I fight for a cure for me & our amazing children❤️

Saturday, April 29, 2017

My last day at Intel

The weeks leading up Friday were rough. A lot of tears and sadness and reflection. But now that I have turned in my laptop and cell phone, signed the appropriate paperwork and said my final goodbyes, I'm doing ok. I'm feeling reflective as I remember all the good times and the wonderful places I've visited and the people I've met.

In my first few years at Intel I traveled to Sydney, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Barcelona and probably a few other International destinations I can't remember. I walked on the Great Wall in China, went to a Jade factory and explored the Forbidden City & Tinanmen Square. In Barcelona we enjoyed La Rambla and the Sagrada Familia. As well as the wonderful food and night life.

In Sydney we attended a symphony at the Sydney Opera House and toured Sydney Harbor and The Rocks area. I was in Singapore on Mother's Day one year and was feeling down. My colleague (thank you Kevin) took me out for Chili Crab and I think we also enjoyed high tea at the Four Seasons!

I've also been to the Master's Golf Tournament in Augusta twice, attended the AT&T Pro Am too many times to remember and seen many local performances & events.

I've been a SF Giants fan my entire life and I almost lost my mind when I had the privilege of played a full round of golf with Barry Bonds a few years ago! He was a perfect gentleman and it was a day I will never forget. All of these events and activities were focused on customer events and training and educating the world about Intel based technology.

These are things I do not take for granted. They were gifts -- traveling internationally isn't always fun but with my colleagues and managers we always made the most of it.

I've met and worked with, and for the best & brightest. I learned from them and have been challenged to work harder and smarter. My leadership team and friends have taught me to never give up, and to always leave a legacy and help others.

That's what I'm doing. I'm fighting for a cure, educating everyone I come in contact with and doing my best to raise money for research.

Thank you Intel for helping me grow, for pushing me, guiding me and giving me 17 wonderful years. There was no such thing as an 8 hour day--it was more like 10 hours minimum but I can honestly say I loved it! I will miss all of you and hope our paths cross again.

God bless you and thank you💜

Friday, April 21, 2017

Time to retire.....

I don't know why the news shocked me, and honestly saddened me to the point of tears, and sleepless nights. I don't want to retire, I love Intel, I loved working there, I love telling people I'm on medical leave, and how wonderful and supportive everyone has been. That won't be the case any more. I will be retiring at the end of the month. It's been an amazing and wonderful journey filled with so many memories! I don't even know where to begin other than at the beginning.

I took an early retirement from NCR in 2000. They offered a nice package and the economy was doing well. All the new technology and dotcom startups were offering positions that were of interest to me.  I had a great plan to make millions of dollars and retire early😑  While at NCR I was working with Intel, they were my customer and NCR was their vendor.  Intel is rough on their vendors, they are demanding and difficult to work with. When I told all my Intel buddies in the FAB's that I was retiring, one of the managers suggested I come to work at Intel. I remember telling him 'I would NEVER work at Intel'. My reason for that was because the folks I worked with in purchasing were so rough on us and it was such a stressful environment. But a few weeks later after an interview with Dave Miller in Santa Clara California, I was hired. I remember crying the entire drive to the office. I was so scared, the people there (in my mind) were so mean, and much much smarter than I was. Little did I know that 17 years later I would be in tears again, this time devastated at the idea of leaving the company I love so dearly.

I've had the pleasure of working with many kind, loving, funny, intelligent and driven individuals. We all had one goal -- to make Intel a Great Place To Work and to drive revenue and increase market share, and to be the best technology company in the world.  We worked hard and we played hard! I have no regrets other than I wish I still had the mental capacity to continue working.

I traveled frequently, met with many customers and partners, helped drive business for the healthcare division in the West, grew & shaped the Online Sales Center in Oregon and worked for some of the best people I've ever known. I won't mention them specifically but you know who you are. I love each and every one of you! I learned from each of you, and you taught me how to work smarter, not harder. You taught me to fight for what I wanted, and to to dream big! To explore activities where I could use my skills as a coach and mentor. You pushed me to be better. Because of all of you, and all my friends, employees, staff and colleagues, I am sad to say goodbye.

I was honored to serve as Vice Chair of the Women at Intel organization and to see the growth and support for advancement for women increase over the years. The events we held and the support and coaching provided to women has made a very strong impact across the company. Congrats to all of you! Keep pushing for what you want.

It will be hard to drive to Santa Clara at the end of the month and drop off my cell phone and computer. I've never had another computer other than the ones that Intel gave me. Since I'm not good at learning new things I have already ordered the EXACT same laptop that I've been using for several years. I will get a new phone but I honestly don't remember ever having to pay for a cell phone! It's not a problem at all, it's just another change. Change is not good for me and it scares me now, and I think that's why this transition has been a little difficult.

There is no doubt in my mind that when I walk away from RNB (Robert Noyce Building) I will be a mess. My badge will be deactivated and I will not be able to enter again without someone signing me in. It's all part of the process of facing my Alzheimer's, and my inability to work, but this is probably the biggest issue I have had to deal with since my diagnosis.

I hope to see my friends when they are in town, and thank goodness for Facebook and other social media. It allows me to feel connected. I am thankful for the support I feel from all of you and for your comments and texts. Please stay in touch.

Thank you Intel, thank you all for your coaching, guidance and support over the years💜

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pam & Bob Linscheid - 2017 Part the Cloud Luncheon

I'm excited to be sharing my speech from the Alzheimer's Association 'Part the Cloud' event. I've mentioned many of my symptoms before in my blog but this talk gives a good overview of what I was dealing with at work, how I was covering it up, and how I spend my time now. It also highlights the importance of early detection and knowing the 10 warning signs.

For those of you who don't know my husband, it's also very clear how fortunate I am to have such an amazing man by my side!  His love is VERY apparent in his opening comments and introduction.

And lastly to my Intel friends --- my work there and the coaching, support, encouragement and education have shaped me more than I ever realized or acknowledged! 17 years was a long time and I am so thankful and proud to have had the honor to work there and learn from the best and brightest :)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

National Advocacy Forum & good times in Washington DC!!

What a wild ride its been the past few weeks!  Time seems to be flying by and every day brings challenges and victories.

We had a wonderful experience in Washington DC at the 2017 Advocacy Forum. It was the first time we attended and were overwhelmed with the support and kindness of everyone we met. The data and the statistics given were overwhelming and sobering. I think I knew most of them but do you realize every 66 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer's? Or that there are over 5.5M Americans living with Alzheimer's today? And over 200,000 of them are under the age of 65! Staggering statistics considering the cost of care. We spent several days getting training and education and then went to Capital Hill to share our stories and ask for support for funding and research.

They had special breakout sessions for those with Alzheimer's and I was able to meet several people who, like me, are very vocal and able to care for themselves with minimal support. It was encouraging to hear their stories and to learn from them how they deal with daily life and memory issues. Several of them are on the National Early Stage Advisory Group. I applied a few months ago to be part of this group and hope to be interviewed later this month.  It's a one year role focusing on raising awareness about early stage issues, informing the public about all the wonderful things the Alzheimer's Association does, advocating and speaking to the media, and providing input to external groups regarding early stage issues.  Wish me luck😊

Bob and I also were asked to support Maria Shriver as she testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Originally she wanted to use pictures of my brain that showed the Amyloid and Tau protein build up, but it was too difficult to get a medical release in time. She did mention me in her testimony and Bob and I also joined her and her staff at an event at the Equinox Sports Club in DC kicking off the Move For Minds event.  Move For Minds is a one day, eight city event on June 4th.  Check it out and register! You will learn how to keep your brain healthy, have an amazing breakfast and have a fabulous workout!!

The combination of being surround by 1300 people from around the United States with a passion to find a cure, and connecting with Maria Shriver again was overwhelming!  I had to take a few breaks and spent some time in our room to rest.  At Intel, events like this were common place and fun, now they are overwhelming and exhausting for me.  

There are many days I feel almost normal, but when I travel and get in uncomfortable or stressful situations I can tell that my coping mechanisms are different now.  I used to be invigorated by people and events, now they are exhausting and I can only take small doses at a time.  I'm learning more and more each week how to deal with my 'new normal'.  But that's OK. I have a wonderful husband and caregiver, amazing children and grandchildren and many many friends who keep me smiling and give me support when I need it!

Thank you all for your continued prayers & support💜

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Time with friends & the joy of baseball

Wow, time really does fly!  My last post was just a little over a week ago, and many wonderful things have happened since then. It seems that every week is filled with new blessings and memories and experiences.

On Friday March 10th I had the honor to speak at a retreat for the National Alzheimer's Relationship Development team. These folks are the fund raisers and the people who work with foundations to gain sponsorship and support for Alzheimer's research.  They asked for my talk to be about 20-25 minutes, and to go into a detailed explanation of how I found out I had the disease and what's it like living with it. These folks are amazing and I again felt overwhelmed with love and support.  Bob and I were also able to answer their questions and to dig a little deeper after my speech was over.

As I prepared for the event I thought it would take me about 30 minutes to jot down my thoughts, but when I finally finished writing it had been almost 2 hours! It was a good experience for me because now I have a written document with details and timelines of my diagnosis. If anyone would like a copy please let me know. There are some good tips on how to push your doctor to get what you want, and to ask for a second opinion.

Last week we were in Arizona and were very grateful to be staying with a good friend of mine from Intel.  He and his wife have a gorgeous home and we felt very comfortable there. Unfortunately it was very hot, too hot for me I discovered.  We had great seats at the Giants game. They were in the first row on third base side but they were directly in the sun! Even with all the protection and sun screen and hats it was just too much.  We watched a few innings but couldn't stay for the whole game. On St Patrick's day I put on my green Giants T shirt to attend the Cubs game because I have to support my team no matter where I am😃 I was excited to see them too and our friends are huge Cubbie fans.  But it was actually hotter on Friday and I hadn't eaten much in the morning and I couldn't take the heat. I also was reminded that most ball parks don't have the kind of food I need. I was feeling so badly that I went to the First Aide station and was treated to some ice packs and a nice wheel chair escort to our car.

What I learned from all of this:  I need to bring my own food and travel with snacks that work for me.  I need to avoid the direct sun when the temperature is over 90. I also need to remember that I am not as healthy as I used to be, and what I did last year is not what I can do today.  I also learned that I have the best friends and family I could ask for. They took care of me, they stood by me, they missed watching their team in order to support me.  Another example of the blessings that continue to surround me.

The rest of this month is going to be busy too.  Today is my baby's birthday. She's 34 years old! How did that happen?  She spent the night with me and I was so happy to wake her up with a Happy Birthday song.  I'm excited to have everyone over this weekend to celebrate.  Family is everything!!

One of best girlfriends is coming today for a short visit and then on Friday I'm being filmed for a PBS special on the topic of what I want others to know about Alzheimer's. I'm very excited and will send out the details of how to view the show when I get them.

Did I mention that not working and being on medical leave does not mean I am sitting at home watching TV? I have a busy life and just yesterday we were contacted by Maria Shriver's assistant to inquire about our availability for an event supporting 'Move for Minds'. The event raises money for research into women and Alzheimer's and why 65% of all those inflicted are women. I'm extremely honored to be part of this and to spend more time with Maria.

I love it when people ask me what I do all day. I have a job! I am doing everything I can to help find a cure, and to reduce the stigma of this disease. I have a family and friends and events that fill my time. I'm also allowed to say no, and to choose the events and programs where I can make the most impact. I like that!

So that's my update for now. We will be in Washington DC for several days next week attending the National Advocacy Forum and I'm sure there will be many moments and photo opportunities as we advocate and meet with our leaders at the Capitol to share the statistics and data, and to ask for their help to increase funding and research.

I hope you all have a great day, your notes and emails and cards keep me smiling💜  God bless you.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Busy Busy Busy But doing well 😆

It's been a long time since I've updated you all. There is so much going on right now and at times I am feeling overwhelmed, and yet, I love being busy.  My days seem very full.  I have found my way back to the gym, started listening to a new book and been busy with the Alzheimer's Association events. I'm also socially active and having lunch dates with friends, and sleepovers with my children (which brings me great joy💜).

The gym experience came from all this rain! It has been too cold and too wet to walk outside and so a few weeks ago I finally made a commitment to get 10K steps at least three to four times a week.  I have been doing yoga since my diagnosis last year and have been pretty active but I realize now that there were many days that I was at home and probably was more effected by what was happening to me than I realized.  I only know that now because I actually feel differently. I feel more driven and have more energy.

I decided to hit the treadmill a few weeks ago and in order to do that I found a silly TV show that I could watch while I was walking.  I'm watching Grey's Anatomy!! I've never seen it before. Isn't that crazy?  I've heard of Dr. McDreamy but I had no idea who he was. It is totally addicting and when I watch it I don't want to stop.  The outcome of that is an hour or so later I have 10K steps and still don't want to leave.  If you ever struggle with getting going I suggest you find a good show and promise yourself you won't watch it unless you're on a bike or treadmill. It makes going to the gym so much more fun😅  While there I am also doing weights and socializing with some of people I know who live here. It's been pretty entertaining.

I've been able to attend events at school with Michael and Ryan and really enjoyed their Valentine's Day parties.  I've had lunch with friends and family and also with one of the ladies I have been mentoring through WUI. I love spending time with people I enjoy and people that care about me and make me happy. I'm so glad my doctor told me when I got my diagnosis that the most important thing I need to do each day is to do something that makes me happy!  Friends and family do that for sure.

 A few weeks ago I did a video shoot for the Alzheimer's Association.  They came over to my house and while the camera was running asked me a series of questions about what it was like to live with the disease: how I spent my days, what the Walk to End Alzheimer's meant to me, what my symptoms were, etc.  They asked about my family and my kids and how they were doing.  Of course that question brought me to tears. I know it's hard on them and that pains me.  I wish I could just deal with this and that it wouldn't effect them, but unfortunately that's not how Alzheimer's works.

Just last night Danielle was here and we were talking about the future and she just started crying. I know there's an underlying sadness and a cloud over all of us, but I hope I continue to be high functioning and verbal, and able to take care of myself for many more years. I hope that my decline is gradual and that through this illness our family continues to grow closer as we lean on each other.

This week and last I have been working on a 20 minute talk that I'm giving at a National Alzheimer's Development Team Retreat in San Francisco.  All the other presentations I have done have been pretty short. Both at the Walk in Chico and at Part the Cloud I think I probably spoke for about 10 minutes max!  The good news is they gave me the topics they wanted me to address and the areas they wanted me to focus on.

When I sat down to write my speech I thought it would take me about 30 minutes to get my thoughts on paper.  They next thing I knew 2 hours had gone by! It's really hard to go back in time to 2012 and reconstruct the series of events that led up to my diagnosis four years later.  But it was good for me and after I sent my first draft, the Assoc Director of Early Stage Initiatives in Chicago helped me out with some edits and updates
The event is tomorrow and I am very excited about it, and very glad the speech writing is over! I much prefer being at the events and speaking and meeting the amazing people who are helping find a cure for me, than sitting at my desk typing a speech.  Bob will be with me of course. And after my talk they will do Q&A with both of us.  Let's just pray I can handle their questions and that it's not too emotional. I have become very accustomed to crying -- it happens almost every day. But I still don't enjoy doing it in front of a room full of people.

Wednesday we leave for Scottsdale and will be attending Spring Training. Go Giants! I'm very excited because we are staying with one of my Intel buddies! Thank you Mike & Kim for opening up your home to us😀  Another dear friend from work and his wife will be there too.  We will certainly be going to watch the Cubs as these two guys are from Chicago. It will be a wonderful few days for sure. Especially celebrating St Patrick's Day!

I also want to thank all of you who purchased a bracelet from Rivet Revolution. I posted about them last time. They are such a wonderful organization and it seems that whenever I see one of my friends they have a bracelet on. Bob works for the President at Cal Poly and many of his friends down there are wearing them too! Thank you all so much.

I hope this update is helpful as many of you continue ask how I'm doing. Either through text, email or in person.  You can see I am doing well! I have good days and bad. I still struggle with getting a good nights sleep and have side effects from the medication that are unpleasant.  The constant ringing in my ears bothers me but I can't do anything about it.  My family and my faith get me through every challenge that comes my way, and of course all of you! Your comments and posts and emails and prayers mean so much to me.

God bless you.  I wish peace and love to all of you💖

Thursday, February 16, 2017

'What is Alzheimer's Buni?'

I knew it would happen, I just didn't expect it to happen so soon. My 9 year old grandson found out I had Alzheimer's by reading my blogs on Facebook. That is not what I wanted. I wanted to sit him down and hold his hand and explain in my own words what was happening to me. But everything happens for a reason and now the avenues of communication are wide open.

We talked about it one morning when we were alone. He asked me how I felt and what would happen to me. He knew there was no cure and wanted to know how I felt, why I couldn't remember things....and most importantly,  when things would change with me.  He was most concerned about me not knowing him when he was older. Honestly that part of this disease is not something I'm looking forward to. I hope my progression is slow, very slow.

With tears in my eyes, I told him that I would NEVER forget him!!  That I will not forget his sweet face, but that as he got older I might not recognize him as an adult. That my brain would only remember him now, or at least how he looks now. That was a hard conversation for both of us, but I promised to talk to him about it and to answer any questions he has. I don't want him to worry or be scared. I'm not scared, so I hope he will get some of his strength from me.

That conversation was a few weeks ago. I saw him again last Friday. When he saw me he ran to hug me, but then the first thing he said was 'how's your disease Buni?' ( Buni is short for Bunica which is Romanian for Grandma - their dad is Romanian).  Wow, I guess this little guy has been thinking about our conversation.  I told him I was fine, no changes since we talked a few weeks ago. Talking openly is all I can do, and to involve him in our walks and fund raising. And to comfort him when he's scared.

At the Part the Cloud event I met the women who founded Rivet Revolution, Carol Palmer and Susan Evans. They were so gracious and generous and gave me some bracelets to wear and to share with my family. My daughter gave one of them to Ryan too. And he wears it every day! He wears it to support me which is really overwhelming. My husband wears them too, and my kids. And last night I gave a necklace to my girlfriend. These small little things seem to help me feel closer to my friends and family, and also to know that I am not alone. This jewelry is special and they donate all their proceeds to Alzheimer's and support Part The Cloud & Hilary for Charity.  Take a look! I think you might want to wear them too😄

Sharing my journey is important and now I have a 9 year old advocate who I love so very much❤ Maybe my strength will help him when he faces challenges in his life!  Sending blessings and strength to all of you today too.