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, January 15, 2020

my story revisited 32-pat summitt my buddy

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pat summitt was the famous womens basketball coach from the university of tennesse
i always admired her
she was a disciplinarian but her players seem to love her

her most courageous moment was in the video shownbelow from my old blog 8 years ago when she announced on tv to the world in this youtube video that she had alzheimers disease

putting her famous name on this disease was important in getting national attention

she was brave to do this

i always felt a kinship with her since we were diagnosed about the same time
she was a little ahead of me
she was further along than i was

she died just 5 years later after making this video
it makes you realize how fast this disease can move

i watched her games that year as she coached using an assistant a lot to manage the games
i could see it the alzheimers in her face as she stared and seemed to be missing things during the game

as i have written before 9 years ago i really didnt think i would be doing as well as i am now
knock knock on wood

so far i am not where she was when she made this video

i wrote that i was humbled when i took my memory tests
at that time i still had memory deficits that showed up on the tests
my memory tests are back in the normal range
i dont know for sure

i do feel like i have gotten a reprieve somehow for a period of time
ill accept that reprieve
will take advantage of that extra time it gives me

i once was notified by her alzheimers foundation to be part of an alzheimers panel in knoxville but it didnt work out for me to be there

i was using her as a gauge for how i would do but i guess im on a different path

may she rest in peace

pat summitt my buddy

pat summitt and i have several things in common
we are both from rural areas in the deep south
we are both from poor families
we both have a love for basketball
she just made her living doing it for years

but now we share something we both probably wish
we do not share

alzheimers disease
she was diagnosed with early onset alzheimers disease

watch her video of her announcement on you tube then
read the interview she had
then read my comments

now click on this link and read
this washington post article on pat summitts diagnosis

my comments
when i left my practice i had a difficult time writing a letter to be sent
to all my patients and a letter that was read and given to my fellow
employees and physicians
i could not go there in person to discuss why i left work
even now when i gave my talk to a group about alzheimers i
got teary eyed and had a difficult time talking about it

after watching her video and reading the interview i have a lot of
respect for her in coming forward to discuss this
shes a tough lady and someone who could make this work

her diagnosis appears to be slightly ahead of my diagnosis
the term used for me is mild cognitive impairment amnestic type
hers is called early onset alzheimers disease
there is only a slight difference between the two diagnosis
but not much

she is on medication and most likely that medicine is
aricept (donepezil) as its the medicine used initially when
the diagnosis is made
its the same medicine ive been on for 8 months

she saw dr ronald petersen a well known alzheimers expert at the
mayo clinic alzheimers research center who is one of the
investigators of the study (adni-2) that im enrolled in

she had a spinal tap and may have had spinal analysis for
tau protein and beta amyloid like i had done but hers would
probably be more positive than mine was

she had a neuropsychological exam (the sucky test) that
probably really showed where her deficits were
its a difficult and frustrating test to take if you have a
i am sure she was not a fun person to give it too
its a humbling test to have to take if you have a problem
ive been humbled 5 times this year and its the only part
of my evaluation and treatment that i dread

she is using medications and reading and memory games to
continuing to work may be one of the best things for her
to do as her job requires a lot of mental exercising to do it well
i think she can do it

she also should control her blood pressure, control her cholesterol,
get regular exercise 5 days a week, take aspirin every day, eat
a low fat mediterranean diet, get appropriate sleep, avoid excessive
stress (not a good job for that), and consider taking supplements
of omega 3 fish oil, folic acid, vitamin d and calcium

but remember the disease just marches on anyway but all this
may slow the symptoms some

if she was a physician like me she would not be able to work
because a lapse of memory could cause serious harm to someone
other occupations that should not work with this diagnosis would be
nurses, truck drivers, bus drivers, air traffic controllers, pilots,
presidents (although reagan im sure was in the early  stages during
his late presidency), or policemen (that was what my close relative
was doing when he was diagnosed)

however occupations such as coaches like pat summitt,  teachers,
professors, clerks, some supervisors, congressmen, construction
workers, landscapers, researchers, news reporters, or
salespersons could probably continue to work with this
early diagnosis

so its good that she plans to stick with it with her job and put a face
on this disease that will make people understand it better

hopefully she will do the walk to end alzheimers in knoxville
tennessee on september 18, 2011

good luck my friend
wish you the best this year
you are a tough lady


tomorrow i will do a short presentation on my story at encina royale in goleta california then do a q and a afterwards

the organicgreen doctor

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