Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mary wrote:
Hi DW, I deal with similar issues at my home too. One of my friends mentioned early onset of Alzheimer's disease. I am wondering if diabetic symptoms mimic Alzheimer's symptoms. My husband exhibits nearly all of these symptoms (plus the diabetic symptoms) and he is 48 years old! MaryM *** Here are the symptoms of Alzheimer's from Memory loss Everyone has occasional lapses in memory. It's normal to forget where you put your car keys or to blank on the names of people whom you rarely see. But the memory problems associated with Alzheimer's disease persist and worsen. People with Alzheimer's may: * Repeat things * Often forget conversations or appointments * Routinely misplace things, often putting them in illogical locations * Eventually forget the names of family members and everyday objects Problems with abstract thinking People with Alzheimer's may initially have trouble balancing their checkbook, a problem that progresses to trouble recognizing and dealing with numbers. Difficulty finding the right word It may be a challenge for those with Alzheimer's to find the right words to express thoughts or even follow conversations. Eventually, reading and writing also are affected. Disorientation People with Alzheimer's disease often lose their sense of time and dates, and may find themselves lost in familiar surroundings. Loss of judgment Solving everyday problems, such as knowing what to do if food on the stove is burning, becomes increasingly difficult, eventually impossible. Alzheimer's is characterized by greater difficulty in doing things that require planning, decision making and judgment. Difficulty performing familiar tasks Once-routine tasks that require sequential steps, such as cooking, become a struggle as the disease progresses. Eventually, people with advanced Alzheimer's may forget how to do even the most basic things. Personality changes People with Alzheimer's may exhibit: * Mood swings * Distrust in others * Increased stubbornness * Social withdrawal * Depression * Anxiety * Aggressiveness ****

Mary - I am no medical expert. are my thoughts on this.  A person who has diabetes for a long time is a person who is in the normal aging process.  But that process might get speeded up because of the damage diabetes can do.  We know that neuropathy is the loss of feeling in the extremities.  We know that the nerve endings start to die off in the feet, toes, fingers, hands.  And we also know that nerve endings start to die off in other parts of the body, such as the intestines.  Diabetics can go blind.  They seem to lose all types of normal body functions as the disease progresses.

So it would make sense to me that as the nerve endings start to die off in the extremities, there is damage being done to the nerve endings in the brain.  Why would diabetes be selective to what/which nerve endings it attacks?  I think it's such an extremely slow process that we don't notice it. And because it's tied into aging, we often think - oh, he's just getting older - at a much younger rate.

People are so eager to discredit what this disease does to the body.  And yes, if you are compliant, follow the doctor's orders, you can slow it down.  You can even get it into remission.  But if you are simply speed up the process and the progression of the disease.

So, is it Alzheimer's , or is it just the progression of the disease?  Does one aggrivate the other?  Does one assist and aggitate the other?  I can only guess that it does.  Makes sense to me.

I grew up with a family that went to a Church of Christ - did not believe in any type of medicine.  The father became diabetic.  Did not do anything.  It wasn't many years and the saying was "he blew up".  His kidneys stopped functioning, he retained everything that went in, and he puffed up like a whale and died.  So I know first hand that medication can dramatically slow down the prognosis of this disease.  I also know what it does....and will the long run....because this is what diabetes is.  High sugar eats away and the veins and arteries, and every inch of the body.

Hope that makes sense!

Today was my birthday.  The "real" reason he gave me the ipad.  :o)  It was a very good day for both of us.  We sort of took the day off and just enjoyed each other.  Even did a little bit of talking about the future and the need to downsize and get rid of stuff.   It's so nice to have a good day every now and then.  Reminds you how much you love them and how hopeful you are for even more good days like this!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I must be feeling chatty tonight.  2 blogs in one day?  That means I can go a week without posting again!  ha ha!

A very wise person once told me this:

You need a source of support.  It can come from your spouse and/or family.  It can come from your work.  Or it can come from your church.  But one of those 3 places has to provide you support.  And if you don't have that or can't find it, you will probably fall apart.

I have thought about that often over the years.  There have been times in my life when work was just pathetic....but my family life was wonderful.  I can think of times when my marital relationship was in the tubes, but I was on a high at the office.

And I remember once, in 1992, when I had nothing.  I had been laid off from a job, was going through a divorce, had moved 1000 miles away from family, church, friends - and I do think I had a breakdown that year.

So, in looking back, I think I have to agree with that very wise person - we absolutely have to find support from one of those sources in our life.

Right now, I have such an amazing network of friends.  They insure that we go out at least twice a week - often it's more than that.  I don't work, but my art is my therapy and I get wonderful support from those who see it and appreciate it.   I am surrounded by family who really lift me up on a daily basis.  And because I have all that, I have the strength to help hubby and care for him and be alert to changes in him.

I also spend an hour each morning in Bible study and prayer.  And I am clinging more and more to the strength of my spiritual support as I try to ready myself for our future.

As I think back over my life, I have always had spiritual support.  Even in 1992.  But I will confess it was probably at an all time low that year as well.

If you are the wife of a diabetic and you are not getting support from work, family, religion or have a difficult rope to tow.  Trying to take care of a diabetic almost demands that you find support somewhere else, as I just don't see it coming from the diabetic.  Maybe I should put that differently.  We have to be strong for them.  Support them.  Care for them.  So we have to find our own support from somewhere else.

Years ago, I didn't know how to find support.  But I have learned.  It comes from setting goals in our own life, volunteering to help others, giving back to others, joining a new group and meeting new people, writing our thoughts in a journal, praying, praying for others, and taking time out just for you.

I didn't start this blog to find support.  But in the process of writing about my life, I have made so many friends, and have gained so much support.  It's truly nice to know that we are not alone.  But I have also found support in my family, my art, and my faith.  Hope you all will find it, too.


and another low

I should have recognized it

All the symptoms

Anxious.  Needy.  Demanding.

He needed a certain, specific power adapter.

First said my brother had it.  I quietly said I had already asked him and he didn't have it

Then said I had to find it.

Mind you, it's for something of his....that I never use.

I looked in all the usual places - where we keep extra power adapters.  Nothing fit.

Then I got out all the travel converters thinking something might work.

Went to the garage and went through 2 huge bins of electrical wires and stuff.

(Wondering why any one man needs to keep all this stuff?)

He came out to the garage.  Stood right in front of me.  So close, I couldn't move.  So I asked him politely to move aside so I could get to the bins.  He snorted.  Sighed.  Harumphed. You know how they do.

Went to the basement and went through 4 boxes of electrical stuff.  In the process I found about 30 different power adapters.  Brought them all inside and/or upstairs.

Nothing worked.

By now, he is so agitated, I realize it's a sugar low.  Why this isn't my first reaction I will never know.  I think I am ever optimistic!

Found a bag of candy and opened it up and offered him some.

In 10 minutes, he was a perfect gentleman once again.

I think I just realized why my in-laws pantry looks like a candy store.  My MIL got smart years ago!  ha ha!

I'm still trying to do the healthy route....but I may give up and just feed him chocolate.

He sure is nicer!

He cut 2 different adapters apart and wired them together and got what he needed working to work.

It's 10:55 pm.  I have just spent the last hour and a half of my life looking for something that he probably would have found himself if he ever just put things back where they belong.  Not this guy.  He's an electrical nightmare!  :o)

But I do think the problem is ME.  I think I will never learn to think diabetes first.  I will never learn to suspect diabetes until we are half way through an ordeal.  And don't bother ask why I even started to help him tonight. I'm just a complete idiot!  Maybe one of these days I'll learn to say "NO" to him!  But I doubt it.

So where's the line between love - and we do it because we love them, and waking up and realizing their stupid behavior is due to a sugar imbalance?  Something I probably will never know.


PS, I'm going to the grocery store tomorrow and filling the pantry with chocolate.

(just kidding!)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

24 hours later

he was his usual apologetic self.  It always happens. And then I remembered...just before his outburst, he had come downstairs and walked into the kitchen and gotten something to eat.  So I thought back.  He had fixed himself one of those soft pretzels about 4 pm.  So he wasn't hungry for dinner and didn't eat.  But then came down and got a bag of potato chips.  So I'm pretty sure he was in the middle of another sugar low.  And that was the basis for his outburst.

I printed out some information about depression and anger and left it on his desk.  He never made a comment about it the next morning.

He went to the apple store and bought me an ipad.

He almost always buys something when he wants to apologize.

Is it worth staying for?


And I told him that while I appreciated it so much, it didn't make up for his outburst.

Will it stop him from doing it again?

Probably not.

No matter how much I want to leave, I probably won't.  I love him for all the good moments.  I love him for the man I know is there, somewhere....that shows himself every now and then....the guy I fell in love with.

Diabetes. Has to be the world's worst disease.