Today I am writing about something that I have been learning about and finding it fascinating and the research is and should be of great interest to us all. I always new that there was a connection but not until recent events in my life, and a visit with my doctor last week did I fully understand the incredible impact on my overall health and my dementia.
Honestly, having vascular dementia, I thought I was doing and I mostly have been doing all the right things for my heart and brain, and putting a big focus on my brain health, which is what I should do, but I never put much thought into the emotional connection of the two. And yes we have all heard and know about the broken heart syndrome, but it is actually so much more than just that, it is about lifestyle, about happiness and joy, feeling loved and cared for, about connections. It’s about all the life trauma’s and whether we heal them or not.
For me having had huge life changes over the last few months, after years of ups and downs, being reunited with the love of my life, ( read more of this story below) something I thought would never be possible, so I feel as though life is bringing me full circle in and on so many levels. ( goes to show, keep your heart open, let the universe bring you what you need, instead of trying to control all aspects of your life, you may be surprised with what happens).
It was after this reconnection and reuniting with Wayne, that my Doctor wanted and did a bunch more testing, he was not yet aware of my reuniting with Wayne. Then last week, a day before Wayne and I were heading back to Vernon, I had sold my car, we were going to see about buying a truck, and to take care of other business, like giving notice to my vacate my place in Vernon, ( I have until the end of March to finish that move). My doctor’s office called and said he wanted to see me and do some reassessments, so they booked me in for the next day while I would be there. It was a great visit with the doctor, he wanted to know what I have been doing, what had changed, as my tests all came back better than they have been since 2005, when he took over my care. That is an astonishing turn, considering the real and difficult challenges I faced for the last few years with my health.
I said that the only thing that changed was that my heart and soul are happy, I explained the events with Wayne and I, he said, well you know there is medically something to do that. I said my brain fogs are so much less than before, my inflammation markers are so good, my heart tests, my lungs, my kidneys and my liver tests, every single test … better, I was elated. that brought me to researching more about the heart and brain connection and how it might be impacting our dementia. Perhaps if we can teach people how to embrace life after diagnosis, if we can help teach them about going out and finding the joy in life, dealing with the trauma, letting go of the pain, of the importance of looking for and finding ways to stay connected, to feel loved and cared about and of loving and caring for others, then perhaps it will be another way to help those living with dementia, live, instead of waiting to die.
“The interconnections between brain and heart are increasingly recognized. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as “broken heart syndrome”, is characterized by a cardiovascular dysfunction provoked by an emotional or stressful situation. Similar events can trigger a neurological pathology called transient global amnesia. These conditions can occur simultaneously, although their precise connection is not well understood. We aim to present the case of a patient who experienced them and to review the relevant literature.” from this published piece:
I know full well what a gift I (we) Wayne and I have been given, not many people are granted the gift to be together after so many years apart, not often are there two people who have carried a love for so many years for each other ever get to come full circle like we have. It is a gift and one that we will not take for granted. It is in that gift that I have also received the gift of so many of my health issues to be lessened, my dementia will always be here with me, my vascular disease will always be here and all that it creates, but, all manageable, symptoms lessened. I will be attending the VAST conference in May in Montreal, and I hope to talk much more about the connection of the brain and heart and how we need to put more emphasis on helping people with this. I am blessed to have a man that puts so much into understanding how my dementia effects me, helping me navigate and helping to lessen to the effects. I always wondered if being alone was better or having a partner, having lived alone for so many many years, trying to do everything I could to help myself, to stay independent and stay one step ahead of things, I can now say being reunited with my husband, being with someone, sharing life, is a much better way, with or without dementia.
So here is part of our story: a little piece for you of and about us, about the gifts of life.
The Story of Wayne and Christine
Sometimes in the midst of all we know, we are suddenly thrust head first into an event that leaves us questioning things we never thought we would. Something bigger than us, something that defies all logic, yet it cannot be denied. And yet it is us. So it seems that if the story needs to be written and we are accepting and open hearted then the universe will put us in the right place at the right time for the story to be written. This is one of those stories, A Love Story for our times, A Love Story that began and ended in the 70’s, or so they each thought and then fate, the angels, the universe all conspired to bring two people back together to come full circle with a love that was locked away and weathered the years. The love could not be denied this time. This was the beginning of a love story, so beautiful, so tragic and sad, yet so beautiful. This is a love story that after so many years has seen the universe conspire against all odds to bring two hearts so filled with love back to finish writing the love story that began so many years earlier.
Almost 50 years earlier two very young people met, he saw her bent over the sink washing her hair, when she turned her hair up in a towel, he knew at that moment that this girl, yes, this girl, was meant for him. That very night, they headed off on their first date, a movie, a horror movie. He could have taken her anywhere, she was just mesmerized by him, so thrilled to be on a date with him, she fell head over heels in love. They became inseparable, they adored each other, that’s all that mattered, that’s all they knew and understood for sure. Soon they were living together in a tiny one room flat, in a small mining town, so happy just being together, they knew this is how they wanted to live their lives… together. We were married on August 28th 1976. Reunited in 2023, the rest of the story being written every day.
I know make my home in Abbotsford with Wayne where we will continue to enjoy life each and every day. I will continue to advocate and continue to try to help bring changes and help move things forward so all who live with dementia can live their best lives.
Please take a look of some of the articles regarding the brain and heart connection, their is many more to check out but these are a good start. I hope we never stop being willing to learn and help others and I hope we all keep our hearts open.
- Christine Thelker © 2020
- For This I Am Grateful
- Good Grief
- Living well with Dementia
- Silver Linings
One reply on “The Heart and Brain Connection”
So thrilled for you both.