Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I worry about memories -- I know they are going to become more distant to me. I was thinking about this over the weekend -- we were telling Alan and Jennifer what we used to do before they were born -- i.e. make pizza dough from scratch, not use shortcuts while preparing dinner, etc. But, today, I was cleaning out some things from Alan's bedroom and I ran across something Alan did in the 6th grade -- it is his "autobiography". You can just imagine if he did it in the sixth grade how interesting it is!!! I had to take time out of cleaning and sit down and read it. I laughed....I cried.....I realized how much I didn't remember......I understood how important some little things we used to do were to Alan.....and I actually saw a glimpse of the man he is today. I'll keep this forever -- what a treat to find.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A few more photos

My brother gave me new skates for Christmas so I had to try them out. Alan and I went skating in Atlanta today and then visited with Jennifer's family. I'm posting a few photos from our outing, some at Jen's house and a final photo of Alan, Ralph and I before he left for DC. Alan gave me a nice gift certificate to a spa for Christmas so I'll be able to enjoy that soon -- but I promise no photos of that!

Holiday Aftermath

In this photo, Katie Felton, Chris Felton, Alan, me, Josh Darnell and Melissa Darnell.

This Christmas has really been good. Not too much overload this year as in year's past -- that has helped me a lot this year. I didn't do much decorating so there isn't that much clutter around the house. I didn't have to cook a large meal which reduced my stress. And, we didn't plan much so that made it pretty low key. It was nice to have Alan home for a few days -- it was pretty quiet and we all had a good time. Alan leaves in the morning for DC. We are going to Atlanta ice skating today (my brother sent me new skates!) and to meet up with Jennifer's parents and sister for a meal. I hate to see him go -- it is always nice to have him home even for a short time.

The photo above is from a lunch Alan and I had yesterday with my friends Chris and Josh and their wives. If you have been following my blog for long you will know that Chris and Josh used to work for me. Chris now lives in Ft. Lauderdale and is in med school. Josh is in the army and was deployed to Afghanistan last year where he suffered some major injuries last February. He has had a long and rough ride with many surgeries and a long stint in the hospital but we are glad to say that he is recuperating very well and will be getting a medical discharge this spring from the military. We all worried about him so much -- I'm glad to see him doing so well. The three of us don't get together very often but when we do we find a lot to laugh about. I'm fortunate these guys still keep me in their lives.

Hope everyone had a great holiday. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week as I'm going to try to devote much of it to getting rid of a lot of clutter around the house and getting a little more organized.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I'll post some more photos soon but wanted to get this one up. We had dinner with some friends yesterday and this photo was snapped by their tree. Unfortunately, our beautiful daughter-in-law was in transit from Washington DC to Atlanta at the time this photo was taken. Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays

to everyone. I've been a bit stressed out this week so needless to say it hasn't been a good week for me. I guess it is anticipation of the holidays, Alan being home and all the "extra stuff" around the house. Had major panic attacks while out trying to run some errands this week -- too many people for me and I was out later than I usually am. Have to stick to that routine you know.

But, I haven't really planned much while Alan is home and he won't be home that long, so it won't be much of a problem. I have help if I need it and knowing that makes it easier.

I do wish everyone a great holiday season. I've enjoyed getting your cards and letters at this time of the year-- I really love hearing what is going on with everyone.

Have a great one!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


My son and daughter-in-law got to see a lot of snow yesterday -- with the big storm that hit DC. I know it was a record one for the area -- and the largest snow amount they have ever seen. Jennifer takes great photos so I thought I would share a few on this site -- thanks Jennifer. I'm sure there will be lots of snowman building today. One thing about the south is, snowmen don't melt, they deflate!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Yesterday was a long day. It started by helping the UGA Women's Basketball team put together bicycles for underprivileged children here in Athens. There was a potluck lunch to go with it. After that, we attended a charity tennis event that featured Serena Williams, Joshn Isner, Sam Querry and Melanie Oudin. That event was over 3 and half hours long. It was really drawn out. After having the first event, by a few hours into the second event I was long gone mentally. I was so tired, I wasn't sure who was serving or even who was playing at that point. Just too much for me in one day. Thought I could make it, but obviously didn't do so well with it. Some photos are above -- oh -- NeNe from the Housewives of Atlanta is also pictured. She sat right in front of us and lots of people were coming up to get their photo taken with her and to get her autograph -- really distracting I might add.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Deaths during the holidays

It is always sad to lose someone, but especially during the holidays. Right around Christmas my friend, Kathy, who I visited with in Cape Cod this summer, lost her sister. Maureen, to cancer. Her sister lived in Peoria where we grew up. She was diagnosed and several weeks later lost her life. I guess it is comforting to know that Maureen didn't suffer.

Right after I returned home this week, a long time school friend and friend of the family died. He went to school with my brother and had been ill for awhile. He suffered a stroke and had many complications after that. He was only in his mid-50's. Doug was a fire batallion chief with the Peoria fire department. Today, after his funeral there will be a long processional of firemen that worked under him and others around the area. A great tribute to a great young man.

And, then, a few days ago another friend passed away here in Athens -- only 58 years old. His daughter was Alan's first girlfriend in high school and they have remained close. We visited with his daughter who now lives in NYC when we were there for the US Open. It was such a shame to lose him -- he was very prominent in the UGA music department and his accomplishments outside of teaching were enormous.

I'm much more emotional now than I used to be and these have hit me hard -- perhaps because they were all around my age -- you just never know. Rest in peace my friends.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Back from Illinois

Well, I cut my trip short by a day because of the big storm that was heading toward the midwest. I'm glad I did because most of the flights have been cancelled for today. I was ready to come home. While there I had an infection and had to go to the emergency room for treatment. Not fun, but manageable. When I went to the airline counter to change my ticket the lady told me I looked a little "frazzled and panicky" -- I told her I just needed to get home. I hurried to put stuff in my bag so we could get to the airport and everything was kind of moving a little too fast for me. When I reached Atlanta there were lots of thunderstorms so by the time I drove 1 1/2 hours to the house I was tired. I had a hard time concentrating and I went to take my pills and mistakenly took the morning pills instead of the evening pills. Unfortunately, their is one pill I take in the morning that causes insomnia -- so I was up most of the night.

But, I had a good visit with friends and family. My brother is holding his own. I met with my friends Pody and Rick from Champaign and Joe and Rita who used to live here in Athens.

Pictured above are my friends Pody and Rick, me with my great nephew Oliver (isn't he cute?) and my two brothers.
More soon -- after I have rested!

Thursday, December 03, 2009


On Saturday I'm off to visit family in Illinois. Haven't been back to see my brother who has been ill for awhile so will visit him and his kids and my other brother and sister-in-law. Always good to see the nieces and nephew. Will write again soon.

Monday, November 30, 2009


I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We just returned from Washington DC and spending four days with Alan and Jennifer. We had a great time. I didn't have to cook the turkey -- Jen did a great job with that. We got to go ice skating and many of you know how I like to ice skate so that was a lot of fun. In the photos I was trying to teach Alan and Jen how to skate backwards -- Jen did great -- it was a little lost on Alan. But, we didn't manage to mow any little kids over (get that Carol?) and it was a beautiful day that day so I really enjoyed it. Since Ralph broke his elbow the last time we went ice skating he was not allowed to take the ice!

We also went to Annapolis for a day to visit the Naval Academy. The town itself is so pretty and it was really impressive. We also visiting the Air Force memorial, the Marine Corps Memorial and the National Botanic Garden where there were lots of Christmas decorations out. In the top photo you will see one of the miniature landmarks done with all natural materials -- berries, nuts, acorns, twigs, leaves, etc. There were several on display including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Supreme Court and others. There were also trains running around the buildings and the rest of the decorations.

I did pretty well on this trip -- but there wasn't much expected of me. I just enjoyed myself and thanks to Alan and Jennifer for keeping us out of trouble, going skating with me and cooking all the food!
I'm off to Illinois at the end of the week to visit my family -- more soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Good morning to all! I know it has been awhile -- don't have any excuse, just not in the mood to sit down and write. I felt pretty anxious all week and don't really know why. One day I had a hard time leaving the house -- in fact, I'm not sure I did! We are driving to DC this week to visit Alan and Jennifer for Thanksgiving. Although we just saw them at the end of August I'm glad to be seeing them again.

I hope we get to go ice skating -- and no, we are not going to let Ralph put on skates!!!

Our Georgia women's basketball team plays the mighty Rutgers team today. I've always been a fan of their coach C. Vivian Stringer, although I'm a bigger fan of our coach, Andy Landers. It should be a good game. We beat ranked Oklahoma last week so here's hoping for the best. The Georgia football team didn't look so good against Kentucky last night. Not pretty.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Thousand Mile Stare

is a book that is going to be published in January 2010. It's a true story about a man and his family that have been dealing with Alzheimer's in their family for generations. He has been spared from this disease, but he watches members of his family suffer. I've had the opportunity to review the book and it is one you will want to can preorder it now at Gary's cousin Chuck has been active with the Alzheimer's Association as someone who is living with the disease. Chuck's grandmother went to Washington DC years ago to talk with legislatures about Alzheimer's and it has come full circle with Chuck as he has done the same thing -- talked in front of a Senate Subcommittee to increase funding for Alzheimer's research. The story of the family is heartwrenching but beautifully told by Gary Reiswig. Order it now for a holiday gift -- but get out the tissues because it will tug at your heart.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Confusion reigns

My husband likes to "tinker" with things. It drives me crazy because there are certain things he just can't leave alone. When he wants to change things he just does, without consulting me of course. And, since change is a problem for me, this creates problems.

He recently changed our Cable television service. Which means a new remote. Since he is the "king of the remote" (what man isn't though!) this creates a problem for me because "I'm not doing it right" or "you don't know how to use it" is muttered quite frequently in our house. I try -- but when you don't get an opportunity to even touch the remote most of the time, it is hard to learn -- let alone learning something new.

Then, my husband upgraded our computer from Vista to Windows 7. Which I know is an improvement -- but it is something else to learn. Things aren't in the same place I'm used to them being. Then my husband decided to install several new programs that he wanted to use. One of the problems with that was that when he installed this one of these programs, it would not allow me to turn the sound off on the computer. (I can't deal with the sounds coming from the computer -- it sounds silly, but I lose my concentration). After complaining my husband finally took it off the computer until he could talk with it's maker and find out what the problem was. But, many times, when he makes one slight change in something -- it changes other things that affect me -- and because they are "little things" to most people, he doesn't seem to think it is a big deal -- but those little things are big things to me. It is very frustrating.

So, the last few weeks I have been confused. As a result, I get confused about a lot of things and I get anxious about that because things are not "normal" -- they've changed. I say the definition of normal changes all the time for me so I guess writing that last sentence doesn't make much sense -- but it is frustrating. I just feel like I'm a few steps behind everyone else. I need my space, my quiet and all things to stay the same......I know that is too much to ask for.....especially in my household. I've tried to explain that it would be like going into someone's house who was blind and moving all the furniture around without telling them. (or at least that is what I think it would be like) Little things make a difference in the life of someone with Alzheimer's.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


I found these two quotes or sayings in the last few days and I thought they were cute:

"I love the nights I can't remember with the friends I can't forget"

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children"

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I went out to play golf today. The only things I can say are:
1. The weather was beautiful
2. It was a nice day for a walk
3. I found three golf balls
4. Golf is a four letter word

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The week

I've been in Atlanta for a couple of days so no posting. I was hoping I would have a photo of our MW team from this weekend to post but not yet. Thanks again to my whole team for coming out in the rain and walking. I appreciate it!

Monday night I had the privilege to speak once again to Dr. Glass' gerontology class at UGA. Dr. Glass and I met by chance one day while riding a shuttle to the Atlanta airport. Since then, she has been gracious to allow me to come and speak with her class. I've said it before and I'll say it again, that it is also therapy for me to do that. It is interesting to see who is in her class and their take on Alzheimer's. Thanks for having me!

I've also been reading an advance copy of a book about familial Alzheimer's. A person I know with Younger On Set Alzheimer's has a cousin who is writing this book about the disease and it's affect on their family. Many family members have (or had) the disease and it is gut wrenching to think about. Gary's book is due out in January and I will certainly write more about it as it gets close to its debut. It is certainly worth reading.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Memory Walk

Well, the rain didn't stay away -- we all got drenched but we raised a lot of money and everyone seemed to take the rain in stride. It was ideal by any means but it was very heartwarming to me that people really came out in the rain and supported us. That is something I really can't express in words how meaningful that was to me.

Our Team, Team Athens raised roughly $15,000 and I couldn't be happier. I have a great group of team members and they are near and dear to my heart!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Memory Walk Day

It's Memory Walk Day -- I'm up early trying to double check everything. It's cold -- in the 40's and isn't suppose to get much warmer and currently it is raining outside. That is not even showing on the weather radar so I'm not sure what is up with that. Thanks to all who have contributed. More after the Walk.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Week

was a little hectic but I survived. Next weekend is Memory Walk -- so we'll be in overdrive until that happens I suppose.

I heard from many friends this week and that is always nice. I wish I could spend more time with my friends and that is something I'm going to work on. There's never enough time to do the things we want, but it seems like we make time for some things -- I'm going to try to make more time with my friends.

I've made a few new friends this week as well. It's funny how you can meet some people and know instantly that they will become a good friend.

My birthday was this week and husband came up withs ome ways to remind me of my advancing age. My son pointed out that it was time to change my profile since I was no longer 53.........but I can say, that seven years ago when I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's I didn't think I would make it to 53 hearing about all the gloom and doom coming our way. And while that gloom and doom is still out there I can't let it get to me -- I just have to keep going......probably not as good as the Energizer bunny but going just the same.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Busy Week

I have a busy week ahead. So much going on I can't just rely on my calendar to get by -- yesterday I had to sit down and write everything down for every day so I wouldn't get confused. Usually I can go by a huge calendar we have in our kitchen for everything, but not this week. I feel better now that I have everything written down and Ralph has kind of checked it over. I wasn't so good about "scheduling" myself this week and the next for that matter.

Yesterday was a bad "word day", but I started doing something yesterday that I have never spell words backwards when I was typing -- now I can't do that in the doctor's office when they give me that little mini-mental test so I don't know why I am doing it now. It has taken me a very long time to write this entry. Not only was I spelling words backwards (and most of the time getting them right!) I didn't know I was doing it until I read back what I was writing. And, then sometimes I was writing a word like "doing" and writing "goind" instead -- interchanging the first and last letters. Pretty bazaar -- maybe I can just say I can't type!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Well, it had stopped raining but today is another wash out. Not real great for the home Georgia Football game tonight.

My husband decided to change our cable subscription and with it came a new remote control for our television set. I could hardly work the old one -- now I have to learn this one. It makes me a little anxious just touching it so hopefully he will be patient with me -- new things are difficult!

I've been getting lots of requests to repost things on my blog so I'm going to do a few -- one is -- this is a site for those that Twitter -- which I don't -- to remember a loved one with Alzheimer's. They are trying to get one million tweets.

Someone else has asked some questions regarding on going clinical trials. Here is a link for the most current clinical trials I know of

Jeanette sent this link to a device she invented to leave her mother messages. She cares for her mother with Alzheimer's and wanted her to be able to hear her voice during the day. I don't really know much more about it than what this link shows, and I'm not endorsing it, just passing the information along if you are interested

We're preparing for our Memory Walk which is in a few weeks. For those that have contributed thank you -- if you still want to contribute see the link to the right.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I'm sure many of you have seen the news with all the rain we have been receiving down here. It is much worse in Atlanta. We have seen a little over 7 inches here in Athens over the last couple of days. But it is still raining and we are in for a few more days of it. Many of the Atlanta school systems have shut down because of the flooding and six people have lost their lives. We haven't had this much rain in a very long time -- when we have it has been related to a hurricane in the southeast. So, this was obviously unexpected. Thanks to all those that have called or emailed asking about the situation down here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

World Alzheimer's Day

is next Monday -- September 21st -- wear purple -- be seen -- be heard! For more information you can go to

Also, at that website you can view the show that ran last night on PBS "Retirement Revolution the New Reality". I didn't get to see it but I plan to watch it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I haven't written for awhile I know. I've had a cold and I've been extremely tired -- so not motivated is a good way to put it.

Our trip to New York was really nice. I was confused a lot of the time -- too much visual stimulation I think, as well as too many people! But, I survived and did the best I could. When I get in large crowds I have to hold on to someone -- I know that sounds silly -- but it helps me get by. My husband doesn't like holding my hand (God forbid I would touch him in public), so when I am with him I have to try to hold on to his arm or his shirt or something. And, he walks really slow so I get aggravated. When I am with my son, he walks fast and doesn't mind holding his mom's hand, so it was nice to be with him and get his assistance. I really get confused crossing the street -- this sounds silly too -- but I can't take my cue from other people because they cross when they are not suppose to -- so you have people walking across both sides of the street at the same time. When I look at the crosswalk signal I get confused, because at the same time I can see a green light so I'm not sure if I am suppose to cross or not -- and the crosswalk signs are different in each city so I get confused. Little things I know -- but little things make a difference.

Going out to the US Open the subways were really crowded and I managed to have a really bad trip one day -- but I got through. I knew it was going to be a problem, and anticipating the problem helps, because I can try to help myself as much as I can and those that are with me can help me too. A lot of people ask me how I can go to sporting events when there are so many people at them -- my response to that is that in most cases, people have a seat and are sitting in it -- it's not like I have all these people standing around me -- there is some sense of order to it. I'm not in the middle of it -- and I know what to expect --I think the surprises catching me off guard makes things worse.

But, I'm glad I went. I have been wanting to go to the Open for along time. The facility and grounds were beautiful. We got to watch some great tennis. I'm glad we were not there the second weekend as the rain was a real problem. The weather was almost perfect for us and made the trip more pleasing. Plus, I got time to spend with Alan and with his wife Jennifer. She could only stay a few days with us because she had to get back to DC but I don't talk to her much and I hadn't seen her since Christmas so I was glad to spend some time with her. When I'm with Alan we always laugh so much -- I miss that -- we don't laugh around our house much -- which is really a shame when you think about it.

Alan starts a new job today -- he left his law firm and is going to do a two year clerkship with Judge Kollar Kotelly in the DC circuit. He's really looking forward to it and it will be a great experience for him. They are also moving into another apartment this month so a few changes for them this month.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'm still recuperating from my trip -- I'm still exhausted. I'm either getting a cold or suffering from my allergies which doesn't help. The trip was great but I could never have done it alone -- I'm glad my family was with me. The crowds got the best of me a few times. But I survived -- it was great being with my son. We laugh so much when we are together and I really miss that. Alan always has a smile on his face and it is very refreshing. Our daughter-in-law Jennifer was with us for a few days and I had not seen her since Christmas so it was nice spending a few days with her as well.

On another note -- World Alzheimer's Day is September 21st. I have been getting some requests to post some sites you might want to check out. One is "memories matter" -- this is a site in the UK which lets you post memories of your loved one with Alzheimer's -- or your memories if you have the disease. The link to it is I have also heard from David Wasser from Retirement Living TV -- they are running a documentary on September 21st about Alzheimer's. I'm not sure I get that channel but the link to their site is There are some previews of the show there.

Hopefully, we will see a lot in the news about Alzheimer's and take advantage of this day.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

New York City

We just returned from five days in NYC. We went for the US Open Tennis tournament. Alan and Jennifer came up from Washington DC to meet us, although Jennifer couldn't stay but a few days. Going to the US Open was something that Alan and I had been wanting to do for some time but the timing wasn't right with his school and his work, but we made it work this year.
The experience was great and it was one of those things that you were glad you went. The crowds got to me and a few other things but I survived. More on the trip later -- just wanted to post these photos. Jennifer and Ralph took these photos.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Memory Walk

Our Memory Walk is in about 6 weeks -- can't believe it is coming up so quickly. We are having it at a different venue so it is takinga little more planning than usual. Luckily, some sponsors have come in.....our goal is to raise $75,000 -- with the economy it is going to be hard, but we are optimistic!

I'll be away from the computer for a few days and I know I haven't posted for awhile....but I'm going to try to do better come September!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thanks for your emails and comments about my "meltdown". I'm still bothered by it -- I hate that it happened. To Lee in Illinois -- I have not had a yoga class but my doctors have taught me how to get out of it and I'm pretty good at it. Most of the time I start hyper-ventilating at the same time, so it is important for me to get my breathing under control. I have a brown paper bag I carry in my purse to breathe into, but since I was on the golf course I didn't have my purse. But, even though I could get out of the panic attacks, I felt that it was best to get off the course and get home -- I feel "safer" at home. If that makes any sense.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Well, I tried. Today I went to go play golf. I haven't played in a couple of weeks and with my new medication for concentration I was doing pretty well.

My husband and two guys that have retired from where he worked usually make up our foursome. The last time they played without me they played from the red tees -- which is the ladies tee and the "seniors" tee. Usually they play from the white tees which are little farther back from the red tee. Anyway, today they decided to play from my tees.

Although, I couldn't handle it. I started having panic attacks on the second hole, because it "wasn't right" -- it wasn't my normal routine. I thought I could work through it but I couldn't -- I hit two shots straight into the woods and then had such panic attack I thought I was going to die because I couldn't get my breath. Then, when I did catch my breath I just sat down on the cart path and started crying. I couldn't get it together -- things were "off" and I couldn't concentrate and I couldn't get it together. After calming down a little I decided to come back home, I knew that I couldn't go on.

Such little things can throw you off and it is so frustrating that I have to live this way.

Friday, August 07, 2009

I know I haven't posted for awhile. I'm still dealing with a sore tooth -- even after my root canal. I'm not sure it will ever feel better. I go back to the dentist next week and hopefully, at some point, I will be able to chew on that side.

I'm also still getting used to the medicine the doctor put me on for my concentration. It is helping I will say, but it does take some getting used to. It's a good thing......just different. It certainly has helped my concentration on the golf course if nothing else!

We are planning a trip to NYC in a few weeks. Alan is going to meet us up there and hopefully, if Jennifer can get the time off she will as well. We have tickets for the US Open Tennis Tournament. It's something Alan and I have always wanted to do but the timing was never right. I guess the "stars alignned" and we were able to pull it off this year -- barring any unforseen circumstances. Since I've been to NYC many times, I am hoping I won't have many problems. Since it is the week before Labor Day the crowds might still be up but I will just have to deal with them the best I can at that point I guess. I won't be alone and I can always go back to the hotel to rest if need be. Since I have been so many times, there isn't a lot I haven't seen in NY. Alan also has many friends in the NYC area that he can catch up with while he is there.

I've been busy with Memory Walk -- trying to get my part organized. That has been a lot harder for me this year. Just having to make lots and lots more notes and lists.

The clutter around the house has been getting to me as well -- not that there is a lot to it but it makes me nervous. So, I have been systematically going from room to room and organizing and cleaning it. I'm sure that I will put things places and forget where they are -- but oh well -- it won't be the first time!

Sunday, August 02, 2009


I know that I have said this before -- that when I was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's that my friends (and family) were the most important things to me. Unfortunately, some friends that I thought were friends, really weren't friends because they went running to the hills when they found out about my diagnosis. I learned a lot from that.

But a few months a friend from my hometown passed away. We had gone to elementary school and high school together. Word of his death hit me very hard although it had probably been over 25 years since I had seen him. He was quite successful in business as I think we all knew he would be. He was every kid's friend and I don't think I ever heard anyone say anything bad about him. I've recently tried to reach out to some of my old classmates through Facebook and "talking" with them via Facebook I learned that they too were hit hard by his death. I guess that speaks volumes about him as a person. I'm sorry I didn't make it back home to his funeral. I had sent a note to his parents and received a lovely note in return about the support they had been given and how touched they were that so many old classmates came to pay their respects or contact them. I don't think we will ever know what type of impression we leave on people.....we all hope it is a positive one I am sure. I was proud to call Terry my friend.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Questions and Answers

I have had quite a few questions emailed to me recently and I'll take this opportunity to answer them

1.Someone asked which medication I was taking for concentration -- the answer is Adderall -- it is a drug given for people with Attention Deficit Disorder. I don't know if it works for everyone but it certainly has helped me. I was having such a difficult time concentrating for more than an hour or so, it has definitely helpe me. One of the side effects is that it will keep you awake so sometimes, even though I still feel like I need my afternoon nap, that is difficult to come by. Sleeping at night though hasn't been a problem if I take my pill early in the morning. It took a little while to get the dosage to where it has worked, but for now, it is helping.

2. Next questions was about travel since I have been talking about it a lot lately. Someone wanted to know "how well I travel". I wish I travelled better -- it is getting harder and harder to do if I go to a place I am unfamiliar with. My husband was with me on the last two trips -- but the one up to Cape Cod was definitley harder because I had never been before. Plus, all the tourists (me included) made it more difficult. I don't do well in crowds -- I get a feeling of being overwhelmed and the noise is very distracting. I find myself having panic attacks. I know how to deal with them so I do, and having someone along certainly helps and can get me out of situations if need be. Also, not overcrowding my schedule helps and lots of sleep.

3. Do I speak to groups? was another question I have had recently. My answer is yes -- and I love to do it. I have said that as long as I can I want to be able to speak about this disease to help educate the public. I'll go just about anywhere and talk to just about anyone. As long as my expenses are covered I'm usually good to go. I try to bring a bit of humor into my talks so it isn't "a downer" and try to share some day to day experiences with the audience. Just leave me a message with contact information if you are interested and I promise I won't broadcast that information out to all the readers of this blog.

4. Memory Walk -- I've had several people ask me who can walk in a Memory Walk. Anyone can walk in any walk across the country! Of course, Memory Walk is the major fund raiser for the Alzheimer's Association but you do not have to raise money if you don't want to --- you can just find a walk near you and come out and support the cause. If you do raise, $150 you will get an official "Memory Walk" t-shirt. Walks are held all over the country in the fall -- go to or find a walk near you. We need you all to come out and support our cause.

Thanks for reading and thanks for your questions.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yes, It's Me

I have had quite a few emails about the Memory Walk spots that are playing around the country. People are asking if that is me in those spots and yes, I am in some of them. They were done a few years ago and are not playing in all markets. There are certain spots that are running in all markets and many of you may have seen some of those. Anyway, to answer the question, yes, that is me.

My teeth are still bothering me. Another trip to the dentist tomorrow.

The medicine the doctor gave me for concentration though really seems to be working. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will continue to help me.

We had our Memory Walk Captain's meeting today. If you would like to donate to the cause, please follow the link to the right that says Memory Walk Donation Page. I know times are bad right now, but even a little helps!

Monday, July 27, 2009


Last year I had three crowns put in my mouth. Last week I had a root canal. I haven't had that much dental work in one year ever -- I've always had pretty healthy teeth -- what is up with that. But, after the root canal last week things are a lot worse -- that tooth hurts now even more than it did before. Of course, it started hurting late Friday afternoon so you know what I am going to be doing first thing today!

But, I'm on my way to Atlanta for some business so if I am to get back into the dentist's chair it will have to wait at least one more day -- but it can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We're back from the Northeast. We flew into Boston and then went to Rhode Island. We visited Newport and the International Tennis Hall of Fame and then some of the mansions there. The next day we took the Ferry to Martha's Vineyard, then on to Cape Cod to visit my old college friend. We hadn't seen each other in over 20 years and I think we picked up right where we left off. We have been keeping in touch with each other over the years but it was so nice to see her again. She and her husband have a beautiful house in Cape Cod but they live full time in Albany New York. More soon -- just wanted to post a couple of photos. We are sitting on her back porch -- the pond behind her is called "Katie's Pond". The sunset is from the Cape Cod Bay.

Monday, July 13, 2009


The International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease is going on right now in Vienna. Chek the Alzheimer's Association website for all the latest news in research and development that is being discussed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I know it has been awhile. My "concentration" medicine the doctor put me on isn't doing much good -- I go back tomorrow to see what he says. And, I get to have a root canal tomorrow. A girl just can't have too much fun in one day!

Later in the week we are off to Cape Cod. One of my best friends while in college has a summer home there and we are visiting her and her husband. I have not seen her for 23 years -- I can't believe it has been that long but it has. After working for a few years out of college she moved to Alaska, I then moved to Georgia. She came down once to visit us here when Alan was about two years old. She was in Atlanta on business and she got to visit for a few days. We used to try to schedule our trips back to Peoria together so we could see each other but that got more and more difficult to do. But, we have stayed in touch and this weekend we will finally get to catch up. She left Alaska and moved to NY -- gained a new husband and they now reside in Albany. I have never met her new husband so I am anxious to meet Bill as well.

And, we will get away from these 90+ degree days here in Georgia.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

We're Back

from DC. Thanks to our son for being a great host. We went a few places we hadn't been before like the new Air and Space Museum out by Dulles, a Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yard and the National Cathedral. We stayed busy -- the weather cooperated and it was nice to have a visit.

Things I always forget about Washington DC -- there is so much green space -- I know the city was planned but it is so odd to see it. I wouldn't want to live there -- way too many people for me. Makes me a little uncomfortable. I got confused a good bit, but with Ralph and Alan there it was o.k.

I had to rest a good bit but tried to stay up with the guys as much as I could.

Our next trip is in a few weeks to Cape Cod. That one should be interesting.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We're off to DC for a few days to visit with Alan. Looking forward to a few days with him.

An infected tooth took me to the dentist today. A round of antibiotics for me and a root canal when I return -- what fun.

I finally got my medicine approved by the insurance company the doctor prescribed to help with my confusion. It has a few weird side effects but hopefully they will taper off.

More from the road.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm still dealing with the insurance company/doctor for the medicine he wants to give me for concentration. I hope it can get resolved soon. It seems like I have really really good days and really really bad days. I'm realizing more and more things I cannot do and that frustrates me. I've never felt like I couldn't do anything -- I might not want to do it, but I've always had that kind of attitude that you can do what you want or at least try. No I know that I can't even try. That's depressing for me.

On a lighter note, we are going to DC to visit Alan this week. His wife is visiting Taiwan with her sister and mom, so we are going to have some "just us" time. Don't have a lot planned but it's always nice to visit. Hopefully, I'll be able to do whatever it is we end up doing!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's been awhile. I've had a lot of things going on but not the concentration to put it all together. I went to the neurologist today and he prescribed some medicine to help with my concentration but my insurance company won't pay for it. So now, the doctor and the insurance company are duking it out -- and we'll see what happens.

Since I last wrote --
My brother is back in the hospital
I'm getting a cold -- summer colds are the worse
We've planned a trip to Cape Cod for mid July
We've planned a trip to the US Open Tennis Tournament in NY at the end of August
It's gotten really hot here -- going to be close to 100 degrees by Friday
I'm starting to raise money for this year's Memory Walk (and recruiting walkers as well)
Have met two more people in the Athens area with early on-set Alzheimer's
Turned down an opportunity to do something that I wanted to do -- but had to admit that I just
couldn't do it with Alzheimer's -- that was hard to do

There's probably a lot more -- but I can't bring those things to mind right now so I'll stop. It's late and I'm tired. I didn't get my nap in and I can tell.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Several people asked me to add this "followers" gadget to my blog. Not real sure about it but we will try it and see.

Monday, June 08, 2009

My niece took this photo of her dad (my brother) with her four month old son Oliver, when my brother was in the hospital. Thought it turned out well, so I wanted to share it.
Weekend was kind of slow. It's already getting hot here so we are having to adjust our lifestyle a little bit. It's not fun going out in the heat in the afternoon. My son and daughter-in-law spent the weekend in Boston at Jennifer's sister's graduation from MIT. Congratulations Christine!
Enjoyed watching Roger Federer win the French Open. I think the whole crowd was rooting for him. I also enjoyed watching native Athenian Tituss Burgess perform on the Tony Awards last night. Tituss has been involved with musical theatre for so long here in Athens and for quite some time in New York. He was featured in the Guys and Dolls performance last night. We are going to meet Jennifer and Alan in New York later on in the summer to see Tituss and to also catch some of the US Open tennis matches.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Gene Testing

Someone left a comment asking if I had gene testing. This question has been put to me two or three times this week, so I thought I would address it briefly. During my diagnosis process I had two spinal taps. An analysis of the spinal fluid showed that I carried one copy of the APOE 4 gene. APOE4 is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's. About a quarter of the population inherits one copy of the APOE4 gene. This increases their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by up to four times. However, you can have the APOE4 gene and not develop Alzheimer's -- you are just at greater risk. There are other genes out there associated with Alzheimer's and I'm not sure how detailed my analysis got. It showed a high level of Tau (I think that is right). I am adding a link to a publication put out by the National Insitute of Aging/National Insititute of Health that can explain it a lot better than I can. Here is the link

Both of my parents died at a relatively young age (early 60's) and my father was adopted so we don't know anything of his family history. It's possible in looking back by me and my two brothers that my grandfather may have shown signs of what they called back then "hardening of the arteries" or a dementia but we aren't sure.

Doctors don't do genetic testing though just to see if you have the disease. I say that, but then I also know people who have found doctors to do it. If you're curious, have someone in your family that has Alzheimer's you should definitley discuss it with your doctor and make that decision together.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A couple of quick notes to these photos. In the top photo is my friend Josh who was injured in Afghanistan. He was in town to speak at a Memorial Day Celebration. His arm is still in a brace and he is waiting for another surgery on his elbow. He had a moving speech and there was a great attendance at the event, despite rain was ready to pour down any minute.
The second photo is me and my new friend Bill Dotson. Bill made this walking stick for me. Bill was diagnosed with Early On Set Alzheimer's as well and doesn't live too far away. He read my post about needing a walking stick because of my balance and he made this for me. Isn't he sweet? Thanks Bill!
More soon -- I'm off to try to play golf before it gets too hot!

Friday, May 29, 2009


My husband and I are looking for some suggestions for a vacation in July somewhere up in the Northeast. It's an area we aren't that familiar with and would like to visit -- Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont -- any suggestions from my readers out there? We are looking for something not too taxing but that has some points of interest but relaxing at the same time. I know I'm not asking for much!! Please leave me a comment if you have some suggestions or email me at

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What A Difference a Couple of Days Make

My husband has been gone for a few days. This is pretty unusual for him because he is pretty much a home body and rarely travels by himself. But what a difference it makes to me. I know it sounds bad, but when he is away I feel a lot better. I don't have to think, I don't have to talk, I don't have to listen to the television or the radio all the time, I don't have to constantly watch what I'm doing because he is watching over me......and as a result I don't get as fatigued. I haven't had to nap for the last few days because I'm not feeling worn down by mid afternoon. I still get tired, but not that mental fatigue that is so draining. I'm sure that my husband would say "well, you don't have to do those things when I'm around" but he's wrong. He doesn't take an active role in a lot of things and that means I have to try to think about things even if I can't or don't want to. He hasn't quite caught up with the fact that soon, he will have to do most of the thinking for both of us. I have a half day left to myself and I am going to enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Concentration - thoughts - words - images

I have been having a hard time concentrating lately. I haven't been sleeping well. They could be related. At any rate -- I was having a difficult time last night conveying something to my husband. I realized then that the way I "see" things in my brain has changed. I used to "see" things with words -- if I had a thought I was trying to say or get a point across it was words that I was forming in my brain and almost reading them back in order to explain something or even with a regular conversation. Now, I see more images in my mind rather than words. This makes it more difficult for me because I then have to convert those images to words and then get it out of my mouth! How simple is that? Not that simple for me. Last night I had this whole storyboard of images in my mind with this story I was going to tell my husband. I couldn't get it out -- I couldn't put the words to the images and make it come out. I'm sure this sounds strange to most of you reading this, but I can't figure out another way to say it.

I tried playing golf yesterday -- my concentration just wasn't there. I didn't play too badly but it was such an effort it kind of takes the fun out of it -- if there is fun in playing golf!!!

On another note -- my new friend Bill (who also has younger on-set Alzhiemer's) and lives nearby read my post about the walking stick earlier this week and he made me one! I haven't gotten it yet, but I'm excited about getting it.

Alzheimer's Project

My friend Carol suggested that I put a link to the HBO series that you can watch it on the computer if you don't have HBO. You can go to or go to and there is a link to the series.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

More Feedback on the Alzheimer's Project

I just finished watching the Caregivers segment of the HBO Alzheimer's Project Series. The first person interviewed, Chuck Jackson, is a friend of mine. It was great to see him and to see him in such great spirits. Some of the quotes from the Caregiver's segment I can relate to ----

"You're your own caregiver for awhile, then your friends and family"

"Living life in the moment"

"We try to stay in ther present and usually the present isn't so bad"

"If you can't cry about it all thet me you might as well laugh"

"Alzheimer's is a part of my life, I try not to dwell on it"

"People don't drop over like they used to. you don't get invited very many places"

These things are all so true

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I've always said my best times were in the morning when I was rested. My mind works much better then. Or, after a nap. Today I tried to play golf in the afternoon. What a mistake. I can't play that well anyway, but my concentration was out the proverbial window today. Since we always walk the course, I have to look at it as exercise -- which we know is good for the brain!

I should have asked my son for a walking stick for Mother's Day. My balance is getting so bad. I always realize this when I am out on the golf course and use my club as a modified walking stick. When my husband and I go walking on trails I need one. But I never think of it until I need it. I forget......imagine that. Maybe he'll read this and remember for me!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Feedback on Alzheimer's Project

Well, I watched the Alzheimer's Project first series. Many people have logged on to the blog -- probably because of the gentleman profiled there that had a blog. My back story is that I was diagnosed 7 years ago with Early On Set Alzheimer's (not referred to as Younger On Set Alzheimer's) because I was diagnosed at an age before 65. I was 46 years old at the time.

Since I've kind of been following along with this project since its inception, I wasn't sure what the finished piece was going to feature. Like many projects, the focus of the this documentary started out entirely different --or at least that is what I remember. But, the finished product is something everyone should see. If people and mainly legislatures that see this don't realize this is a disease we need to take seriously, then I am not sure of what will convince them.

I'm looking forward to the future segments of this piece.

Some of the lines in this first episode that struck home to me were:

"That's what is so disgusting -- I feel so good......"
The disease does "not take her intelligence away" -- this is hard to accept when you can't do the simple things in life -- you know you aren't stupid --it is just the disease talking
"I have to read this a million times" in referring to a recipe -- I hate to have to do that!
"I never feel like I'm giving up" - you can't or you will.
"I don't want to be a burden" -- we all carry this I think
"One day at time" -- live in the moment
"Your judgment becomes an issue" -- how true
"my life is not that important in the grand scheme of things" -- you want to think so, but you have to know that it isn't.

I'm sure others with this disease will see what fits them. Since we aren't around others like ourselves at this stage it is almost comforting to know we aren't alone although we feel it.

For those of you that are reading this blog that need help, please seek help with either a doctor's office, an association like the Alzheimer's Association or wherever you can find what you need. Keeping this blog for years has helped and I call it my therapy -- others have their way of dealing with this as well. Find out what works for you and try to stay positive. It's hard, but when you fight something it's almost as if you are in a competition -- somebody always wants to win -- and I'm not a very good loser.

Thanks for reading and hope that you will drop by often.

The Alzheimer's Project

The first part of HBO's series the Alzheimer's Project ran last night on television. The next part airs tonight with more on Tuesday night. I taped it. I need to watch these things in pieces. But, I know it is good -- from what I have heard and knowing how hard they worked on this I know that is good. Please try to tune in or to tape it for yourself.

I hope everyone had a good Mother's Day out there. As I said, my son was home last weekend and it was nice to have him home. Since I don't see him that often, it bothers me that I know my disease must seem worse to him each time he sees me. And, I always wonder when the next time I see him if I will remember him. I know my disease hasn't really progressed to that point, but you can never stop worrying about that. And, what this terrible disease does to the family. I hate it. I hate it with a passion. My mother always told me never to use that word, but I do hate it.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day this Sunday to all those mothers out there reading this. The best thing that anyone has ever called me is "Alan's Mom". It was nice having him home this past weekend -- an early Mother's Day present for me. Just spending time with him is enough. I wish I could take the credit for him being the man he is today -- but I know that he has done most of that himself. I'm real proud of him.

My relationship with my mother was pretty bad. We were like oil and water. I was never good enough. We went long periods of time without speaking. And, it is sad. But, I tried. I don't remember early Mother's Days with her, but as I became an adult they became harder and harder. I never, ever bought her a present she liked. She would yell at me for buying certain things because "you know I don't like this" is what would come back to me. If I knew that I wouldn't have bought it for her -- but I guess she thought I was doing it on purpose. If I chose the route of sending flowers I would get the response "you don't take the time to go buy me a present so you take the easy way out and call the florist". As you can see a no win situation. Before she passed away twenty years ago we had become friends somewhat I guess, but never had that mother daughter bond. As a result, Mother's Day was always a problem for me -- I was damned if I did and damned if I didn't.

My first Mother's Day as a mother 25 years ago didn't go so well either. My husband is not a person that usually buys presents or thinks about getting a card or wishing someone a happy birthday. I always bought the presents for his mother, sent the cards and was sure that he called her on Mother's Day. But, I was sure that my first Mother's Day would be different. Was I wrong. After going most of that day without even a "Happy Mother's Day" from his lips (Alan was 7 months old at the time) I was sure that he had something planned for that evening. About 4:30 he asked me what we were having for dinner. At that point I knew there were no surprises. I asked him if he was ever going to wish me a Happy Mother's Day and his response was "You're not my mother". I don't think I need to say anymore!

So, all my friends out there that are Mother's -- even though you are not MY mother, I wish you all a great day on Sunday.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Manhattan Transfer Concert

Last night, in Macon Georgia we went to an Alzheimer's benefit concert by the Manhattan Transfer. That is a group I have always liked so I was glad when I heard they were playing. The development director in the Macon office asked Alan to come from Washington DC and speak before the concert. Last year, I spoke before their benefit concert so it was nice that they asked him to speak. I was so proud of him -- as every mother would be -- but he put a lot of his emotions into the speech and it was very well received. Lots of people came up to him afterwards and told him how touched they were by his remarks. I know how hard that must have been for him to write and I appreciate him and love him so much. I've posted a few photos from last night. Thanks to all in Macon for such a great evening.

Monday, May 04, 2009

HBO Alzheimer's Series

Several years ago HBO starting working on a documentary about Alzheimer's. This Sunday, May 10th the first of a four part series will run. Below is some more information about this. I was at several of the filmings for this documentary and I know how much time, effort, research and work has gone into it. It will run for three consecutive nights. If you can -- please watch. I'm sure it will be worth it.

Sunday, May 10 at 9 p.m. EST"The Memory Loss Tapes" "The Memory Loss Tapes" takes an intimate look at seven individuals living with Alzheimer's, seeking to introduce a new understanding by sharing the devastating experience of memory loss from the point of view of the person with the disease.

Monday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. EST"Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? With Maria Shriver" and "Momentum in Science, Part 1"
"Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? With Maria Shriver" is a is geared toward children and young teens coping with a grandparent's illness, and presents vignettes that can help a child understand and deal with a relative's gradual decline into Alzheimer's.

"Momentum in Science" is a two-part, state-of-science odyssey that takes viewers inside the laboratories and clinics of 25 leading physicians, revealing some of the most cutting-edge Alzheimer research advances.

Tuesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. EST"Caregivers" and "Momentum in Science, Part 2"

"Caregivers" is a collection of five family portraits that illustrate caring for the different stages of Alzheimer's disease.

The evening concludes with "Momentum in Science, Part 2."

"The Alzheimer's Project" is a presentation of HBO Documentary Films and the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health in association with the Alzheimer's Association, The Fidelity® Charitable Gift Fund and Geoffrey Beene Gives Back® Alzheimer's Initiative.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

This weekend

If things go according to plan this is what is happening this weekend --
Go to memorial service for one of the shooting victims below
My son comes home for a long weekend
Visit my friend Carol and her grandbabies
See Georgia play Florida in baseball
Go shoe shopping
Head to Macon for Manhattan Transfer concert

And, my brother is back in the hospital in Illinois.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Sad Day In Athens

Many of you may have heard that today, there was a shooting at a community theatre here in Athens. Three people were killed. Here is a link to the story from the Atlanta Journal Constitution

It is so sad. I knew two of the three victims. They had been involved in community theatre for quite awhile and both great people. Athens will miss them.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Town and Gown Theatre family.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This week I was volunteering at a charity golf event. One of the ladies working the registration area with me was talking about her book club and mentioned that they had just finished discussing "Still Alice". If you have been following my blog you know how much I like this book and that "Alice" is so like me (although in the book she is fictional). The other lady was talking about how sad the book was and that is was so awful what she and her family were going through. I hesitated for awhile before I said anything -- I'm never quite sure what to say -- I don't like to point out my Alzheimer's but sometimes I think I should. I mentioned I had read the book and actually knew the author. I was hoping that that would start someone asking me more questions -- like how do you know the author? How many authors do you know? But no one did. I thought that strange and let it go. We were busy doing our assigned jobs at registration and didn't feel like that was the time to go into it. But afterwards, I wished I did say something. I'm not sure what I would have said, but I would have said something. Sometimes I never know when to keep my mouth shut -- sometimes I don't know when to open it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A week or so ago I wrote about the tv show Friday Night Lights and the character on the show that has Alzheimer's -- or Alzheimer's related symptoms, because I'm never sure on the show whether they have acknowledged that she has Alzheimer's -- she appears to. Anyway, in last week's show her family is taking her to an assisted living facility and she is going through things to take. There is a photo of her grandson when he was seven years old (he is now a senior in high school) that she wants to take. He keeps telling her not to take that photo. She then says "when I have one of my spells and can't remember I want to look at this photo so I can remember you" -- or something close to that affect. Last summer, I went through a similar experience so having her say the words really caught me off guard and I realized what I probably sounded like. But, last summer I insisted on getting a new photo done of my husband, me and my son for the explicit purpose so "when I get into a home this a photo I want to have in my room -- so I can remember you". Kind of scary when you hear someone else say it. It's kind of like when you say something and you sound like your mother.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Photos from Trip

I got to meet my friends Pody and Rick from Champaign while I was in Illinois. I had to be sure that the Illinois logo on Rick's shirt showed so people didn't think I was hanging around a Tennessee fan. And, my great nephew Oliver is the handsome young man on my lap. Oliver was born in November.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Back Again

I'm back from another trip to Illinois where I was visiting my ailing brother Bill. He just can't seem to catch a break. We received some more disheartening news of his condition while I was there.

My other brother, Tom, and I went to dinner with Bill's children, Elizabeth and Jonathan. They are in their late 20's early 30's and have families of their own. As I am, we are all struggling with the problems Bill is facing. They want answers and so do I. Unfortunately the answers are somewhat elusive. I feel bad in that Tom and I are the "adults" if you will in this situation and we are not able to help Elizabeth and Jonathan with the answers they need. I feel so helpless. I feel like I should be able to provide the support they need and I can't. I've never really felt like the "grown up" giving out advice. But, they were looking for it and I couldn't help. No one can -- and that is the difficult part.

As I look at the situation, I realize that in my own life people feel helpless because they can't help me either. But, I'm not looking for help in terms of what people can do for me. I just need people to be around me for friendship and companionship -- not to forget about me because I'm sick. There will be days when my family needs help and I hope my firends are there to help them when the time comes. I feel bad that I am going to be a burden on people and hope that it isn't too bad. I feel as inadequate about that as I do about not being able to help my neice and nephew find the answers they need.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

This and that

This goose along with another goose made it to our house today. We have had so much rain in the last week or so that in the background you can see the water standing in our front yard. I don't know if these geese made a detour on their trip up north or what but they were certainly looking for food. We feed the crows, the squirrels, other cats and whatever comes our way in the back of our house. We usually feed them cat food -- I know it sounds weird but they eat it. The geese didn't seem to care that much for it. But they were lovely to watch before they flew away.
Today I went to a funeral. The father of a man I used to work for passed away. The service was lovely. He was loved my many and it showed. Life is just too short.
Friday Night Lights is a show that airs on Friday nights about high school football in Texas. Last week while I was speaking at the Alzheimer's Conference there I had the pleasure of meeting one of the character's grandfather. His grandson, Jesse Plemmons, is a Champion for the Alzheimer's Association. Jesse's grandmother had Alzheiemer's. Coincidentally, in the show there is a story line that involves another character on the show with his grandmother who has Alzheimer's. Although it is not clearly stated that that is her condition, it is understood to be -- at least by me. Anyway, the show has been dealing with this story line in a very dignified manner. But last week it struck a chord with me. I could see myself in the character and it is scary. Just as I saw myself in the Still Alice book. You can talk about this disease a lot, but when you see yourself, it is scary and becomes even more real. It's hard to explain, but it is also hard to watch.
HBO is coming out with a series beginning in May about Alzheimer's. They have been working on this for about two years. I have been to several conferences where they were shooting. I believe it starts May 10th and it is a four part series. It will be good I'm sure as they have put a lot of time and effort into it. I'm not sure if it is something I can watch either -- I know I'll tape it and watch it over time, but I'm not sure if I can watch it all at once.
Terry Moran, one of the hosts of ABC's Nightline program just did a short series on Alzheimer's. He has Alzheimer's in his family and he goes the through the process in his piece about getting his DNA tested to see what his chances of getting Alzheimer's are. Here is a link to the piece He also interviews Meryl Cromer, a member of Newt Gingrich's Alzheimer's Study Group (ASG). I had the pleasure of working with Meryl on a prelude committee to the ASG about a year and a half ago. She is a true crusader. And, in the piece she also finds out what her chances are for developing Alzheimer's. She now cares for her husband and mother who both suffer from the disease. Please note that the tests that they had only were indicators of developing Alzheimer's not that they would definitely get Alzheimer's. During my diagnosis I had a spinal tap which indicated that I carried one of the genese for Alzheimer's but it didn't necessarily mean that I would get Alzheimer's -- it was just one of many markers in my diagnosis. The story is interesting and I thank ABC and Mr. Moran for doing it.
I'm off to Illinois again on Saturday to visit my ailing brother. I'm hoping to find him in better spirits and in better health. I'll report when I return.
Thanks for reading and sharing your comments with me.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thank you North Central Texas

I was the guest of the North Central Texas Alzheimer's Assn. chapter last week. I spoke at a conference they were holding and it had a great turnout. Over 400 people were registered and despite bad weather I think they all came. Shelley Bluethmann from the National Office and I were invited to be their keynote speakers. I really enjoyed my time there (although brief) and I appreciate the warm hospitality of all the Texans. Shelly Young did a great job of putting the event together and Theresa Hocker was a great hostess as well. The photo above isn't too good, but I wanted to model the cowboy hat they gave me as an "honorary Texan". Thanks for having me -- I really appreciated meeting everyone and sharing my story.

I arrived back to Athens to rainy dreary days but I was pretty exhausted so I took the opportunity to rest. More next week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Facts and Figures

Today, news Facts and Figures were released by the Alzheimer's Association. For a link to the study go here:

More news will be coming out this week about the Alzheimer's study group so please watch for more on that.

On another note, my friend Josh, who I have written about was recently interviewed by NBC Nightly News. The piece aired last night. Josh is doing so much better and he looks great on the video. I'm posting two links -- one that was the piece that aired and the other was a "web only" piece.

Check them out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Busy Week

This weekend our UGA Women's basketball team plays in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The tournament is being held about 50 miles from home in Duluth Georgia. UGA is the actual host of the tournament even though it is not at UGA. Anyway, I am actually working the event this weekend. A friend of mine in the athletic department needed some help so I am working it . Yesterday was the first day of practice and today are the first two games. It hasn't been too bad so far -- I'm anxious for the games to begin.

Next week, I'm off to Texas where I will meet someone with the Alzheimer's Association for a meeting. We are going to be keynote speakers at an event the Texas Alzheimer's Associaton is having. So far, 400 people have signed up for the conference. I'm looking forward to it.

This weekend starts the public policy forum in Washington DC. Please be watching for lots of news out of this conference.

More when I return from Texas.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Public Policy Forum

It's not too late to register for the Public Policy Forum hosted by the Alzheimer's Association at the end of this month in Washington DC. If you register before March 13th there is a discount. Go to for more information.

At this year's conference the Alzheimer's Study Group (ASG) will be presenting their findings from an almost two year study of the state of Alzheimer's in the United States. The ASG was originated by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who heads the for profit organization Center for Health Transformation. The ASG is a bipartisan study and one of its members is Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Last year she and Speaker Gingrich spoke to a senate subcommittee during the Public Policy Forum on what they were trying to accomplish. This year, the results are in and the findings will be revealed at the Public Policy Forum. I have been fortunate to be involved with a group that gave input to the ASG and I'm anxious to see how some of these ideas and thoughts we had made its way into the study. Hopefully, we will learn a lot and hopefully, some of these ideas can be implemented to not only save the government some money in dealing with Alzheimer's but also to help the families struggling with this disease. If you can't make it to the forum, please watch the news toward the end of the month because it will certainly be making headlines.

Also, at this year's forum there will be an early stage summitt which will feature Still Alice author Lisa Genova who I have written about several times. I learned this week that a friend in Atlanta who has Alzheimer's and his wife will be joining Lisa during a panel discussion.

Alzhiemer's will be in the news --there's lots going on.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Alzheimer's Day at the Georgia State Capitol

About 300 advocates emerged on Atlanta yesterday to talk to our legislators about issues dealing with Alzheimer's. It was a great day. We were all wearing purple t-shirts that said "voice" across the front. There was a press conference with the Governor which drew some press to the event. The Governor's mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's so this is also a personal thing for him.

We had people come in buses from all over the state. Ralph and I went and there were a few other people from around our area there including a new friend I have made, Bill Dotson. I was deeply touched that my daughter-in-law's father, Charles Lee also showed up to be with us. I didn't know he was coming and it really meant a lot to me that he would take time out of his day to join us.

Most of the legislators we met with were receptive to what we had to say but with the budget the way it is in our state (and probably almost every other state) we will have to see what happens. One thing I have been working towards is an Alzheimer's Task Force that would look at issues such as driving assessments, emergency placement and better long term health care. This is something that will not take a lot of money but just requires some time and effort on some of our legislators part.
Thanks to Kathy Simpson and Ginny Helms of the Georgia Alzheimer's Assn. for putting this together. I look forward to next year's event.