The greatest Neuro-Scientist, Mathematician, Tech Genius, Architect, Linguist, Database Administrator, Engineer, Cytologist, Physicist, and Artist came in the form of one Being. God! When HE created our brain, HE proved that fact. The intricacies and beauty of this creation simply overwhelm me today.
My doctor gave me a few websites and told me to read them first thing every morning. It would help keep me aware and updated each day as to what is going on in my brain. I am very aware, almost hyper-aware and that is a great advantage to have in my thought pocket. Each cell in the brain contributes to your overall thought process and your abilities, skills and function capabilities. Every cell is connected in how they play so well together.
Through different events in life cellular damage can occur. One of the leading damaged cells issues is Dementia. Dementia is an umbrella term for brain cell death caused by many factors. Parkinson’s and Huntington’s can cause dementia. Strokes, tumors, head injuries can also cause dementia. Vitamin deficiencies, medication reactions, and the natural aging process can all contribute to this often misunderstood and misdiagnosed problem with the brain.
A fair portion of those listed above are not dementia-severe. The dementia may come and go and can even be reversed in some cases. While dementia is sad and can destroy lives, much of the time there is hope. One of the diseases under this umbrella of Dementia is Alzheimer’s. Not Old-Timers, not Alltimer’s. Alzheimer’s. It is a progressive disease with no cure, no coming back, no stopping. Just constant, steady changes and death in the brain cells that affect important abilities for day-to-day life. It began for me a few years ago, but I had no idea this is what was happening to me.
I would think I had told someone something only to find out I had not. I would have days where concentrating was not just hard, it was impossible. My words began to slip from me. I would use them in error of their entire meaning. Not just adding a syllable here and there or a prefix or suffix that did not belong. An entire word used in the wrong way. I could not think of the right word. It was as though it never existed in my mind although I knew something was wrong with what I said. Folks would supply me with words in effort to be helpful and it made me angry. I was not angry at them. They were trying to be helpful. I was angry with me because it highlighted the problem happening with my brain. It reinforced the fact I had a problem.
I began misplacing things. Important things. Needful things. Beautiful things. Things I loved. Sometimes, I would come across them in strange places, sometimes I had false memories of doing something with a particular item and sometimes I have never found them again. Case in point? My 2K diamond stud earrings. Gone with no idea where. This makes me sad and angry at me.
One day I decided to just be comfy and wear my favorite shirt and sweats. I pulled out the sweats and turned to look for the shirt. I searched through the entire walk-in closet, the hamper, my dresser drawers, and the washer and dryer. The only shirts I owned were hanging in my closet. So where was that shirt? I decided to just look at all the shirts in the same color in case I had just overlooked it. So I started to look for all the …… I couldn’t remember the color. Style? Nope. I knew I owned that shirt but to this day cannot tell you what color, style or even whether it’s cotton or silk or whatever. It’s gone.
The frightening part for me is knowing it existed but having no other recall. I don’t think it’s missing which really scares me. I think perhaps I am wearing it right now but no longer recognize it as the favorite shirt that I love and fall back into when I want a comfy day. It’s the pieces that I know are missing that bring the fear and sadness. I know it is a process and that it will continue to happen and that I cannot stop it. For a few days this week, I have struggled with the microwave. I know what it is. I know what it does, but I can’t make it do the one thing I know it can do for me. Cook something fast. Then I begin to wonder when the day will arrive that I don’t know how to work the stove….
I know all the Biblical references for fear. I know all about trusting Jesus and having faith that HE will get us through this, but the unknowns and the whens and the what-ifs are plaguing my days and my nights. I eventually can get settled and go back into just git ‘er done mode. But the struggle is real and worsening almost daily. It is frightening.
It is not only frightening for me on my own behalf, I am even more worried for my family. I am putting everything I can into making sure the days ahead for them will be as easy as I can make them. I am getting my affairs in order, so to speak, while I still know what those affairs are and making sure they know my wishes so there will be no question what to do when the time comes. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but these are not decisions that I ever want my husband or my children to have to make. I will have as much in place as I possibly can in hopes that it will lessen the load a bit for them.
I know the road ahead will be harder for them than for me. I know their hearts will break on a daily basis as I know mine is doing now and surely would do if God forbid, the situation was reversed. So if I can find the strength and will to do what I can for them now? You best believe I am sure-fire going to git ‘er done!
All of that does not change what a beautiful creation this brain of mine is. It is a maze of millions of neurons all communicating with each other and with the rest of your body. If you see an image of the brain in working form, it is a thing of beauty and breathtaking to watch it work. I have watched several videos and MRI image presentations in order to grasp and understand this is my brain on Alzheimer’s while I can do so. Different areas of the brain allow us to function as a whole. Alzheimer’s eventually affects pretty much every area. It kills the neurons which prohibits their ability to communicate. One after another, they die and cease to function. Memory, thinking, judgment, language, problem-solving, personality and movement can all be affected by the disease. I am experiencing changes in every single one of these now. My memory is cloudy, thinking is iffy, language (my love for words) is slipping right through my fingers, problem-solving now takes two of us, personality is changing subtly as this point (hopefully I am the only one noticing), movement is hampered by missteps, falls and dropping things.
While the greatest Neuro-Scientist, Mathematician, Tech Genius, Architect, Linguist, Database Administrator, Engineer, Cytologist, Physicist, and Artist created this mind, HE is not responsible for what is currently happening within the confines of my skull. The fall of man, the choices made, have caused this disease. I have not and will not blame God. HE is the ONE I depend on to get me through and the ONE who will see my family through. God did not do this to me! I fully believe HE allowed it to come my way. But HE did not cause it!
So why would the greatest Neuro-Scientist, Mathematician, Tech Genius, Architect, Linguist, Database Administrator, Engineer, Cytologist, Physicist, and Artist allow such a thing to come my way? I believe it is because HE trusts me to trust HIM. Maybe I flatter myself with that belief, but God knows that no matter what I go through, I look to HIM and give HIM the praise and glory for every day He grants me and thank HIM when the day is done.
I don’t know the end game and that’s probably a good thang! My husband keeps gently guiding me with one day at a time advice, and while I try hard to adhere to that, the what-ifs still slip through.
I pray this snapshot helps you to understand what Alzeimer’s is doing and maybe you can help someone else who is suffering with this disease that so very little is known or understood,