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

Tuesday Tidbits

Ok so yesterday, a good laugh, so many times lately I have almost missed important events and presentations and meetings, and when among very patient people, who have helped me locate my notes for a presentation that my brain totally would not remember how to find, to ending up at the wrong place or the right place on the wrong day or time. Yesterday I had to attend a meeting which looking at the invite, I had no idea why or what I was supposed to be there for…. My brain is completely tossing things aside or out or filing them into the deeper recesses, where it may have locked access to me, luckily reminders from those there, of whom they were, referencing where I knew them from and what we were meeting for, I’ve been working with them for over two years on this project… we all had to laugh, me especially.

In an earlier meeting Ellen, (a true doll), who helps me do much talked about how this is happening so much lately. I can’t find a reason, I said I don’t know what’s wrong with me, more laughter, as I realized what I had just said followed with that’s ridiculous of course I know what’s wrong with me, it could be that it has something to do with the fact that so have Dementia….OMG…at least this disease affords me much laughter, because there is no point crying.

So what might be happening, just the dementia. Or my brain being tired and being zoomed out. In all likely hood, a combination and this brain 🧠 can only manage so much before it starts tossing stuff or filing it and sometimes it locks those filing cabinets only to open them down the road at some unexpected time. It can and does create chaos, it could create a lot of anxiety and stress if I worried about all the missteps it creates in my days. But instead I chose laughter, I don’t worry if I miss anything, it used to upset me terribly if I missed or was late, it no longer worries me, instead I feel like what’s wrong I manage to still do is good, if I miss something I will get caught up.

I also feel many many people whether with dementia or not are zoomed out, meeting out, and technology may have saved many of us during the pandemic but it is tiring, it creates another level of stress for us and our brains. There is some good articles on some of the things, like how our brains have to work harder to try to make and understand one’s body language. The back to back meetings and lack of true connection, it is connecting us but it does not feed our bodies what and brains need from the face to face connections. My fear with all of it is $$$$, profits etc will be the driving force to keep people zooming and not putting up the funds for all those face to face get togethers of the bygone days, and by that I mean prior to the pandemic. maybe we don’t need to be meeting face to face all the time, but perhaps for those working everyday, once a month, would suffice, for others like myself, meeting once to three times a year may be enough, but without those connections that are made, without that face to face interactions, I think the price paid will be in how our brains respond to the continual on line work. Time will tell.

The other part of me is wondering if it is just that it is time for me to simply put in more time to playing. Enjoying living, not that meetings aren’t good, not that advocating and research work isn’t great, it is and it provides purpose, but maybe this is my brains way of helping me balance it. Maybe walking away more often from the screen time on phones, i-pads, computers and remembering to live and breathe and play is equally or maybe even more important. Being fully alive, we often talk about living in the moment, but are we if we are always tied to a device. I don’t think thats how we were designed, at least I know I wasn’t. Playing at things that make me feel good, make me happy, make me feel at peace, that seems to be what I need right now. Perhaps there is many who need that, maybe I am fortunate that this ill working brain, gifts me with helping ensure these things happen, by tossing out what I may otherwise deem important. Somehow together this brain and I will continue to manage to do what I hope to do, it just may not look like the path most would take.

I have also been going through a lot of emotional ups and downs, a lot of things in the world to do that to us, again, it shouldn’t just be chocked up to being part of the dementia, it should also not automatically be chalked up to being depression, it is in fact normal reaction to very abnormal times. Innocent children and people being gunned down, war, along with the regular life stuff of family and friends, that can have an emotional impact. I, as well have the week of June the 5th through the 13th which always no matter how much I say it won’t, hits me like a freight train, too many emotional events all within a week, it never seems to get easier to navigate, it has however become easier to recognize and to just allow it to be a time to be whatever it needs to be. I am happy and content for the most part but I would say I was being remiss if I didn’t say that I do have those days and moments, where tears overtake me without warning, honouring the sensitive part of my being, dementia doesn’t change that, if anything I am more aware and feel more deeply. I write about these things because all to often everything about us is attributed to our diagnosis, when in fact much is and should be attributed to the fact that we are still alive so life will still effect us directly or indirectly. Sometimes I am not sure myself which it is, but by acknowledging how things are effecting me, how I am feeling and managing can go along way it having better days.

So I will just be at this time, however it looks each day, and I will laugh at the blunders, enjoy the moments of clarity, be grateful for all that is and pray for better more peaceful times for everyone.

The pictures are from yesterdays, stroll, these three were teasing me, posing and generally having fun, making the walk all the more enjoyable. Yes its the little things.

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

Quiet Days

Black berries, blueberries, raspberries

Dinner tonight, well actually every night my dinner is 2 cups of berries, today was a total plant based day, as was yesterday, trying to do more and more plant based, I’m not perfect at it but if so get it 50 to 60 % of the time I feel it’s a win, I also try to only eat between 2 and 7 pm I fast the rest of the time e, again not perfect but most days it works well for me.

I am always striving to do better, take better care of myself. I pay attention to my eating more and more in part because my eating changed so much, A friend was concerned that I wasn’t eating enough, so I started logging my eating, and because I rarely cook, it did and does seem like I am eating a-lot less, and in fact I am, but I am eating better, healthier food, so I am getting enough nutrition just differently.

I do have to monitor a lot of things that I’m the past I didn’t but because I can forget, because I often don’t remember hours or the day before, I appreciate having friends that will gently chat about the changes and things they see, a check in and check up so to speak. It’s easy for me to loose track of days and time and add in forgetting things, it’s not a stretch that forgetting things like eating is possible. And although it may seem that I would be upset by someone bringing those things up but quite the opposite actually, I smile, and think how nice that they care enough.

There is other things that I monitor in my bid to stay as well as possible, to stall and stave off the inevitable for as long as possible. Ensuring I make sure my sleep and rest are looked after, fresh air, quiet calm environments not over taxing or over stressing my system. Looking after and protecting my emotional and mental well being. It’s a tremendous amount of work, but without it, things would look much differently than they do at the moment. Yes there’s no cure, yes the complicating factors can wreck havoc, but all of those things would be so much worse if I didn’t do all I can for myself. My Motto when diagnosed was “I’m not done yet”, it is still my motto still how I feel, last year, I felt I was losing the fight, spending most of the time between hospitals and being bedridden at home, I never gave up and I never quit trying to help myself, it was a year that has made me really appreciate this year, and all that is in comparison. It was a year that as we head into the last half of this year, I try to be mindful, look for joy each and everyday.

Talking to my sister in law today, she commented on how very busy I always was, lunches, dinners, hosting get togethers and always off to somewhere. Today, I go days and days without leaving home, my trips to nature are my great adventures, that feed my heart, mind and and soul my plants create peaceful places and spaces for me. I will protect that. I will be mindful for as long as so can to be grateful for each of the good days.

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

Feeling Hopeful, Purposeful and Having a Sense of fulfillment

Today has been a great brain day, I treasure those days so much, when I can manage to do something that I rarely try to tackle anymore. Accomplishing things that at one time were so easy, getting so excited when I actually have it turn out, almost makes one forget even for just a few minutes about the monster lurking in the background, my dementia monster, when he runs rampant not much happens except floating through the days, giving myself lots of self talk about how its ok not to be ok, its ok if today I just try to navigate enough to get by. Today was one of those days where the monster sleeps. I had a great sleep last night, in bed early and then up at five this morning feeling good, no brain fog, no lighting bolts flashing through my head. I stood out on my deck as I waited for my coffee to be ready and just breathed in the lovely spring air. Later I went for a little walk and enjoyed the spring rain falling softly, no need for a sweater or umbrella, just enjoyed the raindrops as they fell on me. Back home I decided to try tackling making one of my artisan crusty breads, I made a garlic and rosemary crusty loaf, then I made a pasta dish, to bake,( pheobe loves pasta), she was standing at my feet just waiting, she some how knows. So although I rarely and by rarely I mean only every couple months do I actually have a day where I can accomplish anything in the kitchen. I rarely turn the stove on, I use my little air fryer, and my toaster oven, and eat things that don’t require cooking. So today I feel like I had great purpose, a great sense of fulfillment, hopeful that in the days ahead I may have occasion where the monster will sleep and give me this brief reprieve where once again I can feel this way.

My garlic Rosemary crusty bread
My pasta dish baking in the oven

The reason I am sharing this is last night a dear friend of mine called me, he and I talked for well over an hour, it was lovely to just chat. One of the things we talked about is that it doesnt matter if you have dementia, some other illness, are just dealing with aging, if you are young or old we all want and need to feel a sense of hope, to feel as though we have a sense of purpose, it makes us feel fulfilled, and at times we may be more prone to do things than others. Sometimes the most and best we can do is be kind and gentle with ourselves. We should not place such expectations on ourselves or on others that we don’t allow ourselves or others the time they or we need for self care. Self care is in and if itself purposeful, its needed and necessary, we can’t always give of ourselves, of our time, in order to feel we have purpose, sometimes our only purpose should and needs to be the very thing we are always made to feel selfish. It is in fact the opposite, for when we encourage others and allow ourselves time and space for self care, we are able to give more completely and fully to things that bring us that sense of purpose and provides us hope. So perhaps we need to offer kindness and understanding when people have to step away for a time, perhaps we should encourage each other more to the self care end, without having to know the why’s or whats of someone needing to take that time, just cheering them on for doing whats right for them.

We also need to understand that we can and should find our sense of fulfillment in the simplest of things, liking managing to make a crusty bread, or finishing a project, or just being, our sense of fulFillment should not always have to come from how much we are “ doing”, or contributing, but rather letting it be in whatever we are doing and knowing that is enough.

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

May 21, 2022, ok well May 22

Yesterday I was writing this blog, somehow I published it without the content, so here it is retitled and with content if all goes as planned.

Today is May 21, we are one month away from the longest day of the year. One month away from our days becoming shorter once again. Its hard to wrap my head around that. It doesn’t feel like anyone is ready to have our days getting shorter, where is the time going. With no concept of time anymore, and short term memory mostly gone, what did I do yesterday or last week?

I don’t normally think to much or worry about those things, but every once in a while a date or day will give me a reason to pause and think about it. Today was one of those days waking up looking at my clock and the date May 21st. As I count down to June 21st, its a day of great significance for me, you know how we have those dates that are forever etched in our minds, for most things like their wedding date, the date the kids were born, the day we lost someone important to us, those kind of things. June 21st, is one of those dates for me, actually June is filled with important dates for me. June, 7th, my wedding anniversary, June 9th, the day my mom passed away, June 12 th day my husband passed away, June 21st, the longest day of the year, and the day of my husbands funeral. So dates can be significant for us.

For many June 21st, doesn’t really give way to much thought, but today I was thinking about it in a different sort of concept, this perhaps because I have had a lot of reasons of late to think about how grateful I am how fortunate I am, that because of my dementia, because of having to learn to slow down, to look for the joy, live in the moment, the very moment I am in, it has allowed for a lot of wonderful things to come into my life. Making room for some of the most kind people, people with good energy, caring people to enter my life. Not to take anything away from some very wonderful people I have had the pleasure of knowing and having friendships with over the years, I truly have been blessed in that regard. But there was also toxic, negative energy in my world, and removing it, not allowing negative energy into my world as much as possible, has created space for some great energy, people and things to find their way to me.

The other reason I was looking and thinking about June 21st, was the conversations around how many people are feeling like they are in some sort of strange place, trying to navigate coming out of the pandemic, realizing how much it changed or shifted a lot of whats importance and whats not. Trying to figure out how they want to move forward. Its like a reset button was hit, but no one has a manual, surrounded by so much uncertainty,. Each person has to navigate and figure out the whats next, what they want their lives to look like and be, and its uncomfortable. When you’ve thought you had your life planned out, like you were in control, and all of a sudden, we aren’t, its a very uncomfortable place to be. And I wonder why we feel the need to know, to plan so completely, we over book ourselves, we allow no time to just be, children are booked into so many things, no time to just be, so creativity can surface and flourish. Busy, busy busy, so we can’t and don’t listen to that inner voice. Often times its because in the quiet the things we mostly want to suppress find there way to the surface. Yet if we listen, if we look at those things, things that hurt, things that don’t feel good, we can then take the power out of them, We then make room for things that are positive. These are all things I learnt through my years of learning to live with my dementia.

I know people are struggling to find their way through all that has and is happening, but I hope everyone knows its ok to not make decisions, its ok to sit back, the decision will come when the time is right and will then likely be the right decision. Its ok to just let life unfold, doing nothing is sometimes doing everything. Maybe 2022, is about just being, maybe as we towards the longest day, we all need to exhale, to just to breathe for the rest of the year.

I no longer make decisions other than for today, for this moment. I do what brings me joy, I protect my space, my energy, no longer allowing the negative energy in, staying away from things or people who feel toxic. More protective of my little world, grateful for all that it still is, grateful for this self awakening my dementia brought to me. Not to say that living with this illness isn’t hard it is, but accepting the hard, accepting the limitations, not letting them get in the way of the joy that can be found, finding those new ways to live, perhaps that the silver lining that I was given, perhaps its allowing me to manage through the last few years and this time we are in now.

so know a day late in publishing this blog, I am off the spend the day in nature exploring, breathing and just being.

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

What in the World

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We the people who inhabit this earth have the whole world resting in our hands. It feels as though there is a power struggle between good and evil going on.

Its hard everything is hard, everywhere people look it looks bleak and everyone wants to blame someone. For so many they aren’t coping well, in many ways understandable, we have had at the very least 40 + years of people growing up never having to endure hard times, never having to want for anything, not everyone but by and large the largest part of our human race. The privileged, not that thats good or bad, but its left us in a place where everyone wants to blame someone , everyone wants someone to fix it, the problem is they don’t, wont or cant see that they, each and everyone of us has to decide to be the difference, to do things different to make a difference, we collectively either finish the mess and let evil win, or we choose for good to win. We choose kindness, we choose, simpler lives, we help create more sustainable places, we create food supplies within our neighbourhoods, we help each other instead of hate each other.

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Encourage our cities and towns to stop using pesticides, instead of grass boulevards, fill them with soil, encourage people to plant vegetables and flowers, there are ways and things we can do so we don’t have such high food costs, that is better for the environment, we need to step up and help get these kinds of things in place, , we must be willing to help, what a great way to help build community and neighbourhoods, we can change the course the world is on, one by one, community by community, we can plant trees, stop the erosions. people feel like there is no point, that it wont make a difference, but it will and can, if we all do simple things, if we all stop buying more than we need, if we get off and out of the commercialized world we will all to better, yes the people making all the money, making us feel like we need more, bigger, better, well they wont like it, but maybe they will have to change their practices too, maybe we can get back to putting more value in human life than status and money. My grandmother and my mother always said money is the root of all evil, as I look around to what is happening to us, to our world, I believe them to be right.

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All of these things that are happening on a global level, impact us all, we can say it doesn’t effect us but it does, none of us are that tough, it creates stress, worry, anxiety, it causes us to be exhausted and not now why. I am talking about it because I don’t want people to think that this stuff doesn’t impact people with dementia, or the elderly, or those with other disabilities. It actually impacts them in many ways more, because they know all to well that when times are tough the services they need so badly are most often some of the first things cut. So they not only worry about the rising costs, the supply issues, climate change impacts, food shortages, wars, housing issues, they then have to worry about how it will all effect them and the ability to have access to services. They worry about whether they will be left behind, forgotten. It can effect their overall well being, so remember extra patience, extra kindness. They may have trouble verbalizing or communicating how it is all making them feel, but they do feel it.

So please take the time to talk openly and honestly about whats happening, it will allow others to open up, which allows us all to stop hiding behind the ” I’m fine” facade. Lets all start being real, being human, lets say yes I am scared, yes this sucks, then lets get down to work at helping each other supporting each other, lets right the world that as someone slipped lets make sure good wins. Lets show tis world that we inhabit how grateful we are for all it has given, all that it has tolerated. Lets collectively do better.

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Do Better

Be Better

Want Better

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

Flipping the Switch or Lighting it up

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The difference a few hours or day can make, this morning I am what I would say is feeling a little hyper, cant sit still. My brain feels clear, the first time in weeks, TIA’s do that to me, that and fatigue, today I feel neither. Yippee it makes you want to run out and tackle the world, or at least dance down the street, I’ll settle for dancing around the house.

I was so fatigued yesterday I was in bed before six p.m., but obviously listening to my body is the best way to help myself. Hopefully I can have another decent stretch. This is Vascular Dementia, or my Vascular Dementia. Each one of us has unique and different yet often similar symptoms. I believe my fierce stubbornness, my fierce will to maintain my independence, and as much as many hate stubbornness in people sometimes if its challenged correctly, its a good thing, fir me I believe its what helped me be able to remain at a fairly high rate of functioning. That is something I can thank my mom for, she never tried to squash it out of us, she tried to teach us how to harness it for when we really need it. It has served me well in my 7+ years of living with Vascular Dementia.

Yesterday in conversation with one of the people I work with within the CCNA, we talked about my struggle lately to be engaged, not necessarily with the CCNA, but overall, with all my advocating work. It seems many of us are at a point of meeting fatigue, whether its advocating, support groups, presentations all those things. I thought it was just me, I was struggling to understand ” what was going on with me”. At first I thought it was because of my TIA, then I thought the fatigue, partly that is correct on both fronts, but there is another component, one that seems to be effecting a lot of us. That is simply life fatigued, so much on line stuff over the last few years, we are exhausted from it, we need time away from our computers, from social media and the like. So I scaled back a lot on what I am doing, hoping that by giving myself time, that come fall I will be ready to be back at it full swing. Its not easy to admit too but its like reaching a sort of burn out stage. But funny enough many many people are feeling it but trying to push beyond it. I am not willing to cause any more stress to my system so scaling back was a survival move, one I am happy that I have made. Again that stubbornness in me that allows me the good graces to say no sometimes. To put my own well being first. Today feels like a day that all those decisions are shining brightly so I know they were the right ones.

I am not disappearing, I will still be advocating and working on certain things, my writing will continue, but boy oh boy does it feel good to not feel bad about taking a break or saying sorry not today.

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

Safety Pins, Zip Ties, Bungee Cords and Whats Time Got To Do With It

Some times starting over, or in some cases just starting is the only thing to do. In this case I was planning to write this yesterday, maybe earlier today, doesn’t really matter. Obviously, I got the title done and there it sat, and off I went doing something else, none of that really matters, thats just how my days go, then when I realized it was sitting on my computer( that only happened because of something I was going to do, but there it was in all its splendour, a title for a blog just staring at me. So then I thought I would just save it as a draft and sit with my Ipad and write. Except then I couldn’t navigate that part so eventually it was a matter of starting over, and so here we are. Ill tell you its hard friggin work trying to live within this illness, its no wonder why fatigue is such a big factor with and for people with Dementia, heck its exhausting just trying to be me and figure out who that is at this point. Ok so that wasn’t what I wanted to write about but there it is. The next paragraph may or may not get me to what I really wanted to write about.


Ah yes the title, well, give a girl safety pins and zip ties and bungee cords and she can fix, find solutions for all kinds of things. In this case a much loved chair that belongs to a dear friend, it sits on my deck, its broken, but its comfortable, using some wooden wedges and zip ties I managed to get it so it sits straight, instead of flopping around, then to try to protect the original cushion covers I fabricated one out of material using the tuck and pin technique. See photo:

A much loved chair
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

So this project took my focus from all else, it kept me there until it was complete. I didn’t use bungee cords on it but I do use bungee cord to hold my umbrella when open to the deck, because of our winds. I have the umbrella tied to the railing on the deck with zip ties. It has to be secured because I live on the top floor, it could pose a danger risk. So zip ties all the way. Now Im thinking OMG I sound like a hillbilly, but really I’m just a kootenay girl, thats the area of British Columbia that I was born and raised, we were always proud to be a “ Koot Girl”, like a badge of honour. But we learnt important life skills like the many uses of safety pins, bungee cords and zip ties. Dementia hides and locks away much, but it brings much back from time to time and how to use what I have to manage to do something is one of those.

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The other thing is about time, you see all of these things happened, without any thoughts to time. My friend Janet , we did a video call she is in Scotland visiting family, we have never met in person, she lives on the other side of Canada from me, we plan on meeting this fall, if all goes well. Anyways her and I had a lengthy conversation about the gift of living a life that is timeless. Its a gift of dementia. Most of the world operates on, time to get up, time to do this or that or go here or there. Time to have breakfast, lunch time, coffee time. The world runs ragged trying to keep up with the schedules of time. Even having to make time to meditate and relax, schedule “time ” for yoga or a hike or walk. Time, Time! Time.
Yes we sometimes have to subject to time, appointments, meetings, catching a bus or train or plane, those kinds of things, but those kinds of things happen less and less frequently for us, so for the most part we life in a place and space that is timeless. Its living in the moment we are in, and enjoying that place and that moment. Like when I started writing this blog and suddenly my focus shifted to the chair. No stress, just let it be what needs to be in that moment. We laughed about how for others we can understand their frustrations trying to understand or figure us out, its like we are living in a different sphere or on a different plane somehow. But its ok for us because we are happy here for the most part floating along, one day to the next, doing whatever hits us, whenever it hits us, just being. Here in our dementia world, that should be the title of a song, remember the Alan Jackson song ” Here in the Real World”. Well we need a song ” Here in my Dementia World”, maybe Jay Allen could write one. Anyways this is my life as it is in this moment.

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

Mothers Day Wish

This blog is for all the Grandmothers, Mothers, Stepmothers, Foster mothers, Aunties, that have such a tremendous impact on the lives they touch. The lives they help shape, they give of themselves tirelessly, they provide us with our foundations that help us navigate life. They are the nurturers, the teachers, the healers. our confidantes, our best friends, mentors.

I have been fortunate to have had a grandmother who played a very big role in my young years, a tremendous woman, my other grandmother, my step-grandmother who came into my later, also a remarkable woman, who also had a great impact in my life, and of course my mother, who although she is no longer with me here on earth continues to guide me each and everyday. I am and will be forever grateful for these incredible woman.


I am also blessed with a step daughter who is a tremendous young woman, and mother to two wonderful children, she is such a great mother, I am so very proud of her, and so enjoy watching her in her role. My step son is married to a wonderful young lady, the mother to two beautiful girls, another young mother who is doing an amazing job of being a mother.

Women have such a critical and important role shaping the future of generation after generation, through the very life’s they are guiding, have guided or will guide. So I hope that each and every woman out there knows that they matter, that you will always matter. For the women who have no children either by choice or not, you too matter, you too touch and shape and nurture more lives than you likely realize. I believe we are all mothers in some way, at some points in our lives, so this Mothers Day I hope every woman out there gets celebrated, and if you’re alone that you celebrate you and all the ways you impact the lives you have touched in your life.

Happy Mothers to all the amazing women I know.

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

Oddities

I have been thinking about the oddities that come with my dementia, things that were not part of my being in the past. Or perhaps they were I just never had the ability to realize or understand it. But some things are new patterns and I believe they are the brains way of coping and managing. For example after my recent TIA’s, as in the past the fatigue comes, the slower and hesitant speech, all part of the brain wanting and needing healing time, that is getting better, luckily no amount of any more severe effects, for which I am grateful.

But those odd things, like my just wanting and truly wanting to be just spending time organizing. This time it was my entrance closet, you know the one where the coats, boots, shoes, all those things go, all the things you need and want to keep that have to go somewhere. I spend a great deal of time taking everything out, looking at stuff, deciding what to keep what not too, painstakingly organizing it. Its like somehow my brain needs me to so that it can reset and organize itself.

Its funny I remember often how we talked about the strange behaviours or patterns or needs for certain people in dementia care, when I worked it, but being on the other side of it now I see it from a different viewpoint. Its only my opinion but I believe when we are doing these strange and seemingly odd things, its actually our brains way of doing self care, it takes us into a place and part that allows it to try to heal, a place that helps us remain calm and quit. So often we stopped people from ” playing or mucking with things”, more I think as it was an irritant to us, a nuisance, we didn’t feel it was somehow appropriate, the little bags of treasures that they somehow needed to go through over and over, but I now fully understand how important those things are.

If anyone had tried to drag me away from my closet, from my organizing, I likely would have been upset, perhaps even agitated. Sometimes as much as it can be difficult to live alone, it is a blessings as those little oddities are not bothering anyone else, so I have been able to just be in the quiet with my brain, giving it the time and space to do what it needs so that I can continue to manage.

Its funny that over time living with my dementia, I understand my brain more, it’s like I treat it has a separate but yet very important part of me, I somehow have formed a partnership with it, I listen to it, I let it guide me, for it may be broken, it may operate differently than before, but it still (guides me. It takes me and places me in things that allow me to just be, its a phenomenal experience, especially to be able to understand it. Or at least understand it for what it is for me. There is a saying about listening to your body, taking care of it, because if you don’t, it will just take it, and very often in ways that are life changing and life altering, it took being diagnosed with Vascular dementia, along with a whole host of complicating factors and living with it for all these years to truly appreciate and understand my brain. And as I feel the fog lifting, I am understanding that this is another step, that again I tire a little more easily, yet somehow I am content, I don’t want to fight it, I don’t want to push to do more, I want to just do what my body directs, what feels right for me. Next week will likely see me back at my advocacy work, although to what degree I am not sure.

Speaking of advocacy, it seems there are many changes and shifts in the advocacy world, it is important work, but there does come a time when the torch must be passed , but it somehow appears there is less and less who are willing or wanting to take up the work. I wonder if thats because they feel we have not seen enough tangible change over the years, or if they simply have decided they are just going to live their life’s as best they can, doing what brings them joy. A lot of people, understand the importance of the advocacy work, but they also somehow seem to be-able to place more of emphasis on self. Neither is right or wrong, and for many in the advocacy world knowing when to hang up the reigns and focus solely in living life is a hard thing to manage. I am trying to teach myself to transition, to jst step back from some, giving more time for the joy. I continue to be a work in progress, trying to change and adapt to the changes with my illness and its effects on me.

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

All Because of the Love of a Dog….In This Case the Lovable Miss Pheobe

Sometimes the best medicine is a dog who thinks their love can cure you

As most of you know today is my little Pheobes 18 birthday, she has been trudging along with me for a very long time, she was a little rescue dog, she chose me, how did I ever get so lucky.



She has been my constant, through a lot of life’s ups and downs. Since first having the stroke at 56, and us being together 24 hours a day since, except when she had the odd holiday with some of her favourite people, but over time that has happened even less and less, she has been on many many road trips with me, travelling near and far. She has been my guiding light, laying watch when I am ill, ever watchful, she has guided me to keep me safe during many of our walks. She has sat and offered comfort through my hard days and through a many tear. She looks at me with a knowing and understanding, and on my good days she eagerly wants to join me in whatever I am doing.

One of my favorited… enjoying the sunset

Backwoods exploring and campfires to the ocean and finding waterfalls. During my darkest moments since my diagnosis she gently provided me with the encouragement to keep going. But she is tiring, as am I, too many Tia’s this last couple weeks, everything taking so much effort. My focus is solely on her these days, doing all I can to ensure whatever time she has left with me it will be time she will enjoy.

She doesn’t even really like to be outside of the perimeters of home, not even her beloved car rides, but she also gets very stressed if i am not within a short few feet from her. Her hearing and vision limited, she has trouble some days navigating the stairs. But she is happy, she is not in any discomfort, for that I would not allow, so I am happy to be home with her and try to give her as much as she has given me.

I know there has been so many studies on the importance of animals to us humans, but I don’t a need a study to tell me how important she is to my life. She has helped alleviate stress, anxiety, depression to name a few of the many things. I only wish they would make small farm scale care homes the norm, so people could have pets, interact with animals partake with nature, the need for the grossly overuse of medications could be so greatly reduced, and I wonder will they ever really listen, will they ever really care. Thank you for a lifetime of love Pheobe and giving me the very best of you.

Exercise time
Enjoying the day