08.29.18 Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, by Clayton Jennings

Psalms 139: 13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
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Our culture loves to define people by their shortcomings and flaws.

If you struggle in school, you’re stupid.

If you’re not as good looking as the people on magazines, you’re ugly.

If you’re not bone skinny, you’re fat.

If you’re not wealthy, you’re broke.

If you’re not perfect, you’re a mistake.

I hate that I have to raise my daughter in a society that cares more about people’s appearance and status than their heart.

I hate that I’ve been guilty of perpetuating the very standard by which my own daughter will one day be measured by as people judge her worth.

I’m thankful that God is not like us.

The way I see my daughter is the way God sees you.

I could never see her as anything less than beautiful. I could never stop loving her no matter what she does. God sees you that way.

You were fearfully and wonderfully made and God loves you even when others don’t.

You might be struggling with your shortcomings, your inabilities, and your appearance.

I hope you start to see yourself how God sees you and I hope you learn to die to the opinions of shallow people in a cheap society.

You were made in God’s image. Nothing can change that. Walk in your worth.

By Clayton Jennings

Every verse in Psalm 139 is such a testimony to the love and intimately personal knowledge and care of our Lord for us.  I couldn’t leave just a verse or two out there so here is the whole chapter.

Psalm 139 New International Version (NIV)

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

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08.27.18 DEMENTIA IS NOT A MEMORY PROBLEM

Monday, August 27, 2018 – What is happening when someone has dementia? It’s important to understand the job of the brain because it is the guiding system, the maintenance system, and the managing system of the body. Learn more about the role of the limbic system, the prefrontal cortex, the sensory motor strip, and the importance of the occipital lobe for seeing and doing. It is estimated that with most dementias the brain shrinks one third of its original size causing many changes in structural and chemical ability.

Dementia is not a memory problem.

It means brain failure and causes

many changes in structural

and chemical function.

That sentence above is one of the most important statements that I’d like everyone to know.  That’s why it is in large print, centered and bolded!

This video below is an overall great explanation of the parts of the brain and how they change, shrink or stop working with dementia.  I can never say enough about how Teepa Snow explains so clearly all aspects of dementia.

http://teepasnow.com/resources/teepa-tips-videos/brain-changes/

08.25.18 Rewiring My Brain and Stepping into Alzheimer’s World, by Bob DeMarco

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Once you start to understand how things work in Alzheimer’s World – you get calm and comfortable.

Once you get calm and comfortable you give off a better “vibe” to someone that has Alzheimer’s.

Over time as you learn how to understand, cope and communicate with a person living with dementia you will find that instead of being at odds most of time you begin to relate better to each other. Once you start to relate to each other you find that it is much easier to operate in a world filled with Alzheimer’s disease.

The key word here is relate.

You relate well and get along best with your closest friends don’t you? Well in order to relate well with a person living with dementia – you have to adjust to the circumstances. I decided I would find a new way to communicate with my mother who was living with Alzheimer’s disease. I wrote that on my da Vinci pad in 2004. This was at the same time I was coming to another conclusion, something had to change and that something was me.

I did not perceived the changes in communication as being difficult. After all, I had been studying communication and decision making all the way back to college days, and ever since. I figured some practice and I would get the hang of it.

What I did not immediately perceive was how difficult it would be to change all the things I had learned over the course of my life.

For example, I had to learn how NOT to feel bad when my mother said something mean spirited to me.

I knew consciously that every time my mother said something “mean” to me, she didn’t mean it. I knew this because she never said any of those things to me before dementia started affecting her brain. Her ability to think and feel.

So, I knew it was Alzheimer’s that was causing her to be so “mean”.

Nevertheless, when Dotty said something mean, and even though I knew she didn’t mean it, I still felt sad, angry, and often snapped back at her. In other words, I reacted the way I would react to anyone that treated me in that way.

All I can say is, Wowie Zowie. It is very hard and very difficult to change patterns of behavior that you learned over 50 years.

I had to rewire my brain.

I decided it would be easier if I could put myself in a new place. This is why I invented Alzheimer’s World. Instead of trying to relearn my entire life, I decide I would start a brand new life, a second parallel life.

My new second life would reside within the confines of Alzheimer’s World. In Alzheimer’s World all the rules, feelings, and methods of communication would be different.

I started developing some ideas about how I would communicate effectively with someone that couldn’t remember they were mean to me, and really couldn’t remember my “too long” explanations of this and that.

In order to get control of my emotions I knew I had to move fast and seamlessly into Alzheimer’s World. I had to get there before the anger came up. Anger, even though I knew I shouldn’t be angry.

I came up with an idea that worked. As soon as the craziness started, I would take one giant step to the left. An actual physical step to the left. As I made this step, I would tell myself that I was going into Alzheimer’s World.

It took a while, but it worked. My brain was rewired. More or less segmented into two parts, real world and Alzheimer’s World. Over time I learned to separate one from the other.

Once I learned how to step seamlessly into Alzheimer’s World something wonderful started to happen. Dotty finally, after a few years, stopped saying all those mean and nasty things to me.

She started telling people, Bobby is a good boy.

Here is the best part. The better I became at communicating in Alzheimer’s World, the sweeter and more cooperative Dotty became. Not that the world is perfect. Dotty is still Dotty and she can still be a big pain in the butt.

You see, once I accepted that I needed to communicate and interact with Dotty in her new world she became happier and easier to deal with.

Now, we didn’t leave the real world. Alzheimer’s World is a combination of the two worlds. In Alzheimer’s World it is understood that the person can’t remember the now. They can’t remember the sentence before this one.

In Alzheimer’s World it is perfectly fine if someone asks the same question 20 times in a row.

This is how communication goes in Alzheimer’s World. In Alzheimer’s World it is perfectly fine if a person says NO 20 times a day. NO does not have the same meaning in Alzheimer’s World. In fact, in my opinion NO has no meaning in Alzheimer’s World.

Once you start to understand how things work in Alzheimer’s World you get calm and comfortable. Once you get calm and comfortable you give off a better “vibe” to someone that has Alzheimer’s. If you can get to the “vibe”, the person living with Alzheimer’s becomes calmer and feels more secure.

Let’s put it this way. If you were sent to live somewhere where all the people were purple and they spoke so fast you couldn’t understand a word they were saying — how would you feel?

If you felt like all the purple people didn’t like you — how would you feel all day long?

If you were stuck in this purple world and couldn’t figure out how to get out, and couldn’t understand how you got there in the first place — how would you feel?

Alzheimer’s World can be a wonderful place. In fact, most Alzheimer’s patients are very sweet once you get to know them. They are very appreciative.

Keeping stepping to the left. You’ll find the door to Alzheimer’s World.

This article is a repeat of an article that was published previously. It ranks in the top 25 most frequently read articles on the ARR, and has been widely shared via on Google+ and Facebook.

https://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/2011/06/rewiring-my-brain-and-stepping-into.html

By Bob DeMarco, Alzheimer’s Reading Room

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

08.21.18 Post-op visit with Dr. Blessey

Monday, August 21, 2018 – Roy and I went to see Dr. Blessey in Covington for my post surgery visit last Friday and for Roy.

Roy has been experiencing some pain in the knee he had replaced almost three years ago and wanted to have Dr. Blessey check it out. They took an x-ray of Roy’s knees.  The one he had surgery one looks fine and you can see the surgical implants in the xrays below.  It’s not hurting Roy all the time, mostly in the morning or when he stands around for a while.  Dr. Blessey said it all looks okay right now.  Said something could be getting loose, or infected, or just nothing.  He said to come back if it consistently continues.

I got the last of the loose stitches from my knee surgery taken out by a young lady working in the office who allowed me to take pictures! I didn’t get her name but she was very  nice!

I was told by Dr. Blessey that I’m doing really well, better than others at this stage. The home health staff have told me that, but it was especially nice to hear it from my doctor.  He puts his patients on coumadin for three weeks starting the day before surgery.  Tuesday is my last day taking it.  I got checked on Monday by my nurse (Jana in the picture to the right) to make sure my coumadin level is not too high. I go back to see Dr. Blessey in four weeks.  I am so happy to be at this post surgery stage.

I have really liked having Jana and the Omni staff come to the house to work with me.  Jana and Brennan have been here the most.  If you ever get to choose what home health company to use, Omni is great!!

It will take months for me to be fully healed but my waddling and limping walk are pretty much history which helps my hip and everything feel better! Right now the only lingering thing is that my knee feels tired near the end of the day.  That’s great compared to the pain I had before the surgery.

The two photos below are a side view and a front view what was put in my knee for a partial knee replacement.

I just found these two graphics which I feel really show the difference between a full knee replacement which Roy had in early 2016 and a partial which I just had.

FULL KNEE REPLACEMENT

What will my total knee replacement look like

 

PARTIAL KNEE REPLACEMENT

What will my partial knee replacement look like

Dr. Blessey does the same type of advanced technology full knee replacement surgery as Dr. Schraeder in Tennessee does.  We are thankful some friends told us about Dr. Schraeder and for how well he took care of Roy in 2016.  Since we know that Dr. Blessey does the same thing I would highly recommend him as he is a local doctor in the Ochsner system.  Here’s his contact information:

Ochsner Medical Center, 1000 Ochsner Blvd, Covington, LA 70433. Phone: (985) 875-2828

Roy had to park pretty far away from the building after he dropped me off at the door.  He saw this amazing’s cool Ochsner mini football field next to the building.  You can see it first through the physical therapy windows and then when we got outside.  The Fleur de Lis was beautiful and we learned it is a 60-yard training field for sports medicine.

After the doctor’s appointment we had a very nice visit with my sister Harriett and brother in law George at their house.  It’s always great to spend time with them!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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Some Things I Learned About Dementia

 

08.23.18 If You Pray, by Anna Bachinsky

Today, you may not get the answer but if you PRAY you will have faith to keep trusting God for it.

Today, you may not win the battle but if you PRAY you will have strength to keep fighting one more day.

Today, you may not get out of the storm but if you PRAY you will have peace in the storm.

When you feel stressed, anxious, hopeless, defeated, and confused PRAY. God is right there with you and even if your situation doesn’t change right away, your attitude, your emotions, and your heart will change as you trust God to take care of you every step of the way.

-Anna Bachinsky 💙 on Women In the Secret Place

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

08.20.18 The 7 Step Guide to Leaving Your Job (to live in an RV), by Chris Conant

Monday, August 20, 2018 – I’ve recently become kinda sorta friends with this young couple and was blown away when I read some of their blog. We will get to meet them in person in a couple of months.  I think ya’ll will like their blog since most people who read ours read it because they like the adventure and travel that was our life from late 2012 to late 2017.  This couple is doing it at a much much younger age and fairly differently than we did. On their blog’s website you can read “Our Story” to learn how they came about living and traveling in a teardrop trailer.  Yes, that’s it on the left. There are several link within their article to more great information.  Be sure to check those out! Because I know some of our followers would love to do what they are doing I asked if I could share this post of theirs.  Chris said “yes” so here goes!

The 7 Step Guide to Leaving Your Job

Posted on

The most common response to our story so far is “Wow, you are so lucky!” quickly followed by an excuse as to why that person could never do what we are doing. For both of us, that meant leaving a good job. We’ve heard everything under the sun from friends and strangers alike. “My current position pays too well” or “I could never get rid of my big, comfy couch.” And of course, “I could never afford that.” In this guide, we hope to address these concerns and provide a road map to help you make your own dreams come true!

Before we dive into our seven step guide, let’s first address the glaringly obvious issue: Leaving any job is challenging. You might think I can’t sympathize considering I’ve had three different jobs in the five years since I graduated law school. None of them seemed to be the right fit.

So trust me when I say that I completely understand the struggle. Bills to pay, self worth tangled up in a professional title, all the time you invested in learning your trade. Those nagging hopes and dreams aren’t just going away though. So when you reach the point I reached last summer (and maybe this post is your catalyst), here is how to give those pests a voice.

Step One – Prepare yourself financially

I hate to lead things off with the financial aspect, but that’s really where you have to begin if you’re considering leaving your job. Anytime you want to make a big change in life, you need to have your ducks in a row. Emotionally, physically, logistically, financially, insert whatever adverb you want.

I wanted to quit my first job out of law school approximately two hours into the first day. Unfortunately, I had signed a year long lease on an apartment within walking distance of the office. I bought a car that required my fancy new job’s fancy salary to afford. I stuck it out for approximately ten months before applying to different jobs in other cities.  Moving to a new state and switching specialties would surely lead me to find a type of lawyering I actually enjoyed, right?

Wrong. Things did go pretty well for a while, but the tables eventually turned. The kool-aid wore off after about two and a half years. A few key mentors left the firm and what was once fun competition turned into a high stress, stupidly competitive and at times, abusive work environment.  I narrowly escaped a similar move when my dad got sick, a move fueled by desperation to leave that toxic place and my fear of not having a steady paycheck. After my father passed away, I decided it was time to finally do something different.

This time I got my financial situation in order first. I took a low-stress, but high paying job at a small start up to bide my time and rake in as much cash as possible. I created a budget, figured out how much we would need for the summer, and started smiling, instead of cringing, every time I looked at my bank account balances. After eight months of diligent saving and frugality, we were prepared to hit the road for the summer.

Until you are financially stable and have at least a few months of financial runway, you will never be able to mentally commit to leaving your job. Sure, you might have to sacrifice nights out on the town. Cut off your monthly clothes/workout/makeup subscriptions. But trust us, it will be worth it! If you want to step out and make a change, start by aligning your financial situation with your new goal. Get yourself prepared for whatever comes next.

Step Two – Do some soul searching

Preparing your finances for the change will certainly ease some of the perceived burden. You still have a ways to go though. Take a weekend and let your mind wander to the places you’re afraid to go. Spend some time by yourself to really think about where you should be channeling your energy. Take those silly internet quizzes to determine your driving values or your love language or your spirit animal. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to wander down the paths you otherwise try to keep your mind from going. Don’t be afraid to let your dreams grow into reality.

For me, that meant accepting that lawyering was not my bag. Accepting that I incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for nothing. It wouldn’t matter how big the paycheck grew because I am not motivated by money. I would never find satisfaction in handling other people’s problems, even if it meant a six figure salary.

While I was good at my job, and according to Becca, “jaw-droppingly handsome” in a suit and tie, the whole scene just did not jive with my personality. Job titles and material things provide very little satisfaction for me. It seemed that’s all I was working toward as an attorney.

I enjoyed meeting with clients and explaining legal concepts. But I loathed the entire purpose of the conversation – my employer’s scheme to overcharge mom and pops in order to help them save a few dollars from the tax man. Intentionally ignoring the fact that frequently, they were paying us more money than they were saving. I had to remove myself from frustrating daily interactions with con artists and bright eyed yuppies. Nature was calling.

Step Three – Identify what you want to do next

This step is crucial. It’s all talk until you can put together a game plan.

When I worked 70 hour weeks in a miserable environment, all I wanted was to find a way out. But I didn’t have a plan for what I would do if I left my job. Unfortunately, hating your job isn’t enough to get off the hamster wheel.

You need to identify what you REALLY want to do with your life. If you don’t go through the personal assessment exercise and take an honest inventory of your wants and needs, you’re going to continue treading water. While at times you have to tread water to stay afloat, that’s not the long term goal. You need a shoreline to reach or a mountain to climb.

This is the hardest step because only you can answer this question of what you want to do next. If you are looking for a helpful starting point, try Pivot by Jenny Blake or The One Thing by Gary Keller. Both books are practical guides to help you figure out what’s really calling you.

All of the signs from my soul searching mission were pointing to something I had given up years before. Something engaging that allowed me to teach, inspire and most importantly, wear flip flops every day. Those signs were leading me back to fly fishing.

Having reached this conclusion on my own, I now had another difficult hurdle – telling Becca. While “telling family and friends” technically comes two steps later, making sure your counterpart (if you have one) is on board falls into this step. You can’t rightly concoct a new life plan without consulting the person you’ve been talking about sharing a life with.

I assumed she would have to go on her own soul searching mission when I disclosed the results of mine. The days leading up to that conversation were difficult. I certainly did not want to lose her and I wasn’t sure she would accept this enlightenment. What if she wanted the suburban life? Corporate hours, benefits and salaries, even if they came with a commute and two week vacation limit.

Unbeknownst to me, she had been suppressing doubts about the path set before her. Although you never need permission to question your circumstances, my enlightenment served as exactly that. If I could question the status quo, that meant she could too. That meant I would encourage Becca to truly evaluate her strengths and weaknesses. Likes and dislikes,  drives and ambitions. That reaction became a significant factor leading to the creation of this blog. If I could inspire Becca to make such a huge admission and lifestyle change, maybe we could inspire others to do the same.

While Becca’s introspection did not lead her to fly fishing, it did lead her to embracing her desire to travel.  And admitting she was in a rut. She wasn’t happy with her physique but had no motivation to do anything about it. While she enjoyed the time spent with her coworkers and how easy going the work environment was, she was uninspired by her repetitive corporate role in a concrete jungle. None of these factors were all that convincing in directing her to quit though. To make sure Becca would come along on this adventure, I asked her to marry me.

Step Four – Find a support network

After you put a financial plan in place and identify what you are going to do next, you need to find a support network. Not just a choir to preach to, but a legitimate support network. Your significant other should certainly be your first ally, but you also need people that can provide constructive feedback and positive encouragement from an outside perspective.

For me, this was a Catholic men’s group and friends that, in various ways, had figured out how to step away from the nine to five til sixty-five routine. Some of your support network might even take the form of folks you have never met in person. We found a lot of support from various Facebook and Instagram pages which helped prove what we wanted to do was actually possible and not just a pipe dream. Whatever network you find, make sure your network holds you accountable and keeps pushing you toward your goals.

Step Five – Talk things over with family and friends

Each of the four proceeding steps are absolutely essential to complete before moving on to Step 5. Once you start telling your family and friends that you’re going to do something different, you’re going to get a lot of push back. A lot of funny looks. Maybe even some snide remarks about how crazy you are. Or our personal favorite, that you are throwing your life away.

Knowing yourself and having your own support network becomes really important. The ability to show them you have the financial and logistical resources set aside and an actual plan to pursue helps immensely. People who don’t understand, who just want to poke holes in your conclusion, can and will pull all the wind out of your sails. Don’t let them. Be prepared for the barrage of negativity.  Brush it off by knowing you’ve already considered all of their doomsday scenarios.

Step Six – Keep your bridges intact

After talking things over with your family and friends, your next step is to talk to your employer. Do this with as much grace as possible. Even if you never intend to return to your old line of work. Believe it or not, I’ve experienced a decent amount of crossover between the fly fishing world and the tax consulting world.

Plus, you don’t want that blood on your hands of leaving a work situation in dire straights. So do your best to put your employer in a good position to fill your role and try to maintain civility with your soon-to-be-former coworkers. You never know what the future holds and it’s best to leave friendly faces in the rearview mirror in the event that your paths cross again.

Step Seven – Do it!

Stop talking the talk and go out and do the damn thing! Once you’ve gone through all of these steps, you need to dive in headfirst. Nothing feels better than fully committing to something that truly matters to you. It could be a side project, a new job, a new city, a new anything. Don’t be scared. Sure things will change, but we guarantee it’s a lot less frightening once you get where you’re going. Before you know it, you’ll be starting new traditions – like Friday night dinner in the valley at the Knotty Pine.

Side bar from Becca

The look on Chris’s face that first night in Victor, Idaho as we settled in at the Knotty Pine was priceless. Here I was sitting across from a fully grown man, the only fitting description: childishly giddy. He was positively beaming. He made me trade him seats “so he could make sure to say hello to anyone he knew that came in.” You could just see in his demeanor that this is where he was meant to be. Thank goodness for that hippie soul searching mumbo jumbo that helped both of us finally acknowledge where we belonged…  together, pursuing a better tomorrow (and incredible sunsets).

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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Some Things I Learned About Dementia

 

 

08.19.18 Six Reminders From All Six Chapters of Galatians

  1. Don’t live for the approval of others – Galatians 1:10 “You can see that I am not trying to please you by sweet talk and flattery; no, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please men I could not be Christ’s servant.
  2. You are not defined by your past – Galatians 2:20I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
  3. Your worth is in Christ,not your job or education – Galatians 3:26-27For now we are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, and we who have been baptized into union with Christ are enveloped by him.
  4. You are no longer a slave, you are now a child of God – Galatians 4:7Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons. And since we are his sons, everything he has belongs to us, for that is the way God planned.
  5. Don’t be led by feelings and emotions, be led by the spirit – Galatians 5:25 “If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
  6. Don’t grow weary while doing good.  When the time is right, you will reap what you’ve sown – Galatians 6:9  “And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.”

Image result for galatians scripture quotes

 

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Some Things I Learned About Dementia

 

08.08.18 How stress affects the brain

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 – We tend to think of stress as an immediate problem: The boss hovering over our desks; the mad dash to the subway at the end of a long day. And in the short-term, stress makes us feel irritable, anxious, tense, distracted and forgetful. But that’s only part of the story.

Over time, elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, can chip away at our physical, mental and emotional health. The link between chronic stress and the potential for mental health conditions — such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders — is well-established. But what kind of changes — both fleeting and lasting — are actually taking place in the brain when we experience a stressful event?

Here are four ways stress changes your brain.

Stress could trigger a chemical change that makes you irritable

Many of us know that we’re not pleasant to be around when we’re stressed out — we may get irritable and grumpy. Under pressure, many people get distracted and forgetful and this could be a sign of the destructive effects of stress in the brain.

French researchers discovered an enzyme, when triggered by stress, that attacks a molecule in the hippocampus which is responsible for regulating synapses. When the synapses are modified, fewer neural connections are able to be made in the area.

“These effects lead subjects to lose their sociability, avoid interactions with their peers and have impaired memory or understanding,” a university press release explained.

Chronic stress can shrink your brain

Stressful life events could harm your brain’s memory and learning capacity by reducing the volume of gray matter in brain regions associated with emotions, self-control and physiological functions.

Chronic stress and/or depression can contribute to lost volume in the brain’s medial prefrontal cortex, which is associated with emotional and cognitive impairment. Researchers found that this is particularly true of people with a genetic marker that can disrupt the formation of synaptic connections between brain cells.

A 2008 study on mice found that even short-term stress could lead to communication problems among brain cells in regions associated with memory and learning.

One stressful event can kill brain cells

As we learn new information, we constantly generate new neurons in the hippocampus — a brain region associated with learning, memory and emotion. But ongoing stress can halt the production of new neurons in the hippocampus and may also affect the speed of connections between hippocampal cells, according to Scientific American. What’s more, an animal study found that a single stressful event can destroy newly created neurons in the hippocampus.

University of California at Berkeley researchers found that the brain in a state of chronic stress generates more myelin-producing cells and fewer neurons than a typical brain would, resulting in excess myelin (an insulating layer of protective coating around neurons) in the hippocampus.

“The hippocampus is especially vulnerable to ongoing emotional distress, because of the damaging effects of cortisol,” psychologist Daniel Goleman wrote in Social Intelligence.

Stress can disrupt memory by triggering the brain’s threat response

While cortisol hampers the activity of the hippocampus, it increases the size and activity of the amygdala, the brain’s main center for emotional responses and motivation. The amygdala is responsible for fear processing, threat perception and the fight-or-flight response. Increased activity means we’re in a state of reacting to perceived threat, which can have the effect of restricting our ability to take in new information. It can also heighten emotional reactions.

“After a day when a student gets panicked by a pop quiz, he’ll remember the details of that panic far more than any of the material in the quiz,” Goleman wrote.

Carolyn Gregoire The Huffington Post
I can personally say that what this article is about is so very true.  When I was first diagnosed in 2011 and seeing the doctor regularly in 2012 I was under considerable stress from many directions.  The main thing the doctor told me was to eliminate the stress.  Unfortunately eliminating the stress was out of my control.  This was around the time that Roy and I decided to live full time RVing.  That was the biggest stress reliever imaginable and helped my brain deteriorating to slow down.
Now when I’m under stress my brain truly shuts down.  The best way I can think of to describe it is that there are less things going around in my head.  The things that are there don’t have a connection to either the next step or another thought related to it. I was hopeful when I started writing this that I’d be able to share more.  It’s just not happening.  So I’ll say good bye now.
Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

08.10.18 Alzheimer’s and Dementia from the patient’s perspective reblogged from January 2015

August 14, 2018 –  Since I originally wrote this in 2015 I’ve found two very interesting dementia patients who still communicate pretty well.  One, Rick Phelps, started a Facebook group called Memory People. Here is a link to that group: Memory People on Facebook   I’ve shared some of Rick’s writing before and plan to share soon one he just wrote about “anticipatory grief.”

The other dementia patient, Peter Berry, publishes on Facebook a weekly video on different dementia topics and an update on how he is doing. Here is a link to his facebook page: Peter Berry On Facebook

10460724_539323889537944_4082775068952904086_nThis week I want to share about Alzheimer’s from the patient’s standpoint.

“I’m Still Here” is a song about dementia, written from the patient’s point of view. It can be a helpless feeling after you get an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and the support of your loved ones can help ease the stress that this disease causes. Click on the photo below to watch this short video!

i am still here graphic to go with song

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ALZHEIMER’S PATIENT’S PRAYER BY CAROLYN HAYNELI

Pray for me, I was once like you. Be kind and loving to me, that’s how I would have treated you. Remember I was once someone’s parent or spouse. I had a life and a dream for the future.

Speak to me, I can hear you even if I don’t understand what you are saying. Speak to me of things in my past of which I can still relate.

Be considerate of me, my days are such a struggle. Think of my feelings because I still have them and can feel pain. Treat me with respect because I would have treated you that way.

Think of how I was before I got Alzheimer’s. I was full of life, I had a life, laughed and loved you. Think of how I am now, my disease destroyed my thinking, my feelings, and my ability to respond, but I still love you even if I can’t tell you. Think about my future because I used to.

Remember I was full of hope for the future just like you are now. Think how it would be to have things locked in your mind and can’t let them out. I need you to understand and not blame me, but Alzheimer’s. I still need the compassion and the touching and most of all I still need you to love me.

Keep me in your prayers because I am between life and death. The love you give will be a blessing from God and both of us will live forever.

How you live and what you do today will always be remembered in the heart of the Alzheimer’s Patient.

1d-510 REQUESTS1d-5

The following links are to stories from Alzheimer’s patients. Please spend some time reading each one of these stories told in a way that only they can:
|108I just found this blog called Welcome to DementiaLand by Wayne who does have a last name but I couldn’t find it just now.  I don’t know whether it’s my brain issues or his that make navigating his site difficult.  His level of sharing is great though and I felt strongly it should be included here.  

http://dementialand.chewtor.co.uk/#category2

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Interview with Alzheimer sufferer Richard Taylor: ‘You turn into a person you don’t know any more.’

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/interview-with-alzheimer-sufferer-you-turn-into-a-person-you-don-t-know-anymore-a-688049.html

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An author and former physician, Dr. David Hilfiker was diagnosed in 2012 with a progressive mild cognitive impairment. His doctor thought it was Alzheimer’s but additional testing proved this initial diagnosis to be wrong. Now David must learn how to come to terms with the reality of worsening cognitive issues that appear to have no cause.

http://www.agingcare.com/Blogger/David-Hilfiker

108Harry Urban has lived with Alzheimer’s disease for seven years, “We have no typical days. You have your good days, your bad days and your Alzheimer’s days,”

http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/alzheimers-patients-share-their-experiences-153702.htm

1d-5guilt.

The video below  of a five year old singing “Peace in Christ” seemed appropriate to me to share with you today.  As a Christian with dementia, having peace in Christ is what gets me through every day. I hope you enjoy hearing this song!

Until next time,

psalm 26 73

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Dora and the Explorers

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays