Friday, February 15, 2013

Maybe not... and a happy birthday headlock

You can skip the words and get to the bday if you want!!

So last time I wrote, my mother had been told she had Alzheimer's... now we aren't so sure!

We visited the neurologist yesterday and he had better news... sort of... I guess.

My brother and I went with my parents which was good because it became very evident that my father has become somewhat of a crutch for my mother. I also realized that my father is getting older and more emotional as well. I suppose now is the time that the tides start to change. The future will require my brother and I taking a much stronger role in our parents life.

I'm pretty sure that by the time we left, the neurologist wanted to give all of us a brain wave test! Although it was a very serious reason that we were there, my family still laughed and cut up which was very comforting. My father cried twice which sucks, then my brother or I would crack a joke. We were all there to support my mother and determine the plan of action.

We all agree there is an issue and the neurologist feels it is one of three things:

1. Multiple Sclerosis which normally presents before age 40 but also causes confusion and other brain issues. These days MS is treated very well with fantastic medications.

2. Primary Progressive Aphasia which usually presents in men but is rather uncommon in either gender. PPA is a form of dementia that, unlike Alzheimer's, only impacts the language center of the brain. Unfortunately, PPA is a progressive disease and is treated the same as Alzheimer's.

3. Multiple Strokes which originate in the heart. Her MRI scan is showing some clots on both sides of the brain. If the strokes started in an artery, then they would most likely be contained to one part or one side of the brain.

Testing for all of these issues will include:

A. more bloodwork
B. a spinal tap with results in 4 weeks
C. brain wave test
D. sonic ultrasound of the heart- basically they go down your throat and ping waves off of your heart
E. finally, if we get no definitive results, then we head up to Duke University Memory Disorder Clinic for a fancy PET scan

So all of that being said, I am so very thankful that my parents have decent healthcare and have lived a responsible, thrifty life and can have the very best of healthcare. Most people are not so lucky.

And FINALLY I want to wish Lucy the happiest of birthdays. She was about 8 months old when I rescued her goofy Boxer butt. So I decided that would put her birthday right around Valentines Day! So yesterday we celebrated Lucy's 5th Birthday with a headlock! She has been rescuing me everyday since I brought her wiggly self home! 

Love you sweet Lucy!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Alzheimer's Sucks

My mom is 58 and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She will receive the results from her CT scan that she had yesterday.The scan was basically to rule out tumor or stroke. They expect to put her on medications today to slow the progression of the disease.

My father finally convinced her to get a physical by agreeing to one for himself. She told the nurse she was 39. My mother has been an elementary school art teacher for over 25 years. She taught me to be an independent woman even though my level of independence and outspokenness has offended her delicate southern sensibilities! She's always been the most caring mother and is now showing the same love and compassion to my brother's children, aged 18 months and 3. They ADORE their Mimi.

I don't know what to say or do right now so I'm doing what she always taught me to do, write. When I was mad at someone or frustrated about a situation, she taught me to write a letter with all my thoughts and then put it in a desk drawer. And voila! Suddenly I felt better!

Unfortunately I'm still not really sure how I feel right now. I think I'm angry that for a few years now I've not been able to have a normal conversation with my mother. She always seems lost or confused or addled.

I think I'm sad because I don't have children yet. Will my future children ever know their Mimi? Will my mom ever know them? When will my mom forget my name, my face? When will she forget our Christmases or our family vacations? Will she be angry? How will my dad handle this? How will this impact her physically? How does she feel right now knowing what is ahead of her?

The ONLY thing that I know right now for sure is that I LOVE my mother with all my heart. I am a fixer, a do-er and NOT a wallower. I will put my brave face on for my family. I will do anything and everything to help her and my dad. Because I worked in the medical field during grad school, I have many contacts and I've already called them all in. I need resources and information.

If any of you have experience with this awful disease and have advice, I need it. Now is the time.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Y'all may remember me talking about my grandfather breeding, raising and training clydesdales and belgians as I was growing up. He is my mother's father and we lived across the street. When a foal was born, we got the phone call, usually before school, to come see the new arrival.

We lived in the city limits but on the edge of town and on several acres between their property and my parents. He was often seen driving his team through the "neighborhood" in his green and yellow wagon.

I had the opportunity to visit the brewery in St. Louis but I didn't get to see Grant's Farm. The stables at the brewery were AMAZING! It gave me goose bumps being there. I probably would've cried at the Farm! LOL

Needless to say this commercial about killed me last night. Absolutely beautiful. A horse of that size in a full gallop is truly something to behold. It makes my heart sing!