support hands

And so, my journey continues…….Alzheimer’s Disease

It was March 3, 2021 when the doctor called and asked if we could set up a time to talk. I knew it was not the best of news. All my other test results were sent to my Medical app with detailed information. On this day, there were three test results that gave no information. Instead, there was just a sad grey emoji and a request to contact my Doctors.

I spoke with my doctors and was told that my results showed that I have Alzheimer’s Disease. I am now one of the 5.8 million people who have Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. I choose to exclude myself from that statistic, instead, I choose to do all I can to keep my quality of life.  I continue to support others in connecting with resources for themselves and or loved ones.

I am frozen with sadness, fear, and grief. It has only been four days since the news. I am devasted by the news and feel a numbness. I ask myself, “Is this for real?”

As difficult as it is, I feel I am in the best place for me to be right now after receiving such devastating news. For over a year now, I have sat in meditation and contemplation in complete silence most of my days.

I continue to read the book, The End of Alzheimer’s Program, to use as I research ways to enhance my cognition and even to reverse my cognitive decline. As I search for ways to reverse my cognitive decline, I focus on learning new ways to enhance my cognition. It may or not reverse the Alzheimer’s Disease, but I feel that the disease will just get worse if I do nothing.

This week, I found myself drifting into thinking about what the future will be like for me, and I quickly jerked back to my quiet peaceful place. I want to stay in the present, and the pain can be overwhelming. I am in a place right now, that I know I am meant to be. I am in shock. It will take time, and I may not have too much time, so I use my time wisely. In my peaceful place, I can find solace in today and minimally focus of what the tomorrows will be like. I said to myself that I would give myself a week and then gracefully as possible let go of what could have been and move forward with living and planning.

My choice is to focus on what is; to acknowledge what can be; and to explore ways to have quality of life for as long as I am able. Life is impermanent. I am thankful for my life. I am not a label. I am a person; I am alive; and I choose to live my life and not just be alive.

I sit in silence with an open heart to accept what IS. What is most important to me at this time of my life is to just be in each moment with gratitude; the past is the past and this is now my present, which will guide me through the future.

This is where my journey continues into unknown territory where I will be challenged. I say to myself, “I am strong…I am not alone…I will be alright.” I choose to make the most of my moments and not just be alive but to live my life. As I hold the doorknob each day when I leave my home, I say to myself, “With gratitude, I practice loving, kindness and gratitude to myself and to all in the world.” I relax with the ambiguity of the present moment inside myself and know I am not alone. Although I admit I am sometimes lonely. It is times like that I take a walk and be around other people.

I have learned so much, and I will continue to learn.  I mourn my losses of the would-a; could-a, should-a and instead I feel the gratitude I have for each moment of each day.

On March 3rd, when the doctors were ending the call, one doctor asked me if I was safe. I smiled and with a slight chuckle said, “Have you looked outside? It is so beautiful, the sun is shining, the birds are singing… I like to focus on living and contributing to the world.”

My decline and death will come someday, but for today, I ask myself, “what are ways I can be more alive, how can I live my life and continue to be there for others. My last words of my lifetime will be “Thank you”.

The news I received has enhanced the importance of all the moments I have in my life. I have so much to be thankful for. I had and still have a life. Today, I sit still in that place. It is taking all my energy as I adjust to what IS.

On the day the doctors called me, I could hear the difficulty in the doctors voices as they spoke to me. One doctor wrote me,“I can’t begin to imagine what a shock this news must have been, especially on your birthday.…Let me know how I can best be of support”. I am not alone.

As difficult as it was to hear that I have Alzheimer’s Disease, I was not surprised. For the past few years, I knew that my body was aging. People were getting upset with me and saying that what I said or wrote was not making sense. People would tell me to open my eyes; other people would just yell at me…

All these are symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and how when it first starts, those that love us may not realize that we may have Alzheimer’s Disease. I was hoping that I did not have Alzheimer’s Disease but knowing what I know now, my behavior and others behavior toward me will now make my work with others even more important. Feel free to call me at 415-891-2881 or email: info@agingchanges.org

We do not mean to hurt others, and those who love us do not mean to hurt us. If you notice behavioral changes with yourself or another, it may be time to ask yourself if your body and brain are healthy; or you may notice that you are forgetting things, getting lost, not able to sleep or sleeping more than usual… check in with your doctor or someone you trust. The earlier the better. You do not want to wait too long.

Listen to people when they talk about your behavior. Get help. AgingChanges offers you assistance with resources that can help you on the path of Changes as you age.

I did not need a diagnosis. I tuned into what my body was telling me. I wanted to be aware of what was happening so that I could focus on what I could do so that I could have quality of life.

I have been telling the doctors for over two years that my brain was changing and that it was more than missing my keys, or glasses. I could feel in my brain that things just were not right. I alerted my healers, and doctors. Do NOT wait.

Last year my MRI gave us hints of what was to come with my health. I called a friend to walk with me so we could talk. After talking and walking I really felt how important my support system was, so I prepaid my doctor; my therapist; and my spiritual practitioners. It helped me relax with the fears of my health and knowing that I could get physical, psychological, and spiritual care when needed during difficult times.

Think of those important to you in your life. Reach out. They would be honored that you contacted them. I went through all my years of photographs and mailed them to the people who gave me the photos. In response, I heard from people all over the United States who I had lost contact with and who were so happy to see the photographs again. I was happy to reconnect.