side effect of the medicine it would be the lack of sleep
i can handle and enjoy the dreams
i get to see friends and family ive not seen in awhile
i can handle the other side effects which are milder
dizziness mild vertigo leg cramps fasciculations or muscle twitch of the muscles blurry vision nausea fatigue in the afternoon hyperactivity in the morning

those are mild some dont happen every day and arent that bothersome
maybe those god awful leg cramps that makes be fly out of bed in the middle of the night to uncramp my calf
even that one isnt that bothersome and often now

my advice to newly diagnosed folks is
try to take it
try to get through the first few weeks of taking the drug
it will get better
it might slow down the diseases symptoms for you and your family

not everyone has these side effects
but i do

thats the one that bothers me the most

donepezil (aricept) works in the brain by inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase that breaks down the chemical acetylcholine
thus it is called an acetycholinesterase inhibitor

acetylcholine is is a chemical that helps many brain functions
such as memory, attention, reasoning, and language
(it doesnt help me remember names-thats a long time problem)
(it does make me more attentive-i know now what people with
add feel when they get on medication so they can focus and
be productive)

in alzheimers there is a destruction of the brain cells that produce
acetylcholine  so the levels of acetylcholine drop

by inhibiting the enzyme aricept (donepezil) makes the levels of acetycholine go up in the
brain and remain up for a while
this helps to slow the decline in memory

however its effects are short lived-a few months to
a few years

it is not a cure for alzheimers
it does not slow down the progression of the disease

the problem with alzheimers is that the diagnosis is usually
made too late to slow down the symptoms much

it is important that an early diagnosis be made (as is in my
case-very early diagnosis) so that medication can be
started (donepezil-aricept) 
testing can be done (labs, genetic tests, spinal tap analysis,
mri and pet scans ) 
life planning can be done

then when this medication doesnt work any more another
medication is usually added-most commonly used is namenda

i personally want to apologize to all those women who have had
or having morning sickness and especially to any i treated for it
sorry i was not more sympathetic
well now i have morning sickness every morning for 4 hours after i
take the new dose of the aricept
but at least i can take medications that work for the nausea
pregnant women cant take certain medications during pregnancy
for the nausea


one of the side effects of taking aricept (donepezil) is that you
have these fantastic dreams
the dreams are vivid hd dreams
they are never violent or disturbing

last night in my dream my wife she and my cowgirl sisterinlaw she
went horseback riding
my younger son he went to work out at the gym
my brothers and i and my parents were staying at a cabin in the
mountains somewhere i am not sure where
it was a beautiful place

they were all late getting back from their rides and gym and our
meal got cold
it was raccoon cooked with an apple in its mouth
(i ran into a raccoon early the morning before he was getting into
our cats food-teach him huh)
there was dressing and greens and veggies surrounding that
old raccoon
i got mad cause they were late but didnt yell or throw things
i just gave them my stare that im told i have
no violence

later we all got together again at a mountain resort that had an
alzheimers center and we had a similar meal that was enjoyed
by all
although i dont remember eating any raccoon in my dream

i woke up and felt like i was still in that resort
i just hope my wife she didnt leave me there

so thats my aricept (donepezil) world i live in
heres hoping you dont have to join me there

the organicgreen doctor

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