Dear Happy Brains
This is a unique story from a unique woman. I appreciate the awareness she works to create and her strength in having to endure the slow loss of a parent while simultaneously perpetually smiling, singing, and acting goofy and light-hearted. <3 Karen, you're awesome.
My story is probably different than the others. At first, when I was thinking about what part of me to highlight for this project, I had a few ideas of body parts that I am somewhat self-conscious of, and I know exactly why I am. Instead, I decided to take a very different route. The body part I chose is my brain. And here is the reason:
A handful of years ago, my sisters, dad and I started realizing that something had changed with Mom's ability to remember small things. At first, we just brushed it off. Then, paired with her chronic dizziness, her memory issues seemed to get worse. After many doctors appointments, a couple years ago we found out what we had been fearing - she has Alzheimer’s.
I feel that there isn't a lot of awareness in public about the disease. Society is catered to a young, fast-paced life, and that's really hard to keep up with if you have Alzheimer's. It's hard for my mom to make a decision on a menu at a restaurant, and oftentimes waitstaff gets impatient. It can be very isolating when you feel like no one understands you.
I am making it my goal to spread the word about Alzheimer's. I know that I probably have more of a chance of getting it than other people might; not only does my mom have it, my maternal grandma did too. I also know that Alzheimer's is a minimal concern for most people my age. However, this is a very real disease that affects too many people, and something needs to be done about it as the number will just keep growing.
I chose the words "I Remember" for my affirmation, because that's what I want to do - remember. I obviously don't want to get the disease myself and burden my loved ones, but more than that; I want to remember my mom on her good days. I want my memories to be of smiles, laughter, singing, and love, not of confusion and helplessness. I want there to be a prevention, treatment, and cure for this disease so that others won't have to go through what my family and so many other families have had to.
So here is to healthy, happy brains of women (who are at the epicenter of Alzheimer's) all over!
It was quite perfect timing to post Karen's story for this week's blog entry because she'll be participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer's this weekend. :) She's taking donations through the end of the year here or read more about Alzheimer's here. Donate if you're able or send out all kinds of positive vibes that a cure is found for this disease and peace and patience are found within family units.