Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful

Wars, Depression, and Pandemics

Photo by Anna Shvets on

There are moments in time that change the world for those living in that particular space of time. Things like wars, depression, and pandemics, and here we are in 2020, again in one of those spaces of time, the world has been hit by a pandemic.

This has and is creating havoc for all, fear, uncertainty, apprehension. None of us like living with the unknowns, we have become creatures that like to control. We have also become creatures who exhibit a lot of self-interest and carry a great amount of entitlement. We became a society that has based ourselves largely on materialistic ideals, bigger, better, more, more, more.

I hear people talk about their rights and that the lock down’s happening are against their right, they want to shop, to buy whatever types of goods they want when they want. That’s a frightening thing for me, they say they are worried about businesses surviving, and that they don’t want anyone controlling what they can do and when. Yet when you peel back the layers that’s exactly what has happened, people were controlled without realizing it, big business, commercialism, brainwashed people into believing they needed things, had to have the latest greatest of this that, and the other thing. That we needed to buy the next greatest thing out for our kids because Sally’s parents down the street were making sure she had, they convinced us to climb onto this fast-moving conveyor and run to have more, that we no longer could sit and relax at home, we needed to shop at all hours of the day and night, all days of the week.

So truly now that there is a pandemic, and we are being told we can’t do those things ( totally unnecessary things), that keep people in debt, stressed, and only keep the big players making more and more money, people are are willing to or unable to see the very thing they are fighting ( being controlled), is the very thing that has happened.

Hearing people say things like Christmas will be ruined is most unbelievable, Christmas was never supposed to be about shopping, and scrambling and robbing people to have the best gifts under the tree. Hearing that just confirms to me how truly sad the state of being we as humans are in.

Wars, depressions, pandemics of the past, have shown us that in order for us to thrive we must first face adversity and change. We are in a great time of change. We are at a crossroads, are we willing to forgo the human element, do we care more about our right to indulge ourselves in commercialism, that we are willing to refuse to do what we know will help and protect ourselves and our families? Have we become the society that has placed such little value on human life? Have we lost the ability to do what we must for the greater good? Yes, some businesses will not survive others are thriving, new ones are finding their way, others are adapting to new ways. We don’t want anyone’s business to fail but we must not let commercialism take precedence over taking care and looking after our very beings. For if we fail to look after the people the businesses will not survive anyways.

Photo by Markus Winkler on

I was on the same trajectory as everyone else, I rode the conveyor along with everyone, that is until my Dementia hit, it was like being swept away in a tsunami, being washed ashore in unfamiliar territory. Through that, I started to have to survive the multitude of losses, and they keep coming. But I have survived the many changes and challenges, and know as I walk through the uncharted time of walking through a pandemic, I know have a new uncertainty, trying to keep myself safe, knowing if things get really bad that I could be one of the ones if I get sick who end up being triaged and not getting the care because of my diagnosis.

Yet I don’t and can’t live with that fear, I have to look at doing all I can to stay safe, and in doing so it means I am also doing all I can to protect others. I am determined to come out the other end of the pandemic, and yes there will be an end just like war, depressions, and other pandemics there will be an end. I have to stay positive, I live alone, I have no one to help keep me calm, to help me destress, so I have to work hard at keeping myself in a good place mentally and as physically well as I can.

In past times, they did not have the ease of news any time of day or night, or the briefing by our public health, people heard through newspaper and through other people bringing the news from other areas and new what to do, and they did what they needed to do. It saddens me that we know have to be told and when told we want to create unrest over it, instead of pulling together and doing everything we can to help all get through this time.

This means I look to the future, and hope that as we move out of this we come out with a world that is less hurried, less about greed, more about helping, caring and making the world a brighter happier place. Where we place the value back on the human being instead of $$$, things and stuff. Where our elders are looked up to and everyone ensures they are looked after, where we can walk down our streets and around our neighbourhoods feeling safe and knowing our neighbours long before a catastrophe happens in our lives or theirs. Where we hold the door open for someone, where we are not to busy to stop and help.

Photo by Markus Spiske on

Yes, those things still happen, we see people pull together to help, most of us have felt the kindness that can and does surface, but I hope after this pandemic it becomes the norm. I hope we go back to The small mom and pop businesses thriving, I’ve never liked big box stores. I hope as and when we come out of this pandemic knowing full well life will be forever changed because of it and because change is part of life, we see the human piece be the piece that super cedes all else.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

The Funnier Side of my Dementia

Photo by Rodolfo Quiru00f3s on

So on the lighter side of Dementia at least my Dementia, and I don’t write this to make light of the challenges and difficulties, but it’s important that I am able to find laughter amidst my ever-changing being.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on

So many changes have been occurring over the last several months some more noticeable than others. An while I have been ensuring I have projects to do and things to fill my time and engage my brain during our isolation due to the pandemic, I had thought to buy myself a jigsaw puzzle. Yes, they are good for us, no they are not a waste of time, and they bring enjoyment, however, I come to realize I don’t need to buy a jigsaw puzzle because my dementia has provided me with my own real-life jigsaw puzzle.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

Yes, my life has become a never-ending jigsaw puzzle, trying every day to find the lost bits and pieces to manage through the day. In some ways it somewhat frightening, however, I instead have decided to embrace this new chapter of challenges, and fill my time each day looking for those pieces of the puzzle. This morning I was looking for the apron that I wore while cooking yesterday, I spend a couple hours trying to find it to no avail. Then I decided to look for the ziplock bags that I have not been able to find for three days, I found them while sidetracked looking for another misplaced item, there were my ziplock bags in my little cabinet that houses my linens, hmm, not sure what the thought process was to have that happen. Still did not find the apron, strange, I have two that normally hang in the same place, but nope it’s not there.

However, I decided I must know to decide to find my hair curlers, its the first day since March that I felt well enough to actually do my hair and put on full makeup, this made me very happy, its been a long haul, and hoping not to have a backward slide.

It felt good to have a day where I actually felt productive, and that I contributed to a level that I can be happy with. I take the small victories, I can no longer manage for the number of hours or at the level I did even a year ago, but I manage.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on

Towards the end of the day, time to put together dinner, going to take out a pot for steaming some Broccoli I was delighted to find my Apron, I laughed, a really good laugh at the silliness of things lost and found, and at how in the end the pieces of the jigsaw that is now my life find their way to be where they are meant to be.

I know its truly not a laughing matter, that it is another sign of how things are changing for me, but I chose to embrace it, laugh about it, being frustrated, and creating stress and anxiety for myself will do more harm than good, and besides while being isolated, it does keep me busy, and using my brain, in anything than normal ways.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

Mental Health,Dementia,Covid and Me

Photo by Madison Inouye on

Our mental health is and should be something we all pay attention too. I always have, I go seek help, when and if I feel I’m faltering, whether through my doctor, counselling or by attending my dementia Alliance International On line Support Groups or other mental health options there are.
My mental health is at the top of the list when I do my daily check-ins with myself, it’s something I do every morning. Since our first lock down in March due to covid, and because of being ill for months, it has been extremely important that I keep my mental well being locked after.
Many don’t know how or what to do to look after there mental health, because a large part of society has been running in high gear, running to work, running to meet up with people for dinners and coffee dates, shopping, running to the gym, to all kinds of things signed up for, running kids to all kinds of things to keep them busy, so no time to actually stop, and just breathe and just be, to hear your own thoughts, think about your happiness and well being from the inside. And then the world as we new it stopped, ( this is for me just another stoppage, my world as I knew it stopped with my Dementia Diagnosis), so maybe for me it’s another of those often unseen gifts our dementia gives us, we have already had to readjust our whole being, learn to adapt to a new way of life but for many, all of a sudden they don’t know what to do with their thoughts, we were too busy in the past to hear them, now they are paralyzing us.
We have many months ahead of us that are going to challenge us all, maybe in ways we can’t even imagine, so I know that keeping my Mental Health in good condition is vital to coming out the other side of this as good as when it started.
This starts with keeping myself focused on the things I can do, not thinking about the things I can’t do right know.

Photo by Anna Shvets on

Living alone makes it more important, there is no one to have a coffee with and talk about things, to help keep each other in check, so doing so myself is truly not an option but a necessity.
I look for things I can do everyday, often just little things, and even though I have recently felt and realized another round of brain slippage ( my term for more cognitive challenges due to my dementia), so a lot more of the things I could easily do are now much more challenging, I’m running into more of those things daily, so I have to manage them find new ways of doing things or be frustrated and upset all the time by them. I choose to manage them.
Lots of people struggle with this because we are so used to doing certain things, we think we don’t want to or wouldn’t like doing things that are not part of our norm ( again the gift of my dementia, everyday takes adapting, adjusting, reconfiguring, ), so winter is looming, instead of trying to maintain doing things as in every other year, we have to do this one differently, maybe that means putting up the Christmas in November instead of December, or having Christmas in January instead of December ( I did that one year out of necessity years ago, it was and still stands out as one of my most amazing Christmases.) my tree went up yesterday, today will be doing all the bits around that. Listen to music 🎼 instead of the news, The news can overwhelm us, we don’t need it every day, with technology you can get the pieces you really need when you’re able to manage it, we don’t need it coming at us for an hour or two every day.

We must find things that will keep our minds and our hands busy, the two things that together can really impact our mental health, things like adult colouring books jugs as puzzles, painting, drawing and yes even writing, is good for our mental health, and I can hear the sighs, of I’m not doing that I can’t do that and that’s just BS from many, but don’t knock it till you try it, you would be surprised at something as simple as putting a puzzle together or colouring a picture can change your mindset.
I realized that I was really going to have to ensure I had those things on hand for the coming winter. My walks can continue, also good for our mental health. Try baking or cooking something new, sew, work in your shop or garage building or fixing. And stay connected, do the old fashioned phone calls, do video calls or zoom calls. Connect with people that you often wonder how they are but are always to busy to pick up the phone and call. Texts are great, but the sound of another’s voice is so much more up lifting.

Photo by Caio on

All these things help keep our mental health in good shape. So has we all try to navigate a rapidly changing environments, and how we go about living, instead of being angry, instead of worrying about conspiracy theories or how about we focus on doing our best and our parts to help lift each other up, be cheerleaders for each other, maybe we can’t do it face to face but we can and still have the ability to be a light that shines in the dark days, together instead of fighting each other and arguing about how bad it is or isn’t maybe let’s put our energy I do ensuring we are doing our part to keep our mental health healthy, and that of all those around us who may need that simple phone call, so as we move into 2021, things may be different but we can still be standing strong.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on
Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

Some days are just meant to feel good no

The day started with me having trouble getting myself oriented to the day/ date, then trying to get the final shopping to stock my house so that I can stay in for a couple months.

Yes that’s my plan I’ll reevaluate after the New Years. It was a big job for me, it drained my brain power. A lost phone, trying to manage a comprehensive list, shopping of any type challenges me know but this really tested me, especially trying to ensure I didn’t miss anything, which is quite normal for me with any list, whether it be a recipe or a grocery list, it is challenging. None the less, one store had 90% of my list, which really made me happy, after unloading and putting away, which has been another challenge as my space is limited snd no storage space, but I’ve spent weeks working on it every day so things found a spot, then I was alerted to something I wasn’t aware of : Dementia Connections put out their list of four must read And there so was along with three other incredible authors, I was so honoured, I was beaming with delight, I sent it off to my publisher right away, a great sense of pride washed over me, somehow a peacefulness that maybe my effort to help others and make a difference was being realized. I’m very humbled. You can see the list here:

The realization that there are many things I’m misplacing like my phone earlier in the day, which created a lot of havoc for me once I realized it was lost, eventually it was found, where in fact it had not been lost, I had just gotten off track left it in an unlikely spot, because I’m losing focus more often. Many little things in a day that are missteps, misplaced and “oh what the hell” moments. They are becoming more frequent. But amidst the down turns there is the things that pull you up, like the Dementia Connections List or the surprise of this beautiful friendship Rose I received yesterday, a friendship I’m blessed to have made and had I not been diagnosed with dementia and if she had not been diagnosed as well and had I not written my book, our paths may never have crossed. So today I’m Grateful, because no matter how much my Dementia has taken from me or how much more it will, it has given back ten fold in the most delightful and unexpected ways.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

My Bubble of One

Photo by Pixabay on

So over the last two days, I have had to sit and weigh some very big things. Now for those who know me they know, I have been extremely cognizant of the importance of being vigilant due to covid 19. It has meant social distance visits, mostly outdoors, not going out for lunch or dinners, a life that is already very solidary became even more solitude. But the last two days, learning much about the realities from very trusted sources, sometimes I feel so grateful for all the opportunities to work( ok volunteer my time) with so many talented and gifted people. But in all of that, there is a lot to be learned within those meetings.

However, I may have Dementia but I am far from stupid, no one has had to tell me to wear a mask, or to limit where I go and my contact with others. I can see for myself, I can add up the death rates, I also know what happens if our health care system and its workforce get sick, no one has to tell me, and given all that I know and all that is coming in the coming weeks and likely months.

I have made the hard decision because I live alone, there is no one to take care of me because my health is already so unstable much of the time. I have been over the last several days bringing in enough supplies to get myself through the next couple of months. I have water, I have necessities, I have food, the rest to come tomorrow, after which time, I will be a bubble of one for the next few months, me and my dog Pheobe, we will keep each other company, I have to look after my health, I want to be able to stand at the end of this pandemic, so for a time, for this time, I become 100% isolated.

Photo by Anna Shvets on

I hope to be able to see people via video calls, facetime, and zoom, and telephone calls, it is those interactions that will keep me afloat, it will be the piece that keeps me able to manage my mental well being. I also want to keep others safe so this is the best way forward for the time being.

Photo by cheptu00e9 cormani on

Thankfully, the new measures brought in today have helped me in all of this, people are to stay to just who is in their household, I am a household of one. this also makes me acutely aware of the pitfalls of being on your own. Not having anyone to talk to or have coffee with or share your worries or fears, but I am not the only one who lives alone, so I am asking that if you know someone who lives alone, take the time to call and chat, you might be the one person who kept them treading water on a bad day.

Thankfully I have projects on the go, I also have my various research and Dementia groups and Organizations, that will keep me mentally stimulated. Time flies by even during difficult times, I’ve endured many difficult days in my life, this is a difficult time for everyone, I hope everyone does what they need to do to ensure their families and their own well being while continuing to think of those who do not have a support system around them. I will be Ok because I have every intention to finish things that have been put off because of this pandemic. This weekend, I will decorate my little space, while listening to Christmas Music. I will make Christmas Dinner and smile watching my dog enjoy hers, and I will reflect and be grateful for all the good that is still to be had and that there still is in this world, and I will look forward to all those phone calls and chats.

Writing will help me as well, another book to write,? Well, you never know. But the writing will document how the Covid 19 has impacted people living with Dementia, it information they are wanting to gather my writing will help with that.

I will keep all in my thoughts.

Advocates Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Silver Linings

Surprised by my anger

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Yesterday was the first day since the start of this pandemic that I have felt angry, actually it’s the first time in a very very long time, that I’ve felt angry about anything, and it’s spilled over to today.
I’ve felt many things in the last number of years I have had many things come at me that could or perhaps should have caused me to boil over with anger, but I’ve felt frustration, sadness, disappointment, and a whole array of emotions, but the anger that I felt yesterday and today was not something I saw coming, but there it was, and here it is.
I was going to write about it last night, decided I needed to really think about where and what was driving anger that has left me very unsettled because this kind of anger is not my norm. Many times today I started to write and then stopped. I finally feel able to write about the anger and the thing that really triggered it.

I’ve always tried to honour and respect other’s opinions and believe we all have the right to our views. But there are times when it can and does sometimes more harm than good.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Sometimes it does actually waste a lot of good energy on something that has no positive impact.
That’s where the anger came from, people wasting good energy, on something that serves no purpose. Other than to make them feel good I guess at expressing their right to free speech. But it angers me that they don’t stop to think about the hurt they may be causing others. Sometimes we should exercise our right to free speech, if it will bring something good, something positive to happen.

Conspiracy theories, refusal to wear masks ( which may be an inconvenience, but that’s all it is), people protesting encouraging others to not follow the guidelines set our by our top health personal. Does not generate anything positive.

I wonder if they give any thought to how that makes those who have already suffered the losses of a loved one to this pandemic, or the thousands and thousands of people suffering the “ long Haul”symptoms wondering if they will ever be well enough to resume there lives. Have we become a society that the “me and I” that we give not thought to how our actions impact others.
I wonder if people understand that yes there is a concern, if they don’t want to believe the health officials, or our government personnel, then perhaps they should figure out how to do true legitimate research, to where the science is right there, the scientists know.
The doctors who are working in hospitals that are at or near capacity know, maybe it hasn’t impacted those people who are shouting out about conspiracy or how we shouldn’t listen or follow the rules. Maybe it hasn’t impacted them yet.

Photo by cottonbro on

But when it comes knocking are you going to forgo your loved one being treated because after all you don’t believe you should have to take it seriously or follow the rules, should we be asking those who don’t want to follow the rules to provide their information so that we can put them to the bottom of the list should they need treatment and give it first to those who having been doing what they can to help protect not only themselves and their families but others as well. I wonder how they would feel then.
You see for me it isn’t about me, I can and will do what I can to take care of myself, but I do care about others, I care how it makes someone who may be trying to manage and cope, while their loved lays in a hospital on a ventilator fighting for their life.
Maybe all those people who think it’s not that bad should be rounded up to donate all that energy to helping in care homes and hospitals, maybe if they see first hand they might think before wasting their energy and time on something that is of zero value in the bigger picture.
people are worried about their jobs, about businesses closing we all are, but if we first don’t all do our part, those things will all be effected anyways, people will be to sick to work or shop, or anything, yet we have the ability to do something by all doing our part, so why aren’t we?
My anger is gone know, displaced by a deep sadness over what I see, there is still much good in this world and I’ll pray that good wins, because at the moment that’s all I have. By the Grace of God go I.

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on

Advocates Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

Managing during a time of a Pandemic

Photo by cottonbro on

I am extremely isolated these days, partly because I’ve become more isolated and being in solitude over the past few years, that became a real thing not this fall but the fall before, there was a day that forever stays etched in my mind, and from that day on friendships vanished, others took a noticeable hit.

Maybe people think I wouldn’t notice the change, but I like most with dementia feels things at an unbelievably deep level, our intuition and our senses are very acute.

So I know the day it all changed, and I have learnt to come to be ok with it. The pandemic brought about a whole new level of isolation, lock down happened , I spent the better part of the last nine months being sick, once things opened up again, I still was not comfortable to be out and about, only going for necessities,

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on

I loved having social distanced coffees at the park, that was always a treat and so enjoyed those visits. People bubbles expanded, mine did not, my bubble is less than six, I would be hard pressed to count up to six who are part of my bubble. Am I being overly cautious?

Perhaps I am but after getting sick in March, laying in bed for weeks, and for the next nine months having my body endure what I call intermittent attacks on it, my lungs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart, my skin, it’s been unending, a few good days or even a week here and there but overall nine months of being unwell, spending more time in bed than out, at times not being able to leave my building because the stairs were unmanageable, and on the days I could somedays only managing to walk a half a block, this from me the walker, miles and miles everyday. Fighting huge amounts of inflammation throughout my body, fatigue that makes my fatigue from dementia seem like a cake walk and believe me it is anything but.

Overly cautious?,maybe, but my health can’t take to many more hits, is or was it covid or not? I don’t know if many people will ever have correct answers, testing not done in early days, not accurate enough testing, to many unknowns. I will take part in a trial when it starts here, but even antibody testing is not fool proof, the latest is that it may show you have antibodies to covid, but there is now more than one strain, so antibodies don’t necessarily mean you are safe, and they don’t know if you in fact can’t contract more than once.

So overly cautious maybe to some it would seem that way, but for me I fight hard to stay at the level I am because I live with Dementia (although declines is happening), and i to am aware of that. I am fighting hard to not be swallowed up by my illness, to try to maintain some quality of life for a couple more years, so if I fight that hard to have that living with my dementia why then would I not fight that hard to protect myself from COVID-19.

I know there are many who believe in conspiracy theories, I know there is many who think they aren’t going to follow the rules. I wrestle with understanding it, wearing a mask is a simple thing it’s a very small inconvenient thing, but it’s something we can do if not for ourselves for others, I wear mine because I don’t want to be responsible to get anyone sick, I don’t want anyone to go through my last nine months or worse, and for so many it’s far far worse. My heart breaks for the baby who in the very province I live in was brought into the world by emergency c section, because the young mother was having to be placed on a ventilator, and not even aware that her baby is born and healthy, and the hardship on her spouse and family. I know some people can’t take it serious until it becomes something that effects them or theirs. I know everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and feelings on the matter. I have always thought of others first and that is still true today, and I can respect others thoughts and opinions.

Photo by on

My only hope is that we can all think about our others enough to all do our part, if we all do the things we know we can to take care of ourselves and our families, and yes this means doing things differently, thinking outside the box, getting creative, then we can get through this, but if we don’t if we all act like selfish and entitled spoiled peoples then the collateral damage may be more than you really wanted to pay.
I spend my days with my little dog ( Pheobe), I am so grateful I have her, she is great company and brings me great joy. I spend time cleaning drawers and cupboards, I’ve upholstered some pieces of furniture, I’m going to try to make some cushions, I only watch snippets of news, so that I keep my mental health in check, I socialize via a video calks and zoom and phone chats, with those who can and want to maintain relationships. I stay busy with advocating, working with research groups.

I learnt how to think outside the box while trying to form and build a life while living with my dementia, so maybe I need to be grateful for that, while I watch so many struggle, because they have yet to learn how to focus on what they can still do instead of what they may not be able too during this pandemic, for many the things they can’t do will be for the short term, months perhaps even a year or so, but for many of us we already have had to make those changes but for us they are permanent.
I hope everyone can find a way to stay well, stay safe, and be grateful for all that we still have.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

All that in a Day

Yesterday was one of those seemingly rare days, when you have one amazing thing happening and it turns into a day filled with more than you could imagine.

The day started out with the anticipation and excitement about the on line book launch for my book, “For this I am Grateful”. Hosted by Noelannah Nuebeauer and Janet Douglas.
They had done a terrific job, marketing this event, great posters and graphics. But before the event started I received an email from the University of Toronto, I had done a survey for them because of all the illness I have suffered since March, turns out they are doing a research project of people like myself, it is not rolled out across Canada yet, that will happen though, so they will be keeping my information so I will be part of their research, which includes antibody testing for covid, it is specifically looking at the “ long hauler” people who are still or did struggle for many months, but never got tested early due to tests not being done for everyone at that time.
I’m thrilled to take part, to maybe end up with clear answers, and I’m quite sure my doctor would also like a more clear reason for what’s been happening these last months.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on

The next thing that happened was I was having my third day of being the best I’ve been for months, not perfect, but perfect enough for me, it was day four of a new regime of massive doses of vitamin C, D, magnesium, and increased pre and probiotics, and an anti histamine every day. My arm is improving, all other symptoms returning to more normal like behaviours, my sleep is better, fatigue has eased, able to be up for increased number of hours per day.

The book. Launch was a great success and a lot of great questions and conversations throughout. I loved how engaged and interactive it was.
Following the event I was then asked to talk to a class of HCA students, so I am honoured to and will do that week after next. This is where we start to make a difference and can truly have an impact.
Right after that I had a meeting with Sana from Alzheimer’s BC, she will be presenting today at a committee. I sit on in our community, that is working to make Vernon a Dementia Friendly Village, we talked about the use of language, we talked about how to change it and to work on the language around it. She then asked if she could change her presentation to be a joint presentation, which would be more of a discussion between her and I and more questions directed to me, so that then the conversation could become more interactive with the rest of the committee with more of a Q&A event rather than just a presentation by her. These are all great things.

But it doesn’t stop there, then I received a call from Okanagan Clinical trials, I was there for my third time last Monday, my testing in some areas was where I would have thought they would be, but in Two others they were worse than I expected, and yet somehow I wasn’t surprised really because I know I’ve had some changes in specific areas over recent months. But they were a little worse than anticipated. So they called to say after reviewing my tests again they have decided there is another trial they are just starting that they feel I am a perfect candidate for if I’m willing to participate. So today I will be talking with them about what that will entail. It is another avenue to contribute to help all in the fight to learn and understand Dementia.
I was up more than I had hoped in the night with my arm bothering me, I have been fully up since four thirty this morning watching the snow fall, but overall still feel like I’m improving. The specialist Dr. Cunningham wanted me to see regarding my arm referred as an urgent, won’t happen until February, I think I will have figured out the pieces to get myself well before then, I can’t wait and do nothing, so hopefully this new regime will keep showing improvement. In the meantime it’s time to get ready for another day of meetings starting at ten am winding up at two, that’s a lot in one day for me, my brain will be fatigued so nothing else will happen today except maybe a walk in the fresh falling snow, where I can reflect on all the great things of yesterday.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia For This I Am Grateful Silver Linings

In Discussion with David Harvey and Dementia Dialogues

I’m thrilled to share this podcast with David Harvey, which aired yesterday. David has an incredible ability to bring about great perspectives and thought provoking questions.

Photo by Tommy Lopez on

I so enjoyed this conversation it brought me back to why I started writing, it reminded of many aspects, triggered memories. It left me feeling like I am exactly where I am meant to be doing exactly what I’m meant to do. It again reminded me that although life doesn’t go as we planned or hoped doesn’t mean we can’t have a good life with what we are given. Feeling very grateful
Thank you David for your support and encouragement. You are a gift to us all.

Advocates Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia For This I Am Grateful Silver Linings

Forgetting that I Forgot

Photo by Pixabay on

It’s funny how so often I don’t even realize what I have forgotten, and how surprised I am by that. You would think that after six years it wouldn’t surprise me but it does, but the fact is I’ve forgotten what I forgot a lot of the time. Then someone will say something, or I will see something that will trigger a forgotten piece and it comes flashing into my mind, like the gate of dam was just opened and the water came rushing in, so too does that forgotten piece, that moment in time or that event, and along with it an emotional response.

Photo by Puwadon Sang-ngern on

The emotional response at times is almost child like very kiddy with excitement at the revelation, it can bring about a feeling of warmth and comfort, it can also bring about tears and a deep feeling of grief. Sometimes it brings such joy and a sense of contentment.
This explains in my opinion why even has people progress with their dementia they would exhibit different behaviours and responses.
So often people with dementia are “ purple dotted” when in hospital or long term care when in fact they are not they are just responding to triggers and memories. I for sure would or will be purple dotted, because I am totally a person who does things and responds from an emotional place. Some respond from a very logical place, some emotional, we are all different, but we all respond. Some people will act instantly when put in a fearful situation, others will freeze, but all will have a response.
So although at times forgetting things like appointments, meetings, taking medications may be a frustration, I have learnt to live with them , shrug my shoulders, shake my head, laugh at myself, and say well I’ll try for the next time. It used to trigger such a level of frustration that it actually caused me anger and anxiety, the anger was at myself for being forgetful in the first place, instead of being kind and forgiving to myself because I do have and live with dementia, still too often putting to high of expectations on myself, the anxiety coming from fear, that things are getting worse, that my illness is progressing. Yet that is the expected, the progression, yet somehow because we put these expectations on ourselves, because we allow the fear to develop into anxiety we end up with unpleasant and often unexpected responses to situations.
Perhaps during later stages when we no longer can rationalize these things, yet the responses are still there, it again explains a lot of behaviours that are mislabeled and mis treated with medications.
I am still in early enough stages ( that’s my opinion), people on the outside may have a different view, that I monitor ( or try too), myself closely, I pay a great deal of attention to how I am responding to things. I am working on learning the importance of laughing at myself, replacing fear and anxiety with humour and laughter.
I don’t want other people to laugh at me or make fun of me or my missteps because of my illness, that is very belittling. But having someone join me, and be able to share in the silliness of something that is anything but makes it bearable.

The other day a friend came and took me for a drive and out for the day because I have not been feeling well enough to go on my own, we were driving and talking and something struck me about how surprised I am that I keep forgetting I forget, we both ended up having great fit of laughter over it, it was a great shared moment. I can and do know the difference between the shared experience and the mocking and judgmental moments or the “ oh I do that all the time statements which while well intentioned are anything but.

Learning to live with Dementia, learning to find the new mechanisms to adapt, not only to how we do things but how we respond as well. Who said people with dementia aren’t capable anymore, seems to me that being able to adapt in those ways debunks that theory.