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

Shaping the Un – Shapeable

I’m sitting on my deck enjoying a beautiful Sunday Morning. It’s a long weekend here in Canada, the one that usually has everyone off and away camping, holidays and kick starting the upcoming summer season. Of course for the second year of lockdowns and restrictions due to covid it has changed that for many, although because people are allowed to camp and explore in their own area many are taking advantage of having access to many of the campsites, and venues usually filled with tourists. I love the tourists because they are good for the economy and because I love to wander and see new places as much as I can. It’s been part of my makeup since I was very young. But it would be nice if a certain percentage of things like camping spots were kept for people who want to be out and enjoy but closer to home. I don’t normally go anywhere on long weekends to busy, even the back country is and can be busy so I normally stay low key. It’s actually kind of nice as my home area is quieter on long weekends. I was planning a nice bike ride this morning but it will be more of a mid morning ride, maybe a longer ride that way.

It’s funny yet not surprising that sometimes making a few changes in how and what we are doing can have bigger than expected outcomes and just how fast some of those outcomes can be seen. The last 1.5 years has been difficult health wise, a lot of hospital stays, a lot of tests, treatments and the likes, I am still having some testing doing for various things but overall, I think I am starting to feel an upswing. I am more energetic, up until 10 or 11 instead of being so fatigued that bed at 5 or 6 pm was the norm, but when your body is struggling it is necessary at those times, but I sure am enjoying the reprieve. I truly believe I have been pushing my brain to hard, depleting it, not giving it enough time off to rest and recharge. It’s something I’ve talked about many times, but I don’t think that sometimes when you’re in the throws of the “busyness” that we actually recognize how badly we are depleted. Sometimes our bodies do what’s necessary to make us pay attention to what it is trying to tell us. I’m glad I paid attention before the cost became tragic and maybe irreversible.

My cozy morning coffee spot

So this morning as I’m sitting waking up refreshed, revived, enjoying all my plants and seeing all my seedlings start to take shape to become the beautiful array of colours that they will be, I have been giving lots of thought about the shaping and reshaping that I am in the throws of. I was chatting yesterday with a friend who is making the move into independent living, giving up what has been home for many years, he has had to scale back a lot of commitments, his dementia has let him know it’s time to do things differently. It’s what I’ve been thinking a lot about in recent months, how to I reshape my literally unshapeable life. Normally as we go through life we create a new one, three, five year plan’s etc and adapt as we need to. But when living with Dementia making any plan beyond today or at best this week, is futile, things change day by day, what I can manage today will challenge me tomorrow then in three days it may be easier than ever. The doctors give you the best information out there about how long your life expectancy is after diagnosis, for me it was 3 to 8 years, well this is year seven, if I look at that … holy crap should I just throw all caution to the wind, yet I know many people can do and are living 25 or more years, others don’t even manage a year, dementia is cruel that way, it is and will take whatever trajectory it decides for each person. I have often wondered which is better. I’ve chosen to be grateful for each day and although the last year and a half have been challenged by health and the pandemic, I am now trying to figure out what to do for my living arrangements there isn’t a lot of options , when I’m feeling good, when my brain fatigue isn’t crippling me, when all the complicating factors are sitting quiet, I feel like I can maintain on my own for a very long time. But what is being on my own really? Is there a better alternative that would allow me my independence and a better quality of life? It’s a lot to think about. I’m trying to just let it sort itself out, put it in Gods hands, let the universe show me what the next step should be, I don’t want to make or force any decisions, as the world restarts, hopefully here in Canada sometime this summer/fall, hopefully the solutions will present themselves.

My advocating and writing will always be with me, working with the organizations I do and the research groups is an important piece of my life, reshaping how much and when and what pieces I do will also be important. Living with dementia is about continually adapting, and once again I am in the throws of it but grateful that I have the ability still.

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

A Powerful Day


This speaks volumes to me, sometimes healing is not because anything bad has happened, sometimes it’s about healing your mind, body and soul, when it’s tired. We often push ourselves, to keep going, because we feel a sense of commitment and obligation, when in truth, each and everyone of us no matter what our title or position, has a duty first and above all else to take care of our commitment to ourselves and our well being, for only when we can recognize that we need to readjust our lives, to take time for our selves, can we then heal our bodies. Stress kills, even when we’ve convinced ourselves it’s good stress because we believe in something so strongly, stress still kills, silently and slowly and sometimes quickly, sometimes the damage can be strokes, heart attacks and other things, sometimes we don’t get to come back from those things, so if we keep pushing beyond what is reasonable and for each of us is different, some people don’t have the ability to recognize when it’s time for them to change things to put more into self care, some people won’t even look at it if they are told.
I am a realistic person, I do look at ask myself the hard questions am willing to step up and say I can no longer do this piece, or that bit, I can own it. I learnt many years ago from a very wise doctor, who said to me, that the best way to help ourselves is being willing to look at ourselves and be honest with ourselves. I am as guilty as anyone of piling more on, not wanting to say no, ignoring what my body is telling me, but luckily I only push that envelope so far. For I am also a firm believer if I am pushing to hard , I cannot be effective in the ways that I want to be.
So check in time as come, no I’m not in a mental health crisis, the complete opposite actually, you see when you are willing to do what’s necessary if if it’s not maybe what you had wanted or planned, it is actually a very good way to stay mentally well.
My specialist says he doesn’t worry about my mental health like he would some others, because I am willing and do do what’s necessary for my well being. I believe after a very difficult year and half with health challenges, many still on going, and the challenges of living with and through a pandemic, it was time for me to take some much needed time for self care.
I am still doing things I feel I can manage, but I do not have a schedule that I can’t manage. One thing that did happen was that the pandemic found the use of zoom become standard, so it became more and more, tied to a computer, I am not tied to a computer anymore, I am not being managed by it, I am managing it. Attending what I can as I want when I can.
I am spending a lot of time out in nature today I spent 11 hours in the woods discovering an area that I have always wanted to see but never have. I discovered a magnificent waterfall, listening to the water thunder and roar as it crashed over the rocks of the canyon wall, so powerful, I had a chat with a moose that was as surprised to see me as I was him, incredible beauty, and strength, he jumped out of the woods, just about hitting the car, looking surprised that I was there, he took two large yet some graceful strides and was on the opposite side of the road, I got out of the car, he took a couple steps back, I took a couple steps forward we looked at each other, I felt his strength and power, those two things alone were filled me up, reminded me of my strength and resilience. I have also been wanting to take pictures of cows, I love cows, and for two years I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to take pictures of them, it came today, driving down the last stretch of the trip into the woods, I was stopped by a man waving a switch, as I looked over to my left , I saw, they were herding cattle, to move them, I got out my camera and was delighted as they came thundering across the road, the young ones so cute, and I happily snapped some photos. It was a powerful day, it gave me so very much. I will go back to that area many many more times. I am relaxed, feeling much peace, and knowing whatever and however I do things going forward, I will always do what I need to too ensure I can stay as well as I can, mind,body,soul. I also understand that just because it is how I live my life other people will not agree with, but at the end of the day, I am responsible for my life, it is only me who I can rely on, I live alone, so if I don’t do what’s best for me then I would be jeopardizing the very quality of life I have advocated for others living with dementia to have. So for me it’s about doing my very best living until dementia stops me in my tracks. I am grateful for all I learnt from 10 hours in the woods.

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

Doing the Right Thing Does Not Always Come Easy

Today, I wrote a letter resigning from the board of Dementia Alliance International. This was a very difficult letter to write, it was one that came after weeks of wrestling and wrangling with a lot of things. I have in a number of recent blogs wrote about having a heavy heart and having things weigh heavy on me, and that I was being called to get grounded, to get reconnected with myself. Part of that meant allowing myself the time and space to hear that voice that guides you if you quiet all the noise and chatter that comes at us constantly. To allow our inner voice to be heard. It is not always easy to do, we bargain and even try to reason and justify things to be the way we want them to be even when that inner voice is trying to tell us something different. It’s been a lot of emotional turmoil. But today I resigned because I knew it was the right thing to do. It was the right thing for me, which means it is also the right thing for the organization. We can at times believe they couldn’t manage without us, whether that be a job or within an organization, we can at times let our own attachments to it cloud our vision, make our selves feel like we need to be there we need to stay, they need us to stay, or it needs us to stay. But if we peel away all the things that convince ourselves of and truly hear the voice that should be guiding us that voice that comes from within, then we would know when it’s time to step aside make room for others to step in and up, and allow ourselves to do things in other ways and avenues that can be just as valuable. We must also look at how things are impacting our overall well being and when things start having to big of an impact on our well being we have to be willing to take the step back.
It is all of these things, like the perfect storm colliding, that brought me to make this very difficult decision. I never spoke to anyone about it, I never talked it through with anyone, for i knew that if I did my decision could be clouded or changed, and I needed to be clear and listen to my inner voice.
I love DAI and all it’s members and all that it represents,I have spent three years on the board, working hard, I have spent longer trying to represent DAI well in every interview I have given, in every article someone interviewed me for always giving DAI credit for lifting me up, helping me find my voice, for helping me be a better advocate and a better person.

I am and will always be grateful, I am still a member who will work hard to represent support DAI in every way I can, I will just be doing from a place within the membership not from within the board. I can still use my voice wherever and whenever to promote DAI, I can still mentor others, I can still encourage others to get involved. I just won’t have the operational component as well. it may in fact turn out that I can be more effective as a member than as a board member.
There is a lot happening for me, health wise, personally, and I have had to take stock of how much I can reasonably put in and where and how. Scale back in some areas, do things differently in others, stop some things altogether. But one thing I have come to realize of late and when listening to my inner voice is that I have not been giving enough time to myself, too my well being, to doing those things that fill my heart with joy. If I don’t give as much time and devotion to myself as I won’t be able or have anything to give to things like DAI.
I wasn’t even sure what I was going to do or if I was going to do anything but I new if I listened, I would know what to do at the right time, That voice came to me clearly at 945 this morning, and by 10 I had written my letter of resignation and sent it to the board members, and as soon as I hit send, I knew it had been the right thing to do. Next month is the AGM, it’s the perfect time to set the stage for new faces to step into roles on the board. It will be exciting to watch and see as they help carry DAI into a new era. I will always be around to assist, to mentor. I have the greatest respect for the organization and the people within it who have brought so much to my life, and I say thank you for all you given, I truly hope whatever small part I have had that it has and will continue to leave a positive mark.

It’s time for me to think about what my life needs to look like for me for the next while.


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

Necessary but Unwanted Conversations

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

This morning I am sitting here waiting for my Doctor to call. I called his office earlier asking for an appointment, and I always feel so fortunate that he usually makes time for me so my wait is seldom more than a day or two at best, but most often the same day. I do understand how blessed I am to have that with my doctor.

But today I am having a conversation with him that I have put off for far too long. Partly this has happened because I forget when I am in my appointment and if I haven’t written it down it doesn’t get talked about, and secondly I think I have been trying to deal with it on my own, but I realize know that I am no longer able to. This is another piece of Dementia that people too often understand or know about, and with Vascular Dementia many don’t understand that it is very common part of Vascular Dementia. I am talking about issues with incontinence. Seems funny doesn’t one would wonder how and why that is such a common issue with vascular Dementia, but our brains are the control centre for all and when there is not adequate blood flow and Oxygen to the Organs it effects things like muscle control, which is needed to have proper control of body functions, all body functions. Every one thinks it’s just memory, it is so so much more and often so much of it we don’t talk about.

This is not a conversation I want to have know or ever, but the reality is it is effecting my quality of life so I can no longer put it off. Exercise and all the things I try to do to help make the incontinence less prevalent and did work for a time and at times I got total reprieve from the effects, although those periods of time are all but gone and those things I do have now stopped working so I need to bring my doctor into the fold. I don’t want medication, not sure if there is anything else we can do, but I will have the discussion, because my quality of life is more important to me than anything else, and I sup0se if medication can help with that then I will look at it. I like to have all the options then make a decision.

At 62 years old these are not conversations we like to have, not with our doctors not with anyone. Most people are too upset and self conscious to discuss these things, they can erode our self confidence, our sense of how we see ourselves, but these are the real parts and pieces of Dementia, and they do impact a persons quality of life and we need to talk about those things, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. I am having many issues with muscles throughout my body, it’s why I am trying so hard with exercise and bike riding walking ect. I am trying to keep the blood flow as best I can, living with Dementia is hard work and getting harder all time. But I am grateful that my doctor listens and does everything he can to try to help me with my quest to maintain my quality of life.

So I’m sure he will do some homework after our chat and then help me come to some decisions on treatment and managing this piece, another indicator that although we look fine, changes are often happening that others don’t see.

I hope you all enjoy your day, I’m off to give my Fig plant an shower while I await the Doctors call.

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

Mother’s Day

Mom

Mother’s Day always finds me missing my mom, I miss her everyday, but on Mother’s Day I find myself thinking about how she was the thread of our family, somehow she raised us to all be our own unique people, we are all so very different, but when it came to our mom, there was no difference, we were all devoted to her, we all had unique relationships with her, but she could make us all laugh, so many life lessons, she taught us to be resilient, self reliant, too always help others and to be kind, but don’t be a pushover. I miss watching her face light up when we all showed up for mother’s or any other occasion some occasions just dreamt up so she could enjoy a day with us all. Full of life till her last breath, she had a way of bringing people together, even in her final days. I know she watches over me, I still talk to her, she still guides me, and lately we’ve been in conversation a lot.
I am feeling strangely ungrounded, disconnected, I’ve been on my own for many years know, but never felt alone, not in the sense I do know. I’ve always been very social, always felt like I had my circle, my people. You know the people who become like family, but life changes, life happens, and sometimes those circles, your people, disappear, it can be for many reasons, sometimes, they die, sometimes when you’re life changes, as with living with dementia, and it forces change on you, you no longer fit. It’s no ones fault it just is the reality. But it has until recently just been something I’ve managed through, thankful for those who are still part of my circle, understanding and wanting nothing but the best for those who are no longer in my life. Now feeling that I am in the midst of more change on my horizon, but not wanting to try to control any of it, instead wanting to let it unfold as it’s meant to. I have had to go deep inside myself, thus all the conversations with my mom, and a few others who watch over me, and I converse with all the time.
It’s not that I’m lonely in the sense one would, goodness knows, I have a lot of people I converse with on line, that I work on projects with, I’ve made and I have great friendships all around the globe, so not lonely in the sense you think. I’m lonely on a much deeper and different level, I’m lonely for the connection, with “ your people”, the ones who just get you, the ones you can say let’s take off for the day and know that you’ll have a great time no matter where you end up. We all become part of our own little community of people. There is a lot of reasons things change. I have had do manage through many, some people have the life of staying in one place for most of their life, marriages that go the distance, a few lumps and bumps, but no big curve balls, others of us have had a life that’s like someone keeps throwing another grenade after just cleaned up from the last one.
I feel like life has been fairly quiet and stable for me since my diagnosis, not easy but at least somewhat stable. But my world is changing, making me aware that change is needed and necessary. I know once the pandemic is over I have to find a new community of people, yes the ones that are still here will remain, but I will be required to add to it, find people who enjoy things I enjoy. Life is very different for me know, how I do things and what I do is very different, but I know there are people out there for me. I need to ensure I am socially engaged, the pandemic has made me very aware of that.
I also know that I have to but more focus on doing the things I enjoy and want to do, the struggles and noticeable changes over the last year have also brought that into sharp focus. I can’t give all of myself to everything and everyone else in an effort to make a difference without maintaining and reserving enough to ensure I am having a quality of life.
All of this has been requiring me to have faith that I am being directed in the direction I need to be, to put my focus on.
in all of that I am going to be spending less time on social media, I’ll still be doing my blog, but little else, limiting time on Facebook, Twitter the like. Disconnecting to get reconnected on a more personal level. Social media is great, zoom is great, but I feel like I’m drowning in all of it, it’s taking to much of time away from actually living life. In some ways it has helped keep us connected and engaged while we are all in these lockdowns from covid, but it has also come at a cost in other ways. Know it’s time, as we hopefully will come out of lockdowns as the year progresses to regain a balance. So this weekend I have been mostly disconnected, and spending time walking, and enjoying the scenery, today I went for a drive found a beautiful little spot, that I discovered had a secret staircase down to a wonderful little beach area on Mara Lake. Pheobe has always hated water, but today even she seemed to need to get grounded, getting her feet wet wading in the water without any coaxing, I stood with my bare feet in the sand then waded in and buried my feet and ankles, the water was cold, it was peaceful, serene, no people to worry about. Finding my way through the inner workings of mind,body,soul. I’ve included some pictures for you. Seems dementia or not, life requires us to show up, stand up and take account of what’s working and what’s not, only thing is all of it is much more difficult with dementia in the mix. Good thing we are a courageous lot.

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

Learning about Myself at 62

It seems that life is always about learning, understanding and accepting. Yesterdays email which I will include parts of here, was perfectly in tune with what and how I have been feeling.

I understand that many do not and are not spiritually engaged, but my angels guide me always and I pay close attention to what they are telling me. I have always believed in powers greater than us. Some people call it being religious, some call it spiritual , some think it just hokey or plain crazy. It matters little to me, I know I receive many messages, not just in writing but they come in many ways, the visits from spirits late in the night, the message that comes through to stop me from doing something or going somewhere.

This message came exactly when I have been trying to get to that inner place to look inside and feel and hear what my heart is needing. the Hermit mode is exactly what I have been doing, quiet complementation sitting by the water, walking along the river, hugging trees, everywhere that puts me more in touch with my inner self. I know, I know, this is where many will say ” she really is losing it”, she’s crazy. and I won’t say your wrong, but maybe in losing oneself we find ourselves again, maybe being a little crazy, crazy enough to believe in something greater to looking outside the box society stuffs us into is not a bad thing. It just means I am looked at oddly. So here is my message yesterday:

Photo by Lucas Allmann on Pexels.com

Christine, right now Archangel Hamaliel is here to balance your overflowing emotions. 

Have you been feeling too emotional right now? As if you can’t see the whole picture clearly because your feelings keep blurring your vision?

It’s okay to be in tune emotionally, Christine…

But Archangel Hamaliel encourages you to tap into your logical mind right now to restore balance in your inner world. 

While many humans struggle to express themselves emotionally, let their feelings flow through them, and actually experience passion-filled lessons, you don’t try to shy away from these things. 

This is something to celebrate, Christine! 

However, there is always a need for balance. 

Tapping into the masculine energy that Archangel Hamaliel delivers can activate your logic, help you become more decisive, and make choices that benefit you in the long term, not just this moment. 

In order to help you invite the healing energy of Archangel Hamaliel into your life, it might be helpful to know more about him, right? 

Well to start, he is the Archangel that rules over the astrological sign Virgo and he also rules over Virgo’s ruling planet, Mercury. 

Even if you’re not a Virgo or don’t have any Virgo placements in your chart, you do have a Mercury placement that rules over your thinking and communication style. 

Familiarizing yourself with your individual chart can help you understand how Archangel Hamaliel may be trying to support you right now. 

Sometimes, if you see wheat (which is associated with the Virgin symbolism of Virgo) or a graceful swan, you can relax knowing that Archangel Hamaliel is nearby. 

When I called upon Hamaliel to help me make an important decision in my life, I saw a swan present itself at my local park’s lake. 

The swan is very interesting as you observe it, Christine. When it rests its long neck, it helps the swan’s head face inward towards their breast.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

This symbolizes becoming more introspective to come to your decision. 

Also, pointing your mind towards your own heart, not looking outward for other’s opinions or perspectives, is another lesson that Archangel Hamaliel sends the swan to teach. 

Right now, he is inviting you to go into a quick hermit mode and meditate on some of the larger decisions that you’re going to have to make at this time. 

Remember to keep the bigger picture in mind and balance your mind and your heart, Christine!

So going to bed with a heavy heart, wondering should I be doing more, or less. The feeling that big changes are coming for me, and struggling with it all. Feeling like I don’t want to continue living my life as I am currently, I need more social engagement, I was a very very social person in my pre dementia life, I no longer can manage what I used to, but it doesn’t mean I am unable of engaging, I need to live somewhere where I can put my feet in the grass, my hands and toes in the dirt. I am struggling here to feel really alive, the way I like to feel. I make it work by going out into nature as much as I can, but its not ideal, days when I don’t feel well enough to drive and go to those places leaves me feeling trapped and like life is being chocked out of me.

But then this morning, I woke up acknowledging that yes I am very sensitive to things, much more so than many realize, many see me as tough, strong, outspoken, but I am in fact a very feeling and sensitive person, things effect me much more deeply than most will ever be allowed to see. So my message was very accurate, and just when I wondered if I was actually making a difference if it mattered, this morning another message came.

This message came from someone I had never met, little dog Pheobe decided to get up early, something she hasn’t been doing recently and wanted to go out. So we were outside of our building, she busy looking up and down the street, when a truck came around the corner, not unusual in any way, until suddenly it veered over to the curb and the window came down and a lady I had never seen before said ” You’re the lady that wrote the book about Dementia aren’t you?” Not expecting that, kind of startled actually, it took me a minute to respond, I said yes, she said I bought your book, I’ve been wanting to meet you, my husband has young onset Dementia, and I would really like to meet and talk to you more. I’ve read your book a couple times and Ive purchased it for someone else as well. She told me her name and asked if it would be ok once allowed for us to have a distance visit. Of course I said absolutely, yes she took down my unit number, thanked me and off she went. I stood there for a bit, marvelling at what had just happened. It made me realize that those moments are what matters, being that someone to go to, someone who is willing to talk about what is happening to them and their loved ones. Yes, I can use my voice and try to make a difference in many ways, but those are truly the ways that really bring it back to what making a difference is all about, doesn’t matter how big or small, what matters that you have been willing to be vulnerable to open yourself up to give others that safe place to be.

It reminded me that its ok to cut back, let go, and do what you can, it all matters. So no matter how much I continue doing or for how long is not the issue, it was about learning that piece of myself, accepting that this seemingly strong, independent woman, can also allow herself to accept the sensitive, caring feeling piece of herself and admit that I am not strong all the time, I falter, I cry, and at times I need to retreat, to heal, to rebalance, so that I can continue to make a difference where and how I can. Yes still learning at 62

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

As the Familiar becomes Unfamiliar

This saying really struck a chord with me today, this morning. Yesterday as I was taking Pheobe for her little drive, one we have been doing many times for many years, I had to stop because I realized that things didn’t look. Familiar, and they should, it was startling, it also made me pause to think about the day before I walked by a couple people who were sitting on a bench, they didn’t seem familiar either, but as I went by, they called out to me, by my name, asking how I was that it was nice to see me, I have no idea who it was, they seemed familiar, but I could not connect them to anything that would or could help me know how or why I know them. One more thing of many happening

So seeing this message along with another that was in my in box this morning, had me doing what I’ve been doing a lot of the last few days. Looking within, re-evaluating how much I can still manage and do, and how much do I want to do.

I have tried really hard to be a good and strong voice advocating for others, to help lift others up, to be a good mentor. I hope in some small way it has helped. It sometimes we have to look at ourselves and we have to do a self review. It’s a hard thing to do when you’re wanting to still try to do much, but it’s important.

It is also important because living with a terminal and progressive illness there comes a time when as much as you want to do so much to help others, you have to start looking at what you are doing for yourself. I have due to the pandemic lost over a year of being able to try to do some of the things I wanted to, it will likely hit two years before that will change much. It’s been hard on me, harder than I normally talk about it’s getting harder, especially with more changes happening. So it is time I put myself back into the equation. What do I need/ want for what’s left for me, and can I find a way to merge the two, or is it time for me to quietly slip off into the distance. There is much for me to contemplate, but it will ultimately have to be whatever I feel is going to allow me to continue to having my peace and joy each day, and lately it feels like there is to much weighing to heavy.

Photo by Hernan Pauccara on Pexels.com
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Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

And Then It Hits You

So this morning, I thought I was going to be productive, I did some work that I wanted to do, information sent off to Kate Swaffer, a very brief call with Tamara Claunch, an email to Dr. Nate Bergman, putting him in contact with Tamara and getting him lined up as a speaker for DAI.
I first met Dr. Bergman, after he had heard an interview I had done, through that he researched me, then reached out to interview me, which is the above link, this interview happened in April, I’m happy to share it here. Dr. Bergman then researched DAI, and was amazed with what he learnt, and in a good way, he believes DAI, can be of value to many of his patients.
But back to my day, I looked at my calendar three times, realized, no it wasn’t Brain Health Hub day, that was actually last week, grrrr, another mess up, oh well so my calendars clear, I can go get some much needed time in Nature. Wanting time near water, and trees, and I actually hugged many trees today, it felt good to hug them, I am not able to hug a person, I haven’t hugged anyone for so long not sure what will happen when I can, but hugging a tree that’s allowed, getting connected to the earth, how it felt so good.

So some beautiful, but want I can’t show you was tat shortly after arriving, my phone vibrating several times alerted me that I should maybe check it, a number of messages, the last one saying meeting starting in three minutes with the zoom link, oh crap, and this is a really really important meeting, so sitting on a bench, I took in this very important meeting, until my fully charged phone ran out of battery, being on zoom, using video, uses a lot of power, my phone died for the last bit of the meeting. Oh I feel like crap over this, I have the meeting scheduled for next week. I’m glad I was in the woods for it though, it was a difficult meeting, I actually had tears at one point. So after my phone died, continuing the walk was good for me.
But the other thing that I wanted to mention that I forgot to earlier here, was that before I had thought I had a free day, I had been listening to my interview with Dr. Bergman, it hit me listening to it, how much difference there is from even a year ago, but go back just a couple years ago, and the decline was there glaring at me as I listened, and could hear the hesitation as I word searched, how often I had to stop to try to put my thoughts and words together. Then the mixed up and messed up meetings, dates and times. And yet I still get “ you don’t look like you have Dementia”. Just spend a day or two with me, you’ll never question that again. Oh well it all worked out, Dr. Bergman will join us for a DAI Brain Health Hub, I made most of the meeting, and I enjoyed all that Mother Nature had to often, and I got to hug a lot of trees.

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

Another Month has Slipped By

Today starts another month, 2021 seems to be going by at a full gallop. It feels like time is racing, I was feeling as though it was just me feeling it but it seems many are. I wondered if it was because I have no real sense of time anymore but apparently even people without dementia are finding time going faster. I sometimes wonder if it’s because I just simply forget much of the pieces of the day, my short term memory is really quite bad know. I forget things as fast as they happen, sometimes they flutter back later other times not at all. My long term is quite good except in some ways, I have some very large completely blank spots, in other bits I remember bits and pieces but don’t recall all of the information such as why I was somewhere or who was with me or why I was there, but I will recall being somewhere and how it felt being there. It’s a strange way to be I suppose but not an uncomfortable way to be. I wonder does this all have something to do with why it feels as though time is racing by.
We are still in lockdown, for someone living alone, it’s been a very long road. I wonder if I will or how I will manage when the world opens up, will the effects of living in a bubble of one start to show, will I no longer be interested in rejoining “ life as we new it”. Although my life had become more isolated before the pandemic, will I know be happy to just live in this complete solitude.
I really do miss having a bit of a yard so I could dig in the dirt, that’s the one thing that truly is missing for me, and I miss being able to go somewhere where I could sit by the ocean, smell the sea air. Walk along the beach with my toes in the sand. That is where I have always felt my best.
It seems I’ve lost sight of my original thoughts in writing today, but that’s ok too, just like three different times I forget to start my laundry the other day.
The other thing I was thinking about was how some days I feel like I’m zoomed out, like it’s too much, too many meetings, then at other times I feel so fortunate and grateful for zoom, for surely life would have been unimaginable being alone and isolated for over a year know, like this last week, hosting several of our groups, much laughter and joy was shared, I attended a DAI webinar with Dr. Kozhi Makai, it was so uplifting, I had a few coffee dates over video messenger calls, some with friends who live in other areas, with my step daughter and my grandchildren, with a couple friends who live right here, but they have ensured to stay connected. So my heart overflowed. Do I ever feel lonely, of course I do, I have dementia, but I am not without feelings, if anything my feelings are in sharper focus than ever. But I acknowledge those feelings, like last night I was watching a documentary series on Netflix about love, it followed six couples journey through their lives together, I cried, I cried because it reminded of how being alone has not and was not my choice for my life, I miss my husband, I wanted us to grow old together, I watched that program, and I could picture and feel us together. I miss friends that have given up on the friendship, I miss seeing the kids and getting the opportunities to make memories with the grandchildren, I miss family members who for so much of life were with me, so yes the loneliness comes. But it doesn’t stay, because I focus on all the things I still have to be grateful for, the video calls and zooms. So although at times I feel zoomed out, more often I feel blessed that I live in a time when we have all this wonderful abilities to stay connected, with those who chose to stay connected with us.
So as another month gets underway, and most of the last four of this year are already a muddled and foggy and of blank time for me, I will look forward to the coming month, with gratitude for I am still here to enjoy and make the most of whatever it holds.

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

Beyond Words

Yesterday I had the privilege of taking in a webinar presented by Dementia Alliance International, the presenter Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai, delivered a presentation so powerful, that when it ended I heard from many who said they burst into tears when the meeting ended.
I have been fortunate enough to hear Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai before, but this presentation came at a time when many of us whether we were attending as a DAI member, a guest or a professional, needed to hear this powerful message. It had such an impact on me I am still struggling to put it into words, what I can tell you is that when it is loaded onto DAI’s YouTube Channel, it is a presentation you will want to take in.

It came it seems at the perfect time, it’s sort of like that perfect storm is taking place, so much happening in the world, the pandemic, health lockdowns, political unrest, much uncertainty for people, alarming rates of homelessness, even organizations seemingly competing with each other instead of working together for the greater good, looking at how they can help each use the strengths each have to ensure the best outcomes.

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

Bring in this powerful presentation, for me personally, it came at a time, when amidst many changes in the effects of my illness, I have been struggling, feeling ineffective, feeling like no matter how much I try or want to do its not enough. Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai’s presentation reminded me that Rome was built brick by brick, and for every person we touch through our work to make things better for all we do are building something brick by brick. He reminded all of the importance of DAI, in the world of Organizations in the Dementia Arena, the uniqueness and the amazing strength by those involved in DAI, to establish, maintain and grow this very global organizations, to see people from so many countries coming together to support each other, to build better communities, within our Dementia communities. DAI has a done what no one else has been able to. I was reminded that no matter how small my part in DAI is, it is important. I was reminded that for each person we reach whether we are reaching them individually or through our organization, we provide a ripple effect. That ripple will continue to spread.

I have so often said in my writings and interviews the DAI was life changing and life saving for me, yesterday’s presentation was affirmation of that. I am proud of the work being done, I am proud to watch so many of DAI’s members who go on to do incredible work in their own communities, cities and countries, for thats the ripple effect, 100% without a doubt its DAI’s crowing glory, watching all those incredible people doing so much. DAI has helped many go from broken to thriving, watching people find hope and purpose and then going out and spreading it further.

So to be reminded of the importance of doing and reaching even one, was an important message today, at a time when I was wondering how much longer could keep going. I was reminded that I just have to do what I feel I can, and it will be enough, and if I can mentor and help others along their journey, it is enough.

Each piece and twist and turn, every hard day, builds my resilience, builds my ability to make it through the never ending changes we must face when living with Dementia. It also leads to reminding me of all the other pieces and places in life where this is true.

I have many thoughts swirling from this presentation and I can not wait to share at our support groups, and beyond. I’m sure I will be be digesting and absorbing much for days to come.

My heart is filled with Gratitude and Thanks to Tamara Claunch for bringing Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai to us, to DAI, for being so unique in the world of Dementia, for always striving to encourage and support members, and never ending appreciation of and to Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai for bringing such an important message to us.

as a foot note: you can find Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai’s books on Amazon