Friday, September 7, 2012

Alzheimer's

BB with my little peanut

I have wanted to write this post for a long time but have hesitated because I did not want to embarrass the subject of my story. But the truth of the matter is Alzheimer's is nothing to be ashamed of and the more friends and family who are informed of her status, they more they can help.

A few years ago we noticed that my Mom seemed a little "off". She preferred to use the word "jumbled". We had just been through a very scary health issue with my Dad and my Mom had started a new job. Each one of those things alone is enough to make the sharpest person scatter-brained but after a few months the changes became more apparent.

We both had too much fun at F's 1st birthday party...

Let me go back and tell you a little bit about my Mom. She is the most beautiful, caring and wonderful friend a girl could have. She is an expert in flower arrangements and I wish I could take you on a tour of my parents yard. She decks the halls for every holiday like nobody's business and the woman is addicted to Cheetos. If I ever had anything I needed to talk about I could tell my Mom. Even my best friends in High School and College would talk to my mom when they couldn't talk to theirs. She loves and accepts everyone and would never judge anybody. She would give my friends love advice and I just loved that she was not only there for me but for anyone else I was close to. If I could describe her she is a preppy hippie. She grew up in the 60's and had long long blonde hair that her friend Peggy would iron before they went out. She took me to all the Lilith Fairs in Charlotte, took my friends to see Matchbox 20 in High School and was just the coolest.

My Mom has worked her entire life and if you are an Ashevillian you probably most recently saw her at the Gardener's Cottage. All the shoppers loved her and she even had a few that would bring her gifts; blueberry bushes, handmade trinkets, my mom could charm them all!

Over the past few years her "jumbledness" seemed to progress but we didn't know how to broach the subject. One day at her old job Mom wasn't making any sense and the nurses at the Facility called 911. My father and I feared the worst and the phrases "brain bleed" and "stroke" were tossed around but she checked out completely fine. This trip prompted a visit with a Neuropsychologist and this is when she was diagnosed with Dementia. This past Winter they have changed the diagnosis to Early Onset ALZ.

It may seem like I am airing my family's dirty laundry but I can assure you that is not the reason for this post. I want everyone with boomer generation parents to be aware and keep an eye on your mom and dad. Know what medicines they take and how they are doing. Pay attention to their complaints and annoyances.

Today my Mom seems to be doing very well on Aricept. She goes to Jazzercise everyday and has made a very good friend there who she goes out to lunch with. She is still driving around town but has my father, brother and myself on speed dial if she gets lost.

If you have concerns about a friend or family read the 10 signs of Alzheimer's  because there is a difference between being forgetful and having ALZ and it is important to be aware of these signs. Examples: Getting lost in a new town is normal, but not remembering where your hair salon is not. Forgetting the title of a movie you just saw is normal, not knowing what the movie was about is not.




If you are a blogger or a friend please consider linking to this story on your blog. I am doing the Charlotte Walk to End Alzheimer's and have met my fundraising goals but is there ever really a goal except for the cure?! All of our fundraising amounts are due September 12th and I am walking (hopefully with Mom) on Saturday Sept 15th!

Thank you all so much for reading this. I know its not a fun, silly or snarky post but it is something that is incredibly important to me and I wanted to share with you.

Love,

Katharine

Here is a link to my fundraising site if you would like to donate:

http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk/NC-WesternCarolina?px=6247682&pg=personal&fr_id=1476

My beautiful Momma




8 comments:

Raina Cox said...

Thank you for this. I spent the end of last year and the beginning of this year dealing with my father's memory issues. He has early onset dementia (just as his father). He joined a cult, bought expensive gifts for his caregivers' children and asked my mother for a divorce.

His own father lived the last 20 years of his life with the disease, and my Dad looks to be headed down the same path.

One would think medicine would have this all figured out by now.

theshe said...

Kat, this is heartbreaking news. Thank you for sharing - this is not airing your family's dirty laundry, it is a sad fact of life for far too many people. I am glad she is doing well and has the rest of your family to support her.

- Jodi Deal

Matters of Style said...

What a special post. I love your mom and how close you are to her. We will keep y'all in our thoughts and prayers. Love you!

Domestically Disabled said...

It was very brave of you to share this!

Ruth said...

What a wonderful post about your mom. I know it is hard it runs in my family. We watch my grandmother closely but I think it will be my mother or aunt.
My prayers are with you.

Olivia Wells said...

She is gorgeous indeed. Please do give us the tour of her yard!

xx Olivia

http://0liviaschoice.blogspot.com

Susan and Ethan Peterson said...

Katherine my Great Grandmother, as well as her two daughters suffered from this. It is near and dear to my heart and in high school I participated in such a walk and fundraiser. I am praying for your family and thank you for sharing and making a difference!

Dean Todd Donatelli said...

Katherine, Thank you for this. Having walked through this with our dad, I appreciate what you describe. Thoughts and prayers with you and your family and with the walk this weekend.
Todd