Friday Fave Five

I have not done a Friday Fave Five in awhile……I think I need to go for it this morning.  Especially on this EARLY morning when I awoke to the dog throwing up.   But here is the problem, I don’t really have a Friday Fave Five, it was a hectic, confusing week.  What is a girl to do, I am writing a post about Friday Fave Five, and don’t have any!??!

Well………………………..

Thinking………………………….

Ummmmm…………………………..

Well speaking of the dog……She is a 10 year old chocolate lab named Nina.  She’s great, I was NEVER a dog lover, but after having her all these years I am a converted dog lover.  And let me tell you…..she basically thinks Curt is Jesus…the Messiah Savior of all!  She totally WORSHIPS Curt.  She doesn’t see that he has Alzheimer’s and struggles with things…she loves and adores him unconditionally!  Curt came home after being gone all day yesterday on a day trip to Philadelphia, and the dog was in crazy, chaotic, vibrant awe of the man! 🙂  So despite the early morning puke…..Nina makes my list this week.  I can learn a few things from that old dog!

My job, although I must admit I am not a true fan of all the special ed paperwork.  I do love what I do.  I teach high school students with development disabilities, autism and an array of special needs.  I have recently had several big, bad tough boys coming in to volunteer in my classroom.  They do such a great job with the kids, and my classroom of 11 boys and 2 girls…just love these cool guys.  So neat to see these public school boys helping out in my special ed class…..it really warms my heart!

This is such a frivolous thing, but there is a quaint coffee shop in my town that I like to frequent…..ok maybe I frequent it too much, but I love their coffee and bagels!  And apparently I have fostered that same love for the bagels with in my kids!  We stopped this morning before school on a dreary, rainy Friday!  Helped make the a rough day a bit better…..and those little things are just what I need to get me through.

Once again our Friends are the greatest…..a teacher that Curt worked with for yours went to Philly for the day with Curt.  They took the train and went to a museum together, it was a great day for Curt.  And he is a blessed man to be surrounded by such loyal and caring friends!

And to tell you the truth I can’t come up with another Friday Fave FIVE…..but keeping matters in perspective I am thankful that I came up with four things this week!

I continue to stand amazed at God’s encouragement, and faithfulness to us……Tyler the other day told me that he had heard recently about how some kids can be born with out the ability to feel pain.   He went on to say  how at first he thought that would be pretty sweet to have that ability to not feel pain.  But then he realized, the pain teaches them to know a stove is hot, a something is broken, cut or infected.  They need the pain so they then know something is wrong and it can then be fixed. Pain can be good he said. It can teach and guide you.

Amen son!

 

For more Friday Fave Five visit Susanne’s Blog at Living to Tell the Story

 

FAQ Interview #2

Jesus and Dark Chocolate Blog– I am back again this week talking with Sandy.  If you missed our first interview together click here to see this riveting interview.


Jesus and Dark Chocolate Blog (JaDCB) – So how was your week Sandy since we last chatted…..and the burning question we all want to know is, did you truly get to the Rec Center to work out four times last week?

Sandy -(coming down the steps carrying a laundry basket, Sandy lays it down to chat with me)

Ha Ha, yeah thanks for asking about the Rec.  It was a miracle, I did get there four times last week!!  Tyler has been back lifting now that basketball is over, so I went with him one day.  Madi wants to get in shape for spring lacrosse, so I went with her and her friends one day.  And then Curt and I went one day, and I went once on my own.  I am thinking it’s going to be hard to repeat that accomplishment this week!

JaDCB – So you and Curt hit the Rec one day, was it your big Valentines Day date?

Sandy – No Valentines Day trip to the Rec.  We actually went out for his birthday and Valentines Day over the weekend.  We had a very nice dinner together at a local restaurant.  I indulged in a grilled chocolate sandwich!! That is why I had to go to the Rec so much! Ha ha

And speaking of Valentines Day…..I must tell you this story……it’s an endearing one…. one that continues to warm my heart.  For years Curt has given his “little sweetie” (Madi) a rose at Valentines Day, the last several years he has been giving her 3-4 roses in a pretty vase.  Madi decided several years ago that she would dry and save all the rose petals from her cherished Valentines gift………and then the day she gets married she will adorn the aisle she walks down with them!  Yes these roses continue to be a treasure, and I have a feeling they will be a real keepsake in the future!


JaDCB– Well that Curt sure is a good guy!  Geez he is a nice guy, thoughtful, kindhearted and sure can play the drums….heck what can’t he do!?!

Oooops my bad, probably not a good way to say that…….

Sandy – No problem JaDCB, let me tell ya…Curt and I are hard to offend.  We take things in stride and don’t get too worked up about stuff like that.  People often mess up in how they say things to me, it may come across as insensitive or offensive to some, but don’t worry we are cool with it all.  We realize that it can sometimes be a bit awkward to know what to say to a family who suffers from Alzheimer’s at age 46.  We realize most of you don’t have experience in this department!

As a matter of fact someone asked me recently if Curt would still remember them?  I smiled and said of course, he is still in the early stages of Alzheimer’s so don’t worry about it.  I realize this is new for lots of you also.

Here let me put on my teacher hat for a moment…….

The way I understand it there are basically 7 stages of Alzheimer’s, Curt appears to be between stage 3 and 4.  During stage 3 you MAY see things like this;

  • Noticeable problems coming up with the right word or name
  • Trouble remembering names when introduced to new people (Um how many of us already do this!!)
  • Having noticeably greater difficulty performing tasks in social or work settings Forgetting material that one has just read, and taking longer to accomplish a task
  • Losing or misplacing a valuable object or objects frequently
  • Increasing trouble with planning or organizing

But remember I said MAY.  I am also quick to learn that each person with Alzheimer’s is SO different from the other.  This particular list says nothing about spatial concepts that continue to elude Curt.  But this description does seem to fit many of the things he is doing.

JaDCB – Well that is helpful.  I am sure you are learning so much through all of this.

 


Sandy – Yes I am!  Geez too bad I can’t get a degree in something for all I am learning!

JaDCB– By the way I notice you seem to update your blog about once a week…is that what seems to work best for you?

Sandy – Yes I would like to update it more but life is BUSY!!  And with spring sports coming I know it will get MUCH busier, actually I am a bit nervous about keeping track of everything this spring….so please pray for my sanity and for my brain to work well!  Some days I just take all the same supplements I give Curt hoping to keep my brain working overtime! 🙂

A new friend sent me a copy of her devotional for the day ( along with some dark chocolate and a bath fizzy!!)  These words continue to be etched in my mind this week are taken from her devotional book, “Jesus Calling.”

“When anxiety attempts to wedge its way into your thoughts, remind yourself that I am your Shepherd!”  Yes, the Good Shepherd is just what I need to cling to these days!

FAQ Interview

Ok warning on this blog post……I really don’t know what got into me when I wrote this! 🙂

Today I am sitting down to chat with Sandy on how life is going for her these days

Jesus and Dark Chocolate Blog – So Sandy, how are YOU doing with all that is going on ?

Sandy – (smiling and sipping her coffee) Thanks for asking.  Life has been just weird for me.  I miss the days of normal chaos.  They have now been substituted with unexpected, unknown days of chaos and unexplained tiredness.  Days don’t go as planned, and that is hard for me since I am a planner.  Things come up and I am learning to quickly switch gears and adjust.  It’s all a new normal for me….but I am making the adjustment, seeking God’s wisdom, and living life!  No need to get bitter and angry…that would lead me no where!  Hey can I get you some coffee or dark chocolate ?

Jesus and Dark Chocolate Blog (JADCB) – No thanks on the coffee, but I will take some chocolate!  Thanks!  How is Curt doing these days?

Sandy – (pouring more half and half into her coffee, and sipping it) Well, overall he is really doing well. He is NOT bored at home.  He has the greatest friends.  He routinely has one or two different friends (and even former students) who stop in to say hi, take him out to lunch or breakfast, or just hang out and watch sports with him!   He is also busy practicing drums for Sunday mornings where he still plays twice a month on the worship team. He is also working on recording drums.  I am telling you that man may loose all of his other abilities down the road, but he will still be able to play drums! 🙂  He does get VERY tired at times, so he will also sleep some during the day.  That helps since the evening and nights are often busy with sports and the kids activities.  He is also trying to get to the Rec Center once to twice a week to work out.

(JADCB) Hey this is good chocolate by the way, what is it?

Sandy – Wilbur Chocolate…duh!!

(JADCB) –  So what can friends do to help Curt out?

Sandy – Good question.  It seems that he enjoys just hanging out with friends the most.  His humor and social skills are still quite intact, so hanging with friends is a real blessing for him.

(JADCB) – What does he struggle with?

Sandy – (At this point Sandy puts down her coffee, and in a slow and deliberate voice she tells me)  He can still do so much, and I try so hard to enjoy those things and focus on them!

But  if you must know………. he continues to struggle those short term memory things like, “where is the game tonight?” “what’s for dinner?” He may ask things like that 2-3 times with in an hour.  Or he needs frequent  reminders as to what he needs to do.  I put up a big white board in the kitchen and write down things he needs to do each day on that.  That really seems to help.  And those elusive spatial concepts seem to get the best of him.  Things like buckling a seat belt, filling out a form, hanging up a coat properly, and so many other routine spatial concepts that daily elude and frustrate him.


At this point, Sandy asks if we can continue the interview another time….she is heading off to the Rec Center for a workout.  So it looks like we will continue with FAQ Part 2. So check back later in the week for Part 2. 🙂



I’m Back!!!

As I finally sit to write a blog update, my house is filled with fun loving teenage boys gathered in our basement to eat food, play pool and watch the Super Bowl!  I do love having the house filled with teens, it just makes our often abnormal house feel so normal! 🙂
So we survived our big family ski trip to Vermont!  And as a bonus, our school was closed 2 days for winter weather, so I got back 2 of my personal days and the kids did not have as much work to make up.
Our first night of the trip was one of my faves and it set the tone for our vacation!  We arrived Sunday evening in snowy Vermont, checked in, and went to the outdoor hot tub!  The whole family laughed hysterically as we made our way through the snow in our bare feet to the hot tub.  Tyler’s hair froze nicely, as well as Curt’s hair.  Actually by the time I headed back to our room my hair was frozen stiff.  First time I ever went to blow dry frozen hair! 🙂  And it was during the laughter of the hot tub and the snow I completely FORGOT that we are a family gripped with the horrors of a tough disease.   I totally forgot, and was wrapped up in the joy of the moment. 🙂
The next 2 days, Curt and the kids skied, and skied and skied!
And I read and read and read! 🙂  I know I am a bit behind the times, but I started reading “The Shack” while on vacation.  Great book so far!
We didn’t ski on Wed.  Curt was exhausted from his 2 days of skiing, and the conditions were not that great either.  So we totally chilled in the hotel room, and played endless rounds of boggle, ate pizza, and the kids drove us crazy!  But they really had fun together, and enjoyed hanging with each other……..so I cherished the moment…..despite the fact that they sure were obnoxious! 🙂
Thursday the kids were back skiing, Curt and I chilled at the lodge.  Curt did GREAT his two days of skiing, but he does get so much more tired these days, and as most men with or with out Alzheimer’s think, they can do things just as they did 20 years ago!   Needless to say he did not ski on Thursday morning.   So we headed home on Thursday afternoon, and thanks to God Almighty,  not my expert driving, we made it home safely!  I have been so spoiled for years, Curt has driven on all the long trips while I sit and read.  Not this trip, I had to drive, so I am thankful for a safe drive to Vt. and home.  Although I must add that Tyler drove for about 2 hours on the trip up to Vt………nice to have another driver!

Thanks to so many of you who prayed for our special family trip!!  We are so thankful for the fun memories!


On the Alzheimer’s front………………………


When I returned to school on Friday I received an email from the Dr. who treated Curt at Johns Hopkins.  Here is a copy of what he said;
“Curt has 1 ApoE3 and 1 ApoE4 allele.  The presence of the E4 allele makes it unlikely he’ll respond to the Axona.  It also significantly raises the probability he has Alzheimer’s disease as opposed to some other form of dementia.  And yes, it really is unusual, but not unheard of at this age; I really sympathize with you having to deal with this terrible life-changing problem.  In some respects the caregivers suffer more than the patient.”
So it  means, that Curt would not benefit from the one newer medical food that they had considered for him…..ugh!
So we will keep pressing on, living daily with evidence of how this disease permeates our every day lives.  Yet we strive to keep on, pressing on!


Philippians 3:14 ~ I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus~