TBT Lesson #68

Today would have been my mother-in-law’s 88th birthday. Pictured with her boys, Bettie Lou was fiercely protective of the family she loved.

In 2010, Bettie Lou passed away after battling the affects of Alzheimer’s for five years. This Saturday, her family will be walking in her memory in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. If you would like to help Team B. Lou reach our goal of raising $1000.00 to help further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association, click this link and donate today.

 

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TBT Lesson #68: A mother’s love is unconditional.

Alzheimer’s Through the Eyes of a Teen

This past Tuesday, when Emily created her account on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s page, she included the following message which explained why she was walking. She also shared it on Facebook as a way to encourage others to sponsor Team B.Lou, join us in the walk or create their own teams.

When I was in high school, my Granny moved in with us. Her husband, Frank, had passed away, and what we thought was the stress of taking care of a sick spouse and grief, turned out to be the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

It has been almost 15 years since we learned of the disease that she battled, and this past spring marked 5 years since she left this world to begin a life in God’s kingdom. A life free of Alzheimer’s.

Having Granny move in with us was tough. I’m sure it was tough on my parents in ways I will never understand, but as a high schooler, it was tough. It was tough for me for incredibly selfish reasons. It was tough because now I had to share my bathroom. It was tough because I realized after a few weeks of her living with us that she was using my toothbrush 😁. It was tough because being a former high school principal, she would critique my outfits and let me know I was dressed inappropriate for school. It was tough having dinner interrupted with her leaving the table to go and talk to Dr. Phil.

It is still difficult for me to talk about my Granny. It’s tough now. It’s tough because most of my memories are not of the brilliant, loving, talented, strong, creative, and beautiful woman that I have heard stories about and I once knew. Even though I was a teenager when this disease became a part of our family, it is tough because I don’t remember life before it.

On 9/19 I will be participating in a walk to end Alzheimer’s with family and friends in Ocala, and we will be walking not only for Granny, but also my cousins’ Granddaddy. We will walk for those feeling lost and frustrated because they are now feeling the effects of this confusing disease. We will walk for those family members that are watching their loved ones become a person they no longer recognize.

As we walk, we ask for your help. If you’re in Ocala, walk with us. If you can’t join us, consider donating money to support the cause. Donate to Team B. Lou by following the link below. If you have no money to give, share your stories of those you know that are living their own ALZ story or share your love and prayers. Together we can make a difference. Click here to donate to Team B. Lou.

And then a second post on Facebook last Friday.

Happy Friday friends! Is it just me, or has this week flown by? Now that I have your attention with this picture, let me offer an explanation. No, I’m not drinking at 9am. No, I’m not promoting this scotch, and it’s not even particularly good scotch.

This post is more about the story that goes along with this bottle of alcohol. Enjoy another addition of Granny stories. — As I previously shared, my Granny was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s just about 15 years ago, and just over 5 years ago she passed away due to complications from battling this disease. Though this story is funny now, it was pretty terrifying when we were living it.

My Granny lived with us when I was in high school, and one day my dad received a phone call from the Ocala police informing him that they had my grandmother. She was picked up wandering along a busy road several miles from home with 2 bottles of scotch in her purse and confused about where she was. She wasn’t doing anything wrong, but the officers were concerned and my dad went and picked her up.

After that point my dad would offer her scotch here and there with the thought that maybe she would like a drink, but she would refuse saying “I don’t drink that stuff” or something along those lines.

We laugh about this story now as it seems so absurd this lady walking around with bottles of scotch, but at the time it was this realization that this disease had progressed, and that my parents couldn’t assume she would be safe hanging out at home alone all day. From there we transitioned to a Granny Nanny and eventually an assisted living facility to help care for her.

So how did I end up with this Scotch? Well, instead of a traditional bridal shower before our wedding, I made Mr. W have a joint shower/stock the bar party with me. My mom and dad gifted us this little treasure. When I see this bottle, I smile. I smile for the silly stories we have of my Granny post Alzheimer’s that we just have to laugh about now, but more importantly, I think about my Granny. Help support us on 9/19 as we walk to End Alzheimer’s. Walk with us in Ocala or donate to our campaign.

If you’re not in Ocala, check the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website to locate a walk in which you can participate. Together we can help the Alzheimer’s Association accomplish their mission:

To eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

$1535

Thanks to your contributions to Team B.Lou in this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, we raised $1525 for the cause…150% of our team goal!

We started the morning with breakfast in the Pacesetter’s Tent in recognition of being a top team in last year’s event.

Then we hit the road. Ten team members walked on Saturday and we took a little time  out for some nonsense along the way.

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Team B. Lou: Beverly, Becky, Emily, Brian, Jonathan, Daniel, Meghan, John, Dee, Sarah

 Already planning for the 2015 Walk!

Team B. Lou

This Saturday, we’re walking to help reclaim the future for millions. By participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I’m committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support.

My mother-in-law, Bettie Lou was one of the more than 5 million Americans affected by Alzheimer’s. We’re celebrating what would have been B. Lou’s 87th birthday on Saturday, September 6th by walking as a family in the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Ocala.

We need your support! Click here to DONATE TO TEAM B. LOU to help the Alzheimer’s Association advance research into prevention, treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

Thank you for joining our movement! The end of Alzheimer’s disease starts here.

The Bucket Challenge

I know what you’re thinking – she left out the word ICE in the title. Well, no, that was intentional.

First, I LOVE the ice bucket challenge! I’ve enjoyed watching videos of friends, relatives, strangers, celebrities, and college presidents taking the ice bucket challenge. I click on the link to every video despite the fact they’re all pretty much the same and each one brings a smile to my face.

We’ve lost three family members to ALS in the past decade. My dad’s cousin’s husband, Howard, my mom’s uncle, Condit, and John’s cousin’s husband, Gary all suffered with this disease and lost their battles.

In addition, two neighbors have been diagnosed with ALS and seeing the changes in Jim has been heartbreaking. I’m delighted at the publicity and donations rolling in to such a worthwhile organization.

However, the reason I left out the word ICE is because I’m taking a different challenge. My daughter Sarah issued the following challenge:

photoand I accepted as did her sister Emily. (In fact, you should read what Emily posted on her blog about the #icebucketchallenge.) Of course, Emily challenged her Dad, and since both girls knew their sister, Meghan had already contributed $100 to our team for next month’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, she wasn’t called out!

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What a great thing the ice bucket challenge has been! It’s started conversations about ALS. It’s encouraged people to donate to the A.L.S. Association; but it’s also started an even bigger conversation about the numerous organizations that need our support, both financial and as volunteers.

So, to the A.L.S. Association, yes, the check is in the mail. And on Saturday, September 6th, I’ll be walking to end Alzheimer’s. Our team can use your help! Click here to donate.

And instead of calling out any individual to accept the ice bucket challenge, I’d like to challenge everyone who reads this to make a contribution of time or money to any organization you feel passionate about. No ice required, but heck, it’s August and the “Feels Like” temperature is 100°, icy cold water may be just what you need to cool off.

 

 

Take Care of Your Brain

With this year’s Memory Walk just around the corner, I’ve been receiving email from the Alzheimer’s Association regarding not only the walk but information on their research and other programs. In addition, there have been numerous stories about Alzheimer’s research on the news of late.

First I heard a story about a “smell” test that may predict the development of the disease, and then last week I saw a report about how a test performed by your eye doctor can be used as a predictor of problems 15-20 years in the future.

However, the news that most interested me was regarding brain health. I’ve been bombarded by stories on television, the radio, and from the Alzheimer’s Association about real, effective steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and that’s the message I want to know more about.

Four areas identified to maintain a healthy brain by the Alzheimer’s Association include:

  1.  Be active. Not only does an active lifestyle reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, but it’s essential for good blood flow to the brain something necessary to encourage new blood cells. Thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise can make a difference.
  2. Eat healthy. Getting the right balance of nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts, while limiting food high in fat and cholesterol appears to protect brain cells. Good nutrition also prevents high blood pressure and high cholesterol two more risk factors for the development of dementia; and maintaining a healthy weight significantly reduces the chance you’ll develop the disease. Eat well and in moderation.
  3. Spend time socializing. This sounds like a good excuse to enjoy time with friends. Social interaction improves brain health. Volunteer, join a club or community group, enjoy sporting or cultural events, participate in religious activities. Even engaging at work is beneficial.
  4. Use your brain. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, use it or lose it. Well, that applies to your brain. Engage in mental activity that stimulates your brain. Read, write, do puzzles, play games, learn new things. All of these activities provide the mental exercise your brain needs to thrive.

If diagnosed with a disease, we’re all anxious to get help. We’ll take off work to visit the doctor or schedule surgery. We’ll spend money on prescriptions or medical devices. However, until a problem occurs, many of us claim to be too busy to take care of ourselves – no time for exercise, no time to spend with friends, no time to read or eat properly. We claim it’s too expensive to eat healthy, yet it’s not as expensive as medication to control the problems caused by failure to care for our bodies.

Be active, eat right, spend time with friends, and stimulate your mind. It’s the least you can do to take care of your brain.

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Mom

Remember, this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Ocala will take place on Saturday, September 6th. Register to participate or click here to support me as I walk in memory of Bettie Lou. Donations assist the Alzheimer’s Association in their mission:

To eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

 

Thanks from Team B. Lou

Team B. Lou walked with hundreds of others last Saturday in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We participated in honor of B. Lou, my mother in law who died in 2010 after struggling with dementia.

Six of us walked the 2 1/2 mile course on Saturday getting our exercise for the day and participating a “brain healthy” activity.

And they're off!
And they’re off!

Our goal: raise $1000 in support of the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission

To end Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for those affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Promise Garden Finish Line
Promise Garden Finish Line

I’m proud to announce that with the support of family, friends, and co-workers we exceeded our goal.

In fact, Team B. Lou was the 4th highest fundraiser in the Ocala walk…the top non-business team. We shattered our goal of raising $1000 by bringing in 154% of our goal or $1539!  John was even recognized as a top-earner and initiated into the Champion’s Club.

Thanks again to all who contributed to our team’s success!

Oh, and if you’re a procrastinator, it’s not to late to donate! Contributions can be added through the remainder of 2013 by clicking here.

 

Natasha

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Natasha
Natasha

Natasha

You are so aloof.

No one touches you –

            Unless –

You meow, “Yes!”

I love you, cat!

You breathe so heavily –

            Lie down and sleep.

Don’t hold your head

            So high.

Others can keep watch –

            Or

Maybe I.

Bettie Lou died in February, 2010 from Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve organized a team to participate in this year’s Memory Walk on Saturday, September 7th to raise funds for research and awareness of Alzheimer’s in her honor. If you would like to donate, please visit Team B. Lou.

B. Lou...the reason we're walking!
B. Lou…the reason we’re walking!

Support Team B. Lou

B. Lou...the reason we're walking!
B. Lou…the reason we’re walking!

Three and a half years ago, my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou, died after an extended battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s affects more than 5 million Americans and it is expected to grow to as many as 16 million in the next 25 years.

In her memory and to celebrate what would have been her 86th birthday, our family is participating in this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Ocala on Saturday, September 7th.

We need your support to help us reach our fundraising goal to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s by raising funds for Alzheimer’s research, care, and support. Please click here to Donate to Team B. Lou.

Thank you for joining our movement.

Dee