As I read about health, wellness and disease prevention I often find myself gravitating towards books, articles and seminars examining cancer. As a two-time cancer survivor I think that might not be all that surprising. Cancer is the disease that has affected my family and finally started me looking into what I might do to keep the disease from recurring or from starting afresh.
But there is one disease that frightens me even more than cancer. I mean, we have seen people be cured of cancers, we have seen medications slow the progress or ease the symptoms of other diseases, but this one disease not only eventually claims the lives of those it afflicts, it takes their personhood along the way. I’ve known, loved, and respected people with this disease and all you can do is watch as they become less aware, less verbal, and less able to function as they once did.
Alzheimer’s Disease is sometimes called “The Long Goodbye” as the person deteriorates right before us. The time of diagnosis to the time of death is often measured in years and many times the final years is of a person who no longer functions the way he or she did for so many of their preceding years. That is why the disease is so frightening to me. With other illnesses we are still our selves but Alzheimer’s steals the self, it takes away who we are.
I recently read a book that offers some hope. Hope is a big deal when it comes to Alzheimer’s because there seems to be so little movement in finding a cure. And while the husband and wife medical team who wrote The Alzheimer’s Solution: A Breakthrough Program to Prevent and Reverse the Symptoms of Cognitive Decline at Every Age are not claiming a cure, they do propose a health-filled strategy for keeping this dreadful disease at bay.
Their plan is called NEURO and the acronym stands for Nutrition, Exercise, Unwind, Restore, and Optimize. The authors are Ayesha and Dean Sherzai, both medical doctors, who direct the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University. These people are the real deal.
I have referred to many other books as I have written reflections looking at health and wellbeing on my website. Yet, I don’t believe I’ve ever said of any of those books, “This is a must-buy.” I am saying that about this book. Maybe it is because I have seen the way this disease tears down the person with Alzheimer’s and the people who care for that person. Maybe it is because this is the disease that frightens me the most. But more than anything else I believe this book offers real insight into what we can do to drastically reduce the possibility of Alzheimers Disease playing a role in our personal futures.
At least for me, knowing there are healthful strategies that may prevent or greatly reduce the possibility of one day being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease is empowering. Many of us are probably doing several of the NEURO program components. Few of us (including me) are likely doing them all. I’m going to work towards making NEURO part of my everyday life in an attempt to keep this life for as long as reasonably possible.
Do you, like me, have a disease that sort of motivates you towards healthy lifestyle behaviors? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Until next time, I’m…
Wishing you well,
Rev. Russell Elleven, DMin, BCC, CWP is a Board Certified Coach and Certified Wellness Practitioner. He helps individuals obtain health and wellbeing through his coaching practice The Minister of Health, LLC and through congregational work as the executive director of The Genesis 1:29 Project.
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