Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:34
Hi all! I hope your week is going swimmingly. Mine has been a zoo, to put it mildly, but I am always happy to sit at the Cornbread Table with you and share tidbits I have learned from the many, many people more experienced than I. Today I want to share my thoughts on a challenging topic for us as caregivers: a looming and nagging sense of dread as we watch our loved ones’ challenge day-by-day, that causes us to internally debate at every small misstep we make memory-wise, “Am I next?”. Friends, do you, like me, ask yourself that? If not, I am thrilled for you and with you would comment below. But, if you, like me, do think with fear and trepidation that your time may also be coming soon, I have good news for you (us…if I choose to listen to my sage advice).
It is extremely empowering to replace worry with knowledge… and a plan.
Quick back story for those who don’t know from whence I arrived at the table:
My maternal grandma died with dementia/congestive heart failure
My Uncle Joe died with dementia and cancer.
My mom (all on the same side) is on end-stage dementia and has been under hospice palliative care for 3 years. She is happy enough, but sleeps 20+ hours per day, and the rest if pretty blank other than my, my siblings’, and my stepdad’s visits.
This isn’t to say that we have the genetically easily transferred version of early onset dementia, but it sure’s shootin’ appears to run in the family a bit.
So now we throw up our hands… right…and consider it our lot in life?
(Chirping sounds. The sound of some, annoyed with my Pollyanna streak, typing in another Doomscrolling tour of the latest war or disease topic is present)
No! We do something. We do lots of things. We cannot and will not let this mess beat us, especially while we have a chance to fight. I am 50 years old, some 14-15 years away from the age my mom was diagnosed. Here is my plan. It can be your plan too, or not, but we all have to fight…and fight early.
- Learn. I spend as much time as I can learning about our topic here. Fighting off a disease is scary enough…but not knowing the size of the dragon we are to fight makes it infinitely more scary. I humanize this foe by learning, by dispelling (in my mind) false things about it. I
- Use what I learn. Of of the most tragic things among the many of dementia is the storehouses of stories and wisdom that fade. We have to learn…but we also have to use what we learn. Start a support group. Start a blog. Share on TikTok (just don’t share tooooo such). Translate the critical info to posterity before it is gone, regardless whether or not you/I get this disease.
- Focus on what I can change. Here is what I can change: I can fight for my personal health and wellbeing. I can sleep. I can manage my stress. I can watch my blood pressure/sugar. I can eat right. I can protect my head from injury. I can drink in moderation and no more. I can watch my weight. I can stay busy. I can do things that are good for my heart, knowing that they will also be good for my noggin. These steps alone can make a huge difference in preventing the disease…and all make me feel better anyway.
- Serve. I will help those with the disease live longer and happier lives…and will help their caregivers do the same.
- Win. I will do all I can to beat this disease…and will walk away from worrying as an empowered, stronger person from the experience. I won’t let it beat me by messing up the good days. You shouldn’t either.
Am I going to worry about getting it? Nope. I think, instead, I will do what I can to #EndALZ
Update: Had a nice visit with mom yesterday, but she was kind of a mess after supper. The nursing home is slammed and greatly understaffed. They do the best they can, but by gosh I will never let the lady that washed my face for the first too many years of my life sit there with her’s unwashed. 🙁
Runnin’ Til I’m Purple– My fundraiser is slowly, but surely stepping on the gas. I am hoping to have my shirts available to order this week. 🙂 They are super cute and informative. Make my goal or not, I will do my best all the way until run day, just under 5 weeks from now. I still have a lot of running to do. Sigh…. 😉