FAMILY

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

Saturday, December 23, 2017

It's Christmas Time!

So here we are. Home from Maui and deep into the holiday season. For us, that means Christmas. We have the tree up and most of the presents wrapped and under the tree. The house is nicely decorated both inside and out. We are excited to see our grandsons next week, and Kristen and her boyfriend. We plan on celebrating on Christmas but if the kids can't come over until the 26th then we will wait. This holiday is all about them. All about making things seem as normal as we can. To have fun and focus on the good things. Our goal is to open gifts and spend the rest of the time playing and laughing and enjoying each other. Oh, and eating of course.

Hawaii was magical as always, and we had a marvelous time. We traveled to Lanai and shared memories of our wedding at the Four Seasons with our friends. We went to the beach, we walked, we swam and we enjoyed our time away. This year it was all about spending quality time with people we love.
We celebrated our Anniversary at the Montage and hosted an unbelievable dinner! Bob had a chance to play golf at The Plantation Course at Kapalua with some of his friends the following day and they had a blast. I had some time to walk on the cliffs with my friends overlooking the ocean near the Ritz Carlton where we stayed on our anniversary. What a treat! Our condo is nice, but it's like home to us and being in a hotel is always enjoyable.

I needed to nap during the trip. I needed to rest, to be alone and to decompress. I love my friends and my family but I am learning about my limitations and what I need to do to keep my energy up. We were also dealing with some tragic family issues and the stress probably knocked me out as well. I did the best I could and I was surrounded by people I love, and who I know love me. What more could I ask for? They let me rest when I needed to rest and never questioned my decisions to end the evening early.

I did have a long recovery after we got back though. I think today was the first day I've felt well since we returned. I've been sleeping during the day, exhausted and actually pretty sad. One day I didn't leave the house at all. I've been crying at times but not uncontrollably. The pain is close to the surface. If I distract myself and keep busy, I'm ok. If I knit and watch TV, I'm good. But when I close my eyes and try to rest, my mind races and brings up the sadness we are dealing with.

Thankfully I have support and friends and family. I have my faith and know that God is in control, not me, and that he is looking out for all of us. I will continue to lean on the people who I know can help me, and trust that things will work out the way they were meant to. I am not in control at all. I can only control myself and I'm doing that by surrounding myself with goodness and family and people I love.

Christmas will be different this year, but it will be wonderful. We will make sure that it is. Our focus will be on Ryan and Michael and loving them and ensuring that we all have a wonderful time. ‘Family First’ is one of my motto's. We are having a turducken so I know the meal will be amazing too. I haven't let Alzheimer's define me, get me down or ruin my spirit. I'm a fighter. I can handle this current situation too. I know I can and I will!

Happy Holidays to all of you. May your family time be filled with blessings, love and laughter.  And I hope Santa brings you what you asked for🎅🎄

Friday, December 8, 2017

Aloha🌺


We are in paradise again! Back on Maui at our condo where we come almost every year. It’s a beautiful warm day. No clouds in the sky and a soft breeze keeping us cool. For those of you who have been following my blogs for a while, you might remember that last year when we were here we got some bad news regarding the Roche/Genentech clinical trial. It definitely put a damper on our time here but we did rebound and have a wonderful time.

This year we are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary and will be hosting dinner with some of our friends and family! We are very excited to see everyone. Most folks will be here tomorrow with a few more coming in a little later. We’ve already confirmed the venue and the menu and are so thankful that we will have them with us to share this special celebration. We aren’t sure how many more anniversaries we will have so we are making the most out of every year! And as most of you know, I actually try to make the most of every day!

We are also dealing with an extremely difficult and tragic family situation and so being here during this time has been therapeutic. Maui is my ‘happy place’ and I've been coming here for many years, thanks to my dad who sold me his unit about 18 years ago. The ocean soothes me. When I struggle at night with sleeping, the sound of the waves is my first choice to help me relax. Everyone who is here is in a good mood and the food is so yummy. I think I could eat papaya every day💜

We haven’t done much but we are enjoying every minute. The food is spectacular and the weather is perfect. Right now we are outside on the sea wall relaxing and listening to the crashing waves. We were surprised to see some of Bob’s high school friends here from the Antioch Brentwood area. They are delightful and we had a wonderful meal with them last night at their condo. It really is a small world!

A few days before we left I had my 7th infusion and a series of cognitive tests. It was long and grueling. They had a hard time finding my vein again and decided to use one on my right wrist. I am grateful for all of the staff at UCSF. I must say they really do everything they can to make these visits pleasant. I’m also wondering if the infusions are helping me. There are days I feel like my memory is intact! But I’m also struggling with my balance and have bumps and scrapes and bruises all over my legs. I’m looking a little bit like an old lady😑

One day at a time! I continue to feel supported and blessed by all my friends and family. I love the visits from my high school girlfriends. Not a week goes by that I don’t have a lunch date or an event with someone who cares for me. All of you are lifting me up!

At the Walnut Creek Walk event last week I was shocked to see our team, Buni’s Buddies, at the top!! But I don’t know why I was shocked. All of you have been so generous and are helping us raise money to find a cure.  Thank you so very much! Without funding there will be no cure. And my new favorite person is Bill Gates! Holy Cow, his generous donation of $100 million should excite and encourage all of us.

We have another full week in paradise. I plan on spending every minute enjoying the ocean breeze and the time with our friends and family. Giving God the glory for this special place🙏

Mahalo to all for your support and prayers. Keep them coming!

Monday, November 20, 2017

My brain on drugs

I’ve been at UCSF all morning with my husband Bob.  It’s time for another MRI and some additional testing to ensure my balance is appropriate. This is all part of the protocol for the Roche/Genentech Clinical trial I’m participating in.

I’ve been scraping my knees and legs on random things. I’ve been cutting corners too close at home and scraped my side pretty bad, it even started bleeding. I’m not dizzy, but I’m not always moving properly and so I’m slowing down a bit, and I’m being more cautious when I walk around the neighborhood. My family and my doctors are also keeping an eye on this symptom.

I’m not sure if this is caused by me trying to walk too fast or too much, or that my balance is being effected by my Alzheimer’s. How do we ever know?? It’s a tricky disease and I don’t want to jump to conclusions too quickly and assume that all of my health and balance issues are due to Alzheimer’s.

Am I walking too fast and not paying attention, or are things starting to shift for me? The answer to both questions is yes. I do try to keep busy and active and keep my days full. I also know my illness is progressing to the extent that what I could do last year I can’t do now. That’s my new reality. Just another reminder that progression is real, albeit slow.

The drug is staring to wear off now. I think they gave me Adavan or something like that. The MRI went pretty fast and I am thankful for KLOVE and the Christian station they play during the procedure. There are three separate scans, the longest one is nine minutes. They always ask me how I’m doing before they start each scan. I think they have a great staff and today l also got to talk to my husband who was in the booth with them. Hearing his voice made me happy and kept me going. Having extreme clostrophbia to the extent that l get nervous in elevators is not a good fit for repetitive MRI’s.

But I’m committed and I’m doing my part to find a cure. Bill Gates gave me so much hope last week with his $50M donation that was matched by another $50M from his foundation. I just hope we can get moving quickly on some new studies and protocols. Every 66 seconds another person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and there is no known cure at this point.

Please help us Bill Gates and precision medicine and let’s take the politics out of this epidemic! Let’s #ENDALZ together and start acting like we like each other again, regardless of race, religion, color or creed. We are all Gods children 🙏

Thursday, November 2, 2017

"My Wish" – An Alzheimer's Story



Today I am honoring my primary caregiver, my amazing husband Bob!!. My daughters and good friend Sylvia are also part of my caregiving circle and stay with me, cook for me, make me laugh and visit when Bob travels. They are in the video and helped support me during the filming a few weeks ago.

I'm asking that you please support them too, don't forget them. They need your love and support as much as I do.

It's National Caregiver Month. Seniorlink and CaregiverNation.org is an amazing group of people who are committed to sharing inspiration, encouragement, information and resources by and for caregivers, so that they can feel loved, appreciated and supported. That's pretty special and I am so thankful for them and all that they are doing.

God bless you all and thank you for your continued support and prayers as we continue our journey with Alzheimer's♱💜


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Walk Season is over....now what?

This year we participated in two Alzheimer’s Association walks, and raised money and donated to eight of them!! The past few months it’s been almost a full time job for me. Sending out emails, posting on social media and continually asking people to help us reach our goal. The outpouring of love and financial support has been overwhelming. The kindness and generosity of our friends and family was beyond spectacular. My heart is literally filled with so much joy and gratitude and I appreciate every single penny that was given to end this horrific disease. Many thanks to all of you who donated, walked with us or for us, and helped to raise over $35,000 💰😀

The Walk events always bring my disease front and center. In Walnut Creek I was on stage with my two grandsons, Ryan & Michael holding the blue flower. There is always a flower ceremony during the walks around the country. Each flower signifies your relationship to Alzheimer’s.

Purple means you lost someone to the disease, Yellow means you are a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s or related disorder, Orange is for those supporting the cause and Blue is for those who currently have Alzheimer’s. This year there is also a new flower, a White flower. It is for the first survivor and is held by a very young child at all the walks. We are all hopeful that there will be a cure soon!!!

Having my grandsons with me was wonderful and emotional. Ryan was crying and Michael was uncomfortable with the attention. The good news is they were surrounded by love and our family and friends, and we had a great day. My husband and kids were there of course, and one of my best friends sister and niece joined us from Sacramento.
BUNI'S BUDDIES 2017
My sister and best friend from high school also drove up from Modesto to walk with us. I had friends surprise me who I hadn’t seen in years, my ex husband, my step daughter and many many others were also there to support me. It’s because of them and all of you reading this that we were able to raise so much money. That’s what the Alzheimer’s Walk is all about. It’s about coming together and fighting this horrible disease. Spending time outside and showing the world we won’t let Alzheimer’s win. There will be a cure thanks to all of you!!!

Our walk in San Luis Obispo this past Saturday was also great and we were so excited to have our sweet grandson with us from Ventura, and his parents of course. We had a small but mighty group of very dear friends and enjoyed walking around the town together. Lunch afterwards was pretty nice too!
PAM'S PALS SLO 2017

No more walks, no more emails to send. No more nagging on Facebook and Twitter. No more thank you notes to write. It’s time to relax, spend time outside, have lunch with my husband and quit worrying about how much money I raised.

It was a wonderful walk season and I am so thank for the Alzheimer’s Association and their leadership in raising money & awareness to find a cure. And as I mentioned before, I'm so blessed and grateful for all of you.

I’m not worried about what’s next. I’m making every moment matter and know that right now is the best time in my life.  It’s not tomorrow or next year. It’s now!

God bless you all💜♰

And Happy Halloween🎃

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Video production going on!

I've been quite busy the past few weeks and the fires in Napa and the surrounding area have been devastating to all of us. The smoke was pretty strong here a few days ago and my eyes were stinging and my nose was burning. So many people lost everything they had and it just breaks my heart. We donated food and diapers and some toys but it just doesn't seem like enough. I continue to pray for everyone who lost their home, their family and friends, their pets and all of their possessions😒

Last week I had my 5th infusion at UCSF and it went much better than the previous one. Thankfully they found my vein in my right arm this time and it was fairly painless. We also had a fund raiser for our Alzheimer's Walk at On Fire Pizza on Wednesday night. It was really fun and we had a great turn out. The best news is we raised over $200 for Alzheimer's research AND I am closer to my fund raising goal of $10,000!!!

Today I have an entire film crew here from Boston, and some local production folks from Petaluma. They are filming me for a commercial focusing on caregivers and the needs they have. It's a full day and they are actually filming me right now typing this blog! They also filmed me outside trimming the roses and just hanging around in the back patio. It's all about support for the caregivers so I'm happy to help and honored to be part of it. They arrived at 9am and will be here all day and into the evening. Unfortunately Bob is out of town in meetings but Kristen, Danielle and my friend Sylvia will be here soon. I'm sure it will be a little emotional for them as they are also part of my caregiver circle.
Most of the filming this morning was around me reading a letter I wrote to all of my friends and family asking for them to support Bob and not to forget him. It was hard to write and hard to read but it's important for everyone to remember Bob and my kids, and not just focus on my needs. As time moves on and I continue to experience more symptoms, Bob will be the one that needs help and support. My kids will need support, my friends and extended family will need support, but Bob is the one who will be taking on the majority of the care giving and I'm sure it won't be fun.

I thought it would be more emotional for me, but they asked me to read the letter several times, at least 20 times and to do things differently each time I read it. After awhile I almost forgot what the words meant and I didn't like that. I stopped and got back in the moment. This is hard, things are hard on both of us and I want to make sure I come across on camera as authentic. The pain is real and I do worry about what's next for my caregivers and the stress of caring for me.

We ended the day around 7pm and took some nice shots of me walking on the golf path with Danielle and Kristen. Our friend and neighbor bought a case of beer for the crew and they had a chance to relax at the end of a long day. Such great people and a very good experience.

I'm finishing this blog the morning after they left. I didn't have time to write the whole thing while they were filming me yesterday. When I reflect about the experience I feel grateful for the opportunity. I am amazed at the all the work it takes to film a 60 second spot. I'm in awe of the professional actors who can cry and evoke emotions on cue! But mostly I am honored for the chance to share my message, to remove the stigma of Alzheimer's, to honor the care givers and to shine a light on SeniorLink and all that they are doing!

Thank you all for your continued support, prayers and blessings💜


Monday, October 2, 2017

Tragic shooting in Vegas rocks my world.....

I am saddened and horrified by the shooting in Vegas during the Jason Aldeen concert last night. I woke up to the news several hours ago and can't shake the feelings I'm having. It's too close to home, both geographically and emotionally. I love country music and have been to Vegas many times. One of my best friends was just there last week with her family celebrating her daughters 21st birthday! Thinking about them being involved in something like this is horrifying.

The shooter was 64 years old. His brother spoke about him on TV this morning and he too is in shock. He has no history of violence and no known affiliation with terrorist organizations. The death toll is at 58 and over 500 more were injured. The deadliest shooting in our US history! What is going on?

I've been praying all morning for the families of those who were killed, and will continue to pray for all those in the hospital, and for everyone who was at the concert and had to run, trying to avoid being hit by the bullets. It's unimaginable! I had to turn off the TV because I've spent most of the morning in sadness. It's hard to imagine what was going through the shooters mind, what caused him to want to kill and injure all these people. Mental illness is such a mystery and obviously he had a plan that took some time to formulate. He didn't just wake up and have two automatic weapons in his car with several rounds of ammunition, he had a plan! All of these items were purchased some time ago. He went there to intentionally cause harm to others😩

I know he must have had demons in his head. I know he must have been mentally unstable. Anyone who does this type of thing is not sane. Anyone who even considers or fantasized about shooting someone is insane in my opinion. His family had no idea, no indications, no notice. I pray for them too.

I haven't been able to get myself going today. I thought writing a blog and getting things down on paper might help, but I still feel paralyzed and shaken. It's lunch time now and I haven't done a thing all day except drink some coffee and sit outside to reflect. I will leave the house now, I will get outside, I will be productive. I promise not to let this incident keep me down and ruin my spirit!

This is just another reminder to cherish every moment and not to wait to tell someone you love them. We just don't know what tomorrow will bring. God bless you all 🕇 Please stay safe💜






Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fall is in the air!!

I can feel the seasons changing, especially in the morning when it's cool and crisp. At least that's what the past few days have been like. I love the cool mornings that warm up and morph into mild afternoons. Today on my walk I was chilly in the shade and warm in the sun.....a good warm, not the hot sweaty heat that we've had most of the summer here in Northern California.

I also was informed yesterday by my neurologist that walking is EXTREMELY beneficial to those with Alzheimer's. We ran into her at UCSF in the lobby of the building where I have my clinical trial infusions. As I've said before, there's no such thing as a coincidence! I love this amazing woman. She is down to earth and as brilliant as they come. She is involved in the Alzheimer's research that UCSF is doing and asked us almost immediately if we had been walking. The answer was yes, we walk quite often actually. When we asked her why, she started talking about the research that she and her colleagues have been doing regarding Alzheimer's and the effects walking has. They have found some correlation and benefit from walking, just walking, not running, not biking, not rowing or doing other cardio activity. I'm assuming it has something to do with balance and keeping upright but we didn't have time to get into anything specific.

I was happy but somewhat surprised. I started rowing a few months ago and felt like maybe I should be biking, and doing more work on the elliptical. I have been walking for years but thought maybe another form of cardio would be good for me. I am so happy with this news! It makes things easier. We can walk anywhere😊 In any country, in any weather, in any city. For some reason this is a big relief for me and that's why I'm sharing it with you. I'm also not suggesting you should follow her recommendation, I'm just putting it out there as 'food for thought' and something you might want to talk to your doctor about.

This is also Alzheimer's Walk season. We initially signed up to raise money and attend four walks. As the months wore on and our schedules got busy, we made a tough decision to only participate in two. We did four walks last year but it was the first year of my diagnosis and two of the walks were created for me by friends and co workers. I also had more energy last year and Bob was not working full time. Four is just too many now and I am relieved and happy that we made the right decision to slow down. We have a good group walking with us in Walnut Creek and are building our team down in San Luis Obispo.

I'm excited and am looking forward to both of them. I'm also extremely grateful for all the donations I've received from my friends and family. Thanks to all of you, I've raised over $6000 towards my $8000 goal for the Walnut Creek walk. And, our amazing team "Buni's Buddies" has raised almost $10,000! I'm grateful beyond words for your generosity!!

I reached another milestone this month. My blog has over 30,000 unique views! I am hopeful that those with Alzheimer's or other types of dementia are benefiting from my journey, trials and tribulations. I also hope all the caregivers and care partners out there are finding it helpful. I will keep blogging as long as I can. Sharing my story, my journey, my ups and my downs. There is no shame in this disease and I'm not afraid to talk about how difficult things are for me now.

If you would like to walk with us in Walnut Creek or donate to help us find a cure, here is the link: Buni's Buddies aka Pam's Walnut Creek Walk  No amount is too small, every dollar helps!

God bless you all. Thank you for your continued support and I hope you have a chance to walk soon, and enjoy the cooler weather.

Count your blessings and please pray for those who have been effected by the hurricanes, floods, natural disasters and the most recent earthquake in Mexico.










Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Feeling the heat🌞

Happy Monday everyone.....oh wait, it's actually Tuesday! Yesterday was Labor Day so I'm a little confused about what day it is. We were up in Sea Ranch this weekend. We rented a house that was right on the bluff and we could hear the ocean waves crashing. We normally go up there this time of year to see our Linscheid family and cousins, AND to get away from the heat. This year we had another wonderful visit with everyone but there was a heat wave and our house was hot and didn't have air conditioning. It was so hot that even late at night it was pretty warm and uncomfortable. I had a horrible time sleeping and even with medication did not fall asleep until after 2am one morning. But again there were many upsides. We had some gorgeous sunsets, we were able to sit outside for dinner without a blanket and our long walks along the ocean were lovely.
I am realizing that sleep is extremely important to me! And I'm sure it's important to all of you too. Without it I'm foggy, cranky and not very happy. Bob is so patient and he allows me to sit in silence or find a corner to read a book or knit. Thank you honey💜 I know I'm not always that great to be around or to live with. I appreciate you and know that this journey is as hard for you as it is for me.

I'm not the same person.......well, actually I am the same person but sometimes I don't recognize myself. Who is this tired, cranky, exhausted woman I see in the mirror?? I dream about the days of non stop work, conference calls, travel, meetings and time with my staff & colleagues. I miss the craziness of Intel and all the demands & AR's. I miss the staff meetings and the fun we had at lunch up in Oregon. The laughing, the drinks after work. I miss my travel buddy Mike and all the good times we had at the Embassy Suites.

But with all that said, I am OK. I am not depressed or sad, just tired. I am knitting, learning Spanish, exercising and spending time with friends and family. I also just joined the Nor Cal/Nor Nevada Alzheimer's Association Board of Directors and today I am filling out an application to be considered for the National Alzheimer's Association Board of Directors. I'm very honored to be considered and will continue to do what I can to raise money, awareness and find a cure.

So yes, our air conditioning is out and we can't get it fixed for a few days. Yes it's too hot for me to be there during the day due to a little heat wave in Northern California. Yes, I am at Starbucks and maybe that's why my mind keeps reminiscing about all my years of working. Starbucks was always a wonderful place to work while traveling and good habits die hard.

Cherish every moment my friends.......things change quickly. Be real, be present, be loving, learn to forgive, pray and don't beat yourself up. We are all doing the best we can. One day at a time, minute by minute, hour by hour.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers✝



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Happy Sunday❤

Sunday morning...a beautiful day outside. The birds are enjoying the seed I put out for them, the early morning golfers are approaching the 2nd green and the sun is keeping me warm out on our patio. It is really pretty out here and I love the peace and quiet of the mornings in summer.

I haven't written in a long time. There have been some struggles and my energy is low at times. Overall I'm feeling well, but there have been many days where I needed to push myself to get out of the house. I think that's normal, or I guess that's my NEW normal. One of my friends who also has Younger Onset Alzheimer's said it sounded like depression to him. I don't even know what that means. How do you know if you're depressed? I don't feel sad, I'm not lonely, I don't cry all day. I do have moments of silence and peace where I'm almost paralyzed and just want to sit in the moment. Enjoying the fact that I'm not busy and just feel my feelings. I think that's ok so I'm not going to dwell on it, I'm going to take one day at a time and continue to listen to my body and pray for continued peace and happiness.

I'm still struggling with sleeping and when I get a good nights sleep there is definitely a different start to my day. I am happier, have more energy and excited to see what's in store for me. I'm on my third journal and I write every day, several times a day actually. I love looking back to see how I was feeling and how much sleep I got and what my activities were. It's very therapeutic and it gives me a sense of how things are changing in my life.

Our friend Karen was with us this weekend. She's amazing and wonderful and so kind. We were brainstorming about how to raise more money for the Alzheimer's Walk that's coming up in October in Walnut Creek. I was the top fund raiser last year and my competitive nature is kicking in😎 I'd like that to happen again but I don't like asking over and over again for donations. We came up with some good ideas and it was a fun conversation. I'm excited to see what I can make happen. If any of you own a restaurant or business and want to donate a percentage of your proceeds for a day to my walk, please let me know!

I was also extremely humbled and overwhelmed to hear that her niece has taken up the cause. She is a Girl Scout and there entire troup has 'adopted me' and will be helping me to raise money and awareness to find a cure. They are walking in Sacramento on my behalf and writing letters asking for donations. I'm excited to Skype with the entire troop in a few weeks to share my story with them. Who knows, one of these 5th graders may be the one that finds a cure!

My third infusion of the Genentech clinical trial went well. No issues other than I slept part of the way home from San Francisco. As I've mentioned before the staff really makes the entire experience as painless and enjoyable as possible. I actually look forward to seeing them each month.

It's time to get ready for church and to finish my coffee and enjoy this beautiful day.......Thanks as always for your continued prayers and support. You really keep me going help me to stay positive💜




Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The gift of love❤

We've been home from Australia for two weeks. I have been struggling with jet lag, headaches and exhaustion the entire time. I wake up feeling good and a few hours later I am exhausted and need a little nap! It's been annoying because I'm a high energy person and like to get things done and be active, but I've learned this past year how important it is to listen to my body, so that's what I've been doing.

Things have finally shifted (or I think they have) and I'm back on track. I still need a little rest in the afternoon but I'm not dragging like I was. Today it's really hot again - it's 92 degrees already and we haven't hit the noon hour yet. That makes walking outside tough unless I get up early which doesn't happen very often.

On another note, my husband gave me an extraordinary gift, really extraordinary and one of the best gifts I've ever gotten. He gave me time with my two grandsons! He asked their mom, Danielle, to be my care giver when he was traveling and out of town. He asked her to move in with us to help care for me! That means every time she has the kids, they will be here😊 We are on the second week of this permanent set up and my heart was filled with joy this morning when I woke up to my sweet boys. Ryan is 10 now and Michael is 7.

This morning Michael was still sleepy and I got to lay with him and help him get dressed for tennis. There really is nothing like grandchildren! Having them near me and in my home lifts me up! They are loud at times and argue and cry and yell, but they are also so sweet and loving and funny and generous. After two weeks in Australia I miss our three grandkids there, so having these guys to 'love on' makes it less painful.

Ryan continually asks me about my Alzheimer's and wants to know how I'm doing and what has changed with me. Michael doesn't really thoroughly understand but he does know I'm 'sick' and need help. I'm sure there will be many moments where I need to leave the room, or go outside while Danielle deals with their 'drama', but the good FAR exceeds the bad.

Thank you Bob! Your gift of love fills me up. Thank you Danielle for being willing to drive and commute to our house which is much further away from your job in San Francisco. Thank you God for your continued blessings and grace that you bestow on this family. We have never been closer and through this journey of Alzheimer's we all have learned what's most important. The little things don't seem so tragic and we are all able to deal with whatever gets thrown at us. We love each other and we know that love conquers all -- through the good times and bad!

Have a great week my friends. Sending love to all of you💜


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

PBS Special -- Boomers Guide To Growing Older

http://vids.kvie.org/video/3002136506/

Sorry everyone -- here's the correct link for the PBS special Bob and I were part of.
I'm adding it so we have easy access as many folks have asked for the link.

I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Happy Anniversary to me😢

It's been a year....12 long months since I was given my official diagnosis of Younger Onset, Early Stage Alzheimer's. 7/20/16 seems like so longs ago, and yet I can remember almost every minute of that day. The driving, the waiting and waiting and waiting, and more waiting.....along with my kids and my husband, as the doctors were assembling in a conference room upstairs at UCSF Memory & Aging Center.

I remember that it took them quite some time to get to the point and to finally share with us, that I did indeed have Alzheimer's. They asked me if I was clumsy as a child, if I used to be left handed and was forced to be right handed. The questions seemed like stall tactics--but when we were shown the slides and scans of my brain there was no doubt. I knew red was bad and my brain scan had a lot of red.

I'm not sure what happened after that. My family and I were crying and yet deep inside of me I was grateful to finally have a diagnosis and validation of my symptoms & issues. As I've mentioned before I KNEW something was wrong but most people kept dismissing me because of my verbal capabilities.

So here I am today - 12 months later - celebrating, or perhaps a better word is 'honoring' this day and the journey my family & friends and I have been on. I have not done this alone. I have never felt alone and for that I am extremely grateful. The Alzheimer's Association is amazing and has given me opportunities with purpose and provided great support. My friends have rallied around me and stayed in close touch with me. My family, especially my husband has been ever present, always by my side and we are committed to fight this disease together 💜 My Intel family continues to reach out with phone calls, cards and visits. I am truly blessed by all the support I've received this past year.

As we approach the 'Walk To End Alzheimer's' season we will, for the 2nd year in a row, participate in four walks, and hope to raise another $50,000!! So those of you on Facebook please keep a lookout for that😃

I feel the progression of this disease over the past 12 months, but I continue to pray, stay positive, hopeful and to surround myself with activities that stimulate my mind and my body. We will find a cure in my lifetime and I will continue do everything I can to raise awareness and keep this topic front and center.

Happy Anniversary to me! And here's to many many many more!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bye bye Australia 😢

At this very moment we are on our way home from Sydney - flying at 33000 feet above the ocean. We have 11 more hours until we get home and hope it's an uneventful flight!!

It took an extra day for us to get on this plane and we are thankful to be coming home. Yesterday we woke up at 5am and rushed to get to the Melbourne airport. It was a painful experience to leave our family and I'm grateful the kids were asleep. I'm not sure I could have endured the long hugs and sadness of waving goodbye and kissing them one last time. Thank you Anna for driving us❤️

When we arrived in Sydney we rushed to our gate but we didn't get there in time to make the connection to our flight! Even with pleading and some whining, they ignored us and promptly booked us on a flight the following morning. We were so surprised and frustrated.  But as we've learned -- every cloud has a silver lining. We booked a room at a lovely hotel litterally across the street. It was around 9:45am and we were so thankful to have a bed and a place to rest. Unfortunately I could not sleep the night before and have developed a bad cold. The bed was much needed. So was the cappachino 😀 We slept and rested most of the day and I tried to 'wish & pray' my cold away. I honestly was feeling pretty punk.

That was yesterday and today is a new day! I am sick and feel crappy and stuffy but excited to get home. I'm very grateful for our 'bed' and hope to sleep on the flight. The food on the flight is actually pretty spectacular and I am praying that my headache and stuffy nose get better as the day progresses. We still have many more hours to go so I will hope for the best and continue to be thankful for this bed I'm about to sleep in😴

Here's my gratitude list from our trip:
For family / the love & affection of toddlers / the amazing love & snuggles of a newborn
For naps and playtime and many hours of Dumbo / the pirate ship / legos / Thomas
For the generous nature of Anna / Matt and Anna's parents
For the food / the honest conversation / the concern you have for my diagnosis
For the extended family David / Paulo / Fernando
For Anna's mom and her love and non stop cooking and cleaning!
For espresso  - any time I needed it!
For the lasagna / meat / wine / french toast and all the other special things you cooked for us
And for all the meaningful conversations we had about life and death and dealing with whatever comes our way
For a wonderful time in Sydney & Melbourne and a safe flight from America!

What I wish for is to see our Australian family very soon - and to do a better job of staying in touch💜 I pray for a safe flight for us and I look forward to my 'fur' babies. Hopefully Monty & Rusty can help me with my sadness of missing our grandchildren and kids who are so far far away 🙏🙏
G'day......


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Baby love❤️

We are in Melbourne now, staying with our son and daughter in law and their three kids! We've been here six days already. It's been wonderful, actually better than wonderful.

Getting acclimated in Sydney for a few days was smart. It prepared us for non stop kids, family time and a new born grandson. Anna's mom is here too and she is a Saint! So helpful and talented in the kitchen. Making us homemade pasta and ravioli and deserts. I'm pretty sure my jeans may be a little tight when I get home 😃

Being around the kids and our newborn baby grandson warms my heart. Spending time alone with my daughter in law Anna has been special too. And seeing Grandpa Bob with the kids brings me so much joy! I'm also grateful for the time he's been able to spend with his son Matt. Tomorrow they're going to an Australian football game. My understanding is they don't wear helmets or pads!! I'm sure it will be great and I'm very glad I won't be there. I don't do well in crowds and get very overwhelmed when there's too much going on around me. My ears are also pretty sensitive so staying home with Anna and the kids works well for me.

I'm also almost finished knitting my first sweater. I've been knitting scarfs and blankets since my diagnosis and decided to try a simple sweater pattern. It's been fun and therapeutic. I did have a little emotional meltdown when Virgin Australia told me I couldn't take my knitting needles on the flight...but tears come easy for me now. The littlest thing can really set me off.

I have earned a new nickname while being here. I am the 'baby whisperer'❤️ I love infants and I love comforting them. For some reason I seem to have a special touch and can get Jeremiah to calm down when others can't. I honestly wish I could hold him all day long! When he's unsettled during the day I get to snuggle and rock and love on him!! I can't tell you what a blessing that is. I can feel my heart explode and the love is flowing through me. The innocence of newborns is so special. What a blessing he and our other grandkids are. I thank God every day for the honor and privilege to be their Buni 🙏

It's time for breakfast and to watch some Sesame Street and Telly Tubbies with the kids😃 Vacation time with family is the best!!!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sydney July 2017

We made it safely to Sydney from San Francisco. A pretty nice and uneventful flight other than a little turbulence. We were fortunate to be in Business Class on the new United Polaris Dreamliner. To me it didn't seem that different from business class on the old planes, but the blankets were softer and supposedly they have upgraded their pillows!! The food was pretty amazing and they have partnered with some well know chefs.

The flight left around 11pm and we were tired, but we forced ourselves to stay awake and have some dinner before going to sleep. I took an Ambien and was able to sleep a few hours but I'm not comfortable sleeping on planes, even with comfy pillows! But I survived and we landed safely. I will also say that the flight crew was one of the bests I've ever had.

The Hilton in Sydney is great and the location is perfect for us. So grateful for our points which allowed us to stay all three nights for free! The food here is amazing and I have been able to eat fruit and vegetables every day. I'm trying really hard to eat according to the MIND healthy diet that we learned about at Move For Minds. Thank goodness the food that's good for my brain are the foods I love.

The other thing I'm really grateful for is the comfort and calmness I feel here. I am not anxious or worried about getting lost (of course I haven't gone anywhere alone yet either). This place is familiar to me. I've stayed at this hotel and two other hotels nearby. Several years ago I was here for a convention with Intel and I still have those memories too. International travel can be hard regardless of Alzheimer's or other cognitive difficulties, but other than complete exhaustion and headaches I think I'm doing ok! That's encouraging and helps me realize that I don't need to let Alzheimer's define me or limit what I do.

We've been getting outside in the sun every day and walking miles and miles to help us get acclimated. My favorite day so far was yesterday at the Zoo. I am an animal freak and some of my friends call me 'Ellie May Clampet'. It was great to see the kangaroos and elephants and all the gorgeous birds. Two of may favorite animals were the Tasmanian Devil and the Red Panda! I posted a video of the little panda...they are so cute and look somewhat like a fox. It was wonderful to be on the water and travel by boat to our destinations. The Sydney skyline is pretty spectacular!

Today we are dragging and having tea across from the hotel. It's almost lunch time and I'm sure we'll get moving soon. Or not..... we are on vacation and tomorrow we will be flying to Melbourne to stay with our son, daughter in law and three grandkids!!! I literally cannot wait to see them and love on them. I'm so grateful we will be staying at their house and will be surrounded by family for the rest of our trip.

That's what makes me happy!! And my doctor told me that what's most important is doing 'what makes me happy'. What a blessed life we have🙏

Saturday, July 1, 2017

National Early Stage Advisor Event - 2017

We landed back in San Francisco late last night, I think it was after 10pm.  The flight was wonderful and the seat next to me was vacant which made me very happy! I was able to put my purse and my knitting and other things next to me. United seems to be hiring some good folks as everyone we spoke with was very upbeat and kind.

Thanks to the coaching from my Early Stage Support group in Lafayette, Bob and I were able to pre-board our flight. I have a disability and even though you can't physically see it, it is certainly there 7x24. The airport staff is not allowed to ask what disability you have, so of course we just walked on when they announced those that needed 'extra time' or assistance were able to board. We were seated early on both of our flights and it really helped me get settled. It's amazing how a little assistance and grace from others helps me get through the rough times.

Meeting the Early Stage Advisor Group, and all of the National Alzheimer's Association Staff in Chicago was wonderful! To be with my 'peers' who are just as passionate as I am about raising money, finding a cure and speaking publically about our symptoms and issues was incredible💜 They are ALL so fantastic and very articulate and intelligent. Many from very professional positions and senior executive roles around the country.

We bonded and spent some additional time with a wonderful couple, Phil & Tim. We met by mistake on our first morning while we were stumbling around trying to figure out how to get to the office. They too were lost. The funny thing was that Phil and I were both the ones trying to decipher the directions. We soon realized that the two people who don't know what day it is or what they had for breakfast should not be the ones leading the search for our building! Very funny and I'm so glad they too were lost. They are wonderful, have many dogs and are huge animal lovers like I am! Phil and I have already been in touch and I know we will lean on each other often as we journey down this maze of Alzheimer's together.

The content shared during the meeting was great and I learned a lot and am even more impressed with this amazing organization than I was before I got there. There are many good things coming in the way of advocacy and Medicare planning reimbursement codes, additional funding and hopefully that cure we all need!! It feels good to connect with passionate people who share my condition. We are all working together for the same cause. A cure by 2025 seems more possible now!

I'm exhausted today but excited about our trip to Australia to see our son, daughter in law and three grandbabies!!! We leave late in the evening on Monday July 3rd. I already have my outfit picked out as we will miss the 4th of July! I'm wearing Red White & Blue and will be celebrating in the sky while the rest of you are enjoying the fireworks 😊

I hope you all have a great holiday and enjoy your family and friends! Light a sparkler for me please🎆


Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Longest Day - my first infusion!

How wonderful it was to realize that the first day of my clinical trial was also The Longest Day! We celebrate the summer solstice as teams around the world honor the strength passion and endurance of those facing Alzheimer's. I originally was sad I couldn't join a team and go for a walk, go bowling, wine tasting, etc. I soon realized that I could create my own team and raise money during my day at UCSF receiving my first infusion! My husband and I chronicled the entire day starting with our fist stop at 7am for coffee at Starbucks. I created an event on Facebook and continued to share the experience and my day. We video taped them giving me the infusion and I had an opportunity to thank everyone for their support over the last year. It really did feel like 'the Longest Day' to me...hours of cognitive testing followed by the infusion and then a long drive home. It was fun though and now we have something to look back on as the trial progresses. We also raised over $600 and I'm very happy about that!

Yesterday (the day after my infusion) I had one of the best days I've had all year! I woke up very happy and full of energy. I slept well the night before and was thrilled to be so alert and present. I don't know if the infusion had anything to do with it, but maybe whatever they gave me helped! It's a double blind trial so no one knows if I'm getting the crenezumab or a placebo. I'm just extremely happy that I'm feeling good and have more energy. It's a two year trial and I'm looking forward to what's next!

This weekend is filled with activities and lunch dates. We are also going to see our pastor and a dear friend preach at Berkeley Presbyterian Church on Sunday. I am so happy he and his wife moved to the Bay Area. I cried when he told us. He married us and it was in his church in Chico that I recommitted my life to Christ. Their move back to the Bay Area is another huge blessing and it's no coincidence that this is happening when we need him the most♰

I'm also almost done with another scarf!  I've been knitting most days and look forward to taking it with me on our trip to Chicago for the National Early Stage Advisory group meeting😀 The blessings bestowed on me each day continue. I'm very excited to see what my role will look like and where I can serve others and help the most.

Family, faith and friends....and doing what makes you happy. That's what my doctor recommended and I try to keep that in mind every single day💜

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

It's hot -- really hot today. Over 100 degrees and my energy level is low. We did go to church and I made my amazing husband a nice breakfast. We had lunch with my girls and our grandsons and Bob's youngest son Jonny. It was great, but the restaurant was loud and crowded and I was feeling overwhelmed. Afterwards Ryan and Michael and Lisa went to a movie suitable for kids and we went to a silly movie that was very inappropriate and a little stupid, but it was nice to be in a cool place.

I've been resting since we got home and have a headache. I've been having headaches almost every day and I'm not sure what's going on. I've been taking more naps these days, but feeling happy and continue to exercise, journal and started back on my Spanish again too. I've been knitting and finished another scarf, I'm social and have lunch dates with my friends. But I can't help but feel things are changing and that my weariness is part of the progressive nature of Alzheimer's. I guess time will tell. I truly take one day at a time and I thank God for every day, and do my best to bless all those around me. It lifts me up to give back and I know that is my purpose.

Next week is my first infusion -- it's on July 21st -- The Longest Day! I'm pretty excited about that. I plan on posting pictures and sharing my experience on Facebook and social media. Knowledge is power! Helping others to understand what I'm going through will hopefully help them with their issues and challenges.

The highlight of the week was having Ryan & Michael stay at our house. I love waking up with them and spending time alone with them. Just Buni and her babies 💕I also got to watch them play tennis and am just amazed how two little boys can hit the tennis ball so hard and with such power! Very impressive and excited to see how they do in their next tournament.

Tomorrow Bob's son Phil and wife Elizabeth come to stay for a few days with their darling baby. I'm so excited to have them in town and will take things slow so that I can enjoy every moment.

Happy Fathers Day to all you Dad's and to you moms who serve as both mommy and daddy to your kids. I hope your day was special too🙏🏻

Friday, June 9, 2017

This is what Alzheimer's looks like: 'It looks like me'

This is what Alzheimer’s looks like: ‘It looks like me’

I'm posting the 'PBS Brief But Spectacular'  clip that Chris and I did so I can share it easily, and have it for reference. It will be interesting to see how things change for me in the next few years. Having a video will help me see that versus trying to remember.

I hope you enjoy it. Many of you might have seen it already on Facebook.

Have a great day everyone. I'm better today. No tears so far. Rusty seemed to be ok even with painters in the house and Monty was hiding as usual. We left them and I don't have any concern that they will escape. My mood is calm and I'm not feeling stress or sadness. Very grateful for that🙏

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Change is not my friend

Change is not good for me. Stress is not good for me. I get nervous and scared and today I broke down and cried. I mean really cried outloud with big tears.

We decided to remove the wall to wall carpets in our bedrooms and replace them with hardwood floor to match the rest of our house. I was very excited! It sounded like a great idea and it was fun picking out new area rugs to put in our bedrooms. But the fun stopped there😓

It took one day to do each bedroom. Yesterday wasn't too bad when they worked on Ryan & Michael's room (aka guest bedroom). But this morning at 8am they arrived and had to move all the furniture out of our master bedroom so they could remove the carpet. It was early and I was in my workout clothes and happy to help with the little things. Things got really ugly and stressful when I realized that my cat Rusty had to be locked in the garage all day, and that my crazy Siamese cat Monty was hiding. The front door was open for the workers so I was in a panic. Rusty was crying and that didn't make things any easier.

I finally calmed down and needed to rush to get ready for my Alzheimer's support group. But I couldn't get ready!! All my clothes and shoes were blocked by the bedroom set that we moved to the bathroom. For a normal person that wouldn't have been a big deal and you would have found a solution, but I was in a panic! We easily rectified this by moving everything out of the bathroom so I could get my clothes out of the closet and I took a shower in our guest bathroom since Rusty was in our Master bath. Whew .... ok I survived but was stressed out.

I soon realized that I wasn't really ok. I hate change, chaos and cats meowing.  At my Alzheimer's support group when it was my turn to talk I couldn't stop crying. I'm still crying about it as I type this. I love my cats and I was so scared something was going to happen to them. I was in panic mode all day. It was painful for me to leave knowing that Rusty was trapped in the garage and Monty was hiding. I also think I was crying because change and disruption to my normal schedule stresses me out, and that is a very vivid reminder that I'm not the same person I was two years ago.

I'm better now.....but the house is still a mess and the bedroom gets painted tomorrow. I still can't find Monty but I'm pretty sure he didn't escape. He's too much of a scared cat. Rusty is ignoring me but happy to be in the living room looking at the birds outside.

Tomorrow is another day and I hope it's peaceful and calm without stress! Taking things one day at a time for sure and trying to give myself the same grace I give others💕💗


Monday, June 5, 2017

The waiting is over!

Another busy week and a week filled with joy and blessings!! I found out on Thursday that I made it into the Roche/Genentech clinical trial. I am overjoyed and so thankful for this opportunity to help find a cure. We have been waiting for this all year and our prayers have been answered. My first infusion is on June 21st at UCSF. I am sure I will be a little anxious, but from what I understand it's a painless procedure and all I have to do is relax for about an hour and let the drugs (or the placebo) do their job. The trial is for two years and I will go monthly. The commitment is big because getting to San Francisco and ensuring that I have Bob or one of my other friends or family with me will be challenging for our schedule. But we will work it out!! Thank you for all your support and nice comments on my Facebook page. You all keep me going💜

The other amazing news I received is that I have been selected to serve on the 2017 Alzheimer's Association National Early Stage Advisory Group! This is something I applied for last year when I first got my diagnosis. It's a one year term and I am so excited to take my advocacy to a new level. To speak and share my story at potential events around the world and help shape additional services that the Alzheimer's Association might offer to those with early stage Alzheimer's. Our first meeting is later this month.

Last week two different TV shows also aired. One was the PBS special 'Brief But Spectacular' that was filmed a few months ago. The other was an NBC local newscast produced by Jessica Aguirre featuring my story of living with Alzheimer's and promoting the Women's Alzheimer's Movement event, Move For Minds. The comments and support I received from these have been overwhelmingly. There have been over 3000 views and I think sharing my story is helping to remove the stigma of Alzheimer's. That's my goal so I hope that's happening, and I hope I'm changing people's minds about what Early Stage Alzheimer's looks like too😊

Pam & Kristen
Our amazing week ended with a fantastic event at the Equinox Sports Club in San Francisco where the Women's Alzheimer's Movement (founded by Maria Shriver) hosted a multi city mind healthy workout, followed by amazing snacks and a panel of experts who spoke on healthy eating, elder care issues and the science of Alzheimer's. The work out was intense but enjoyable and we ended with a wonderful meditation and cool down. My youngest daughter was there as well as a few friends which made it even more special.

The panel was moderated by NBC Anchor, Jessica Aguirre and she did a fabulous job! My key take away was to make sure you eat 'Alzheimer's healthy'. Which means you are eating to eliminate inflammation! We can do that by eating mostly plants that are rich in color, including mint and spices. The doctor also mentioned that our portion sizes for protein should be very small, not take up the entire plate our food is on. That was a good reminder -- and she stressed organic, grass fed meats, minimal sugar and no processed foods.


It was another amazing week for me and my family. I have decided to appoint Bob as my official press agent and social media executive! I think that sounds like a fun job. He certainly has many more connections than I do and can help spread the word and help to find a cure and he is more than happy to do so.

I hope you all have a great week planned and can spend time doing what you love. As I've mentioned before, having your prayers and support keep me going! God bless you all 💖

Monday, May 29, 2017

Clinical trial update & the joy of nature!

These past few weeks have been incredibly busy so I was grateful for a day of rest, Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who lost their lives for our freedom. I was grateful that  I could attend my yoga class but the highlight was a walk around Lafayette Reservoir! It was a gorgeous day, not too hot and there was a nice breeze. It's a short walk, a little under 4 miles and it was just what I needed. I find that even though going to the gym is satisfying, there's nothing like being outside. I love feeling the wind in my hair, and the sun on my face. Bob and I decided that we should do it more often and add it to our list of things that 'make us happy'. I'm sure you've heard me mention that before. My doctor told me after I was diagnosed that the most important thing I needed to do in addition to staying active, and eating well was to do what makes me happy! I just love her advice and I try to remember it every single day.

Last week was stressful and overwhelming and busy as I mentioned. Monday started with an MRI at UCSF. I don't know about you but being strapped down with a cage over your face and head and put inside an incredibly small tube is not my idea of a good time! It's only the second time I've had one and thank goodness they gave me an Ativan or I would not have made it. I have claustrophobia so any small spaces are not good for me, and having a cage on my face makes it worse. But I closed my eyes and they turned on Christian music for me which really helped. I tried to sing along and pretend I was at home in bed relaxing. I also feel compelled to be part of the Roche/Genentech clinical trial and the MRI is a requirement. The good news is my MRI was fine! That bar has been cleared😁

Tuesday we drove to San Luis Obispo for a few days. I was scheduled to speak at an event called GOOD MORNING SLO. Thursday morning I got up at 6am (not my favorite) and attended the event with my husband and 300 other business folks. Bob's boss, the President of Cal Poly and his wife were also there to support me. I have also made some great friends down there and they were there too which was comforting. I spoke last and shared my story. I cried, several people in the audience cried too, but I am OK with that. My story is a sad story, but it's also a story of hope and faith.

My husband video taped the entire thing and posted in on Facebook almost immediately. The comments and support have been overwhelming, and the last time we checked there were over 3000 views! Hopefully that means 3000+ more people than I could have ever reached via a blog or an email, have heard me speak and share my symptoms. They heard me and saw me being honest and not hiding or having shame about my disease. That makes me happy! And I hope it helps others get the help that they might need.

We drove home on Thursday because Friday was another big day for me. It was the FINAL piece of testing needed to qualify for the clinical trial. This time it was a CT scan. It required another 6am wake up but I survived. This test required me to be injected with a radioactive drug, to then wait 50 minutes to have my brain absorb it and to then have the CT scan. I did well with this one. The tube is small and it's like a circle that you can see out of and they don't put anything over your face. Everyone at the clinic was extremely friendly and kind which also helped.

Now we play the waiting game to see if I qualify. If not, I will be OK. I have done everything I could have and believe that everything happens for a reason. If this isn't the trial, then there's another one that will be better. I am praying that I qualify, but I know it's out of my hands and will trust the outcome. 

I want to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers. Not a day goes by that I don't get a nice note or comment, or an email or post. You all keep me going and I am blessed to have such good friends and family.

Have a great week and as my favorite TV host Ellen always says "be kind to one another"💜


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

Wow! What a glorious weekend we had.  Mother's Day was perfect this year.  We all went to Tilden Park in Berkeley after church and had a BBQ, played some football and soccer and basically enjoyed each other. The holidays have taken on new meaning for me, and yes, Mother's Day is a holiday in our house 😁 Any excuse I have to be with my kids and my grandkids is a blessing. Of course it was my daughter Danielle's mothers day as well, so we celebrated her too.

We spent some time walking around one of the ponds. It was beautiful! Danielle's partner Lisa shared that her mom's ashes were spread there. I love that idea. I love that Lisa and her family always have a place to go where they can 'visit' their mom and feel connected with her. I love being outside and I love the idea of having my ashes somewhere other than at a cemetery or in a box. I would like to do the same thing when it's time for me to go to heaven. I want my ashes to be given to my kids and family, but I also want them scattered so that there is always a 'place' for them to be with me. I find that comforting, and I think they will too when the time comes.

The weeks leading up to Mother's Day have been busy. The clinical trial at UCSF went well but it was a long day, and after the testing for the trial, KVIE from Sacramento filmed another series of testing so that they could use it in their PBS special on Baby Boomers. A few days later I had an appointment with the Social Security office. Wow, that was very difficult. It was another series of cognitive testing to see if I qualify for social security since I'm on long term disability now. All these tests and all the paperwork is extremely demanding and overwhelming. I'm just not good at those types of activities anymore. My brain doesn't comprehend or retain all the information.
 and it stresses me out.

We had a good turnout for the Rivet Revolution fund raiser for Move For Minds. I'm not sure how many bracelet's were sold but we sure had fun. And we made a video of me telling my story to Ellen! One of my goals is to be on The Ellen Show so that I can tell her how much she inspires me and keeps me smiling. Of course I also want to make sure everyone knows the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's and gets to the doctor if they think something's wrong with them. My fingers are crossed that this will come true. Dream big, that's my motto now!! What do I have to lose? If she selects me to be on her show I will be thrilled, if not, I will keep on fighting and raising awareness on a local level.

The rest of May is filled with activities and tests, visits from friends and a short speech in San Luis Obispo, but as I've mentioned before that's my new normal. I made it through the testing and blood work that was done at UCSF on May 1st, but still have to undergo an MRI later in the month. If my MRI is normal I think I will be 100% cleared for the trial!! Fingers crossed and praying that it all goes well.

As I approach the one year mark of taking medical leave from Intel, I can't help but reflect on all the amazing people I have met because of my disease. The list is too long to mention but I have made some very dear friends and reconnected with some old friends from my past. I am CERTAIN that would not have happened if I wouldn't have gotten sick. Thank you all for continuing to support me, taking me to lunch, sending me notes and cards and visiting me when you're in town.

It's a perfect example of taking lemons and turning them into lemonade! Let's all drink lemonade and be happy, and get rid of those sour people, situations and feelings in your life. Rid yourself of lemons and be happy💜

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Living life to the fullest


The last two weeks have been incredibly busy. I officially retired on May 1st. I've had newspaper interviews & photo shoots. A TV interview for a PBS special on Baby Boomers AND a full day of testing for the Roche/Genentech clinical trial. I enjoy sharing my story and raising awareness but I also need to remember to rest and not take on too much. I found myself exhausted and last week took two long naps. I thought I would rest for a minutes, but it turned into a three hour snooze fest 😊 I can't remember the last time I slept during the day like that. But obviously I needed it and since my doctor instructed me to 'do what makes me happy' I slept in peace.


This week is back on track with my normal activities of lunch dates and coffee with friends. The wonderful folks at Rivet Revolution are also hosting an event tonight at our country club. For every bracelet that's purchased they will donate $10 to my Move For Minds fund raising effort. All proceeds go to Maria Shriver's Women's Alzheimer's Movement (WAM)!

I'm still waiting to hear if I qualify for the clinical trial. Thinking positive thoughts and praying that this time I will be within range and move forward with the protocol. If not, I will re-evaluate and determine the best next steps. I don't think I will be as emotional about it if I don't qualify, but you never know. I seem to cry at least once every day. But instead of worrying or trying to hold in my emotions, I just let them flow! Some of my tears are happy tears and there's nothing wrong with that. Rusty continues to give me comfort and I'm reminded how special our animals are to us! They really seem to know what we're going through.

Having the freedom to feel your feelings without shame or embarrassment is something we all should be better at.I think too many of us try and keep things down and hide our feelings. But that causes stress and anxiety and sadness. Living with a terminal disease has changed my thinking about a lot of things! And it's all good! I'm more real now, I'm more honest and more intentional. I ask for what I want instead of going along with something that I don't enjoy. I try to give back in some way every single day. And I cherish time with my family and friends

Enjoy your day -- enjoy your family -- give back -- and take care of yourself!

God bless you and thanks for your support 💗

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.