Let me start with sharing the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's -- these are important for all of you to be aware of:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or leisure
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood or personality
I was experiencing #1 on a daily basis: Extreme memory loss. I was struggling at work with all the new technology and the information that I was reading. I was unable to remember conversations I was having with my staff and others which caused me extreme stress. I took constant notes and then had to read them over and over again so that I would appear to have recalled our conversations. I worked from home and had 'post it' notes all over my computer with reminder notes. In addition to that, Bob (my husband), would have to constantly repeat himself and I repeatedly asked him things, such as where we were going to dinner. I have been studying Spanish for over a year and am still only 5% fluent. That is not normal. What is considered NORMAL is when you occasionally forget something but remember it later.
I also have issues with solving problems and planning. I used to be in charge of our bills and the checkbook. Last year I became overwhelmed with this. Something that I used to love doing was beyond my comprehension. I couldn't keep things organized, I was the vacation planner too, and the one who made all of our hotel and airline reservations. But everything I did seemed to take so much effort. I had to plan my day and keep track of all my work issues nightly. At the end of each day I would go through my notes and read what I had written so I could figure out what action items were due to following day. I tried to help with planning our trip to Nashville a few weeks ago but Bob took over and now I am happy to let him do these things. It's not easy to admit that I can't do it, but I don't want to make a mistake or book a flight on the wrong day. What is considered NORMAL is making occasional errors balancing a check book.
The third sign ties in with what I previously mentioned. I was having difficulty with familiar tasks and did leave the burner on once, and the oven on once or twice. And as I mentioned, I was really struggling at work but was able to manage my team and do the hiring because those skills are in my long term memory. Coaching and mentoring is my passion and I'm so grateful I was able to continue to work until May of this year. I also cannot add or subtract in my head, and struggle a little bit when I do it on paper. What is considered NORMAL is occasionally needing help with familiar tasks.
I have not had any issues yet with time or place, other than I don't know the date or what day it is. But I attribute that to not working and not looking at a calendar that often. I'm also still doing well visually and spatially.
I do struggle sometimes and have problems with writing words. I am writing in a journal now. I try to write at least two or three times a day and jot down my thoughts and feelings. It helps me keep track of my sleep issues and also how I'm feeling each day. I find myself struggling with how to spell things. You would laugh if you saw some of the words I can't spell! I can normally come up with the right word when I'm speaking, but not always. What is considered NORMAL is sometimes not knowing the right word.
Misplacing things is probably one of the most frustrating symptoms. I have learned to just let it go, and hope that I will find what I lost at a later time. Having the right attitude has really helped me stay positive. What is considered NORMAL is misplacing something from time to time and then finding it.
The rest of the warning signs: decreased judgment, withdrawal and mood changes have not affected me yet.
I now ask all of you to take a look at the 10 warning signs on the Alzheimer's site (www.alz.org) and pay attention to what you are experiencing. Many of you have mentioned symptoms and concerns and I'm begging you to talk to your doctor and get tested if you think you need it. As I mentioned before, early detection is key. And please message me or post a comment below if you want more information or would like to talk.
God bless you all💕