Friday, May 31, 2013

Peachtree Road Race

As I try to train for the Peachtree Road Race, I have lots of time to think.  That's probably not a good thing.  But, some of the things I have thought of lately are:

  • If I set a goal to come in last at the Peachree I can probably achieve that goal.
  • Was wondering if I could take my number off during the race and give it to someone else that would finish faster and have them carry it across the finish line
  • Make a sign to put on my back that says"  Caution Student Driver  Runner -- Expect Delays

Too much time to think.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hurdles in Life

As I try to prepare myself to run  walk the Peachtree Road Race in July, it seems like a big hurdle to jump.  I'm not a runner, never been a runner.  But, as I diligently trudge my old overweight body out to the streets to  try to run -- the hurdle seems to get taller and taller.  However, as I trudge up and down the hills I think of two of my friends battling breast cancer, another friend who just lost her 61 year old husband, and another friend that just found out she has stage four colon cancer.  Those are big hurdles.....mine is not.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Meltdown Monday

It's hard for me to write this, but considering this is a blog about Dealing With Alzheimer's I must.  This past Monday was really hard.

My husband was in St. Louis visiting his family.  those of you that follow my blog know that I usually enjoy my time alone when he leaves -- it's real quiet and peaceful!  And, it had been for several days. But then Monday morning came around.

I had purchased a new fishing rod and reel on Sunday.  On Monday morning, I went to adjust the line and get it in working order.  When I started to do it, it confused me.  I couldn't quite figure out how to do it -- but it's pretty simple you know?  I got frustrated pretty quickly and thought I'll just put it aside and come to it later.  I then decided to go into my craft room and try to clean and straighten up the mess I had in there.  When I went into the room, I couldn't clean it.  I looked at everything -- there were stacks of paper everywhere, scissors, scraps of paper on the floor, etc.  I knew that eventually I had to run the vacuum in that room, but I couldn't figure out how to pick things up off the floor in order to vacuum.  I couldn't pick up the stacks of paper I had laying around and organize them or even straighten them to put away in their nice cubby hole.  How hard is it to pick something up off the floor?  But I could not do it.   I decided to try something else.

I then went to do some laundry.  I got the clothes in the washing machine, but I couldn't figure out how to turn the washer on.  I should be able to do that in my sleep right?

I decided to leave that task and go outside for some fresh air. I had a major panic attack and couldn't go outside.

I had become a prisoner in my own house and couldn't do anything. I realized I was not in a good situation with all of this happening.  I called several friends at home and at work and either they were not home or they weren't in their office.  So, I broke down.  I'm not a "crier", but I started to cry and I didn't stop.  I tried to call my husband in St. Louis -- he knows how I get when things like this happen.  But he wasn't answering his phone.  Then I called my son.  He has not experienced me this way and I am sure I scared him.  When I am like this, I can only tell you that "I can't do anything".  I am not capable of telling you all the things I can't do -- all I can get out of my mouth is "I can't do anything".  I'm sure when my son picked up the phone and I was sobbing out of control he figured something had happened to me or his dad.  He offered to come over but I told him no I just needed to hear his voice.  After that phone call I finally got in touch with my husband, and although he wasn't here with me, he understood what was happening to me and it made me feel better.  But it makes me feel so stupid when I can't do the simplest things. Logically, I know I am not stupid, but I can't get that out of my mind.  I had thought of calling a neighbor to come help me but I didn't want to tell them that I couldn't turn my washer on!   I feel like I have a big "S" on my head for stupid.

The thing about these episodes is that I know what I am suppose to do, but I cannot physically do it.  It's like the instructions are written in a foreign language. The thought is in my brain but it can't be relayed into action. As you can imagine it is very frustrating.  Things like this happen to me all the time, but not usually all at one time. Luckily, I didn't have anything that I absolutely had to do that day and of course I didn't.  I honestly don't remember much of the rest of the day other than my husband and son both called to check on me.  I was still crying a lot during the day which is not like me.

The rest of the week has been much better compared to my Meltdown Monday.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

to everyone out there.  I had some nice time with my son.  I miss our "date nights" we used to have, so this probably came pretty close to those days.  I appreciated him taking time for me today.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

dodging the question

several people asked me a question today and I found myself lying because I didn't want to admit the truth. that is kind of sad.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Graduations, Awards and Rewards

I'm so proud of some of my young friends who are graduating in the next few months.  My beautiful great neice Amelia (pictured below) is graduating at the top of her senior class at the ripe old age of 16 -- yes, 16.  We are so proud of her.  She has been accepted to several universities -- two in Atlanta
so we are hoping to see more of her.  She'll be majoring in bio medical engineering.

My friend Christopher will be graduating from med school, and my friend Josh has decided to go for his PhD.  I'm proud of everyone but as I write this I think that it also makes me feel old!

Today I had the privilege of going to a breakfast put on by the Grady College of Journalism at UGA.  A friend of mine received a "Lifetime Achievement" award.  While there I was re-acquainted with many people that I have worked with on various projects throughout the years.  Two of them told me they read my blog and I was amazed -- but thank you both for telling me that you do click on here occasionally and keep up with my upside down world. It was nice to see everyone and congrats to my friend who certainly deserved it.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

"Remembering" on Mother's Day

When most people think about Alzheimer’s many only think of people losing their memory.  But it is so much more.  It’s getting confused about the simplest things, not being able to make change in a store, not being able to follow a conversation, having a problem crossing the street, not being able to productive.   Memory is still a big part of the whole picture, but medicine has been somewhat helpful for me.

I worry about the memories yet to be made.  I worry about the things I will forget – like weddings, graduations, first steps, birthdays and vacations.  We all tend to take them for granted.

Several years ago I went to the local card store looking for a card to send to my son Alan on Mother’s Day.  I wanted to thank him for being a good son and making me the mother I was – be it good or bad! But Hallmark hadn't caught on to that, so I expressed my feelings another way. 

So as Mother’s Day approaches I wanted to “remember” some things from my experience as a mother so if you’ll indulge me in this I have a few things to say to my son –

Dear Alan –
I remember ---
  • Reading Curious George books to you over and over and over
  • You correcting me if I missed a word here and there
  • Your kindergarten teacher calling to tell me she didn’t feel comfortable reading a story your wrote about how babies were made because it was too real for the other children to hear – you have your father to thank for that!
  • The “marble incident”
  • The first time I saw you singing in a school play – I had no idea
  • Your “first crush” that was not reciprocated
  • How nervous I used to get when you were in musical theater productions.  I don’t know how athletes’ mothers handle it!
  • That you didn't seem embarrassed when we did a few shows together – thank you for that opportunity
  • How you used “the marble incident” as the topic for an important paper
  • “Date night” – did I really think I was teaching you how to act on a date?
  • When you got mononucleosis your freshman year in college and worried about your grades
  • Telling you about my Alzheimer’s diagnosis and sharing some tears with you.  That’s when you told me about meeting Jennifer – your future wife.
  • You being miffed that Yale put you on a waiting list for Law School
  • Watching you deliver a speech in Macon on our family’s battle with Alzheimer’s
  • Your law school graduation from Stanford – you worked hard for that
  • You coming to my rescue in a New York City subway on the way out to Flushing Meadow for the US Open
  • Ice skating in Rockefeller Center, in Pentagon Row in Washington DC and in Atlanta – notwithstanding Dad’s broken elbow
  • You telling us that you wanted to move closer to home once you finished your clerkship in DC
  • Giving you all the letters I had written you over the years on the eve of your wedding – that was hard for both of us
  • Of course, the wedding
  • You and Jennifer buying your first house.

As I write this, I chuckle to myself at all the things you would probably remember differently – but it’s Mother’s Day and it’s my turn!  Seriously, you and Jennifer have so many more memories to make in the years to come. And, although I may be around in body, I’ll miss many of them. As you grow older, you’ll realize how precious memories can be.  I cherish all of those I can remember now and hate that I have already lost some.
Thanks for making me the mom I am – good or bad.
                                                                                                            Love, Mom

Friday, May 03, 2013

Speaking and writing

I received the nicest thank you not yesterday from Tamar Shovali's Psychology class.  They always send me a note after speaking to them and it is so nice that they all sign it and leave a note for me.  Thanks to Tamar for having me talk with her class and the best of luck in her new endeavors.

I also had the pleasure of speaking at the Heart of Gold Pilot Club meeting in Cleveland Georgia over the weekend.  A big thanks to all that made it possible.  I decided from now on, I'm going to take my camera and take a photo of the groups I speak to as they are always taking pictures of me.  It will be a nice reminder  for me.  My next speaking engagement starts at 6:30 a.m. -- good thing I am an early riser!

A friend of mine writes a very eloquent blog.  And, she posts every week.  I'm always amazed that she can write on the simplest of topics with such ease.  And, I realize that it might seem "easy" to her, but it sounds like it just rolled off her tongue.  I would like to think that I used to be able to do it, but not like she does.  I'm impressed -- maybe when I grow up I can be like her. Thanks RF.

When I speak to groups, I often give them some a list of references to turn to regarding Alzheimer's.  I don't usually have this as a handout but I need to do one. But until I do, I thought I would list some of the references here -- there are more I know -- but these are the ones currently on my power point presentation.

Alzheimer’s Association --
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
The Forgetting by David Shenk
Thousand Mile Stare by Gary Reiswig
Jan’s Story by Barry Petersen
Alzheimer’s Early Stages by Daniel Kuhn
Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s by Joanne Koenig Coste
Living Your Best with Early-Stage Alzheimer's - Lisa Snyder
The All-Weather Friend's Guide to Alzheimer's Disease - Mary M. Cail
The Alzheimer’s Project – HBO Documentary
The Shriver Report