Monday, August 19, 2013

Exercise & work outs are my all time stress reliever...I know that school and workouts are a must to keep me alive and well. I am convinced this has prolonged my  Alzheimers' Disease. Coach Al and his wife Bernadette have helped me to stay strong and fight this with all I have. I am working out three days per week and running almost every day now. I try to get a couple hours a day of cardio and weights in. I am back in school now for the fall classes, at HCC community college. So far, all is good!

    These photos are of me attempting to climb and flip over a cargo net.  Coach Al is spotting me.                            

I have started going to hot yoga classes and love them! It really relaxes you, once you get used to the 103 degrees. A good friend of mine, Kelly, owes an operates two yoga studios in the Tampa Bay area.

                                               This photo is Bernadette and I before yoga class.

I have been thinking about something a lot lately. I have to admit, I get very upset and frustrated because there doesn't seem to be much help out there for Alzheimers' patients. In particular, the younger on-set patients. There are groups and help for the caregivers, but I have yet to see anything to help the patients; with the exception of medications that claim to prolong the inevitable. I don't take those medications any more. I believe I have found a much better alternative and it seems to be working. I have to admit, it does get very costly, because I can't workout on my own. As long as I have been exercising in the gym, I just can't remember each exercise. I need a trainer to guide me so I don't get injured or just quit. I have tried to do it alone, but depression starts to set in..I have to keep going!
There is so much good that has come from good clean eating and working out everyday. My body is in the best shape ever. I am stronger and feel so good all the time. When things start getting me down, I go for a run and it makes everything a little better.
I plan on doing several events in November..On the 10th, I will be doing "Pump and Run" consists of bench pressing and running a 5K...then on November 16th is the "Tri-Fitness Challenge"..and to end the month, I'll be running the "Women's Half Marathon" Really excited to do them all! I am sure I will run a few 5ks here and there before then too. 
Sean and I will be going to Canada early next month. He will be racing to qualify for the 70.3 Ironman. Praying he gets this opportunity.
Over all I really feel my condition has improved over the last year but quite honestly, if I am forgetting things..I certainly won't remember how I was doing a year ago..{smile} "Set Go"

Saturday, July 20, 2013

To date, I really haven't mentioned my four children very much..I love them all so dearly! I guess the reason I haven't mentioned them so far is because I feel that privacy is important. But I also feel my postings wouldn't be complete without including them; after all they are a huge part of my life!
I love them all so much and they are one of the main reasons for me writing these blogs.
They are all grown up now and three of the four have families of their own. Karen is the oldest (age 39), Sharon (36), Ronnie (29), and Michael (24). Of course, I gave birth to Karen when I was 10 years old you kidding of course. I was very young though.
                             Ronnie is to the far left, Sharon, Michael and Karen is to the far right.

This particular blog is about Karen...I want everyone to know how very proud I am of her! She is an awesome Mom to her five..yes I said 5 children. I don't know many people that could get past all that she has been through, but she did it!
God created an angel when Karen was born.
Karen had a bad fight with drugs and she "won" the war! Thank you Jesus! I don't think there is a number as large as the number of prayers I prayed for Karen. And yes, God answered my prayers after many years. If there are any parents out there that are going through a battle with their children..I have the answer for you: PRAY! Pray without ceasing. God answers prayers!
I decided to publish this newspaper article that was written in 2006 about Karen and her fight with drugs. 

This article is hanging on the wall of my home and will always hang there for me to remember.
Karen is currently the manager of a popular barber shop..loves her new career! She is an awesome single Mom and I am so proud to call myself her mom! I love you Karen!

                                        Ethan below, is Karen's youngest.he will be 3 years old in August.
                                                     I am on the left and Karen is on the right.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Although my intentions when I started this blog were to focus on running and working out, I feel a need to express my thoughts and feelings about the effects of Alzheimers Disease. I spend most of the time in denial and I keep thinking the tests (Pet Scan & Spec Scan) were wrong. But deep down I know they were correct. Most people associate a terminal disease with pain and suffering or at least I do, so perhaps that is the reason I am in such denial. I have been through many phases over the last couple of years since my diagnosis. Some phases I have forgotten and others have just passed. The first reaction I had was anger and sadness. After that, I felt like I wanted to travel and experience everything I'd aways wanted to do, in other words a "bucket list". Well I found myself in a little financial bind after a year of travel and having way too much fun. As I look back, it wasn't really fun, I was only running to hide my pain, The pain of knowing how I was most likely going to die and the pain of losing the man I loved so much.

As time moves on, I realize how this Alheimers disease really works. It's not like you wake up one day and forget everyone and everything, it's a gradual thing that happens. I noticed in the last year or so that I try to separate myself from any drama or bad situations as much as possible. I don't deal with that well at all. I have much anxiety when bad situations arise. I recently became aware that all of my close friends (long and short time friends) and family members were not in my world as much anymore, if at all. I used to think they pushed me away, but I now realize that I pushed them away. I have forgotten not only my own childhood memories, but now I can't remember my children at any other age other than now. Their childhood is no longer a memory to me. Hard to accept but it's OK. I can only hope they have fond memories of me. It's the same for me with friends and relatives. Relationships that I developed in the past are no longer. I can only live in today and pray that tomorrow brings a cure. It is difficult for others to understand this because I barely do myself. So while others think I may be upset or mad with them, in most cases, that is not true. I just can't remember the ties and relationship we once had. I do remember them as people and that they meant something to me. I think because I am so active and physically healthy, others can't understand that my brain is dying. To sum that all up, it seems that if someone is in my life on a daily basis or even weekly, the  information continuously gets renewed in my brain. Those are the only relationships I know how to have now. I decided to write this in a way that others will somewhat understand my life with Alzheimers. I only have love for all!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Well it's been almost 2 months since I have been at the keyboard but it's time for an update.
School is progressing and I just took my finals this week. I guess my workouts are progressing as well. Although sometimes feel that I may have some unrealistic goals. It is almost as though my body can never be good enough. I guess that is something I really need to work on for sure!

Let me talk a little about my relationship with Sean. Sean and I were married for almost 10 years and divorced in 2010. Many things attributed to the divorce but honestly none of that matters anymore. A little over a year ago we began to see/date each other again exclusively. We made an agreement in the beginning to never bring up the past and make a new relationship together. And that is what we have done. Our time together is always a great time and so much fun! There is no doubt that we are best friends! In the last year we have traveled to PA, GA, Miami & a Cruise to the Caribbean..some short trips and in February 2013 Sean participated in another half Ironman in Panama. We have plans to go to Canada in September. Sean will race another Ironman 70.3 in Canada to try and qualify for the Vegas Championship. We ran 5K's while visiting PA and GA and it was so much fun! Earlier this month we ran a relay half marathon race together in Sarasota. I have to say this was by far my favorite run/race! I ran the first 6 miles and tagged Sean and he ran the remaining 7.1 miles. We ran the finish line together, holding hands..what a great analogy of our relationship. We are a great team! I hope and pray to be married again but rushing it isn't good either. There is no doubt in my mind that God brought us back together..clearly an answered prayer.

My memory is getting worse every day but I still look at it as a blessing! When we can't remember the definitely has it's benefits. My prayer is to hold on to good memories and forget the bad.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Better late than never" getting to be something I hear in my head a lot these days. I woke up one day recently and noticed that I wasn't getting younger. As a matter of fact...I was aging, rapidly.. 50's!! How could that be? This came shortly after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. It's such a funny disease...unlike cancer or heart disease. No one wants to acknowledge it. It's the BIG elephant in the room. Most information that is out there is for the caregivers. Bless them, but I don't need a caregiver... not yet anyway. I am very functional especially physically. I do have memory issues. Having alzheimers' isn't like forgetting where you put your car keys. It's not like forgetting an important date, although those things do happen to me. They don't happen as often now because I am prepared with spare keys and duplicate daytimers. I'll tell you what alzheimers' is like. It is forgetting who you are as a person and where you have been in life. You lose "YOU" as a person. For example, I remember that I used to be a Sales Manager for a large telecom company. I only remember because I see all my awards and plaques in my home office. I think I must have been a good one too. I don't remember doing the job at all. It's like I read it somewhere or saw it in a movie. The good news is that I forget the harm that others have done to me in the past. So I am a far more forgiving person these days. Another way to describe the illness to a tee is: Imagine a huge chalk board that is filled with information. That is your brain. Then you wake up every morning, some little part is erased. You are not sure what it was but you realize something is gone. I try not to dwell on it. Thank God I am not in pain and I am able to workout. I pray for a cure someday or at least some way to keep it from progressing so rapidly. God is my strength and with him all things are possible!
So where do I go from here? I try and live my life to the fullest. I'll give it my best. I love to run and workout so I decided that if my brain was going bad that I would take full advantage of what I do have and that is a healthy body physically. I am writing this to perhaps inspire someone else. Just because your given a death sentence doesn't mean it's the end...Sometimes it's a new beginning. It has been for me. I somewhat forgot the person I used to be but I have today and I will live today to the fullest.
I have been running and working out now for a couple years. I competed in TriFitness Challenge, several obstacle courses, many running races, including a half marathon last November.
My new goals are to receive my degree as a Dietitian and compete in a fitness show. Well at least look good enough to compete in one. I still don't totally believe I can get there. Oh, and run a marathon. More important, I want to inspire others that think they can't change their lives in a positive way. I am going to be proof you can do matter what you are battling. I enrolled in a community college and currently attend Hillsborough Community College.. I am not going to lie, it is very hard for me, but I will make it..good lord willing! I was never good in school so it definitely doesn't come easy for me. If I can't do what I used to do, then I will do something else. It's not the end of the world. My next step which concludes this post for today is to set a date for my body to be in the best possible shape for a fitness show. This would complete my personal dream. I have wanted this for so long but lack of direction has set me back over and over again. May God bless each and everyone of you and I would love to hear your thoughts! As my good friend Al Rosen always says  "Set Go"