Monday, February 23, 2015

The Oscars!

Here is a photo of my lovely friend at the Oscars last night.  Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice. She is beautiful.
 
So happy for her and Julianne Moore for winning best actress award last night.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

More Comments on Still Alice

Many of you have asked me about Still Alice and I have received numerous emails and messages regarding the movie.  I think I want to see it again -- it takes me awhile to catch on to everything you know.

There were several things in the movie that I think only those with the disease would understand.  For instance, when Alice is out running she gets confused as to where she is -- the movie shows her looking around and everything is a blur to her.  Now I am sure many of you can relate to what this is trying to say, but I think it is also a commentary on what is happening in our brain -- it is out focus as well.  There really isn't anyway to fight it -- you just have to hope that it passes quickly.  Then when Alice returned home her husband asked her about going out that night and she looked afraid and said she wanted to stay at home.  I feel safe at home.  When I am having a bad day I can't get home fast enough.  Home is familiar, home is where you feel comfortable, home is where no one can see you, home is peace.  I remember many times being on the treadmill in the gym and I have this sudden panic attack when I am not sure what is happening and I have had to immediately come home to feel "normal". 

I don't go out much at night.  Things look different at night and I get too confused. I used to be the one in the family that wanted to go out and do everything.  Now I am content staying at home in comfort and contentment.

I urge everyone to see the movie -- I am sure that I will have more to say as the days go on.  I do hope that Julianne Moore wins the Oscar this weekend. So well deserved.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Still Alice -- the movie

On Sunday, my husband, son, daughter-in-law and I went to see Still Alice.  If you have been following this blog you know that I have told everyone to read the book.  It took me a very long time to read the book, because as I saw myself in the pages, it scared me. "Alice" was (is) me.  I would read a little, put it down for days, pick it back up only to put it back down immediately.  When I finally finished it I was so glad the book had been written -- it so aptly described my life and those living with Alzheimer's disease.

My family had not read the book before we saw the movie.  I was anxious to see their reaction and to gauge my own.  

My reaction -- at first I thought someone "had hit me in the gut". Watching Alice cope with things, knowing what was going through her mind was wrenching for me.  The words she spoke were the exact same words I have spoken to my family or friends. It was almost scary to see it -- to have her feel what you have felt and not being able to communicate it to others.  It is very moving -- I didn't cry until close to the end.  It was when Alice's daughter gives birth to twins and Alice goes to visit her in the hospital. When she asks to hold the baby her son-in-law gives his wife a look as if he is saying "is she capable of holding the baby?".  Alice very quickly says "I know how to hold a baby" and the new father gives her one of the babies to hold.  This got to me because I have had this same scenario in my mind many times.  My son and his wife don't have children yet, but I have silently worried that if and when they do -- they won't feel as if I will be capable of holding the baby or being an appropriate grandmother.  After that scene, the floodgates opened for me.  There were many tears in the theatre that day. I was emotionally spent after the movie.

At the end the screen goes white and people literally just sat in their seats and stared at the screen.  It was very emotional.

On the way back to my son's house, not much was said in the car.  Everyone was just trying to digest what they had seen.  Since they hadn't read the book, I think the impact of the movie was pretty strong.

Many who read this blog don't actually know me -- but if you see Still Alice -- you will know me. Thanks to Lisa Genova, the author of Still Alice (and a friend of mine) for writing such an epic novel. She had no idea when writing this book several years ago what an impact it would have on the Alzheimer's community. I am so grateful to her and her work.

Still Alice is still in limited release but by the end of February it should be in many more theatres. Don't miss the opportunity to see Julianne Moore's portrayal of Alice.

Friday, January 23, 2015

a bad week

I have started this post many times and deleted it. this time it is going to be published whether it is "polished" or not.

as my Alzheimer's progresses my emotions get out of control. My feelings get hurt very easily. I have written before how it has been hard for me to let go of things. I don't know why I can't keep my emotions in check. I don't know if I am imagining things, reading into things wrong, or just losing it at times. But it really affects me when I am left out, forgotten or people just don't care enough, when I have put my heart and soul into a friendship that people do some of the things they do. If I say something to them, they think I am being petty -- but it isn't petty to me. We all have our thresholds I guess and mine is pretty low.

a couple of weeks ago I had two funerals in one day. It brought sorrow and joy into my life -- sorrow for losing two individuals  so young, but joy to know how well they were loved and by getting to see so many people that helped celebrate their life. Tomorrow brings yet another funeral. I guess as we get older, funerals become the norm, but it is still hard.

This week I suffered a head injury and the doctor has deemed it a concussion. Can't say I have ever had one of those, but it isn't pleasant.

Also this week I sat down and wrote several letters -- yes, actual letters. I like writing letters "the old fashioned way". One of the letters was to a man that I went to college with that has had a lasting affect on me. Every time I went back to Illinois I would say I want to go by and see him. I never got around to it. so, I finally decided to sit down and tell him what our friendship meant to me and how he showed me a different way of thinking and how grateful I was to have had him as a friend. I am glad I did that.

I am hoping next week will be better.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Another year

is in the books and we are greeting 2015. I started reflecting on the last year and was going to write all kinds of things, but realized they are probably only meaningful to me so I am going to spare you from that post right now.

But the past year took many people from my life and probably yours as well.  And, sickness has overcome many and some are not looking at real bright outcomes. I guess as we age that is to be expected.  I am so thankful I am here so long after my Alzheiemer's diagnosis.  I guess that is why I seem to define my life in "time".  Time matters. We take it for granted.  I want to spend my time doing things that matter to me not because someone expects it of me.  Everyone defines their life differently and as we mature we change those definitions every now and then.  Although my husband would never admit it, he defines his life by things.....what he has, what he wants, what he doesn't have.  He likes to be able to touch things, covet things and get better things.  I know that probably stems from not having much growing up. And, I'm sure that my definition comes from never feeling like I had time to be with some members of my family -- like my dad.  My father always worked nights so he was home when we were in school and then he would be off to work when we came home.  I know I worked alot when my son was growing up and wasn't around as much as I wanted to be and I regret that.  I know that he probably does too. So, it is something I will continue to work on -- to be there for my friends and family as best as I am able to.

For Christmas this year, I asked for nothing other than time.  I asked my son to spend time with me on Mother's Day (the actual day of Mother's Day).  I know that sounds silly but sometimes due to circumstances (or distance) we weren't together and I was bothered by that.  The actual day shouldn't make a difference, but for some reason I can't let that go.  So, for Christmas my son has already made arrangements for us to be together on Mother's Day.  From my husband, I asked for acknowledgement. I asked that he acknowledge my birthday this year. That sounds pretty silly too - doesn't it?  But it doesn't cost anything and I will be grateful if he will do this.

Speaking of letting it go -- I have had a hard time with that this year.  I think I have had a drastic shift in my thinking on this.  For so many years, I let things go that bothered me because I didn't want to confront it, didn't want to deal with or just couldn't be bothered.  But then I found it festering in me and getting upset with myself that I didn't deal with certain things and then found myself resenting people because of my inaction.  So now, I'm holding on to things too long and becoming frustrated so I have to find a happy medium.  Hopefully, I can do that soon. 

I am so thankful for my friends.  I have made a lot of new friends this year and it has opened up some things for me that I didn't think were possible.  I am truly grateful for that.

I have had to make quite a few changes in my life this year and that hasn't been comfortable for some of those around me.  But, it has freed me up and I guess I am to the point where I am selfish enough now, to do things for me -- not others.  It has taken me almost 60 years to figure that out -- but better late than never -- right?

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I am here

I know it has been awhile since I have written.  I just haven't been able to put my words down.  I think about what I am going to write and then I just can't get the words to go from my head to the page.  Lots of things have been going on -- not bad things -- but just a lot for me to keep track of.  Not doing the "multi-task" things so well anymore so everything just seems to pile up in my brain and I can't sort through anything.

Since I last wrote we have been to my son's in Atlanta for Thanksgiving. We shared the day with my great niece who goes to Emory in Atlanta, my daughter-in-laws parents and her sister.  It was a great day....quiet and Jen and Alan did the cooking so it was an easy day for me.

Last weekend we spent time in Memphis with my nephew Jonathan and my sister-in-law Fran.  Jonathan ran his first marathon there.  I was so proud of him.  He ran in the St. Jude marathon.  Many years ago my great nephew had leukemia and was treated by St. Jude.  When Jonathan was looking for a marathon he chose the St. Jude charity as they had helped our family so much.  Jonathan came down from Champaign Illinois and brought his mom -- Fran. I was so glad she could come as she has been pretty much housebound the past six years caring for my oldest brother who passed away this summer.  We rented a house while in Memphis and spent some time catching up and enjoying Jonathan's accomplishments. But it was a tiring weekend and it took me all week to rest up after the long drive to Memphis. 

Now that Christmas is almost upon us, I am trying my best to stay with my routine but it is hard.  I feel like I am a "day late and dollar short" with all the things I want to do, but feel overwhelmed.  I've asked my family for no presents this year, as I really don't need anything and I just want time with my family.  That is more precious to me and the best gift of all.


Monday, November 17, 2014

November has been a busy month with it being Alzheimer's Awareness month.  Thanks to all the groups that have had me come to speak to their members.  There has been lots of good conversations and questions coming from these groups. 

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I'm grateful I can still share my story. And, I appreciate all that will listen.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Walk To End Alzheimer's


This morning was our annual Walk To End Alzheimer's.  Thanks to all my family and friends that came out to walk.  Our team raised over $17,000 toward the cause!  Thanks so much!  Pictured above is me with my son Alan and UGA Women's Basketball Coach Andy Landers.  Coach Landers was gracious for walking with us and allowing the UGA Women's Basketball team to help with the Walk.  So proud to be a Lady Bulldog Fan!  Thanks to everyone who donated to the Walk -- I really appreciate your support!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Still Alice -- the Movie

I couldn't help but post this review from Variety about my friend Lisa Genova's film adaptation of Still Alice.  It got rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival and it will be in contention for Oscar season.  So proud of Lisa and for everyone involved with the film.
Still Alice movie review from Variety

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Alzheimer's Awareness events

I have had two speaking engagements in the last couple of weeks -- thanks to my new friends in Madison Georgia and the First Presbyterian group here in Athens.  I so appreciate you asking me to speak to your groups and meeting all of you.  Thanks for wanting to learn more about Alzheimer's and helping to spread the word about this dreaded disease.
 
A dear friend of mine, Kathy Davis, is holding an Alzheimer's fundraising awareness event at her church on Saturday October 11th. It will be held at Moon's Grove Baptist Church, 1985 Moon's Grove Church Road in Colbert Georgia from 11am to 1 p.m. The event will feature jewelry sales (all proceeds go to the Walk to End Alzheimer's), gel nail manicures, raffles and lots of fun for everyone.  Information about Alzheimer's will be available. Also, my friend Kathy will be walking with us this year in the Walk To End Alzheimer's....see below.  She is asking everyone that comes to the event to bring a framed photo in honor or in memory of someone they know that has (had) Alzheimer's.  Kathy wants to then take a photo of all the photos gathered at the event and carry this photo with her in the walk.  She also wants families to sign a t-shirt she will wear on the day of the walk to remember and honor all of her friends and their families that are dealing with Alzheimer's.  It sounds like a great event and I would encourage all of those living out near Colbert to take a few minutes and go by Moon's Grove Baptist Church on Saturday October 11th and say hello to Kathy and do your part to End Alzheimer's. 1985 Moon's Grove Church Road - Colbert, GA 30628  -  706-7
 
This year's Athens Walk To End Alzheimer's is Saturday October 25th. Thanks to all who have contributed to make our team-- Team Athens the top team for Athens so far. If you still want to donate to the cause you may do so here -- any amount is appreciated!