Disclaimer

I am not a doctor. I am providing information based on experiences that my mom has with natural remedies. The purpose of this blog is to help folks to educate themselves. Use this information with your own discernment.

14 September 2010

The Outcome: Natural Treatment for Lewy Bodies Dementia

April 11, 2008
My wedding day
Ma, me and Rachel (MIL)
I've been blogging for a couple of years now, beginning my journal, documenting the experiences as a Care Giver for a parent with Lewy Bodies Dementia.  

My mom, she was pretty sick when our journey started down the final leg of her trip here on Earth.  She was on lots of pharmaceutical drugs, at least 3 different high blood pressure pills, pills that appeared to do nothing to help manage my mom's blood pressure.  Blood pressure readings were off the charts, even with the medications that she had filled at the local pharmacy; medicine that's supposed to lower blood pressure.  It didn't.

My mom was dizzy a lot.  She fell often and even toppled out of her chair after she had drifted off to sleep sitting up and being woken by her head smacking the dresser.  Bangs to the head are never a good thing, especially with someone like my mom who already has a degenerate brain disorder, Lewy Bodies Dementia (or Vascular Dementia - one can't be sure without an autopsy.)

Looking back over the last 2 years, I wonder how we did it, how we got the outcome that we currently have with my mom.  The answer is simple, food, real food... food is medicine.  It took me awhile to come to this conclusion but the more real food that I fed my mom, the healthier she became.

First, there was her uncontrolled diabetes.  She had an A1C that was very high, in the mid-teens during her worst physical state of being.  My mom took 62 units of insulin, every day; her blood sugar was nearly impossible to manage, even with the high doses of synthetic insulin.  My mom was riding on the blood glucose roller coaster, spikes ... one minute her blood glucose was sky high, the next it was bottoming out on the dangerously low end.  High sugar caused my mom to be disoriented, low blood sugar caused her to shake uncontrollably and feel really sick.

Her cholesterol was off the charts; statins caused her lots of muscle pain and weakness.  She stopped taking the drugs to lower her cholesterol and the pain in her body went away.  I researched statins and discovered that these drugs were the cause of her pain.  

When I was dating my husband before we were married, we would spent just about one night every weekend in the ER with my mom.  Shortness of breath, heart palpitations, blood sugar in the 300's and blood pressure off the charts where the Blood Pressure machine screamed warnings; some of the episodes were scarier than others.  She survived Congestive Heart Failure and eventually had a pace maker installed.

My mom, she also had sleep apnea, a condition where she stopped breathing a lot during the night while she tried to sleep.  Lack of sleep and poor diet are more than likely the root cause to my mom's health issues.  Losing weight and eliminating dairy products has helped this condition a lot, my mom doesn't stop breathing at night anymore.  Sleep apnea... gone.

Hallucinations became the norm for us early on in about 2005, where she'd run through the house screaming about "the baby."  I'd wake up to find her in a panic... this was the beginning of adventures in Josie's Crazyland.

Once I lost my job due to a lay off, we moved fast.  I got married, moved my mom and cat, prepared my house for sale and sold my house 16 days before the financial meltdown.  My mom, appeared to become crazy over night, declining to a catatonic state.  The move was too sudden, everything happened so fast.  My mom stopped talking, she couldn't find any words and she began taking her pills incorrectly.

First, we cured her diabetes with fenugreek and food.  I cut out all processed foods and preservatives from our diets.  I observed her behaviors after she ate certain foods.  I researched.  I wrote and wrote and wrote.  


Today, my mom's diabetes is now managed without any pharmaceutical drugs.  She has lost 100 pounds and has a consistent A1C of 5.1 - 5.4... normal.   An added benefit, I lost 50 pounds and my husband lost a chunk of weight too.

I learned to cook with Fenugreek.  I was a Fenugreek fanatic.  It was my answer for everything.  It lowers blood sugar, gets rid of fluid retention and seemed to do the trick for constipation issues.  Fenugreek is amazing.  I've written lots of posts that describe how we used it and the results it had given to help cure my mom of diabetes.  I do have a book that I'm currently writing that outlines how we used fenugreek to cure my mom's diabetes.



I made observations.  I noticed that her pharma drugs were causing her issues; side effects that required her to take another pill.  Each new pill made her sick or gave her weird behaviors.

Dementia set in suddenly when we moved her, she began hallucinating during the day when she was awake.  She became paranoid.  I noticed how dementia episodes seemed to line up with her blood sugar and blood pressure readings.  High readings made my mom insane, confused and disagreeable.  I began preparing foods using herbs and spices that are known to reduce blood sugar and blood pressure.  



Fenugreek seemed to raise my mom's blood pressure.  I began to use bay leaves and garlic to help manage her blood pressure and blood sugar.  I cut out all white carbohydrates and quickly learned how bad white potatoes really are for our health.  


I experimented with gluten free recipes and noticed that it wasn't just the wheat gluten that seemed to bring on dementia episodes.  If carbohydrates were high in any food, it raised her blood sugar.  I paid attention to carbohydrates and focused on low glycemic index foods.
My mother was becoming more and more withdrawn.  She couldn't speak.  She hallucinated a lot and was frightened by "the man."  So much so that she actually called the police at 2am to report me missing and to tell them about a strange man in her bed.  Nothing more frightening than to have a cop barge through your bedroom door in the middle of the night, shining a flash light into your eyes as he said, "Madam, it's the police." 



I was at the end of my rope... so I thought.  I couldn't handle my mom's fears, her paranoia was intense.  I didn't want to stop the natural healing road that we were on so I began to experiment with hypnosis.  I am a trained Clinical Hypnotherapist; I created a custom hypnosis script for my mom and dubbed it in with music so that the messages would reach her subconscious mind.  It seemed to work a little.



Doctor's began to give me looks as though I was hurting my mom; I felt uneasy.  My mom was improving, but I was being looked upon as a wacko because I wouldn't insist that my mom take the drugs that they were prescribing.  My mom didn't want to take them and I wasn't going to force her to take them.  I became my mom's voice once she lost her own ability to speak.



I shared everything with my mom, everything that I was learning.  She understood and was totally on board.  Her dementia symptoms freaked me out a bit, especially when police showed up in my bedroom at 2am.  I wouldn't give up.  

I researched and found Cordyceps Mushrooms for dementia, a sort of magic mushroom for the elderly.  Instead of creating hallucinations, it stopped them.  The mushroom grows in Tibet and have been used in Chinese Medicine to help ease the symptoms of dementia in the aged.  Side effects were minimal, stomach discomfort and diarrhea when too much is ingested.  The mushrooms helped her to come alive a little and it absolutely helped her to never be constipated again.  Today, my mom takes 500mg a day in a capsule form.  Cordyceps are amazing.  I've written a lot of blog posts about it.
It was around the time that my mom was taking Cordyceps that I searched for a Naturopath Doctor, someone who understood the test results from the traditional doctors and who could prescribe natural supplements and remedies to help my mom's condition.  I needed a professional to help my mom, someone who knows the pros and cons with any supplement that he prescribes.  

I found Dr. Barton from the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians website.  He wasn't too far away so I wrote him an email, telling him what I had done with my mom and asked him if he could help her.  We set up a consultation and here we are, a year and a half later and my mom is dancing like she's 20!

My mom's disease is progressive, although it appears that we've slowed the march toward her final day on Earth with more good days than bad.  We achieved this phenomenal outcome by going back to basics.  I found new ways to cook food fast.  Through my mom, I learned which foods are good and which ones not so good with keeping a healthy body.  

I learned from my mother the greatest lesson of all, the importance of good health.  My mother never taught me about food, the food she taught me how to cook is all the stuff that got her sick in the first place.  She gradually poisoned herself and her kids, unintentionally!  The worst part is she also passed on the learned behavior of  how "good food" is supposed to look and taste.  

Yesterday when she was having her pace maker tested, the nurse commented and tried to give my mom credit for teaching me how to cook so well.  My mom pipped up and said, "No, no, I can't take credit for that, Susie did that all by herself and she helped me lose 100 pounds.  I feel great today because of my Susie."  Tears came to my eyes.  My mom gave me approval IN A PUBLIC SETTING!  

When I was given the opportunity to take control of my mom's diet, she suddenly began to feel better.  I prepared fresh food from scratch every day.  I began to discover the healing power of food and how to combine the food into tasty delicious meals that seemed to help my mom's cognition.  I discovered what food caused hallucinations and which ones seemed to keep her scary visitors away.  

The pharmaceutical pills were making her sick.  The side effects were horrible, worse than the illness they were supposed to treat.  Gradually, my mom took herself off her pills, she told me that she didn't want to take them because they made her feel more sick. I didn't force her to take the pills.  I began to cook with herbs and spices that I knew were beneficial for all that ailed her.

 In hindsight, we should have had a Naturopath Doctor helping us wean her off the pharmaceutical medications, especially the high blood pressure medications, she was on 3 or 4 different ones!  Nothing bad happened to her, we got lucky  because I was feeding her a nutritious diet.  However, I do recommend seeking out a professional to help with this because they can take the guess work out of the equation.


Acupuncture for her dementia is working well.  I found a study that stated how the average improvement for each individual who participated to be 43%.  Acupuncture is amazing.  It helps my mom's mood and has an amazing result with helping her to find her words.



Today, thanks to our fabulous ND, my mom is having very good days.  She's happy and dancing daily.  She loves "school" where she has real friends, friends who interact with her and don't just ignore her.  She loves the people at the ADH program where she is beginning to fall into a structured routine.  The structure seems to help her to feel more in control of her life.

My life is coming back.  I can actually sit and write the books that need to be written, where I tell our story.  It's amazing.  The entire story.  Even the side stories are awesome, the happy beginnings with family, mending hurt feelings and rekindling the family love.  

I love my family, every member of my family is a part of me; each of them has helped me become who I am.

Ma and Uncle Al
May 2009
My mom and my Uncle Al's dementia have taught me volumes about myself and my family.  We lived through the storms of life, even one as devastating as dementia of a parent.  

I never believed things would ever be right again with my family... I'm so happy that I was WRONG.  My advice to other families going through the muck... communicate.  Talk.  Listen.  Understand.  Most important, never stop loving your family.  

My sister in law Patricia said to me one day, "Sue, that was your journey.  It was something that you needed to do by yourself.  It was your life test."  She was right, it was my Karma, it was my choice.  

Now, we take one day at a time.  Each minute we get to share with each other is a gift.  

I cherish the time with my family.  

Bonus lesson learned through all of the pain is that when it comes down to it, it's about the people in your life, not the material things.


22 comments:

  1. really informative article. often going back to the basics is the key to many things.

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  2. This is a very interesting blog and so i like to visit your blog again and again. Keep it up.

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  3. Thanks for your insights! My mother has dementia including hallucinations and we are now looking for alternative treatments. Where do you buy Cordyceps Mushrooms? Want a reliable source. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous... sorry for the delay in replying to your note. We buy our Cordyceps from Aloha Medicinals. If your mom has trouble swallowing pills, you can also buy a liquid extract.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Grate blog, My father is suffering with same and doctor say's his 50% mind is useless due to blood circulation.
    Can i use Cordyceps for my father. Please advise, I love my father very much Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  6. For the Cordyceps to work to you have to get off the pharmaceuticals first?

    ReplyDelete
  7. There is no cure but it can be managed by medications to delay the onset, slow the rate of progression, improve memory, language, attention span & orientation; by healthy diet, regular exercise, intellectual stimulation, social interactions, stimulating environment, and support groups.

    Dementia specialist

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is curious how the list of symptoms is so consistent amongst different DLB patients. Has anyone found some helpful ideas towards a better sleep? Melatonin or something dietary? The psyco-active medications don't help and they make my mom fall at night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melatonin works for my husband with DLB.

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    2. Melatonin works for my husband with DLB.

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  9. TS... We had good results with a change of diet, eliminating simple carbs like bread, pasta and foods with preservatives. Avoid high fructose corn syrup (corn sugar) and increase whole foods. make smoothies with frozen fruit to disguise dark greens and give her vegetable juice made with beets, carrots, celery and green apples... The secret is an anti inflammatory diet. Keep her questions answered and get her to walk for exercise.

    Bach's Rescue Remedy for sleeping worked wonderfully as well as ashwaghanda.


    I have written about both remedies, do a search on my blog and you will find what worked for my mom.

    Best wishes for your mom's restful sleep and your peace.

    Sue

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  10. Also... Passion flower extract ( Herb Pharm brand) - a liquid that i put in her tea at night. Passion flower tea worked too.

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