Oct 18, 2016

Diligence in taking medicine, persistence in doing exercise, cognitive ability fully recovered

(Cont. from part 1) In the course of treatment, patient progressed every day. One time, I asked him to do a run.  He ran and at the turn, he suddenly jumped and turned. I was shocked. He said he wasn’t sure why he did that but he just felt an inexplicable force allowing him to do that. This proved that his legs have gained a lot of strength. His knees and bones were much stronger. He was also able to jump over a trash bin, like hurdle, that was about one foot high. That was a difficult action and he was able to repeat it eight times in a row. I recorded it immediately and sent the recording to his family so that they could see his stunning progress.

For several times, I had tea with patient and some friends. During our conversation, he was full of expression and talked a lot about old stories when we were in the old company. His memory has been gradually restored. Also, since he has been exercising more and more, his two thigh muscles were stouter. It is normal that whenever there’s a leap in the progress during a treatment, a slight regression may occur. For example for this patient, he was able to jump over two trash bins, one after another, and walk up seven floors before he became out of breath, which was an amazing progress. However, there were times when his fingers could not move, but after a day, they would be better again. Since treatment, he could move both his hands up and down and stretch forward to pick things up without a problem.

In mid-April 2014, during patient’s twenty-third follow-up visit, he had two breakthroughs. First, he was able to take off his shirt over his head with both hands. Second, he was able to step sideways, taking left and right horizontal step, which was actually more difficult. Before, he could only walk forward. He was probably feeling tired after these movement test so when I took pictures of him for the record, he seemed listless but after a fifteen-minute rest with his eyes closed, he felt better and was energized again.

In the twenty-fourth follow-up visit, the patient had another breakthrough. One time when he was on a plane, he was able to lift his luggage with both hands to stow it in the overhead compartment. He said that since five or six years ago when his hands and shoulders had limited mobility, he had not been able to do that. After the treatment, he has clearly gained the strength to move freely. Also, when he tried to do finger exercises in the afternoon or evening, he could do about thirty times, indicating the heart has strengthened too thus more blood is being supplied to the brain. Before, in the evening time, he would have difficulties moving his fingers. This showed that he has improved a lot. When doing a hurdle, his feet landed lightly, indicating strength in his toes. His complexion was pinkish, wrinkles has reduced and he looked at least five years younger than when he first returned to Hong Kong.

Taste restored, appetite increased

During the week, patient met with a friend whom he had not seen for two years. He talked a lot and responded quickly. That was a clear progress from two months ago. His sense of taste was also gradually restoring. When we went out to eat one time, he told me he could taste and tell the difference between sweet and salty and he was so excited. Unfortunately, he could also taste the bitterness of his medication, which he didn’t before. He still didn’t have any sense of smell, although his nose seemed clearer than before. We went to Macau over the weekend. In Macau, he was in good condition. He walked normally, could use chopsticks and keeping them steady while picking up his food, and he had a pretty good appetite. He could even remember his hotel room number.

It was very frustrating to be “tasteless”. Life was not much fun. After the treatment, patient’s sensitivity of taste increased and could distinguish hot, sour and different taste. His appetite naturally increased. He became more cheerful and gained some weight. In his twenty-eighth follow-up visit, he showed me the writing that he had been practicing. There were English and Chinese writing he did with his right hand and they were very neat and pretty so I made a copy to keep in his file. In addition, there was another breakthrough, he was able to hop on one leg, although his left leg was stronger than the right, with which he had a little difficulty. He was not able to do that at all before.

Climb the Great Wall, be a hero

While I was in the United States for a month to visit relatives, patient travelled to the mainland with a tour group. He went to Beijing and Xi’an. While travelling, he continued to take his medication as instructed diligently, twice a day, and never stopped. From the beginning of his treatment, he practiced writing and did finger exercises every day. I could see his determination and resilience to fight the disease and to be cured. It was really amazing. In Beijing, he had climbed to the highest point of the Great Wall, proving that his cardiopulmonary function and physical strength were just like an ordinary person. He could walk all the way up to seventeenth floor, taking only a minute break in between. It is possible that even a healthy person might not be able do that. During his trip, he had called me to report his condition every day.

When I was in the United States, I got a hold of patient’s MRI scan of his brain. It showed cerebral cortex atrophy, a lot of deep sulcus and the gap is larger than normal. That was an indication of neurodegeneration. After I returned to Hong Kong, I met with him several times and had dinner together. He was always very talkative about what happened in the past. When he held his cup and chopsticks with the right hand, there was no trembling and instability.

Run to strengthen breathing, in very good condition

In the thirty-second follow-up visit, color of one bottle of patient’s urine sample changed from purple to black, indicating liver toxins and impurities being discharged. The rest were purple, orange brown red, light orange brown, light yellow brown, etc. Six of the bottles had white cholesterol precipitate. During that time, patient felt that he could walk and run faster than before. Before, he would not be able to lift his right leg after only about ten steps. After the treatment, he could run for three quarters of a lap in Wanchai Sutton Sportsground, which showed he was in good condition. He hoped that starting the following week, he could start running every day.

When patient returned to the United States for two weeks to visit relatives, I had prepared seven packs of Chinese medicine for him to bring with him. A week after he came back to Hong Kong, he felt that his muscles and joints were tight and he lost his smile but soon recovered. The reason, I thought, was he had exercised too hard, running too much at the sportsground, feeling tired and could not recuperate soon enough. In the thirty-fifth follow-up visit, he could move his right thumb, but it would tremble and was not fully under control. His palms were warm and dry, unlike before when they were sweaty and cold, indicating that his condition has improved and his heart was strengthened.

Played basketball against advice, back injured

Based on urine color observation, which were mostly purple, it indicated a large amount liver blood clots being discharged. Although patient’s physical fitness was getting better and better, as a 60-year-old man, he should not do strenuous exercise. Despite my advice against, he played basketball. One time he jumped and the heel landed first, injuring the muscles and bones of the heel, which might have impacted on the cartilage of the spine (disc), causing compression and prominent, hurting the spinal nerve. When he tried to bend or get on and off the bed, he felt pain. I urged him to take an extra dosage of the medicine, from twice a day to three times a day. After a while, he was able to bend over and crouch, but the pain was still there so I advised him to stop all exercise to avoid getting hurt again.

In the thirty-seventh follow-up visit, patient’s back pain was half way better. There was less pain when he tried to turn lying in bed and his muscles felt more relaxed when he tried to bend. I advised him to drink ginseng water and deer tail soup every day to strengthen the lumbar spine and heart. He was able to button his shirt cuff button with his right hand. Before the treatment, his right hand was not flexible and he was not able to button his shirt. After two weeks, his back has relaxed a lot. Right after his basketball injury, due to disc displacement, prominent suppressing the nerve, it was painful and he had trouble getting on and off the bed so he had to sleep on the couch. After a while, with the increased dosage of medicine, he could get on and off his bed again without much pain.

After the bad experience of the basketball injury, patient did not dare do any aggressive exercise again. His back pain gradually reduced. He was able to hop forward on one leg and could even make a sharp turn while jumping. His ability to control his movement has improved further. In that week, he had a number of breakthroughs. When he turned while sleeping or got up from bed, his back pain has reduced. He was able to raise his hands and clap and he could do a jumping jack for 26 times, which he was never able to do before. He could also jump over two trash bins seven times in a row. He was back to his state before the injury. He could bend and get up swiftly, unlike two weeks ago when he was slow doing that. He also had nightmares the past two days. They felt real and he was a little scared.

For a while, before the treatment when patient was in the United States, he had to lift his left leg up and out the car with his hands when he tried to get off the car because his leg was so weak. After the treatment, he did not have to do that. He could control his legs and get off the car quickly and freely. Before he left Hong Kong, the color of his urine samples, after a long time of oxidation, was mostly black, some purple, indicating that the liver still had a lot of toxins. After he came back to Hong Kong, the color of his urine sample was not black or purple anymore. His condition continued to improve steadily. His left foot heel would hurt when he got off the bed due to the basketball injury but the pain would gradually disappear in time.

Sense of smell restored, could smell incense

Patients with dementia generally lose their sense of smell, and so did this patient, who had lost his sense of smell a few years ago. After the treatment, one day, he suddenly smelled his neighbor’s burning incense at home, so he immediately reported to me. This phenomenon was very gratifying, it showed that he was only one step away from complete recovery. My guess was about one to two months later, he should be able to return to the United States completely recovered. In March 31 of 2015, he and I joined a six-day tour to Zhangjiajie. I observed and paid special attention to his condition. Throughout the tour, not only did we have to walk a lot, we also had to climb up and down stairs. He was always in good spirit, no complaints and his hands and feet coordination was very good. He had no problem picking things up and putting things down. He didn’t look like one who had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and was once a very serious patient.

In the last few follow-up visits, patient has almost fully recovered. When he was singing along at karaoke, his body was straight, his voice was loud and clear and he was full of energy. One time, at a charity dinner for the elderlies organized by Yung Kwong Community Group, he went up to the front to sing for all the participants. He sang to Teresa Teng’s song, “I only care about you.” He was joyful and enjoyed himself. In nearly two years of treatment, he changed from a withering sick man to a healthy vibrant old man. I felt really touched to see his transformation. When I bid him farewell, he thanked me repeatedly. I wished him good health, a long lasting friendship, and I’ll see him when I return to the United States.

By Dr. Au Sik Kee

Oct 18, 2016

Medical record number: 131018

For enquiry, email: sikkeeau@gmail.com