A new health challenge

by Elouise

In January I posted this haiku, poem, and longer comment under the title ‘chilled to the bone.’ The photo is from Valley Forge.

chilled to the bone
night’s deep silence descends
winter drifts through cracks
Disconnected from feelings
Numb and disbelieving
I want to write
So many unknowns
So much at stake
So little time left
Will I or Won’t I?
Sooner or Later?
Is Never still an option?

This week brought unwelcome news in a couple of areas. No catastrophic accidents. Just the knowledge of things I didn’t want to hear. About a friend and about my health.

Since then, I’ve given a lot of attention to my new health challenge, working closely with my integrative doctor. I’ve also gone back and forth, wondering whether I want to write about it. The answer is Yes. Partly because not writing about it directly is getting in the way of writing at all.

I’m now one of thousands of people living with Alzheimer’s markers–ApoE4 and E3. This means that as a woman, I’m at 27-30 percent risk of getting Alzheimer’s by age 85. Right now, at age 74, my risk is close to 5-7 percent.

Dr. K, my integrative doctor, ordered a test for this and a few other genetic markers in January. Hearing the results felt like a bucket of ice water coming at me from nowhere. And there it is. And here I am. Dr. K is now ordering a few more blood tests every three months to measure as clearly as possible what’s going on inside my body.

I’ve always thought of myself as at least semi-immune from even the possibility of Alzheimer’s. In large part because I don’t know of anyone on either side of my family who suffered from this disease. I now know different, and may need to pay more attention to my family’s genealogy.

So what am I doing about it right now? If you know me well, you know I’m a book reader. So I purchased a book recommended by Dr. K. It isn’t the answer to reversing Alzheimer’s. It does, however, include information and protocols that can help ANYONE become less susceptible to this disease. You may already know about it: The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline, by Dale E. Bredesen, MD.

The book doesn’t promise what it can’t deliver. However, it lays out a program that’s healthy for anyone, sensible if sometimes difficult to manage, and filled with different ways to meet the goals of the program. It won’t heal Alzheimer’s. It can, however, delay onset or help reverse some kinds of cognitive decline — even though you’re not able to follow every recommendation all the time.

Given my status, it would be foolhardy not to do what I can to help my body. This includes not just my brain, but my heart and the whole nine yards. Having seen positive changes in a few areas since last January, I’m encouraged to do what I can — especially because it makes good health sense for me.

I’m already in the last chapter of my life. I don’t know how it’s going to play out. I pray for grace to accept what I cannot change, and grit and courage to change what I can. Along with opportunities to write about it from various perspectives. Which I began doing in The Memory Unit.

Thanks for visiting and listening.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 May 2018
Photo of Valley Forge Winter found at pinterest.com