When I grow up, I want to. . .

Perhaps my favorite activity in grade school was styling my doll’s hair. To be more specific,  I was playing with my dolls’ hair when I wasn’t climbing trees. I was confident my future career choice would be a hair stylist.

I participated in Speech and Debate contests in high school. Soon my goals wandered to becoming a local meteorologist on t.v. I did obtain a degree in Communications; I am not up at 4:30 a.m. every day preparing today’s weather for anyone. I much prefer watching it from my recliner at 7 a.m. 

I couldn’t have anticipated this goal. Being a caretaker is rewarding and challenging I have ever done. But, lately I find myself dwelling on one recurring theme: What if I’m next? 

I worked up the courage one day to do a little research. I knew that some women get tested to check the likelihood of developing breast cancer. When I worked for an insurance company, I met several women who proactively had a radical mastectomy because their risk was so great.

What if there is a similar test for Alzheimer’s? Would I agree to have the test? What would I do with the results?

The short answer is that there is currently no precursor test for Alzheimer’s. Ignorance can be bliss, as they say. Today I met with the staff from my mom’s new home health agency. (Check the link for that story.) As I happily signed off on paperwork, I had a brain blurp. ‘What is the date today?’ She gave me That Look. I tried to shrink back into my shell of embarrassment. Should I be defensive? Should I ignore it? Should I read more into my lapse in memory? I muttered some type of excuse, and resumed the internal inquisition. 

Once home, I was getting the daily scoop on everyone’s lives. by scrolling through Facebook.  I subscribe to the page Remember for Alzheimer’s, which posed the statement ‘My biggest fear about Alzheimer’s is _________________.’

I copied some of the common responses:

  • my mom won’t know who I am.
  • that I will get it and become a burden to my family and society in general…
  • That a cure will not be found soon enough.
  • My wife was diagnoised 2 years ago age 57. My former wife passed away at 45 with MS on the same day my current wife was diagnoised ,October 13th.My greatest fear with this devastating disease from the beginning was denial from the family and yes almost 2 years into it the family wants another Dr opinion . We have been to 5 and still they want another.The # 1 denial factor in this disease is wanting another opinion .God Bless all of u and I hope if u have to cross this bridge one day that your family support u instead of neglecting to show the love and support to the love one as well as the Caregiver who is taken for granted .Awwwwful disease.
  • The suffering my family will endure while trying to do what they think is best for me. Remember, your loved ones that have dementia are adults, you do not have to imagine that they are constantly dwelling on their circumstances– they probably are not worrying about it near as much as you are. I have years of experience in this field & am veryempathetic. I’m reasonably certain that loved ones suffer more then patient in mid to late stages.
  • Having wasted time in life. Wow.

Isn’t that the real question? The brutal truth is that there currently is not a cure. There is a cure for dissatisfaction with your life, unfulfilled dreams. Spend today living your life with purpose. Have direction and goals. Aspire towards satisfaction instead of regrets.

What changes do you need to make for this to become reality? How can you live a significant life today?

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3 thoughts on “When I grow up, I want to. . .

  1. gingy55 September 11, 2012 at 8:50 am Reply

    I’m also a caregiver and had not thought of doing so, but my Mom has done similar things over the years. Amazing! It does make one think.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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