I started this blog back in 2018, three years after my wife Harriet had been diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia. After reading everything I could find on the subject, I knew that my calling was to be a caregiver to Harriet. That is why the blog is called A Caregivers Journal. However, the title has come to have a new meaning because in 2021 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. So now I am a Caregiver AND a care receiver. I am coming to see why most people would much rather be a giver than a receiver. I guess you could say I’ve seen Both Sides.
Once again, I want to thank everyone of you who have been praying for Harriet and myself. I am convinced that things would be going much worse if it wasn’t for faithful prayer warriors like you.
UPDATE: David – 9/15/21
I thank God for doctors, nurses, scientists and technicians, who work in the medical field to keep us healthy. This summer, I have had appointments with my Dentist, Dermatologist Ophthalmologist, Neurologist, Primary Care Doctor, and Urologist. The summer started out with a session of Death Therapy from my Ophthalmologist and ended with a much longer session from my Neurologist.
I was talking about Death Therapy with my sister, and she asked me what did I mean? She had never heard of it before. Death Therapy has been around since Charles Dickens brought Ebenezer Scrooge to his senses in A Christmas Carol. However, The Term Death Therapy comes from the movie, “What about Bob?” starring Bill Murray as Bob Wiley and Richard Dreyfuss as Bob’s psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Marvin. The film has Bob inviting himself on Dr. Leo’s vacation. No matter what Dr. Leo does he cannot get rid of Bob. One disaster after another leads the good Doctor to realize that to get his life back, he will have to kill Bob. Bob is sitting on a dock, in the middle of the night, tied to a chair with explosives attached to his clothing. Somehow, he doesn’t get blown to bits and has huge positive changes in his life. Bob declares that this New, “Death Therapy,” proves that Dr. Leo is a genius.
Many people have had Death Therapy without being aware of it. My dad couldn’t stop smoking, no matter how many times he tried. My sisters and I tied to help him quit by putting pieces of sparklers, and small ladyfinger firecrackers in his cigarettes. Even with our help, he couldn’t successfully quit smoking. That was until he had a sore throat that he couldn’t get rid of. He was sure he had throat cancer, and in the early nineteen-sixties any cancer was a death sentence. He said, “I finished the pack of cigarettes and thought, I wonder how long I can go without smoking one?” How odd he thought, “I don’t even have a craving for them.” Dad said it was his mother’s prayers that gave him the power to do what he couldn’t do. He was in his forties when he quit and never smoked another cigarette. Dad died in 2019 at the age of 94 and just before he died the doctors told him how fortunate he was to have quit smoking when he did. He had served in the navy in the second world war. Dad was in several battles and because of the fires and explosions had inhaled a lot of asbestos and the doctor said, because of the asbestos, Dad had pulmonary fibrosis. The doctor was absolutely certain that If Dad had continued smoking, he would have died much sooner.
Anyway, on August 31, I had a test for peripheral Neuropathy. This is the third time I’ve been tested for it and every time the Doctor says, “Yep. You’ve got it.“ Having said that they would go on to say something about we need to keep an eye on it and if it gets much worse, do something about it. My interpretation? It’s NO BIG DEAL, Let’s get lunch somewhere and get on with life. My Neurologist was not having any of that No Big Deal Stuff.
He told me that he had conducted the tests in such a way that the diagnosis was certain. “Without any doubt you have diabetic neuropathy. “ He said.
“What? How can I have diabetic neuropathy when I’ve never had full blown diabetes?” I said.
“How long have you been diagnosed with Borderline diabetes or Pre-diabetes?” He asked.
“About twenty years. “ I answered.
He handed me a sheet of paper and said, “This shows, in six-month increments, your weight and A1-C scores. The chart starts in 2008, you weighed 200 pounds, which is a bit overweight, but not bad. Look at your A1-C, those numbers are spot on.”
I quickly scanned the chart. He was right that when I gained weight my A1-C also rose. The Number at 200 pounds was 4.9. Any thing below 5.7 is wonderful. Sadly, most of my numbers were somewhere between 5.7 and 6, which means I am borderline or prediabetic which I already knew.
“I don’t see anywhere on this chart that my number is 6.5 or above.” I said.
“Very true. “ he said, “However, look here where your weight goes from 240 to 230. You lost ten pounds, and I would expect to see a corresponding lowering of your A1-C number. Instead, it went from 5.7 to 6. Which means that your body is having more difficulties with insulin.
“Please LISTEN, Mister Woodby,” he went on. “Without further testing I cannot prove that you have diabetes. However, today’s exams show that, without a doubt, you have diabetic neuropathy, and the damage to your legs is getting worse. Dr. Sherman did the same exam four years ago. And when you compare the two it is evident that your prediabetes is doing a lot of damage to your legs.
“Okay, I can see what you are saying.” I said, “Where do we go from here?”
“First, you need a change in your attitude. You can no longer afford the comfort of telling yourself, ‘I only have pre-diabeties. If you continue to take comfort in that, you will wind up an amputee in a wheelchair asking, ‘How did this happen to me? I was only Prediabetic.’ Now that we see the truth of the situation, your attitude should be, I will do whatever it takes to stop the damage to my legs.
Second, I am prescribing a daily regimen of exercise and a good HEALTHY diet. I am talking about a lifestyle change, not a temporary diet. You should aim to get down to one hundred and eighty-five pounds. I think we should hold off on any prescription of pills. Honestly, I have not seen a good long-term outcome with medicine alone. If, for some reason, you cannot lose weight, we will look into a prescription. However, I believe it will do you more good to fight this with. diet and exercise.”
“I think that you already know that there is nothing that can be done about the damage that has occurred. What we want to do is stop any more damage from occurring. “
After making a few more encouraging comments about how he knew that I could win this fight, he handed me a few brochures about exercise and diet for people with diabetes. I thought about making some smart-ass comment like, ‘These brochures are for people with diabetes, I am prediabetic.’ But I thought better of it.
“Make an appointment in about a month from now and we will see how things are going for you.”
Driving home I was thinking about how this was the third time this summer that a doctor had given me a little death therapy. The Holy Scriptures say that, “Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall everything be established. “I believe that God was speaking to me.
I began to think about my future. If I did nothing, made no changes, I could wind up a blind old man in a wheelchair. Or I could follow my doctor’s orders, eat a healthy diet, and exercise, I could wind-up an old man who could look his grandchildren in the eyes and walk by their side. It really was a question about quality of life. Of course I could do everything right and get hit and killed by a Little Debbie truck because I already move like an old man.
I began singing, “You’ve got to change your evil ways, Baby!…”
After I had my first session of Death Therapy, with the Eye Doctor, I called my son to discuss the matter. I believed every word the eye doctor had said and was determined to lose some weight. Zachary also wants to lose weight but like most of us, not enough to do much about it. While we were talking an idea popped into my head. “Hey Zach, how about if we put a little money where our mouth is?” I said.
“What do you mean?”
“I want to lose forty or fifty pounds as soon as I can, and you also want to lose a large amount. Let’s make a bet; the one who loses the most weight by New Year’s Day, 2023 gets taken to the restaurant of his choice. I’m not thinking White Castle or Burger King, either,” I said. “I was thinking more along the lines of Texas de Brazil, or Ruth Crist Steak house. What do you think?”
“Sound good to me, but I want to up the ante a bit.” He said. “The loser takes all four, Gina, Mom, Me and you.”
“I thought that was understood.”
“Thanks Dad,” he said, “It’s not often someone calls me up and offers to take me to the best restaurant in Detroit.”
“Son, you better be saving up your money. It’s going to be a expensive dinner.” I said.
Since that discussion my weight has gone from 234 down to 223. YES!!! Back up to 235. WHAT? Down to 228, Back on track. Back up to 240 and today I’m at 235. Do you see a trend?
My Appointment with the Neurologist is set for September 29 at 2:00 pm. Please pray that my weight will stop Yo Yoing and I will make some real progress in the next few days.
UPDATE: Harriet – 9/15/22
Harriet has been taking Aricept since November of 2019. This medication only hides the symptoms of Frontotemporal Dementia, the progression of the disease continues unabated. We were told that the positive effects of Aricept only last for about three or four years. Because of this I am now watching for any behavior that indicated the medicine is no longer working.
She has an appointment with her Neurologist next month. Harriet also has a cardiac stress test in the near future. Please continue to pray for her.
Please continue to pray for us and we will be praying for you.
2 thoughts on “Death Therapy”
ThoseBMI charts are crazy. You would be good at 210 and just perfect at 200. Winning the bet for losing weight shouldn’t involve food. Maybe instead the winner gets to plan a hike 😂
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i don’t think I’ve weighed 185 since High School, Maybe Junior High. I’m aiming for 200 pounds like when we were in Alaska. (I won’t shave my beard off this time.) A hike might be a healthier bet, but dinner out gives me more motivation.