Friday, March 2, 2018

My mother has Alzheimer’s

My mom has Alzheimer’s. There, I said it… my mother has Alzheimer’s. She physically appears fine, but her brain isn’t functioning as it use to, her thoughts aren’t nearly as sharp and or course her short-term memory is about 2-3 minutes. It can be hard and exhausting to be a caregiver for her. (I praise my husband and brother for being her #1 caregivers.)

My mother needs us now more than ever. It is hard. It is so hard! But I have to remind myself that her disease isn’t any different than what took my father 10 years ago. My dad suffered a long and difficult battle with emphysema. 

When I get frustrated with my mom for her unprovoked mood swings or for asking the same thing hundreds of times a day I have to remember it’s not her... it’s her brain, an organ that is shutting down. Similar to my father, when he was down to 20% oxygen intake, I never would have gotten mad at him for not getting more oxygen in his lungs… it was his lungs, an organ that was shutting down.

So, I have been pro-active today to help me in my future because I don’t want my children to have to do what I have done for both of my parents. I don’t smoke, I exercise regularly and I’m focusing on preparing better meals for the family.

I now know I am 30% chance more likely to get Alzheimer. 30 PERCENT!!! That’s terrifying. Other than living a healthy and active life, studies show there isn’t much else I can do to prevent a future diagnosis. But I refuse to accept that. So I exercise my brain the best I know how to: I read, I think, I work and I challenge myself to solve problems, I listen to music, I try new things, etc.

Side note: My biggest plan to beat this is choreographed dance. Yep, you cracked the code… I am a certified Jazzercise instructor because selfishly it’s the push I need to beat this disease. More on that later.

In the meantime, I will continue to care for my mother, as I continue to work full-time with a demanding career, with a husband that travels 2 weeks a month, with a very active family of three boys who keep things hopping. I do this because one day this could be me. THIS COULD BE ME!!! If Alzheimer decides to invade my brain, I don’t want my boys to abandon me when I need them most. Life is hard and caring for a parent with Alzheimer is a bitch!

Vincenzo helps Grandma exercise her brain as he teaches her to play chess.

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