President Ronald Reagan gave up riding horses not because he lost his strength, but because he lost his mind – to Alzheimer’s. I was not familiar with this disease at the time, but I am now. Linda, my wife of 35 years, has it. It has been a long 10 years and I now know what Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis meant when she described The Long Goodbye.
I consider myself privileged and honored to be there for my wife when she needs me most. Taking care of her ten hours a day over that long period is a joy that I simply cannot describe. It is without doubt the most meaningful experience I have ever had in a long and colorful life.
Of course, being the writer I am, I am writing a book about it, been working on it five years, 100,000 words written, as this incredible story unfolds.
The original manuscript was called Losing Linda.
But I have since changed the title to Saving Linda – because that is what I’ve done.
In October she weighed 80lb and was clearly dying. My medical providers left me with morphine and oxygen and gave me instructions to “make her comfortable”. Linda’s mouth was clamped shut, along with her eyes and her bowels. She hadn’t had any meaningful movement in three months.
I forced her mouth open with a wooden spoon and started feeding her a thick drink given to me by my dear friend Susan L. Williams. She claimed that years ago it reversed her symptoms of leukemia. I asked the doctor to sign off on all medications – none of which did her any good anyhow.
In ten days she opened her eyes and looked around. Then she had a bowel movement that was massive and continued for days. Color came back into her face. Within a month she had gained 20lb. Now she was out of bed and walking.
Two months later she had gained another 20lb and was walking steadily and actually using words.
Today she weighs 125lb, walks between five and ten miles and day, swims for an hour, recognizes those she knows and is talking nonstop – some of it actually making sense. She now knows what is being said, but has difficulty stringing words together for a reply. She responds in short sentences. She laughs a lot and for no reason at all will hug me and kiss me. She eats six to eight meals a day, which I personally cook –fresh vegetables, meat, fish, rice and fruit pies that I bake.
Linda’s physician, Dr George J Danial, says that in 36 years of being an MD, he has never seen this happen. He told me: “You have stopped her dementia and reversed it. You are Linda’s angel. You have bought her back to life. I would not have believed this if I had not seen it with my own eyes. It is a miracle – and so are you!”
This doctor puts the wind at my back with his endless stream of encouragement. He is a man of science, but clearly he is in touch with the human spirit, a rare combination in medicial practitioners, I have discovered.
I also started sipping this drink in January, just to see if it was up to the sweetness that Linda likes. Somewhere along the way I developed a taste for it and was soon knocking back four big tumblers a day. I then realized I had a lot of energy and didn’t seem to get tired, although I work 16-hour days and wake every three hours during the night to change Linda. She has been incontintent for almost two years
In July I took a complete medical required by the DMV to renew a CDL license (commercial driver’s license) I have always carried. My doctor looked over the file and he was surprised. My blood pressure was 108 over 70. Normally it is 180 over 90. He has had me on medication to lower it but I had also stopped taking that in February. My bad cholesterol was way down, my vision was 20/20 and my weight was where it was in high school, 169lb on 5’10”.
Dr Harris Wasser asked me what I was doing that was different.
I told him about the diet.
A big bonus for all this, apart from saving Linda’s life, is that at age 73 I now ride every other night, I am writing three books at once, I write this column monthly, I run a saddle company and now that I have found a couple of great live-in caregivers, I might actually save the company. But strangely, I don’t worry about the company, or my house, or anything else. I worry only about Linda. I am experiencing too much joy to be worried about anything material. I have never in my life had so much energy. I know my horses have taken note of this as well.
So for riders everywhere, let me share what I call Susan’s Drink of Life.
First mix these dry ingredients:
- Four cups of Brewers’ Yeast.
- One cup of flax seed. (good for cell renewal, omega 3’s, helps digestion, relieves pain and inflammation.
- One cup of oat bran (excellent for people who are weak and seek more vitality.)
- One cup of sprouted pumpkin seeds.
- Half a cup of lecithin (aids brain function, omega 3’s, rich in vitamin B-12, protects against high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Improves memory.)
- One cup of currants.
- One cup of coconut sugar (optional)
Mix all this together and put aside in a container that seals well. We will call this The Mix.
Two tablespoons of grape molasses, liquid stevia and/or honey.
Get a good blender and put in one the following:
- One cup of The Mix.
- Half a cup of coconut oil.
- One banana.
- One third of a fresh pineapple, (trim off the rough outside of course!!)
- One cup of blueberries.
- One cup of raw unsalted almonds,
- A cup of rice milk (and keep this handy for adding later, to make the drink less thick. If administering to somebody who cannot swallow, leave it very thick, which makes it ideal for spooning, otherwise add liquid to make it more drinkable.)
- One cup of yoghurt of your choice. (If you are lactose intolerant, soy yogurt will work.)
- Drop in three Vitamin B tablets.
You will notice a change in about three weeks. You will have more energy, yet be less hungry. You will lose weight, especially if you lower sugar intake and increase exercise.
And then, ride until you’re laughing out loud!
For questions or comments, email Colin on email@example.com or call 818 8896988.
Colin Dangaard is founder and President of the Australian Stock Saddle Company, launched with his wife Linda Fox in 1979. They were the first to bring the Australian stock saddle to the USA.