SUPPORT Others

IMG_4812

I have recently discovered two bloggers who have inspired me with their strength and determination to win their battles with cancer.  Mark and Michael are remarkable people, they are in the middle of their lives, they should have decades of life to live.

Those with cancer do better in every aspect of their lives with encouragement.  The risk of developing cancer in a person’s lifetime is 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men.  Cancer can strike us at anytime in our lives.

I know as a fellow blogger I cannot physically be there for Mark and Michael, I wish that I could.  I can give them moral support.  I am asking fellow bloggers to visit the blog sites of these two men, comment and let them know you care.

https://visionofhope33.wordpress.com  (Michael)

https://fonzandcancer.wordpress.com  (Mark)

It is hard to be ill and overlooked.  I have been there several times in my life and few if any friends ever helped or encouraged me.  I did not have internet during my illnesses.

Many blogger friends have given me encouragement this last year as I dealt with my brother’s dementia.  I thank each of you for your comments and concern.  Please use your blog to reach out to Mark and Michael and encourage them as you did me.  God bless all of you wonderful bloggers.

 

Looking UP

IMG_6240

I have been blogging for a little over a year now.  I have visited the sites of many other bloggers and met some wonderful and interesting people.  This post is not about blogs, this post is about “Looking Up” to the Heavens and asking yourself why God put you on this earth.  How can you make this earth a better place for others.  How often are you “Helping Others” overcome challenges in their lives?

I started this blog trying to help others learn how to cope with being a Dementia Caregiver.  I spent 3 1/2 years caring for, and dealing with the problems of, my brother J.R. who had dementia.  I know I was never the perfect caregiver.  Stress and constant conflict with DHS, lawyers, nurses, doctors, hospitals, and finally nursing homes caused me immense sorrow, and totally overwhelmed me.  I had no life of my own, all caregivers know, you have to give up your life for the one you care for and love.  The worse part of my caregiver journey was watching nursing home doctors and staff use drugs to control my brother the last year of his life.  They were using antipsychotic drugs that were intended for mental issues.  Dementia is not mental, it is the brain slowly dying, slowly shrinking.  I never used drugs of any kind to alter my brother’s brain when I cared for him in my home for 2 1/2 years.

My heart fills with compassion for those who have any type of disease or disability that alters their life.  Life on this earth is hard, and it is challenging, even when you are physically healthy.  We all need to reach out to those who are suffering.

Throughout my “Dementia Caregiver Journey” my strength came from God and my family.  Each morning I would stand at the kitchen window alone, looking up to the heavens. Everyday I prayed to God to help all those who need His care and comfort to make it through another day.

Take Time To Care

images (42)

When you wake up each morning do you think how you will utilize this day to your fullest potential?  Most of us just drift through each day.  When the sun sets, do you look back on your day to reflect on what you accomplished?  Do you think – “Today Will Never Come Again?”

I often realize at the end of the day that I wasted many opportunities to encourage someone, I failed to be a true friend.  I did not take the time to be a blessing to a person who needed a champion to help them.  To justify my actions I would think, “Well, there is always tomorrow.”   The tomorrows turn in to today and like a vapor they disappear.

So, today I am going to give each person I meet a big smile, a word of encouragement, a helping hand, and an ear to listen to their troubles.  Then, I will email my friend, send that card to a precious lady who recently lost her husband, and give all my family members a big hug.  I guess I could help my husband by taking the garbage out.  Ha

Everyone have a wonderful day and spread your love and blessings around to help others with the challenges of life.  God will bless your for your kindness.

Going The Second Mile

IMG_1292

The phrase, “Going the second mile,” comes from a verse in the Bible.  Matthew 5:41 “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain (two).” KJV

Going the second mile with others, to help them, was a common occurrence in past centuries.  In the 21st century the second mile is not as prevalent.  Many people just do what is expected of them and never exert any extra effort.  That second mile often requires more commitment than we are willing to give.  That second mile is often an uphill battle.

You have to put others needs before your own.  It takes a spirit of generosity, love, concern, and compassion to journey that second mile.  Your attitude has to involve staying in the race until the problem is dissolved.

I must admit I have felt there were several times in my life that I dropped the ball and didn’t score a goal.  Times when I let others down and did not go the second mile.  I know that made me feel small, made me think I fell short of succeeding.  Sometimes you simply collapse and yield from the weight and stress.

This 3 year dementia journey with my brother has caused numerous amounts of stress in my life.  I am totally exhausted from the pressure.  When you try your best and bureaucracy keeps knocking you down, you buckle from the physical and mental distress. My brother J.R. is not far from entering the last stages of dementia.  He needs special care from this point forward, help I cannot give him.  DHS is deliberately trying to find a way to deny another year of Medicaid long-term-care.  Nothing has changed with J.R.’s financial situation from last year.  There is no reason to deny Medicaid, but DHS is trying extra hard to find a reason.

DHS has pushed me into a corner, which makes you fight back.  I searched the internet and ask questions of lawyers trying to find a solution.  The answer was, resign as J.R.’s power-of-attorney.  I did just that and there is no one to replace me.  I never wanted to leave J.R. unprotected.  The nursing home is now trying to find a state guardian for J.R., which means they will have to help him.  I understand I may have to go to court and pay all court costs to get a guardian for J.R.  I went the second, third, and fourth miles trying to help my brother.  I feel I have dropped the ball and yet I know that I really did more than my best for my brother.

So, when you are faced with going that second mile for someone, do what Jesus said in Matthew 5:41.  When you have done your best and there is nothing more you can do, you have gone that second mile.  God will bless you for helping others. 

Dementia Is Not On the Decline!

IMG_5021

You look at this pretty scene from nature and you think the world must be right!  Well, for me at this moment the world is once again totally engulfed in dementia.

They rushed my brother, by ambulance, to the hospital early yesterday morning.  The nurse from the nursing home said she had found him having a severe seizure.  When I got to the emergency room my brother was having trouble breathing.  From the cough and the congestion I heard, I knew he had pneumonia.  My brother woke up and began to call for Mama.  I held his hand, I talked to him, I tried to comfort him, he thought I was Mama.  He was back in his childhood.  I told him he was sick, I told him to close his eyes and rest.  He had a death grip on my hand.  He said, “Mama, I am sick.”  I said, “I know baby, close your eyes and go to sleep, rest.”  I stroked his forehead and his cheek and I thought of the long road of physical suffering for him as dementia destroys his brain and causes his body to stop functioning.  I told every nurse, doctor, or person who tried to talk to him and ask him questions that he had dementia and could not correspond with them.

My brother had a mini-stroke, has pneumonia, and his second bladder infection in 3 months.

I have heard on the news that they think after the baby boomers get through old age, that dementia will decline.  I do not believe that and I know many in the medical field who do not believe that.  With preservatives, dyes, pesticides, pollution and many other factors, we as human beings are becoming more and more susceptible to diseases.

I am reading a book written by Richard Taylor called “Alzheimer’s From The Inside Out.” Richard worked hard after his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s to maintain enough brain power to let others know how it felt to have this disease.  Richard was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 58.  He died July 25, 2015 of Cancer, a blessing in a way I suppose.  He did not have to suffer on that extra long trail of Alzheimer’s because cancer took him.

As a caregiver I researched and read everything I could on Alzheimer/Dementia because 4 of my immediately family died and are suffering with this disease.  I want to know how to help those who are touched by this disease.

I returned from the hospital yesterday and am going back this morning.  I said my goodbyes to my brother long ago, but it still touches my heart to see his physical suffering. I shed a lot of tears yesterday and my compassion was overwhelming me.  I prayed and I ask God to help everyone in this world who is suffering mentally, physically, and spiritually.

At the end of Richard Taylor’s book he wrote one last paragraph which I will share with you.  “Caregivers who are filled with fear and depression, use this pent-up anxious energy to educate yourselves, your families, your friends, and those around you about how our society treats those with the diseases of dementia.  If any organization that deals with dementia will not be worked up to action in the name of your loved ones, perhaps self-interest will motivate them.  The bell tolls for us all:  it is just a matter of time when and where we hear it. I’ve heard it. I have Alzheimer’s disease. Act Up! Ring Out! SPEAK UP and OUT!”

Everyone needs that champion, that loved one, that helper, that caregiver to fight for them and help them endure their suffering.  The only way to do that is to educate yourself about the disease your loved one is dealing with.

Not All Illness Can Be Seen

How bad would you feel if you were truly ill, suffering tremendously in this life and were being judged by those around you?  What if people were suggesting you were just acting ill to acquire sympathy, that you really did not have a problem at all.  That people were telling you that you could straighten up if you tried.  I have been very ill several times in my life and have been treated exactly that way. I have read many blog posts of fellow bloggers lately and sorrow and concern have entered my heart.  For those of you that have that serious medical problem that others make fun of because they cannot see that there is a problem, my compassion, understanding and love go out to you.  I know how you feel.

images (21)

images (25)

download (20)

If you are suffering and need that hug, that help, that understanding, surround yourself with those that know your worth. Seek out those that love you, know your life, know your ups and your downs, those that truly carry you in their heart.

Where Has Humanity Gone?

images (53)

I have come to the conclusion, if I had it to do over again, I would not put a dog in a nursing home!  I definitely would not put another human being in a nursing home!

I have documented everything, that others have done to my brother J.R. during his diagnosis of dementia 3 years ago.  If you read my documentary of all the unkind things other human beings have done to J.R. it would curl your toes!  I know no one really cares to read anything too dramatic, sad, or concerning real life.  This post is for ME, to vent, so I do not march out into the world and punch someone in their big fat, unkind nose!

I will say one thing about my precious brother – Medical problem number 3 in these last 3 weeks involves – An antibiotic resistant staph infection from minor surgery in the hospital. He is in quarantine at a different nursing home.  It took them a week to discover this staph infection and they did not tell me he had it until they quarantined him at the nursing home the day they admitted him.

Has my brother gone down hill physically and mentally much faster than expected? MOST ASSUREDLY!  Am I angry, I most assuredly am.  What a battle I have fought for 3 years, it would drive any human being into the ground.

Reflecting on Life

Do you find as you get older that you begin to reflect on your life?  Does life seem to be slipping away too quickly?  Does it seem like you were just 18 years old yesterday and ready to leave your parents house? The next thing you know you are 40, then 50 and on up the age ladder you wander. As this life passes quickly do you reflect on what you have done, or how happy you have been?  Do you wonder when you will be gone and become only a memory in someone’s mind?  Most of us with a little age under our belts do think about the end of our life.

download (21)

download

 

 

 

 

At  times I look through picture albums (yes, some of us still have those) and review the life I have lived to this point.  I think, wow, I have had a busy life, but where has it gone. You wonder how many days or years you have left on this earth.  You question whether you have spent your life doing what was expected of you, if you helped others enough. You think did I love enough, was I happy, was I kind, was I the person I should have been.

images (37)  images (38)

Memories of loved ones that I have lost flood my mind.  Then I think of those who are still here, those I love, those I can still help get through the tragic times, the happy times.download (19)

images (32)

Take the years God gives you on this earth and live them in the best possible way.  Never take life for granted. Life is fragile.  Live today to the fullest, because as horrible as it may be to think about it, we may not have tomorrow.

Smile – Keep On Trying

IMG_3845

This is a beautiful park in Central Arkansas near the new nursing home where I am placing my brother J.R.  I signed papers for an hour yesterday to have him placed in a dementia unit.  There is such sadness and so many tears, these last 3 years, trying to do what is best for a person I have loved for so long.  A person who does not know me.

I thought of the song “Smile” which has been sang by so many great people over the years: Richie Rosato, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, Josh Groban.  Following are the words of the song “Smile,” which greatly touch my heart.

SMILE

Smile though your heart is aching.  Smile even though it’s breaking.  When there are clouds in the sky you’ll get by.

If you smile through your fear and sorrow.  Smile and maybe tomorrow you’ll see the sun come shining through.  For you.

Light up your face with gladness.  Hide every trace of sadness.  Although a tear may be ever so near.

That’s the time you must keep on trying.  Smile, what’s the use of crying.  You’ll find that life is worthwhile.  If you just SMILE.

IMG_3848

When you deal with dementia there are so many times you feel guilty when you say to yourself, “I don’t want to do this anymore, I cannot handle this anymore.”   But, you keep on trying and smile though your heart is breaking!