Friday, July 06, 2018

New Alzheimer's Research News

Allison Gatlin, a Tech reporter with Investor's Business Daily and published a story today about some Alzheimer's Research that is making some news. It's an interesting article and although I am quoted in here, it is not the reason for me to post this story -- it's promising. Click here to view the article   Experts see Hope
I appreciate Allison's work on this.

I'm gearing up for our Walk to End Alzheimer's.  Donations are always encouraged.  Our team raised closed to $17,000 last year and I am hoping we can make the $20,000 mark.  If you would like to help us you can click here:Team Athens

Monday, May 21, 2018

I'm back

Can you believe that I am posting within a month of my last post?  I can't.  I have tried to get on several times but the thoughts just weren't coming together.  In the past week three more people I know have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  It is just everywhere.  I am glad they are getting diagnosed and the help they need, but I wish it wasn't happening so frequently.  Next month is Brain Awareness month so you will probably be seeing more things about Brain diseases in the news.

I decided to go off one of my medicines.  It was to help me with my concentration.  It was working, but it was a hassle to get and the stress of getting it was too much for me to take anymore so I decided to go off of it.  Now I find myself being more exhausted because it takes so much more of my mind to focus and concentrate.  One trade off for another I guess. has added my blog to their list of "Best Alzheimer's Blog for 2018". They sent a badge for me to insert into this blog, but I haven't been able to make it work.  I'll keep trying.

On another note, my dear friend, Lisa Genova, who wrote Still Alice, has a new book out about ALS.  The book is "With Every Note Played". I urge you to read it -- you won't be sorry. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Another Post

Imagine that -- another post and it hasn't been three or four months -- or longer!  I have had quite a few doctor's appointments this week -- mostly pertaining to my cancer.  Everything is good, just follow ups. I am also seeing my neurologist tomorrow.  My appointments there are a little depressing because there isn't anything he can do for me other than refill my prescriptions.  So, we keep moving on -- maybe not the way we want to go but the way we are destined to go.

Other friends are dealing with life threatening diseases as well and that can be a real downer.  We all have our battles to fight -- some being harder to win than others.  One way or another we all get through it -- but family, friends and faith play a major role in that.  I am thankful for all three.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Easter Sunday/April Fools

It isn't a joke -- one year ago today I had that fateful mammogram that showed my stage 2 cancer. It has been a long year -- one I hope to not repeat.  I go this week for my six month mammogram from surgery.  We are hoping all looks good.  I have seen more doctors, labs, hospitals than I ever wanted to.  I know lots of people coping with much worse than I went through and I salute them.  Praying for everyone's recovery and better days.

On another front, the new 2018 Facts and Figures about Alzheimer's Disease is out.  You can view them here :  Our Walk To End Alzheimer's is in October so I will be reaching out to many to help us fight the cause.

I am getting more time to visit with my little grandson.  He is 16 months old already -- and has the best giggle in the world!

Monday, January 22, 2018

A New Year -- A Better Year?

Yes, that's me now -- grey hair and all! I've been coloring my hair for over 30 years and I told my husband that after the cancer, that however my hair came back it was going to stay that way.  So now it is grey and curly.  This photo is about a month old and it has grown longer, but this is the new me. Take it or leave it.

My grandson Ian is now 13 months old and always brings a smile to my face.  For the love of children.  He is a pretty huggable guy but he stays "busy" as I like to say.

I am hoping that 2018 will be a healthier new year for me.  I certainly wasn't expecting the cancer diagnosis last year and I am hoping there are no surprises for me this year.

I'm heading off to New Orleans this week to an Alzheimer's Association Leadership Summit. Hope to learn some new things and be able to post when I return.

Thanks for bearing with me last is to a healthier, happier 2018!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Not Back To "Normal"

Yes, it has been many long months since I have added anything to this blog.  The last few chemo treatments I had this summer did a number on me.  I was sailing along pretty well and then a big old truck seemed to come smashing into me.  After my chemo finally ended, I went in for surgery. Luckily, the chemo had done its job (it should have for what I went through!) and the tumor was pretty insignificant at the time of surgery.  A few weeks later I started radiation treatments.  On November 13th I will be finished with everything.......or that is the plan anyway.  I went for my original mammogram on April 1 (no joke) and 7 months later -- I am on the verge of finishing treatment.  Of course, follow up exams will be made and I will continue to meet with my oncologist but hopefully all the nasty stuff is behind me. This is definitely not how I wanted my year to go.

Through all this my Alzheimer's has "flared up" with my chemo brain and my Alzheimer's brain combined I had some days where it was just easier to stay in bed -- and that I did.  But, the farther and farther away I get from my original chemo treatments the better that is.  And, we just finished our Walk To End Alzheimer's last week and our team raised over $15,000. I am so proud of everyone and so very thankful for all of my friends and family for getting me through all my health battles this year. I can never thank them enough.

And of course, there is this guy -- turning 11 months old. Every time I was feeling really down or really sick I got a little dose of Ian and I started smiling. I know that is what grandchildren are all about.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Back to the Chemo Chair

Monday, I head back to the chemo chair.  At least I know what to expect now!

But, my doctor was kind enough to delay my next treatment one week so I could visit family last week. My husband, brother and I went to the US Open Golf tournament for one day at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.  It is an amazing course -- one I would never want to play.  We were also able to visit with some cousins that live in Wisconsin that I have not seen in about 8 or 9 years.  I needed that visit.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


A few months ago I came across an old friend on Facebook and re-connected.  We had just lost track of each other and it was so nice to hear from her again.  One of the first questions she asked me was "Did your son ever open up his letters you wrote him on his birthdays". I had forgotten that I shared that with her.  If you have followed my blog you know that I the day my son was born, I wrote him a letter.  I put it in the safety deposit box and every year after that I wrote a letter on his birthday and put it in the safety deposit box.  I think at some point he knew what I was doing but we didn't talk about it.  I really enjoyed writing that letter and added photos and different things. I would collect thoughts and stories all year and save them for that day I wanted to write "the letter". As the years went by I wasn't sure when I wanted to give them to him......on his 18th birthday, 21st birthday, graduation.....????? When I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's these letters took on a different meaning.  I wanted to share everything with him before I forgot everything.  Some years the letters were very hard to write.

I finally decided that the night before Alan got married I would give him the letters. I purchased a brown leather case. We shared time that night and it was really hard for me to give him these letters.  And, he didn't want to take them from me.  We shared a few tears and I finally convinced him that it was the right time.  I think maybe he thought I would never write him another letter, or that I had given up on life or something.  My only condition to him was that -- he could read them when he wanted but that when he did read them I wanted to know that he had.  That was almost nine years ago.

On Mother's Day this year, Alan gave me a letter.  The letter said he had read my letters the week before.  I didn't ask why now but I would suspect that my cancer scare brought him to it -- not knowing what my long term prognosis is going to be.  That was a hard day. 

So, Jan......the answer to your question is "Yes, Alan has read his letters."

Sunday, May 28, 2017

May 28 th -- one week removed from chemo

Last Monday, May 22nd, I have had my first chemo treatment.  In an update to my last post, the other tumors that were located in my body were benign and I was doing the "happy dance". I told friends later that I was so relieved to "just have breast cancer", that I never thought I would hear myself even mutter those words.

So, Chemo started last Monday. Monday wasn't too bad but the ensuing days have added lots of new side effects, lots of sensations, lots of highs and lots of lows. But, this too will pass.  There are many many people much worse off than I am so I am thankful for everything that comes my way.  I went to purchase a wig. Not sure how much I am going to wear it, but by this time next week, I shouldn't have any hair. Right now it doesn't seem to bother me, but it probably will when I see it dropping to the ground in clumps.  The good thing is that I don't have another chemo appointment until June 19th. It was suppose to be earlier but we had planned a trip to visit family in Illinois and the doctor thought it would be good for me to go, so we will delay chemo for one week during that cycle.  After getting back on track I will have chemo through the first part of August, followed by surgery and then 5-7 weeks of radiation every day.

This guy makes me smile -- he turned six months old this week.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The saga continues

Last week I was welcomed in Warner Robins by the NARFE state convention. (National Active and Retired Federal Employees) -- I was one of their keynote speakers and they were great.  Thanks to all of you for having me there -- I enjoyed my time and getting to know some of your members.  This organization gives very very generously to the Alzheimer's Association not only on a state level but on a national one as well.  We are very grateful for all they do.

As I mentioned in my previous posts, I'm dealing with this breast cancer thing. Since then, a few things have changed.  My chemotherapy treatments that were suppose to start this week didn't. Last week I had a CT scan of my torso and a tumor was found in my liver.  In addition, a bone scan indicated there was a "suspicious" spot on my spine. Needless to say, these are not things we were prepared to hear.  Every time I go to the doctor I find more things I didn't want to hear and certainly weren't expecting to hear.

So, tomorrow I sill have another CT scan of my abdomen and my pelvic are so they can get a better look at the liver tumor.  A few days after that (we hope) there will be a biopsy done on that tumor to see if it is malignant. I will also have an MRI on my spine to look closer at the spot there to determine what it is. We are in that "hurry up and wait" mode which is always pretty agonizing.  Our next doctor's appointment is next Thursday and we are hoping that by then the results of all of these tests are in and we can again get a course of treatment.  I hate to take more tests because they keep finding new things.

All of this has been weighing heavily on my mind and my focus isn't clear. My friends and family have been there when I need them and I know they will continue to be. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue on this journey.