PUSH

PUSH

I have been stuck at the writing line, stuck at the advocacy line, just stuck. I wrote a post a few months ago about doing better and months later, I deleted it because it didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel as if I was doing better or doing anything that I set out to do or be as an advocate.

My heart and mind have been in the right place, but I felt that I was disappointing anyone who would look to my blog for advice, for resources, for strength, for a chuckle, but most importantly I was disappointing myself. I can’t count the number of times when I’ve thought of a great idea or topic to write about only to get stuck mid-thought. Days and weeks would go by and I had nothing new written on a page.

And these feelings weren’t subjected to my blogging, but I felt a disconnect in many areas of my life. Here I was saying “how can I be X to others when I’m unable to be X to myself.”

I wasn’t throwing in any towels, but I felt lost. The former caregiver who knew her mission or at least knew where the focus of my writing was coming from, was still trying to figure things out in the new normal. And if you haven’t guessed I am the harshest self-critic, but I am learning to lighten up and be more self-forgiving, learning to say it’s OK and that I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

I recently took time off for foot surgery and it was the start or restart that I needed. The importance of this time out was to heal, but I knew it had to be much more than that. This was my time to escape from the world, to rest and reset. I took a hard look at ideas, dreams and wrote them down and revisited old ones. I put action plans in place and told myself that no matter how much I dream, write, plan or prepare the most important thing is to move! I was always a person about action and whether I want to call it life, fear, doubt, or over-thinking, I’ve let it all hold me back. I had to be a new me moving forward like the old me would. I can’t allow myself to be stuck anymore, and if I fall there I have to figure a way out. No more crying, I have to push!

Now I can’t take credit for that last line, I have held onto it ever since I heard Dr. Cindy Trimm preach on it. Dr. Trimm was a guest some years back on an episode of TBN that was hosted by Bishop TD Jakes. She was speaking on how people may be going through situations and/or hardships and may take it as the devil messing with us, but she said no it’s not that, it’s not bad, it’s Heaven’s contraction on our lives. And in the midst of this unknowing or uneasiness; it’s not the time to give up or cry; but PUSH.

For every change that had me feeling low, that thought of pushing past my circumstances brought me back to center. I wasn’t giving up, and yes I cried throughout the confusion and I know i will probably have more tears to shed, but as I love to say, I’m putting an H on chest and handling it and oh yeah I am pushing!

A win for the Denver Broncos is a win for Alzheimer’s Awareness

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On Sunday, February 8th, the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50, and while it is a great big win for the city of Denver and the state of Colorado, Alzheimer’s advocates can claim a small victory here too.

You see Pat Bowlen husband, father, businessman, philanthropist, owner of the Broncos has Alzheimer’s; he was diagnosed with it few years ago. And the attention that came with a Broncos win each step of the way leading to SB50, had a celebratory platform without the owner Bowlen.

So each time, a cheer was yelled, “this is for Pat”, it was a cheer for Alzheimer’s awareness because those who know of his illness recognized why he wasn’t with the team and those who may have wondered why the Broncos owner hasn’t been around had to ask the question, thus bringing awareness to the illness.

Bowlen bought the Denver Broncos in 1984 and had been a welcomed presence in and out of the locker room. He had been an architect in helping to guide the Broncos to six Super Bowl appearances and two world championships in 1997 (SB XXII) and in 1998 (SB XXIII). In 2014 he relinquished control of the team when he acknowledged he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Bowlen had revealed years prior to 2014 that he had been experiencing short-term memory; and though that doesn’t always mean an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it will be prevalent as it progresses.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, with over five million Americans living with the disease. It is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory and thinking skills. It is not an old person’s disease though age is a risk factor. And though there are new treatments being discovered and used to slow the worsening of symptoms and improve quality of life, it is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only one without a cure.

From 2014 until now, I can only imagine Pat Bowlen’s condition today having been a caregiver to my mother. I don’t know for certain, but I’m sure his cognition skills have changed, his memory of places, people and events have decreased yet somehow in the way Alzheimer’s affects the brain,  he knows his beloved Broncos. Though we hear that he knew his team won the Super Bowl, he may not remember that he’s the owner, a husband or father, but I’m sure he feels the love of the game, the love of his fans, the love of his family, Alzheimer’s changes the person, but never the love. And wasn’t that ironically the theme of the halftime show…love.

For more information about Alzheimer’s visit:

http://www.alz.org/

https://mybrain.alz.org/

For more information on the Denver Broncos visit:

http://www.denverbroncos.com/superbowl/

 

Pamela

“Strap in for the Ride”

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In my last post I mentioned that I took a second place win and tie in Vitas Healthcare’s Caregiving Story contest. You never know where experiences will lead you, but having been on this wild yet interesting and loving journey called caregiving, it has made me all the better person for having been on it.

Here’s my story “Strap in for the Ride”, which I believe is informative yet told with humor if I should say so myself. I mean where else will you learn about the Home Depot being good for supplies.

“Strap in for the Ride”

When I started blogging, I dubbed myself a “master caregiver.” Not because I was by any stretch of the imagination a master at it when the role was bestowed upon me. It was more the irony of it, or putting it out there to the universe: that’s what I was going to become as I took care of my mother, who had Alzheimer’s.

For those of you who are trained for the role, you already have a leg up. For those who, like me, became a caregiver unexpectedly, strap in for the ride.

Being my mother’s caregiver definitely had its challenges. There are accidents. You find yourself always doing laundry, giving medication, scheduling appointments—scheduling everything. But I would never trade it in for the world. Oftentimes you feel as though you are behind the eight ball, so to speak, that you’re reacting to situations instead of proactively acting, and that it may take a moment, if ever, to get ahead of the caring curve.

It’s in those rare quiet times that you have to prepare for the next day and week, that you need to make your to-do list, the doctors list, contact list, shopping list and what-friend-can-I-call-today list. Caregivers have little to no “self” time, and when it came to planning my life’s future, that ceased. I didn’t want to think of future things, because I was unsure of what that would be for me. I had to learn (with the help of my therapist) that at some point I had to be selfish with my time.

You need to think about something that you want to do and try to find a way to do it. Whether it’s getting your hair done, going for a manicure or going for a walk, see if you can put something in place that will give you free time. Look into a daycare facility, respite or a good friend who could give you that free moment.

You also have to learn how to be fast on your feet and, yes, at times, think unconventionally. I triumphed at 10-minute grocery shopping and doing the “Target 5k” (no such thing) in record time. And, boy, did I shine when handling a big oops moment with Mom and finding out how great the Home Depot can be when you need supplies. Yes! The Home Depot!

As a caregiver you must have compassion, but you can’t get rattled when accidents or unexpected things happen. Caregiving is a true test of heart and a true test of physical and mental will. It can be tough and often is not rewarded. And yet it’s one of the most rewarding roles. In the midst of my journey dealing with Mom’s Alzheimer’s, she forgot many things. But she never forgot to say thank you.

To see all my article on the Vitas website and all of the winners go here: Family Caregivers Share Their Personal Experiences  and to get to my click on the title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

will be started below and to see my full submission and other’s stories

It’s a Second Place Win for My Caregiving Story

Spa Finders

“Everyone has a story and never would I have imagined that mine would include caregiving. But that wild, interesting, testing, most challenging, yet rewarding role has led me and is leading me to new places and on new adventures. Little could I have imagined it would not only lead but feed my creativity…. “

The above is what I wrote with my picture post on Instagram. I was quite surprised to receive notice that my entry about caregiving tied for a second place win of a mighty nice gift card amount from Spa Finders. Vitas Healthcare hosted a contest (see the post Caregivers: Share Your Experience for a Chance to Win a Spa Gift Card) that I shared with you all to enter. I was a newbie to who they are and what they do, before I entered my submission, but having spent some time visiting their web page, I’m glad to have been a part of their contest and to now be a part of their resources.

Please visit their site here especially if you’re in the Florida area and see what services they offer and how they may be of assistance to you.

Pamela