Sunday, June 12, 2016

My Thoughts On Alzheimer's

Pray for me I was once like you.

Be kind and loving to me that's how I would have treated you.

Remember I was once someone's parent or spouse I had a life and a
dream for the future.

Speak to me, I can hear you even if I don't understand
what you are saying.
Speak to me of things in my past of
which I can still relate.

Be considerate of me, my days are such a struggle.

Think of my feelings because I still have them and can feel pain.
Treat me with respect because I would have treated you that way.
Think of how I was before I got Alzheimer's; I was full of life, 
I had a life, laughed and loved you.

Think of how I am now, My disease distorts my thinking, my
feelings, and my ability to respond, but I still love you even if I can't tell you.
Think about my future because I used too.

Remember I was full of hope for the future just like you are now.
Think how it would be to have things locked in your mind and
can't let them out.
I need you to understand and not blame me,
but Alzheimer's.
I still need the compassion and the touching and most of all I
still need you to love me.
Keep me in your prayers because I am between life and death.

The love you give will be a blessing from God and both of us will
live forever.

How you live and what you do today will always be remembered
in the heart of the Alzheimer's Patient.

Wow, I would say almost 9 years ago (maybe 10) I taped a piece of paper with those words in black print onto the wall of a hospital in North Texas. In that room, of the hospital where I was born, my grandmother (Meme) laid. She was recovering from an accidental overdose of medication that she had taken everyday for years, one of the first signs that she was starting to battle Alzheimer’s. 

A couple of weeks ago, as I jotted notes into my Sermon Notes notebook during a Sunday morning sermon, Shelby asked, “Can I have that when I am older?” She knows why I take notes during sermons, she knows why I write in my bible, she knows why I journal and I blog. 

I document my memories, I document my thoughts, my feelings. 
I do this because I love the stories, because God gave me powerful words and the gift of writing, but above everything else I do it because: 

Those who have a parent, brother, sister or child with Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop the disease. The risk increases if more than one family member has the illness. When diseases tend to run in families, either heredity (genetics) or environmental factors, or both, may play a role. {source}

You see, my grandmother’s mother had Alzheimer’s, my grandmother’s sister had Alzheimer’s and my grandmother (who I share just about every genetic characteristic with) lost her battle with Alzheimer’s three years ago. 

The awareness that I will be effected by Alzheimer’s increases as research concludes that:

The risk of developing Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia appears to be increased by many conditions that damage the heart or blood vessels. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol. {source}

Yes, I know, this does not mean that I will definitely battle Alzheimer’s or even that my mother will, but our chances are so much greater. 

I believe I have two choices. 

I could have genetic testing done and have a definite answer. I could sit with this time bomb questioning “when and how” my Alzheimer’s will progress. Spend hours worrying about who will care for me or if I will be a burden. Even suffer the depression that comes with Alzheimer’s. 

Or I could know all of the facts and chose to live. 

Chose to live the fullest life possible, to show love every chance I get, to share the stories of my family with my family, to share my testimony with as many as will listen all the while remembering to document. Remembering to capture in picture and words my feelings about life, about my daughters’ lives. 

Taking care of my brain, especially my heart-head connection, is something that has an even greater importance to me and gives me a greater reason to manage my blood pressure. 

And then, I pray. I pray for the men and women who continue to push to find a cure,to find some way to slow or end this disease. Ninety percent of what we know about Alzheimer's has been discovered in the last 15 years. My prayer is that we have even more answers in the next 15 years. My pray is that my daughters will not have to witness what this disease does to a person that they love, but my pray is also that if they do I have prepared them. They know what to expect and they have my words even when I lose my ability to communicate them. 

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