Our very first RV adventure blogging post!

As of September, 2016 we have finally visited all of the 48 connected states in the US!

The blog below was the first blog that started documenting our travels and the experiences we’ve had.  A lot has happened since this first blog.  We were such newbies in the RV world and over the past 5 years have gained so much experience not only with RV life but in our own lives.  God has been so good to us leading us through this journey.  Hope you will read through the various posts to learn about RV life and about the silly couple that are the Chauvins!

August, 2012 – Hello world! Welcome to my first blog about Roy, Rosalyn, Dora and Boots’ adventures exploring the United States. We won’t start exploring for a while, other than an occasional trip to locations around Louisiana and a Christmas trip to Disneyworld! At least, not until our sticks and bricks house is sold! Please someone buy it!

This lovely 2 story Acadian style home on one acre is for sale!!!
This lovely 2 story Acadian style home on one acre is for sale!!!

If you’re wondering who Dora and Boots are, no they’re not our new grandchildren! They are TV characters our granddaughter Madisyn loves and consequently we’ve seen many episodes of Dora. In her show, Dora is an explorer and we learn all sorts of things through her exploring. Since our RV adventures will take us exploring throughout the United States, we thought it fitting to name our RV “Dora”. Our truck we are towing behind the RV is now named Boots, Dora’s trusty side kick who follows her everywhere! Our Dodge Dakota truck that we will tow is called our “toad”, in RV lingo. That means Boots is our toad!

I am married to my best friend, Roy Chauvin! Roy and I are a regular every day Southern Baptist Christian couple living in Hammond, Louisiana. I am a young 58 years old, born and raised in New Orleans Louisiana. Roy is a slightly older 63 year old who just turned the Social Security retirement age in January, 2013 and was born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana right outside of New Orleans. We met in 1971 and were married in 1972. Our first son Chad was born in 1979 followed by his brother Chip in 1981. They are both grown men now with wives and children of their own. All that’s a story for another day but we wanted you to know a little about the folks going on this journey. We moved to Hammond, Louisiana 25+ years ago and have lived here since. It’s a small college town between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. We both currently work at Southeastern Louisiana University. Roy is the Computer Fix It Guru (of course not his official title) and I am the Telephone Billing/Work Order Coordinator which is my official title. We are die-hard New Orleans Saints fans. We’ve loved them since they became a team in our teen age years and have supported them faithfully ever since.

Our adventure began back in August of 2012. I started keeping notes as we began the journey, making the decision to undertake this total lifestyle change. Instead of a daily blog, at first it will be a monthly blog for the months August, September, October, November and December 2012. From here on out I’ll post as I have the opportunity to or when enough experiences have occurred to be interesting.

We hope anyone considering the full time RV lifestyle will learn a little from our experiences as we have learned so much from others experiences. Ask us questions if you want, if we’ve experienced it we’ll let you know what happened with us! If you’re experienced full timing RVers and you see we’re making mistakes please, please shout out to us and share your sage advice with us newbies! We’ve been so happy since we made this decision that we are hoping some of our family and friends will get the itch and come join Roy, Rosalyn, Dora and Boots on our great adventure!

The blogs below are in newest blog first order. If you’d like to read about our experiences in order start at the last one in the list from August and read up to the current date. You may have to click on OLDER POSTS to get to the August one. Please click the FOLLOW link on the right if you’d like to receive an email whenever a new blog is posted!

01.19.18 Treasured old photos – Julie, September, Rev. Randels, Bro. Randy

Friday, January 19, 2018 – When Roy and I decided to live in our motor home full time we knew we couldn’t keep all the photos and photo albums we had accumulated over 40 years.  We scanned and saved hundreds of digital photos. Chip and his brother have most of the actual photos we had.

I was looking for a digital photo today that was in that group (the one of Julie below).  I decided to post some of them on Facebook to share with our family and friends because that’s mostly who these photos are of.  This one Julie Turner Riley and me from around 30 years ago.  My mama and her mama, Pat Turner were friends when we all lived in New Orleans.

Here’s my friend September Davidson Hoeler who was my very close friend when we went to Lakeview Baptist Church together in our teens.  This was one of us on one of our bus rides to either Ridgecrest or Glorietta for youth camp! You can tell from the photo we were silly girls back in 1971!! September will be in more photos of my years with Lakeview Baptist youth.

A lot of our blog followers are not on Facebook and the photos may be of interest to them.  So from time to time I’ll post a blog with several of them and I’m hoping you will enjoy them.  If you are in any of them and want to have the photo just right click on it and select Save Image As and save it on your computer.

The photo below was my mama and Mr. Vivian Traylor’s wedding ceremony.  These two pastors were the only pastors I ever had, until last year.  Mama wanted both of them to officiate at her wedding and they did! Rev. J. Richard Randels, our pastor at Lakeview Baptist Church in New Orleans, is the gentleman with greyer hair.  Dr. Randy Davis is the young guy who was our pastor at Trinity Baptist Church here in Pumpkin Center (Hammond) Louisiana.  Rev. Randels officiated at Roy and my wedding back in 1972!

I think I’ll put the photos into groups and include all photos that are in a group in one blog post.  We’ll see how it all works out but it is important to me that the people in my life who are in a photo and would like to have the photo will be able to have it.  I’ll figure it out as time goes on.

My grammar is not what it use to be so please excuse me when I end a sentence with “of”, use the wrong version of a word, etc.  I enjoy writing here but being concerned about it being grammatically correct is frustrating to me now.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

cooltext1838781539Click on the links below to go there!

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published randomly

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly

01.18.18 Here we go again. Snow, snow, snow in the Deep South!

Thursday, January 18, 2018 –

Louisiana may have snow once a decade, maybe.  And usually it’s just a few snow flakes where nothing sticks and it stops quickly. We’ve had two real snow falls in the last few weeks.  The first snowfall we had between 4 to 6 inches of snow.  The one last evening and overnight left us with about an inch of snow.

The state or specific area in the state closes down and everyone is happy that there is no work, school, etc. until it melts.  We don’t have snow chains for our tires.  We have a lot of raised bridges over all the creeks, streams, lakes, rivers, etc. and they freeze up quickly causing vehicles to slip, slide and smash into each other.

Here are some of our snow photos from our home in Amite, Louisiana.

The steps going out of our motorhome!    Some of the rocks I paint were left on the table and covered with snow!

         Last time it snowed I cooked a major pot of sausage, chicken and okra gumbo.  We had two meals worth left and we’re enjoying them this time.

People like to make fun of how we handle snow here in the deep south and I found several funny or just plain cute photos on Facebook to share.


The snow melted during the day a bit and will refreeze with the lows in the teens tonight.

My right knee that needs to be replaced is not doing too well right now.  I tripped over a heater in the kitchen Monday while holding a bowl of hot gumbo.  It went everywhere and I hit several parts of me on the floor, table and who knows where.  After that the right knee feels much more unstable and painful now so we’ll make a stop at our local orthopedic doctor on Friday to get a shot in my knee.  We may be going to Tennessee to see the doctor that replaced Roy’s knee sometime soon to schedule a knee replacement for me.  I see the brain doctor Friday so I’ll be all doctored up for the weekend!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

cooltext1838781539Click on the links below to go there!

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published randomly

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly


01.14.18 Dora and the Explorers – STILAD – Dementia End of Life and Mama’s last days from 02.17.15

More Glimpses of Heaven: Inspiring True Stories of Hope and Peace at the End of Life's Journey by [Harris RN, Trudy]Sunday, January 14, 2018 – This blog from February 2015 is fairly long.  There is a 10 minutes video, an excerpt from a book “More Glimpses of Heaven: Inspiring True Stories of Hope and Peace at the End of Life’s Journey” by Trudy Harris, RN (I highly recommend reading the book if the excerpt sounds like something that would help you.) There is a book written by her before that one called Glimpses of Heaven, etc. I have not read that one but you may want to.

In the original blog, there is also an accounting of what all went on with mama in her last few days (very different than the one about her conversation with herself) and an article titled END OF LIFE SIGNS, THE DYING PROCESS.

I’ve added some links here to books about Dementia and also dying with dementia.

Finishing Well for the Glory of God, Strategies from a Christian Physician, by John Dunlop, MD

While I still can by Rick Phelps, a dementia patient and founder of Memory People on Facebook

Still Alice by Lisa Genova, This one is also a movie

The 36 Hour Day, A family guide to caring for people who have Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias and Memory Loss, by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins

Glimpses of Heaven: True Stories of Hope and Peace at the End of Life’s Journey by Trudy Harris, RN

More Glimpses of Heaven: True Stories of Hope and Peace at the End of Life’s Journey by Trudy Harrison, RN


Original post on 02.27.15 – Today’s post will be about an Alzheimer’s patients end of life. Not the most uplifting subject but knowing as much about it as possible allowed us to make good decisions for Mama and gave us a calmness about the process. Knowing what to look for allowed us to be prepared for when Mama went to live with her Lord and to help walk her out of her earthly home into her Eternal Home.

This is such a huge topic that again I have to remind you I am not an expert. I just know how it went with Mama, the advice we received and what I feel we did well and would recommend to you. Also included are information from other sites that I want to share.


The Importance of End of Life Care with Dementia

Coming to terms with a loved one nearing the end of their life with dementia is never an easy situation. But it’s important to recognize this stage to make sure our loved ones receive a good quality of life as this time comes near. Making sure there is a strategy is a MUST so individuals can die well with their dementia.

Karen Harrison specializes in end of life care and believes a problems with end of life care is the failure to recognize the signs early. Moreton Hill Care Center practices early end of life care using a NHS approved Golden Framework. Watch and learn about a daughter and her mother living with Alzheimer’s, who have benefited from this care.

Click on the picture below to watch this video.

end of lifeWhile this video shows a woman in a private facility, everything they talk about being important at end of life is found in Hospice care and is available to your loved one regardless of your income level. I’ll write more about hospice care and the absolute importance of it next time.


An excerpt from the book “More Glimpses of Heaven: Inspiring True Stories of Hope and Peace at the End of Life’s Journey” by Trudy Harris, RN, where Bonnie Tingley tells about her experience with Jim a 56 year old man dying of colon cancer. I just finished reading this book and was blessed with each chapter I read.

I made a nursing visit early in the week, knowing full well I would need to check on them again as the week progressed. Jim seemed much weaker with each visit. His appetite was lessening and he was sleeping more and USE END OF LIFE 2 more every day. These are common signs that let you know when the body is beginning to shut down and getting ready to transition into a new life, which we call eternity. People who have a very deep and abiding faith in God long to see Him at this moment and want to go on to the heaven they know has been prepared for them since the beginning of time. They are seldom afraid and Jim was getting closer to his phase with each day.

Later that day she received a phone call from his wife Peg saying that although Jim’s breathing and extremely shallow and he was exhibiting all the signs and symptoms of impending death, he seemed unable for some reason to be at peace and to let go….. Peg asked if I would come right away to be with them.

I jumped into my car and sped the distance to their home in record time…….. Sitting at the head of the bed, holding Jim’s hand in hers, was his lovely wife, Peg. All three children were on the bed with their dad.

I quietly prayed for the words to accomplish what the Lord wanted me to do at this time to help both Jim and his family. Words came to directly from the Holy Spirit, I know. I whispered softly to Jim that Peg had his hand in hers, and that Jesus was holding the other one. I reminded him that Jesus loved him and his family dearly, and He would take care of them and provide for all of the. I told him that even though he loved them very much, Jesus loved them even more. Peg and the children would be well cared for by this room full of good people. Now it was time for him to let go and go on to God. I assured him that the time was right. I told him that when he was comfortable and ready, that he could simply let go of Peg’s hand and follow Jesus, who was holding his other hand. He became immediately calm and died in an instant, very peacefully. Husbands often wait until “someone in charge” comes to be with their loved ones. It is as if, until the very end, they want to be sure their family has the loving support and care they need.

I know of no other experience that is filled with greater peace and joy than to walk with someone into heaven. It is a rare and sacred moment and one in which you feel you can reach up and touch the face of God. We are simply vessels through which He makes Himself known to His children. Very humbling indeed.

fancydivider1My notes from Mama’s last days. I started to summarize certain parts regarding her bowels but since this is such an important thing to keep track of at that point, I decided to keep it in. Sorry if that creeps you out but if you’re caring for someone, it will become your reality so best to learn now!

Thursday, December 13, 2007 – six days before she died

Mama ate one pop tart for breakfast today. Mama has started this jerking with her hands and feet that she didn’t do before. After feeding mama this I went to Mannino’s pharmacy to pick up her new medicine and the emergency hospice medicine. There was no charge for it as Hospice paid for it. Went to Scott’s to pick up her Seroquel. It was $100. I put the Fentanyl pain patch on mama around 10 am. She’s having trouble swallowing more lately and was only able to eat a small bit of lunch. One of the medicines they gave mama is morphine for breakthrough pain which means that if the pain patch is not enough at times that we give her the morphine. I gave her morphine when she needed it at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Her Seroquel was doubled and she slept all night Thursday night.

Friday, December 14, 2007 – Noon last nourishment

mama in bed nacho

Mama sat on the toilet twice in the morning but couldn’t go either time. Her jerking is worse and she’s was in terrible pain when she woke up at 8 and I gave her morphine then. She jerked her hand when she tried to hold her coffee so I tried to help her drink some by me holding it to her mouth but she couldn’t swallow any. She had no breakfast because Elaine (hospice) came shortly after that and mama was in so much pain that it took a long, long time for her bath and all. We gave her another dose of morphine at 9 am. and when that started working Elaine was able to finish mama’s bath. Mama drank about half an Ensure in the middle of the day. Her hospice nurse Kate came around lunch time and said all mama’s vital signs were good, her breathing was fine, blood pressure and pulse were fine. As mama had not had not gone to the bathroom since Sunday, December 9 when she had diarrhea we thought her painful reactions may be due to being constipated. Kate gave her an enema, and before leaving she inserted the catheter into mama at my request because it is so hard to get mama to the bathroom. Kate could see how mama is so out of it and in pain and said she thinks we called in Hospice just in time. Two hours after Kate left mama had not had a bowel movement so I called Hospice and they said to use a glycerin suppository to try to help it along. Roy went to Scott’s Pharmacy and got some for me. I used that and still nothing happened, so Hospice said to give her some Milk of Magnesia to try to help it from the other end. She was in terrible pain, crying but not saying actual words and her voice does not sound like her at all. Her body is so rigid and jerking. It is absolutely horrible watching this sudden change in mama and I have been crying all afternoon at the realization that my mother is now actually dying. I don’t let her see me like this because I want so much for her to be peaceful and not worried. She cannot swallow anything and can not eat anything. I gave her morphine at 1:10 and 2:40. I spoke to Kate in the late afternoon and she said Dr. Williams said it’s okay to give mama 2 xanax 3 times a day to help with her agitation. I asked her if mama’s inability to eat and all these changes mean the end is near. We previously made the decision to not have a feeding tube inserted if she stopped eating so I told her that if stopping feeding her would help mama be able to die without lingering in pain we wanted to do that. She said they would support us in that decision. Still none of the fluid from the enema has come out. Her catheter bag does have urine in it, though not much and it is dark reddish brown. I emailed Chad and Amy and talked to Chad during the day on the phone about Grannie’s condition. I need Chad to come be with us for me and he needs to be here for Grannie. He and Amy came to see her in the evening and Chad read scripture to her which was such an amazing spiritually uplifting thing for me and I know for mama. They stayed and watched a movie with us and went back home. I gave mama 2 xanax, 2 Seroquel at bedtime and she had a terrible time swallowing them.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

mama reindeer ears

Mama was asleep when we woke and she woke up around 9:30 so I put Vaseline on her lips and moistened her mouth with the swab. Harriett came around 10 and when mama woke up she was stiff, jerking, terrified looking and not saying anything understandable. She had morphine at 10:15, 11:40, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:27. It was difficult to wait the whole hour before giving her more morphine because she’s in such pain. Roy went to get her some Milk of Magnesia and in the afternoon we gave it to her. She couldn’t swallow it and struggled to get 2 tablespoons full down. She is waking up in such pain and such agitation that I called the nurse around 2:30 to see if I could increase the morphine to 1 cc which the nurse said was okay and mama took at 3:31, 5:15 and 7:00. At 7 I gave her the night time Xanax and Seroquel and she slept through the night.

Her nurse said to grind up her pills to make them easier to swallow. Our son Chip and his fiance Liz came over. Roy and Chip going to buy suits since we know her funeral will be soon and groceries. Liz went to the pharmacy to pick up cream for mama’s itching. I cooked chili for Roy, Chip, Liz and me. Chip was able to have some private time with Grannie. She was so very special to both of our boys that their presence is very special to her.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I woke around 7 and heard on the monitor that mother was snoring so I took a bath and got ready for church. Before leaving I heard her awake and went to her room. Her eyes were open and her arms were held out to the side, stiff as a board. Her hands were cold so I put socks on them to keep them warm. I changed her foot socks and put two pairs on to keep her warm. I put Vaseline on her lips and swabbed her mouth. She was only able to make sounds and was obviously in pain. I ground up her Xanax and Lexapro and put the powder on her tongue, then gave her the morphine which she was able to swallow. When I returned from church Roy said she had slept the whole time. Harriett came over after church and mama slept the whole time, waking just slightly a couple of times. Around 4:30 mama woke a little more so I put Vaseline on her lips and swabbed her mouth again, put some vaginal cream on her so she wouldn’t itch and laid her arms under the covers. I put on some Pan Flute Christmas music for her to listen to and she made gurgling sounds for a while. I put her head up a little higher to try to help with that. In the evening her breathing is a lot more gurgly and irregular. She opened her eyes for a little bit and was in pain so I gave her morphine around 5:30.

Roy came into the room with mama and I and said a prayer for her about what a wonderful mother and grandmother she’s been to us and prayed that God would take her to Heaven so she would not have to suffer. He never ceases to amaze me. He’s been absolutely wonderful to mama while she’s been here and has helped in countless ways. Around 7 mama was trying to reach her arm across her body so I shifted her body to her side and put a pillow between her legs. I removed her teeth to soak and ground up her sleeping medicine and Xanax and gave it to her. She seemed to fall asleep immediately and looked very comfortable which she hasn’t looked recently.

That is the end of my documenting and I wish deeply I had continued to the end. The day she died, we could tell it was near the end because her finger nails started turning blue, when you raised the blanket it smelled bad which is a sign her organs have shut down, she gurgled a lot, and her breathing got more and more irregular until it stopped. Mama died on December 19th at our home with her family holding hands standing and sitting around her.





The dying process usually begins well before death actually occurs.

Death is a personal journey that each individual approaches in their own unique way. Nothing is concrete, nothing is set in stone. There are many paths one can take on this journey but all lead to the same destination.

As one comes close to death, a process begins; a journey from the known life of this world to the unknown of what lies ahead. As that process begins, a person starts on a mental path of discovery, comprehending that death will indeed occur and believing in their own mortality. The journey ultimately leads to the physical departure from the body.

There are milestones along this journey. Because everyone experiences death in their own unique way, not everyone will stop at each milestone. Some may hit only a few while another may stop at each one, taking their time along the way. Some may take months to reach their destination, others will take only days. We will discuss what has been found through research to be the journey most take, always keeping in mind that the journey is subject to the individual traveler.

The Journey Begins: One to Three Months Prior to Death

As one begins to accept their mortality and realizes that death is approaching, they may begin to withdraw from their surroundings. They are beginning the process of separating from the world and those in it. They may decline visits from friends, neighbors, and even family members. When they do accept visitors, they may be difficult to interact with and care for. They are beginning to contemplate their life and revisit old memories. They may be evaluating how they lived their life and sorting through any regrets. They may also undertake the five tasks of dying.

The dying person may experience reduced appetite and weight loss as the body begins to slow down. The body doesn’t need the energy from food that it once did. The dying person may be sleeping more now and not engaging in activities they once enjoyed. They no longer need the nourishment from food they once did. The body does a wonderful thing during this time as altered body chemistry produces a mild sense of euphoria. They are neither hungry nor thirsty and are not suffering in any way by not eating. It is an expected part of the journey they have begun.

One to Two Weeks Prior to Death

Mental Changes

This is the time during the journey that one begins to sleep most of the time. Disorientation is common and altered senses of perception can be expected. One may experience delusions, such as fearing hidden enemies or feeling invincible.

The dying person may also experience hallucinations, sometimes seeing or speaking to people that aren’t there. Often times these are people that have already died. Some may see this as the veil being lifted between this life and the next. The person may pick at their sheets and clothing in a state of agitation. Movements and actions may seem aimless and make no sense to others. They are moving further away from life on this earth.

Physical Changes

The body is having a more difficult time maintaining itself. There are signs that the body may show during this time:

  • The body temperature lowers by a degree or more.
  • The blood pressure lowers.
  • The pulse becomes irregular and may slow down or speed up.
  • There is increased perspiration.
  • Skin color changes as circulation becomes diminished. This is often more noticeable in the lips and nail beds as they become pale and bluish.
  • Breathing changes occur, often becoming more rapid and labored. Congestion may also occur causing a rattling sound and cough.
  • Speaking decreases and eventually stops altogether.

Journey’s End: A Couple of Days to Hours Prior to Death

The person is moving closer towards death. There may be a surge of energy as they get nearer. They may want to get out of bed and talk to loved ones, or ask for food after days of no appetite. This surge of energy may be quite a bit less noticeable but is usually used as a dying person’s final physical expression before moving on.

The surge of energy is usually short, and the previous signs become more pronounced as death approaches. Breathing becomes more irregular and often slower. “Cheyne-Stokes” breathing, rapid breathes followed by periods of no breathing at all, may occur. Congestion in the airway can increase causing loud, rattled breathing.

Hands and feet may become blotchy and purplish (mottled). This mottling may slowly work its way up the arms and legs. Lips and nail beds are bluish or purple. The person usually becomes unresponsive and may have their eyes open or semi-open but not seeing their surroundings. It is widely believed that hearing is the last sense to go so it is recommended that loved ones sit with and talk to the dying during this time.

Eventually, breathing will cease altogether and the heart stops. Death has occurred.


Please come back next time when I’ll share more topics about end of life care including Hospice, 10919059_10152982586361740_4239672769227388113_nLetting Go and Getting things in order.(Current Note:  I dont know if I actually wrote the one I just referenced, we’ll see.) If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,
matthew 11 28


Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays  published every Wednesday


01.11.18 Just some awesome videos, rocks, and Roy’s eyes!

Thursday, January 11, 2018 – I came across all three of these videos on Facebook today.  I normally include these in my Wacky Wonderful blog but, who knows why, I wanted you all to see these here.


Image result for old age is a gift

To all my friends and family who are “feeling” old or are just plain old. We are blessed and this short video says it all. Old age is a gift, embrace it, kick up your heels and have fun and even be silly (I’ve got that one down pat). Mentor those young folks who could benefit from your aged wisdom. We are called by God to do this. Young folks, listen to what your elders want to share with you. That means they care deeply.

I certainly don’t like the malfunctions that occur with older folks bodies, but I truly love being older. There’s nothing like the years of gaining wisdom, years of God changing us into His image, and the difference in our lives now that we are retired and have grandchildren!


You may not know it but I like popping, locking, crumping and other hip hop dances.  Every year when “So You Think You Can Dance” comes on I try to do those dances with them.  I’m sure I look ridiculous but it’s so much fun!   This video is not any of those but I love how the old lady is getting into it!


That’s it for today.

Roy had a follow up appointment with his eye specialist, Dr. Greiner, because his vision isn’t getting better like it should be one month after the cataract surgery.  Dr. Greiner agreed that it should be better by now.  The new lens has a wrinkle in it which should straighten out on its own.  The surgery scheduled for the other eye is now cancelled and Roy will go back in February to Dr. Greiner to check the progress of the first eye then.  If his vision isn’t where it should be 3 months after the surgery he’ll have the eye polished.

My two weeks of no rock painting has ended.  I decided to try out some new painting techniques and even try painting art on the rocks. I painted several rocks following step by step directions and brought some of them to the doctor’s office.

While we were at the doctor’s office we saw they had a small tree with several of my smaller rocks around it!

I’m also trying out a technique called paint pouring where you pour three or four similar colors in a cup.  Without stirring it with anything you move the cup around to where the paint is kind of mixed but not much.  You then pour it on a clean rock and it makes really cool looking rocks.  I’m going to have to do a few of these before I get it just right.

We are taking Roy out for his birthday Thursday evening with Chip’s family.  I’ll share next time about the fun I know we’ll have.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear

cooltext1838781539Click on the links below to go there!

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published randomly

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly

01.10.18 Dora and the Explorers – STILAD- My sisters memories, Feeding tubes and Kleenex published 03.13.15

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 –  Today is my amazing husband Roy’s birthday!  Happy 67th Birthday Honey!!

I go back to Dr. Morgan, the new (maybe) neurologist next week.  I’ve been on the new medicine she prescribed for me for the last three weeks.  My focus and energy level are better.  My memory of recent events, learning (and retaining) new things, and knowing what things are called has not improved at all.  We’ll see what she says at the visit.

Christmas with our sons and their family went well.  The love that comes out of those little ones is the very best medicine for me.  Hearing them constantly say “Grannie this” or “Grannie that” soothes me and ramps up my happiness so much.

Even though the original blog below starts with “This will be the last blog ….” it obviously was not.  Even after writing about everything I knew from caring for Mama I found articles that I believed important enough to share.


Original Blog from 03.13.15 – This will be the last blog I will publish on a regular basis about Alzheimer’s.  I’ve basically covered all the important things I wanted to pass along and have actually lost all the material I collected from other sources.  I must have trashed the wrong file and in WordPress there is no trash bin to retrieve things out of!  I will continue to pass along information I find informative from the various places I subscribe to about dementia.

As my own story progresses I will share with ya’ll.  One thing I recently did was to have my hand scanned to find out what essential oils my body needs.  The two main ones were grapefruit oil which helps your brain and coriander which helps diabetes and other things.  I’ve been putting 3 drops of grapefruit oil in a large glass of ice water every morning and drinking it.  I asked the doctor to be sure it was okay and they said it’s okay.

A while back I asked my sister to share with me what she remembers about our mom and her time with Alzheimer’s.  I’m not going to edit it, just present it as she told it.  Below that I am including a couple my own thoughts that may help someone.

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By:  Harriett Roussel   When she was in her home and I would visit, she gradually became not her usual talkative self. She complained that people asked too many questions. She would get especially upset when Pat called (her long time close friend).  I guess she didn’t know the answers and couldn’t remember who Pat was referring to.

I always found the microwave very dirty with boiled over coffee.  She forgot how to operate it. Also the same 10931306_1097965880229685_8471053185574325462_nwith the dishwasher.  I would find up to 17 capsules of dishwasher cleaner thrown in and she would never turn it on.  Sometimes she would remember to put the dishes away (dirty of course).  One time she tried to open a tin of danish cookies with a knife.  She punched a hole in the lid and peeled some of it away.  It’s a miracle she didn’t cut herself.

My first real shock was when I told her I was coming but she didn’t know who it was at her door. When she finally let me in, she said she didn’t know I was coming but Harriett would be there later.  Maybe this was the first time she thought I was her sister.  I had come to dress her arm but could not find the bandages for she had put them in a very odd place.

It’s interesting how the brain doesn’t work at times,  for when I would call her, mother, she couldn’t make the connection that I was her child.

I also found that food I brought never moved from the spot in the fridge where it was  placed.  It really hurt to think she was not eating.  When I would put food in front of her, she would eat and really express delight that I brought something.By the time she was at the Village, Assisted Living Facility, she certainly didn’t know where she was and who visited.  I could come right after he brother Aubrey and she wouldn’t remember he had been there.  One time she kept calling for Chip, her grandson, and when I told her he wasn’t there, she said he was but just wasn’t listening.

I always thought I had brought her enough snacks but when I returned a few days later, they were all gone.

I tried to remember that even though she didn’t know me, her face would always light up with a wide smile when she saw me. I will always be grateful that she knew you and that brought her great comfort.

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About feeding tubes.  There does come a time in the natural progression of a body dying that they no longer desire nor need food.  In case you do not have hospice and that time comes, I urge you to not insert a feeding tube.  When the body is trying to shut down I’ve been told it is actually painful to the person to receive food.  You think you are doing the right thing.  How could you possibly not feed your loved one when there’s a way to do it, right?   Here are a 10550869_798241600244072_4872256279882376078_n couple of  links to articles where this is described better.


Artificial Nutrition and Hydration at the End of Life: Beneficial or Harmful?

Some of ya’ll may choose to not read through all that so I’ll include a brief quote from the second article:

10013906_10152873429361718_2039051400472671846_nMyth: A person with advanced disease or a terminal illness who stops eating will “starve to death” painfully.

Fact: When a person with advanced disease or a terminal illness stops eating, usually it is because his/her disease has progressed to the point where the person is no longer able to process food and fluids as does a healthy person.  Forcing this person to eat, or starting artificial nutrition and hydration does not help the person to live longer, feel better, feel stronger, or be able to do more.  In fact, such a person given artificial nutrition and/or hydration will often feel bloated, nauseated, and/or develop diarrhea.  Studies have shown that the majority of dying patients never experience hunger, and in those who do, small amounts of food and fluids, offered whenever the person wants, relieves the hunger.

Mama stopped eating about a week before she died.  They say that it usually takes two weeks from the time they stop taking in nutrition.  A friend of mine whose mom died from Alzheimer’s lasted well past two weeks.  Each person is different.  If allowed to die naturally you are doing the very best thing you can for your loved one.  I firmly believe that.

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Kleenex – oh the many dozens of boxes of Kleenex Mama went through was eventually hillarious!  We all bought her1466202_537448149725518_6129419143299088950_n cases of Kleenex for Christmas the last year.  She wrapped everything in Kleenex and fidgeted with that Kleenex all the time.  Her glasses were thrown away in the Kleenex.  She’d wrap each piece in  bowl of fruit with Kleenex.  The thing was once she put it in the Kleenex she didn’t know where the thing inside had gone. The first year she did that was thought it was terribly strange and couldn’t see the point of constantly buying Kleenex.  But we did and the last few months she continued to wrap and fiddle with it all the time.  She did use it for its intended purpose often, since her nose seemed to continually drip and we never could determine what caused that.  So we just kept buying Kleenex.  I’ve heard this same thing from several others whose family member had Alzheimer’s so I believe it may be something you’ll eventually see your loved one do.

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If you want to get an email whenever I do post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,



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01.09.18 Dora and the Explorers – Wacky Wonderful Tuesday



Complete set of encyclopedia Britannica.
45 Volumes. Excellent condition.
$100 or best offer.
Reason for sale: No longer required.
Got married last weekend.
Wife knows everything.

A company owner was asked a question, “How do you motivate your employees to be so punctual?”

He smiled & replied, “It’s simple. I have 30 employees and 29 free parking spaces. One is paid parking.”


65,000 recycled CDs form colorful floating lillies.  These all together on the water bring magic to the pond!

COURAGE, by Dr. Ray Pritchard

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” – Psalm 16:1-2

There are many days where I feel an overwhelming sense of discouragement, exhaustion, or frustration.

It might be little things that bring about these feelings in me, or it might be major life events that have left me weary and hurting, but either way, I know I don’t have the strength on my own to make it through.

It’s days like those where I find prayers like this comforting. When we feel those feelings creeping in, may we instead choose to kneel before our Father in heaven and ask him for the strength and courage we need to carry on.





Golden Gate Opening 1937   


Reach out to someone in need this week!

Let others see Jesus in you this week!

Be His light in the darkness this week!

Have a Blessed Week!


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01.08.18 Educational Facebook Postings – LOL

Monday, January 8, 2018 – My friend Cindy posted this on Facebook.  Facebook has many great purposes and some really weird and wild purposes.  Here are some of the weird ones.

As we leave 2017, I want to thank you all for your educational Facebook postings over the past year…🙌🏻

Thanks to your postings:

I can no longer let the waitress put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on the lemon peel.

I can’t sit down on a hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed.

I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking one’s nose.

I can’t touch any woman’s handbag for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public toilet.

I must send my special thanks for the posting about rat poo in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing.

ALSO, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I can’t eat at KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes, feet or feathers.

I’ve learned that some of my friends communicate with Jesus through Facebook.

Thanks to you, I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I share your posting with twenty of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

I no longer buy fuel without taking someone along to watch the car, so a serial killer doesn’t crawl in my back seat when I’m filling up.

I no longer use Cling Wrap in the microwave because it causes at least seven different types of cancer.

And thanks for letting me know I can’t boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face, disfiguring me for life.

I no longer go to shopping centers because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me..

I now keep my toothbrush in the living room because I learned from a posting that toilet water can spray up to nine feet when the toilet is flushed.

And thanks to your great advice I can’t ever pick up a quarter coin dropped in the car park because it was probably placed there by a sex molester waiting to grab me as I bend over.

I can’t do any gardening because I’m afraid I’ll get bitten by the violin Spider and my hand will fall off.

Oh, and by the way… since learning that placing cut onions throughout my house will protect me from everything ranging from anthrax to unwanted pregnancies, I’ve not had one single cough or cold in the past six months. Nor has anyone stepped inside my door for those six months! 🤣

I borrowed this via cut n paste from someone else who also borrowed it, so this post is pretty well germ infested by now


Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!!

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01.06.18 Dora and the Explorers – STILAD – Mama’s interesting conversation published 01.09.15

mama reindeer ears
Mama at Thanksgiving, a very good day for her with all her family around her. She loved these reindeer ears so we let her wear them. The dialog below occurred around this time.

January 6, 2018 – It’s hard to believe that this conversation mama had with herself was over 10 years ago.  It was November, 2007 and she died in December, 2007.  I loved that special lady so much.  Her dementia journey did not cover years (so thankful for that) though we realized she probably had it for quite a while before we caught on. She was kind, thoughtful and had such a pretty smile.

The only time she got mean was when the home health staff tried to bathe her.  I was given the evil eye because I was allowing that to happen.  Once the bath was over she went back to being wonderful.   I never saw that look from her in all my life before then.

She was even nice when she’d tell me that the people who lived upstairs (that was my husband and me) kept the house too cold.  She’d never liked dogs throughout her life but our dog Nacho became her best friend and slept on her bed with her.  She’d also feed mama’s food to Nacho using her own fork.  She’d tell me really quietly sometimes that the food she was fed wasn’t fit for a dog.  It was some of her favorite food that I had cooked throughout her life so we got a chuckle out of that.

Original Blog 01.09.15 – Roy and I are deep into constructing a new house which takes up lots of time. So for the next couple of months I’ll be posting this blog every other Friday.  Once the house is finished I’ll go back to weekly publishing!  Thanks for following our blog!

I planned to wait a bit before posting today’s dialog until you all knew my mom a bit better.  When I was putting the finishing touches on the original blog for today I kept thinking about this and realized this is what I’m suppose to share today.  Possibly someone out there needs to read it because their loved one is in this stage or nearing it.  The dialog below was fairly typical of a lot of evenings with mama during the last stage of Alzheimer’s.

I will believe these ramblings of mama’s will be very eye opening for some.  When I’ve referred to “this bizarre little world they live in” this is that world.  Sometimes these ramblings would go on for hours and skip a few days and then pick up day after day.  Having a baby monitor handy to take with me wherever I went I was able to get away from the constant rambling but still be in touch so I could step in if she really needed me.  If you have the money to buy a monitor with a video screen I’d say get that.  I didn’t have that but feel it would be a valuable tool in caring for them.

Something I want add here is that even though she doesn’t say it in this piece below she began calling her bed her “rack”.  Anytime she hollered out it would be something about getting her off “this rack”. Took a bit to make that connection but since she said it numerous times a day we figured it out!  Here we go with:


Sunday night November 18, 2007 – 9:35 p.m.

After me going into check on her twice when she’s called and Roy going in to check on her twice I went upstairs to our bedroom and I’ve been listening to mama talk through the baby monitor for about an hour now. Since I can’t go to sleep until she’s asleep I decided to type what she’s saying.

“Where is my chair. I can’t find my chair. Someone took my chair. They don’t have anything better to do than to take my chair.”

“I have so much to do and I never get finished. I have so much to do but I enjoy doing it. Sometimes I think I do too much but sometimes I enjoy it. Uhmmm… But I need to do it and I enjoy it. Uhmmm it hurts but I enjoy doing it. It hurts too.

10013906_10152873429361718_2039051400472671846_nIt hurts but I have to do a lot of stuff. But you know it’s good and you’re suppose to do it. But it’s hurting you when you have to do it. It hurts, because it’s something you’re suppose to do. You’re suppose to do it, you need to do it. You have to do so much. You need to do certain things. Whether you like it or want to do things but that’s the way it goes. Oh Lord help me to realize it. Certain things you got to do whether you like to or not. And it hurts whether you like to do it or not. Thank you Lord for giving me the common sense that things have to be done whether you want to or not. “

Long silence.

“So many things I need to get so many things off of my mind. And I need so badly to help and do things that I mainly would not like to do but Lord knows no I can’t do everything I want to. And I just can’t get everything done. NO and I can’t get everything done for everything. Ohhhh I know I can’t … but I gotta try. I need to try and I do try pretty hard sometimes. I do try. But it doesn’t always work out for me. It just doesn’t work for me. My mind just doesn’t work in that way for me. Ohhhhhh ……. I wish it didn’t. Lord Help Me. Oh I know the Lord would help me. I feel like I need to do. He knows what I need and I just can’t do it. And Lord you know I can only do so much and you know my feet and legs are just hurting so much. Help me please Lord, I can only do so much, ohhhhhhh. Help me Lord. Please help me.”

(I went downstairs to see if I could reassure her and if she needed something and she said “no, I’m fine” and then “thank you darling”.  I go back upstairs.)

“Lord Help Me please, I’m so limited in what I can do. I can only do so much and then….. , help me please. Lord help me please, cause I’m limited in what I can do. Ohhhh. My girls love me and I know they do but I can’t help it. I can’t help but cry. I can’t help it. I deserve to cry. “

(I went back downstairs and told her I loved her and covered her back up. She hollered “I love you” as I was leaving and I told her “I love you too.”)

She blew her nose

“I can’t believe it. I can’t help but cry. My ….. just hurts hurts hurts. And I can’t help it. Uhmmmm. My behind hurts too. My stomach hurts so bad. I don’t know why. But it hurts. I don’t know why. Uhmmmm. “

Long silence – She blew her nose.- Long silence.

“It hurts my behind so badly. Long silence. Oh it hurts so bad. Uhmmmm. I try to keep it from hurting but I can’t help it sometimes. Uhmmmm. But I try and it doesn’t always help. I wish somebody could help me to do that. It doesn’t help me though. No it doesn’t help a bit. Uhmmmm. Silence. (It’s 9:54 now.)

It didn’t help, not a bit. No matter how much you try to help it just doesn’t help. No matter how much you …. for it, it doesn’t help. It doesn’t help a bit. Silence. I d10805619_570046056465727_6872502226160874895_non’t think so. But it seems like it doesn’t matter, matter how much you try to help it but sometimes it doesn’t seem like it does. Sometimes…… and then it seems like it hurts more and more. And hurts and more and more and hurts. (She’s getting quieter now with more silence in between sentences.) I can’t help it, it seems like. Hurts more and more. It seems to be worse and worse. Sometimes they get worse and worse. I guess I can’t do anything about it. Uhmmmm. My knees get worse and worse too. And the dog gone feet they get worse and worse and worse. And my feet do to and I don’t know what to do. I can’t get them any better, I don’t know why they won’t get better. Feels like they get worse and worse, instead of better. Uhmmmm. They are getting worse NOW. I can’t get any better. They don’t get any better. I can’t get them any better. ………………

Somebody could come and help me. Somebody could come and help me a little bit and all that pretty chair all over there you could come and help me a little bit. (She starts getting louder.) Come and help a little bit it won’t kill you, it might make you feel better for helping somebody. Somebody it wouldn’t hurt you. I don’t think it would. I don’t think it would hurt you at all. It certainly wouldn’t……… Uhmmmm. I don’t think it would. Uhmmmm. A little bit of … wouldn’t hurt anybody. Uhmmmm. Uhmmmm. It never hurt, might not make you happy but it wouldn’t hurt you. It wouldn’t hurt at all. It wouldn’t hurt at all, it might not help you any but it wouldn’t hurt. They’re never busy, they’re just blabbing, blabbing, blabbing.

Oh, I lost a shoe (she doesn’t have any shoes on, just socks). Don’t know where my shoe is, well heck another shoe lost. Another shoe gone. Another shoe gone (she starts to cry). Oh where is my shoe. Somebody took my shoe or I lost it. I lost my shoe. Oh dog gone I lost another shoe. Uhmmmm. It hurts when I lose another shoe. Uhmmmm. I lost my other shoe. Oh what am I do, what am I do. Oh, I lost another shoe. Dog gone. Somebody come help me find it. I lost another shoe. Uhm, I can’t find it. I can’t find it. Somebody help me. Somebody come help me, please. I can’t find it. I can’t find my shoe. Ohhhh, they are hard to find. I can’t find it. Somebody can come and help me find them. Could somebody come help me find them. I might not, I’m gonna try. If somebody would I sure would appreciate it. Silence. I can’t find it no where. I can’t find it no where. Noooooowhere. My feet and toes hurt soooo baaaad. I can’t find it and can’t feel them anywhere.

Oh I wish I could. Is there anybody in the room? Rosie? I thought maybe there was one of the girls in the room. Rosie? Shoot I thought it was one of the girls. My …. was hurting so bad I thought it was one of you all. I needed to know who it was. And I couldn’t see and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know who it was and I just wanted to be sure. OHHHHH. I didn’t know who it was and I wanted to be sure.

(I go downstairs and peek in on her but she’s laying there smiling and quiet so I go back upstairs)

10897013_10152939097016740_8571813695345601818_nMy knees hurt so bad and I didn’t know who it was and I just wanted to be sure. I just wanted to be sure and my …… Somebody can help me if he can. Somebody will. Who is that touching on my feet (nobody). Is that somebody touching my feet? I hope it is somebody that is willing to help me for a few minutes. Why didn’t you answer me (sounds mad)? I don’t bite. Please somebody help me. Please somebody help me. Please somebody help me. I can’t get out of this rack. I can’t get out of this bed. Somebody please help me. Please. I can’t get out of this bed. I can’t get out of this bed. Somebody help me PLEASE. Don’t be so greedy. I’m not gonna hurt anybody.

I don’t hurt anybody and I don’t bite anybody and I’m not gonna hurt anybody but I would appreciate it if you would help me, just for a little few minutes.

(I went downstairs to see if there was really anything I could do and when I walked in and asked she said “no, I’m fine”. I said you were calling for help and she said “I was?” So I went back upstairs)

“I surely would appreciate it if somebody would help me. Rosalyn. Rosalyn. (She says calling me, loudly. I just went down there so I don’t go again.) Rosalyn. You don’t have but one mother in here calling for you. (Of course I go back down – her underpants and socks are off and she says she doesn’t know how that happened – I put new underpants and socks on her, tuck her in and tell her I’m going to go back upstairs and try to go back to sleep so maybe she’ll go to sleep.)

Never, never. ……. But it hurts and it hurts and it hurts. And you can’t do anything….. Uh hummmm. Nothing, 68191_540179176119082_3188283374700687354_nnothing, nothing. I tried so hard so many times. So many times. I’ve tried and tried so many times and it didn’t work. And I’ve tried and tried so many times and it didn’t work. It didn’t work, it didn’t work but I tried and tried and tried. But I really tried.”

Long Silence – sleep maybe?

“Who is it, who is it, who is it? Somebody say something. They’re taking the cover. We need it we need it cause it’s cold outside. We don’t need it, we need it rather because it’s getting colder outside, outside. Getting colder outside, outside all the time. It’s cold forever. …… somebody must have borrowed some of it. No somebody must have borrowed some of it. Somebody must have borrowed some of it cause some of it’s gone. Goodness sakes you never know, you never know.

Okay – enough typing – It’s 10:40 and she’s still talking so I’m going to bed and listen to her on the other monitor and pray she goes to sleep soon.


The following is another brief ramble the next day.

Nap time on Monday – 1 p.m. Don’t turn it over like some people do. Please please please let people know you care about them. And when you can help somebody, they know it. And it means a lot to them. It hurts when you know. It burns some up when you don’t show that you care about them. It means a lot to them. You need to let them know…… I need to know. Somebody help me. Please somebody help me. I can’t get up.


Please come back next time when I’ll share another aspect of Alzheimer’s to help you understand it better. If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,

psalm 34 18


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Dora and the Explorers published randomly

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01.05.18 – Dora and the Explorers – STILAD – My brain update from 01.16.15

rosalyn useFriday, January 5, 2018  – I realize that I am not reblogging these Dementia blog posts in order.  This one should have been published before the two about the horrible experience with my old Neurologist.  He really was a good doctor the first few years.  I do want to republish every one of the blog posts but am finding it is very confusing to me. 

Original Blog from 01.16.15 – I didn’t plan to publish a new post today.  After Wednesday’s visit to my neurologist (I call him my brain doctor) I changed my mind.

I open my personal life on my personal blog but have only shared about my mama’s journey through Alzheimer’s on this one.  I am sharing my story because it is different than someone with Alzheimer’s but it includes memory loss and thinking deficiencies you may see in a loved one.  I’m hopeful that knowing my story may help someone and that’s my whole intent in anything I write about.

I’ve known for about three years now that I have many lesions in my brain (I call them little holes) caused by having multiple TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attacks – mini strokes ).  I also knew that I had atrophy in my brain but the emphasis originally was placed on stopping the lesions from increasing in number, until now. Since the initial diagnosis and for quite a while before that, I realized my memory and thinking were not what they use to be.  I have a high IQ and was always able to do multiple things at once and the decline in a couple of areas (short term memory and thinking) had become very noticeable to myself and my husband in the last 5 years or so.

Three years ago, after a series of psychological testing by Dr. Susan Andrews a neuropschologist followed by numerous dr-shamsniamedical brain tests by my neurologist Dr. Morteza Shamsnia, I learned about my circulatory problem, the lesions and some brain atropy.  Dr. Shamsnia prescribed Plavix (a blood thinner) to prevent more TIAs and Aricept which you all probably know as a medicine for Dementia patients with mild to medium cases (early to middle stage) to improve memory.  I am hopeful it will help improve my memory and thinking.

I was also told that I had to diligently use my CPAP for the sleep apnea which I have.  I wasn’t good about using it until then and unfortunately the lack of oxygen may have opened the way for the multiple TIAs I’ve experienced.  Since then I find I cannot sleep if it’s not on me. I see this as God’s way of pushing me to do this important thing to stop these TIAs.

rosalyn use 5At a visit a few weeks ago, my neurologist said he wanted a new MRI to submit with my request for Social Security Disability which I plan to pursue.  I had the MRI shortly after that appointment and returned yesterday to see Dr. Shamsnia to get the results.  The good news is that there are no new lesions so the Plavix seems to be doing its job.  I brought him the computer chip out of my CPAP (it records every time I use it) and he could see I use it all the time.   Yay for me finally listening to a doctor and doing what he tells me to do!  He told me that because of the importance of this to my brain’s health, I should get a back up battery for it should we ever lose electricity at night.

Now that the increase in lesions is under control, the focus shifts to cerebral atrophy (shrinking brain).  I haven’t followed up with as often as I should have or this focus wouldn’t have taken so long to come up.  In his words, I have significant brain atrophy far more than someone my age should have.  I have had it for a while but we don’t know how long and we also don’t know the cause of it.

Here’s a brief definition of Cerebral Atrophy I found at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website:

Cerebral atrophy is a common feature of many of the diseases that affect the brain. Atrophy of any tissue means loss of cells. In brain tissue, atrophy describes a loss of neurons and the connections between them. Atrophy can be generalized, which means that all of the brain has shrunk; or it can be focal, affecting only a limited area of the brain and resulting in a decrease of the functions that area of the brain controls. If the cerebral hemispheres (the two lobes of the brain that form the cerebrum) are affected, conscious thought and voluntary processes may be impaired.

I didn’t know this to ask whether mine is general or focal. I also didn’t think to ask him what percentage my brain has atrophied.  I need to bring my husband for my next visit so all the questions are asked. Dr. Shamsnia didn’t mention Dementia and I have to admit that I was terrified to ask the question so I do not know if that is part of this but the definition of Dementia is filled with symptoms I have.

Dementia is characterized by a progressive impairment of memory and intellectual function that is severe enough to interfere with social and work skills. Memory, orientation, abstraction, ability to learn, visual-spatial perception, and higher executive functions such as planning, organizing, and sequencing may also be impaired.

I will have to work up the courage to ask about dementia at my next visit. You’d think I’d be comfortable asking about it rosalyn use 2since I write about it but since its me, my fear kicked in.  I should have asked because then I could face it or scratch it off of my concerns. I know that God will cover me with his love and as always will walk with me through this storm as He always has.

The causes for cerebral atrophy are: 1-Stroke (he says mine were just mini strokes and wouldn’t cause the atrophy),  2 – Malnourished (ha! I definitely don’t look malnourished BUT a vitamin deficiency of some sort is in that and could be the cause), 3 – Brain injury (which I’ve never had that I know of).

Because the main probability for me is a deficiency of something, the next steps are to see what my family doctor does blood work for (I had a blood test Wednesday morning).  If my normal test doesn’t include things that I could have a deficiency in (causing the atrophy) Dr  Shamsnia will order those tests.  Once we know those results, he will know what to address to start putting an end or slow down to the continuous atrophy.  People my age normally have approximately a one percent brain size loss each year until they die.  Mine is not a normal amount.   I’m also to try to get copies of any brain MRIs I’ve had in years before 2011 to see what showed up then.

rosalyn use 0I have an inability to take care of two things at once any longer, much less 5  things.  If I cannot focus on the one thing I’m doing or have any interruptions I don’t produce the quality of work I strive for.  I still live quite independently but my Hero husband has learned to pick up the slack in our daily lives and helps me remember things all the time.  Having a phone with a memo pad on it and Google calendar alarms help a lot!

Dr. Shamsnia says that me doing the research for, and compiling the three blogs I publish, is excellent for keeping my mind active.  Oh, and spell check on the computer helps disguise the deficiency in my typing that has been very apparent in recent years.  I can still type 100 wpm but my one mistake I’d make has changed to 10 mistakes.  My brain just doesn’t tell my fingers the correct words but spell check saves the day! Our RV lifestyle is also good for it, since when we live on the road most of the real life responsibilities are greatly reduced.  God has guided us through this life changing process and I am so thankful He is there every day with us.

Dr. Shamsnia is putting together a letter to Social Security detailing my journey and I’ll be applying online shortly.  He feels that with his documentation I will be able to get it.  I will share with you that journey as it maybe helpful to someone doing that for themselves or their parent with Alzheimer’s.  Social Security disability is a mysterious world to me, so if anyone has any advice please share!

I’ll get back to sharing information about Alzheimer’s and will include, when I have them, updates on my brain atrophy. I have to admit I have a deep concern that some of the things I’ve shared about what Alzheimer’s does to someone, are the things I may face.  There I’ve said it out loud.  My son and husband already know that what I write to you all is also written to them in case I need them to know these things I find important for caregivers.

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Enough of that,  ya’ll have a fabulous weekend!


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