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

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Bring on the new year ๐ŸŽ‰

Happy New Years Eve! Do you have plans? Are you going to a party or just laying low at home with friends? Bob and I have traditionally stayed  home and cooked a nice dinner and toasted each other with wine or champagne and watched a fun movie. I don’t really like being out on New Years. I’m afraid of the drivers and honestly there is no place more comfortable and calming place for me than my own house.

I like the fact that I can be in my PJ’s and hang out with Rusty and Bob and whoever else wants to stop by. I don’t need a fancy event - although I do LOVE to dance! One year we put on some music and I danced by myself  for a while. I’m sure Bob was entertained and I definitely had fun. I’m also still struggling with my shoulder pain / frozen shoulder and having ice on it really helps. It’s hard to do that when you’re out in public. Good news is I’m back in physical therapy and will also be getting another cortisone shot soon. My goal is no pain and full range of motion. Most importantly I want to be able to practice yoga ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿป‍♀️ I miss it very much and have been doing my best to stay active - even if that means just walking around the neighborhood.

Since this is the last day of the year I thought I would jot down some thoughts / highlights of 2019. I cannot do this from memory but thankfully I have my calendar handy. These blogs help me go back in time and since my memory is failing, having a place to save all my thoughts and activities is helpful. So here we go - highlights from 2019 (in my opinion)๐Ÿ˜

#1 - Kristen & Ryan’s wedding! It was a magical and beautiful day for me. I’m so thankful we have video and a ton of photos available so that I will never forget. The love was overflowing that day and I was so honored and grateful to have our family and friends there too. I couldn’t be happier for my daughter and son in law❤️

#2 - Sharing my journey of living with Alzheimer’s. I love speaking and using my voice to educate and to help remove the stigma of this disease. This year I had several opportunities to do so. Each one was special, rewarding and hopefully inspiring. Speaking at the Leadership summit in San Antonio was very special and my time in Chicago at the Power of Purple, sharing the stage with Dr Maria Carillo was a dream come true. Spending time with Maria Shriver at Move For Minds and sharing my journey with them was also really fun. I also really enjoyed my live interview with Being Patient’s founder Deborah Kan. All of these events keep me sharp and allow me to continue to use my brain. 

#3 - There are several fun trips we took this year but here are a few I really enjoyed. 1-Kristen’s Bachelorette in Scottsdale. 2-Bob’s birthday weekend in Santa Cruz. 3-Eagles concerns in Vegas with my brother and sister in law. 4-Maui trip with Monica & Michael. 5-Green Bay Packers football game. Definitely a  bucket list item for Bob. 6-Washington DC AIM Advocacy event. Best part was the dinner cruise the night we arrived. Unfortunately I got sick a few days later and missed the visits to Capital Hill.  7-Our annual Maui vacation with some extended time on Lanai. The cat sanctuary was a blast and every minute in the ocean and laying by the beach was incredible. Definitely one of my favorite places to travel to. 

#4 - Serving on the National Alzheimer’s Association National Board of Directors. It’s hard to explain my feelings about this position that I was so honored to receive. The caliber of people I met, the kindness, the relentless determination and so much caring and concern for me and all of us living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. I learned so much and was able to use my voice. I was able to share my stories and my experiences and to also remind them how important the organization is to our family, and to all the people around the world living with AD and other dementia.

#5 - Lunch dates and quality time with my friends and family. I’m so thankful that I still get my Intel fix when I can chat and hear all about the industry and what’s new. I’m thankful for the continued friendships and for the texts and Facebook support I get from my buddies. I may be gone, but thankfully I am not forgotten. Working at Intel was enormously stressful and demanding but I wouldn’t change it for anything! I still ‘bleed blue’ and I hope next year my friends will keep on calling and texting and eating amazing meals with me! The same holds true for all my high school friends, my sister, my daughter and anyone else who wants to hang out with me! I’m available most days so let’s have some fun next year๐Ÿ˜„

#6 - I can still drive! I probably should move this to the top of my list because without a drivers license I would not be as happy as I am right now and I certainly wouldn’t be able to have lunch dates and driving myself wherever I wanted to go. I relish the freedom and I know i won’t have it forever. I do not take it for granted. I am very aware that this will most likely be my last year driving. I’m ok with that. I’m living in the moment and am grateful for Uber and Lyft so that when the time comes I know I won’t be stuck in the house depressed and lonely. 

#7 - One of my favorite events of the year is our annual Alzheimer’s Assoc Walk! This year the event was in San Ramon and I started fund raising very early. I extremely competitive and I do my best each year to be one of the top fund raisers. We raised over $35,000 and I am so thankful to all of you for helping us find a cure. I personally raised $20,000 and am the 2nd highest fundraiser behind the amazing Jim Voorhees who raised $31,000. Thank you to all of you for your support. For joining our team and walking. For dressing up and having fun on walk day and for joining us for lunch afterwards. I can’t wait for next year๐Ÿ’œ

So it's time for my lunch date and I want to post this even though I am not finished with my highlights. I will do my best to continue the highlights either tomorrow in 2020, or very soon. Writing this has taken over 2 hours today! I started in bed a long time ago and now it's almost noon. Thankful for your support and for understanding that I am living very well with AD but holy cow, there are some issues that I really wish would go away. More on that later.

Have a fabulous and blessed, fun New Years Eve! Be safe and spend time with people you love. And most importantly, make sure to 'do what makes you happy'.  That's what life is all about.

God bless you all and thank you for your continued support and prayers.  Please forgive the typo's and bad grammar.  ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™

Monday, December 16, 2019

Mahalo ๐ŸŒบ

 I’m sitting on our lanai on Maui enjoying the crashing waves, the beautiful palm trees and the sounds of children giggling and having fun. It’s our last full day here and as always, we’ve had a fabulous time. I’ve been coming here for years thanks to my dad who sold me his timeshare at Papakea in the late 90’s. It’s not fancy but its perfect for us. Being on the island gives Bob a chance to really unwind and relax. The ocean is healing and soothing and we appreciate every day over here. I also usually find a kitty friend to pet and play with while I’m here. This year we found a girl kitty. I named her Lucy and she’s
Lucy kitty
so sweet.

This year we were able to celebrate our anniversary on Lanai at the Four Seasons. We got married there and it’s a very special place for us. The condo is great but when we’re on Lanai we are pampered and are able to enjoy amazing meals and really relax. This year we also visited the cat sanctuary! I had been there earlier this year with my girlfriend and her husband but it was Bobs first time. The kitties did not disappoint! They were all over me and I was in heaven. Bob did a great job taking pictures too and I’m thankful to have them forever.  

We also had a private tour of the new Four Seasons Lodge. It’s been going through some serious remodeling and is not yet open to the public. The grounds are unbelievable. The property is definitely more of a retreat or a place to reconnect with yourself. It’s very exclusive now and I’m sure it’s extremely expensive. They have several yoga studios and these amazing 100 degree dipping pools that are in very private locations. While we were walking the grounds we ran into Larry Ellison who just happens to own 98% of Lanai! We hope to come back next year and spend a few days in heaven if possible. 

The six course meal we had following the tour was off the charts! I can’t even try to explain how delicious it was. My biggest regret is I didn’t take any pictures of the food! It was a special evening and one we will never forget. 

We also had a nice visit with my niece Mindy and her husband and their two adorable kids while we were here. It was nice to have a chance to color and love on them and get my ‘baby’ fix - even though neither of them are babies ๐Ÿ˜‚

We are in restaurant heaven and have eaten at Star Noodle twice. Had a beautiful and delicious dinner at The Montage. Enjoyed some Thai food at the food trucks down the street from our place. We started this food frenzy with the most amazing poke bowl I’ve ever had at the Ritz Carlton at Kapalua. Tonight we will end our trip with dinner at Girard’s in Lahaina. 

A few days before our trip I had another infusion for the Eli Lilly clinical trial and a full day of cognitive testing. It was rough but I made it through ok. It was pouring rain when we left and the drive home took us almost four hours. My buddy Steve was there too and his trip back to Modesto was just as bad. I am happy to be part of the cure and to help us find the right science to cure this darn disease but it really is a huge commitment and extremely taxing on my body at times. Thankfully the staff and physician assistants and all the nurses do their best to keep my smiling. 

Our plan was to leave the following day to drive up to Angels Camp for Thanksgiving but that didn’t happen. It was too dangerous and there was too much snow on the roads. So as usual, we made the most of it! Bob and I made a delicious turkey dinner including stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams and green beans! We turned those lemons into lemonade ๐Ÿ˜ It was a little sad not to see any of our family but we made the most of it. 

So that’s my November / December update! The next big challenge for me is getting my frozen shoulder healed so that I can actually use my left arm! It was injured back in August and I’m finally scheduled for a cortisone shot and some serious physical therapy when we return. The pain is constant and thank goodness for ice packs and Advil. 

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and will be surrounded by love on the upcoming holidays. We’ve had a great vacation but I think Rusty is missing me and it’s time to come home ๐Ÿˆ Many thanks to Sylvia and our neighbor Dennis for taking good care of him!

Love and blessings to all of you and I hope you will be surrounded by family and friends for the Christmas season๐ŸŽ„ God bless you and thank you for your support ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

‘‘Tis the season” ๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿฆƒ๐ŸŽ…

It’s one of those beautiful fall days here in the East Bay! The sun is shining and I’m sitting in my back patio soaking up some vitamins D and watching the ladies play golf this morning. The leaves on the trees have turned and I am enjoying the warmth of the sun and the peaceful chirping of the birds.

Kristen is here for a few days while Bob is traveling and working hard in SLO. I love having her here and we always have such a good time together. We saw a movie yesterday and then watched 'The Voice' for a few hours. That’s not Bobs favorite show so it’s nice to binge watch when he’s traveling ๐Ÿ˜

Last week I was actually able to travel with Bob down to Fresno. I haven’t done that in a long time and I was happy to spend time there, and have the chance to meet some of his work friends.  I have family there too. I was born there and went to grammar school for a few years before we finally ended up in Modesto. I was very young when we lived there but I do remember some of the landmarks around town, especially in the Tower district.

I was able to have lunch with my cousin Lauren and later that day spent some time with my cousin Meg Geary Hoff’s son, Kyle. I guess Kyle is my second cousin... I’m not sure how that works. Anyway, I had a great visit with everyone and especially enjoyed Kyle & his wife Amanda’s new puppy Luna! She was the cutest little thing. Their sweet daughter Berkley and I played together too and she read some books to me which was really special๐Ÿ’ž She is such a sweet child.

The sad part of my visit to Fresno was that I couldn't see my 92 year old Aunt Nancy, Kyle's grandma! She's in a senior living environment and their entire wing was on quarantine due to illness. No one could go in or out of the building. I was pretty upset but realized it was out of my control. Expectations can lead to disappointment so I try not to get my hopes up, but I definitely was sad I couldn't see her. 


The other big event that happened two weeks ago was our East Bay Alzheimer's Walk! I have been raising money most of the year and doing what I could to raise awareness and ask my friends and family to walk with us. We had a great crowd and a huge walk team! Thank you to all of you who donated and who were able to walk with us. I was holding the blue flower again this year with four of my friends who are also living with the disease. It was pretty powerful and emotional. No surprise there! We hosted lunch afterwards and at this point have raised over $34,000!

A week after our Alzheimer's Walk we traveled down to Los Angeles to speak and participate in Maria's Shriver's fundraising event, Move For Minds. We've been attending this event for several years and it's always inspiring and encouraging. My good friend Teresa Valko was there too with two of her friends and we all had a great day.

The next day I was at the Orthodontist getting my new Invisoline Braces! Yikes, I've never needed or had braces in my life but my teeth have shifted so here I am at 64 years young with my first set! I've been doing well with them so far and they definitely have stopped me from snacking! I need to wear them 20 to 22 hours a day! 

On top of that, the next day I was UCSF for Infusion #6 for the Eli Lilly Tau clinical trial. I can honestly say these past few weeks have been the busiest I've had in a long time. Thankfully I have this entire week to rest, relax and enjoy this gorgeous weather we're having.

So that's what's been happening in my life, our lives. I am grateful every day for all your support, prayers and for my continued good health. I have lunch later this week with my sister and bestie Andi and next week Bob and I will be in Sacramento for our first meeting of the Governor's Alzheimer's Preparedness Task Force. I am so grateful for the opportunity to stay involved, especially considering that my term on the National Alzheimer's Assoc BOD has ended. My goal is to do the best I can and to use my brain and my voice every single day to raise awareness, funding and support to #ENDALZ๐Ÿ’œ 

I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday with your friends and family. This year we will be in Twain Harte with Bob's sisters and family and hopefully a few doggies ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Sunday, October 20, 2019

October update ๐Ÿ˜€

Packers vs Raiders

Sitting at SFO waiting for our flight to take off. Bob and I are going to Green Bay to watch the Packers play the Raiders! Two teams that we like, but since we will be in Green Bay I’m rooting for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers ๐Ÿˆ

It’s been a busy few weeks and yesterday was extremely taxing. I got up early and drove to Pleasanton to take my ‘behind the wheel’ annual driving test. It’s always emotional and a little nerve wracking. This is the second time I’ve had to take this test. The DMV rep was extremely nice and chatty which helped me to calm down. The last guy was a real jerk.

We drove around Pleasanton and I had to drive on the freeway too. I use to work in Pleasanton many years ago when I was working for NCR and AT&T Computer Systems. I knew the area and felt pretty comfortable. To prepare for the test I also spent several hours driving back and forth to the DMV and driving on the side streets. It was really helpful and because the area was somewhat familiar to me I was pretty calm.

I missed 12 points on their test - but not sure what that means. The only thing I cared about was that I passed!! I’m not sure what next steps are but I am expecting an official document from the DMV in a few weeks. Whew! I’m willing to give up my car when the time is right but I feel like I’m aware, alert and very comfortable behind the wheel right now. Next year that could change and I will be ok with that too. Its all part of my new normal....

Last week was also a milestone for me. I finished my term on the Alzheimer’s Assoc National Board of Directors. I wasn’t ready to leave but rules are rules and those of us with the disease are only allowed a two year term. I truly enjoyed every minute with the staff and with all my fellow board members.

I met some amazing people who I know I will stay in touch with. I learned a ton about the research and the exciting breakthroughs in science. I served on a task force to update our Mission & Vision statement and thoroughly enjoyed every minute with the sub team. I used my brain and I added value.  I was heard and I was surrounded by people who cared about me. It was truly a highlight in my life and I hope and pray that I can see my fellow board members again very soon.

When I got back from Chicago I spent a few days with Kristen and Celly (her dog). Ryan was out of town and we had a good time. I spent some quality time with Celly too and loved having him jump on my bed and lay with me in the morning. And then before I knew it I was packing my warm clothes for a trip to Green Bay to see the Packers play the Raiders. And that’s where we are right now. Such friendly people and the Packer Hall of Fame was great. Bob was in heaven and I’m so happy we were able to do this together. We also drove out to Oconto, a tiny little town on Lake Michigan. It was beautiful and I’m glad we took the time to see the water.

Tomorrow we will watch the game and then fly home on Monday. I had another infusion a few weeks ago too and didn’t feel that great afterwards. It was infusion #5 for the Eli Lilly trial and maybe I was just tired, or maybe I am getting the drug and it’s effecting me. Who knows! Either way I will stick with it until we move to Phase 3, or it gets cancelled.

Our next adventure is in early November when we will join Maria Shriver and her team at Move For Minds! I’m excited to see her again and to share my story there with all the participants. I’m also looking forward to working with her on the Governor's Alzheimer’s Preparedness Taskforce! Bob and I will be there together and it will be great to be working together to help Californian’s deal with this epidemic.

That’s it for now. Life is good and I am blessed to have support and friends and activities to keep me going. I am definitely slowing down a little and need more rest, but that’s ok. I will keep doing what I can, while I can. Traveling and waking up early due to different time zones definitely takes its toll on me, but most days if I rest in the afternoon I can  be productive.

I also wanted to thank you for your donations and for your support for our Alzheimer’s Walk! We look forward to the event every year and this year I will be on stage again holding the blue flower along with some of my friends who are also living with this disease๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ We won’t make the top fund raiser this year but that’s ok. We have raised over $27,000 so far and I’m happy about that.  Buni’s Buddies will be there with our family and friends and I look forward to the walk every year. And happy to be raising funds to help us find a cure and support research and programs through the Alzheimer’s Association!

Onward and God bless you all๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป Keep those prayers coming ๐Ÿ’œ

PS - the Packers won and Bob was in heaven! This was his dream trip and it did not disappoint!


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

My 9/11/01 experience ๐Ÿ˜ข

On this horrible day in our history, I decided to share and document what that day was like for me. I’m sure all of you reading this can also remember what your day was like. It’s not a day that any of us can easily forget๐Ÿ˜ข

In 2001 I was working at Intel Corporation. It was my second year there. I worked in Milpitas and drove there every day from Danville! Such a long horrible drive with many traffic jams. Dave Miller was leading our team and was a fabulous boss. I was working with some of our B2B partners and traveled all over the world supporting them.

One of my customers was Ariba. A new start up that was founded in 1996. My job involved making sure their software was compatible with our hardware. This included many meetings and customer business events and travel. On Sept 10th I flew to New Orleans to support our customers and to meet with Ariba and their partners. It was a huge event and was originally planned for several days.

I was out late on September 10th, entertaining customers and having a lot of fun. But when I woke up in the morning all the fun from the night before was forgotten immediately. The TV was on and I watched in horror as I witnessed the attack on our country. No words can describe my fear and sadness. I talked to my then husband Rick and my kids and did the best I could to calm my daughters down. They were worried about me but thankfully I was safe and fine.

The rest of that day is a blur. We pulled the staff together and started making plans for our customers to get home. Someone ordered rental cars, put people on trains and did whatever they could to support everyone who was stranded in New Orleans. That was a long and horrible day. Again, something I will never forget.

That night a few of us went out for dinner and drinks. Someone hired a bus to rent and it was decided that we would leave the next day. We cried, we shared our sadness, concern, shock and fear. We were numb and had a hard time comprehending what had happened. Everyone in the country was most likely feeling the same way we were.

The next day around 20 of us boarded a Greyhound bus and braced ourselves for a 2200 mile ride home. It was uncomfortable, it was long and boring and we were all dealing with our feelings about the horrific attack against our country. There were two drivers and they took turns driving. They also stopped so we could eat and stretch our legs every few hours. I remember stopping somewhere in Texas. The only reason I remember that is because I bought a cowboy hat! I’m not sure why other than I liked country music, and I had never been to Texas before. I still have it and it is a reminder of that day.

At one stop in the evening we got some beer and tried to play cards in the back of the bus. Someone put on a movie an hour or so later and I was so embarrassed to be sitting next to one of my customers watching Animal House! It was awkward and probably not the best choice of movies for us to watch.

I don’t remember how I got home after we arrived at the Ariba office. But what I do remember is walking into my house to a beautiful bouquet of flowers. It was the first time Rick had ever bought me flowers.

Today brings up all of these memories and all the sadness that we all felt, and continue to feel. The horror of it all and the stories that followed of all the casualties. I hope and pray nothing ever like this happens again. I think we all lived in fear for quite a while, thinking it might happen again. God bless America and God bless all of you who lost someone during this horrific and tragic terrorizing event๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Another decent month!

Good morning from my hospital room at UCSF. Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while. I always think about it but as the day goes on I get involved in activities and by the end of the day I don’t have the energy to write.

Bob and I had a nice visit to Sea Ranch in August and got to walk on the trail and enjoy the beautiful Pacific ocean. He also got to play golf with one of his good buddies, Lou Monville. That was my only out of town event in August. The rest of the month was filled with my lunch dates and some conference calls with the Mission & Vision sub-team that I’m on with the National Board. I’m very happy to be helping and working on this. It almost feels like I have a job which makes me very happy ๐Ÿ˜Š

I had an infusion - #3 for the Eli Lilly Tau Trial on the 15th. It went well and I always enjoy my time with the staff. And I love posting  pictures of my shoes - hoping some day Katy Perry will be my sponsor ๐Ÿ˜Š

The most exciting news I have is that I passed the written driving test! Well, actually I failed it the first time. I missed four questions. But thankfully I was able to take it again! I missed four the first time and only missed one the second time! Yipee๐Ÿฅณ Next step for me is the driving test. I think I will be ok but I will continue to practice safe driving and make sure I don’t speed during the testing.

I’ve had some down days and have been exhausted at times but most of the time I’m ok. I’m sleeping a little better and just take things slowly now. I injured my shoulders pretty bad in my yoga class and I’ve had a lot of pain at night. I finally decided to go to the physical therapist and that has helped. My right shoulder is healing but my left one still hurts. The bad news is I sleep on my side and that’s not possible with my injury - but I’m adjusting.

We had a fun day at the Giants game - actually it was the A’s game and they were playing the Giants! Kristen and Ryan came with us which was wonderful. Always love seeing them. It was really crowded and I was extremely anxious and almost had a panic attack standing in line for food. I really can’t handle crowds anymore and it took me a while to calm down once we got back to our seats. Next time I will let someone else get the food!
My energy fades in and out which continues to frustrate me! Some days I just go with it and spend some quality time with Rusty on the couch. He is an excellent comfort kitty. My favorite time is in the morning after I wake up and grab my espresso. I then go back to bed with my journal and Rusty always snuggles up against me while I write down my thoughts and prayers. He really is a good boy and a fabulous care giver!

I’m continuing to write a chapter for my StoryWorth book every few weeks. That’s been fun and such a great easy to leave a written legacy of my life for my family and friends. My last chapter was about my big brother Kevin and how his death effected me. It was a hard chapter to write but it was / is necessary to share. His death played a big part in my life and it taught me to cherish every day. To stay in touch with your family and friends. And not to wait for tomorrow if there’s something you need to do or say today! You never know what tomorrow will bring, or if there will be a tomorrow.

It’s tennis season and I’ve been glued to the TV watching the US Open. So happy that Serena is playing well and that Nadal made it to the Quarterfinals. I loved watching Coco Gauff too and am extremely impressed with her personality and her amazing tennis skills. She is definitely part of the future of this sport ๐ŸŽพ Hoping Nadal wins the men’s tournament this year! Go Rafa ๐ŸŽ‰

That’s it for now. I’m so glad I recovered from my MRI yesterday! Even with the Adavan I was anxious and uncomfortable, That has never happened before and I hope it doesn’t happen again! I was actually a little scared and had a hard time breathing at times. Thankfully they changed the music and I was able to calm down. Whew!

It’s almost time for my infusion #4 so I will stop now. I hope all of you had a great summer and are looking forward to the beautiful fall weather.  It’s one of my favorite seasons!

I continue to live well with Alzheimer’s and  can’t wait to work on the Governors Task Force On Alzheimer’s, along with my husband, Susan Demarois, Maria Shriver, Secretary George Schultz and many other Alzheimer’s advocates!

Thanks for continued love, prayers and support. Together we will #ENDALZ๐Ÿ’œ

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Summer Update - July 2019 ๐Ÿ’ฅ

It's July already, actually we are almost at the end of the month. Time sure flies by! I've had a lot on my plate and some wonderful adventures so I guess it's time to share them with all of you.

In June on the 17th & 18th I THANKFULLY qualified for the Eli Lilly clinical trial and had my first official infusion. It was a two day affair so we were able to spend the night at the Omni Hotel in San Francisco. The first day was all cognitive testing and a full physical. Day two was my first infusion and it started at 8am. Everything went well even though it was a long day. We started at 8am and I think I finally got home at 5pm. Bob was there in the morning and then my girlfriend Sylvia came to relieve him and drove me home. I am extremely thankful for her support. It's a long drive and the traffic is normally pretty bad.

Thankfully there are no lingering effects because the next day I had lunch in Walnut Creek at True Food Kitchen with two of my Intel buddies, Melaine & Jean Ann. We had a blast and talked for hours! The food was fabulous as always. I am so appreciative of these lunch dates. They really lift me up!

The next few days were all about my daughers wedding! We picked up our dresses from the seamstress, created all the gift bags for the out of town guests and did all kinds of activities in preparation for the big day.

The rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner went well and we all had a great time. Kristen spent the night with us and together we went to the Country Club to meet up with all of her bridesmaids and the make up and hair stylists. We were there all day getting ready! I had no idea how much work it was to prepare. But it was a fabulous day and I was so happy to be there with her.

The wedding was beautiful and I walked her down the 'aisle', which was actually the grass, without falling or tripping on my dress. We were both extremely emotional but we pulled it together and held each other up๐Ÿ‘ฐ๐Ÿ™

The reception was a blast and it was so much fun to have our family and friends, and all of Ryan & Kristen's friends there to celebrate. It was beautiful and everything went off as planned. There were many photos taken and I am thankful to have most of them on my phone. I love to look at them when I'm resting. They make me happy and I couldn't be happier for her and Ryan๐Ÿ’“

The day after the wedding I was thankfully driven to Felton to spend a few days of rest with my girlfriend Karen. It was so nice to sleep in and have litterally nothing planned. We went to Capitola and ate on the beach and walked around and shopped. I was also able to take her to my old house in Santa Cruz and show her my grammar school. Later that evening we had dinner at my nephews house and that was very special too. I love spending time with him and his wife and the meal was spectacular!

Karen drove me home on Wednesday and I was still pretty wiped out from the wedding and all the festivities. Bob and I spent some time alone and went to the movies and just hung out at home with Rusty. 

The resting was short lived and we were back at UCSF for Infusion #2 on Tuesday July 9th. It was another long day and an 8am start so we decided to spend the night at the Omni on Monday. We had another fabulous meal at Credo and went to bed really early.

The infusion went well and I was excited to wear a new pair of Katy Perry shoes! Every time I have an infusion I take a picture of my shoes and share it on social media with the hashtag #shoechallenge! One of my fellow dementia warriors, Steven Barbieri was there too so we took some photos and posted online. It's a long day so I always look for things to do to make it fun.

The following week I had several lunch dates. As I've mentioned before having something on the calendar really lifts me up! Spending time with my family and friends during the day keeps me going. So thank you again to many of you who continue to stay in touch and entertain me during the week๐Ÿ’œ

So that's about it! Yesterday I did see the Lion King with Kristen and today I went to church and then to lunch. Nothing too exciting, but again, it's great to spend time with people I love.

Next week my brother is coming to visit and on Wednesday my sister and my girlfriend Andi are coming for lunch. I don't have any other plans this month so if anyone wants to hang out and go for a walk or have a snack please reach out๐Ÿ˜† 

I also want to thank all of you for your support and encouraging words! Every text, post and email really inspires me to keep fighting this disease! Yesterday was the three year anniversary of my diagnosis and I truly believe that I am doing well, and living well with Alzheimer's thanks to you, to God and to my faith in the power of prayer and positive thinking!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Good times in Chicago ๐Ÿ˜

It’s so beautiful here today! I’m in downtown Chicago for the Alzheimer’s Assoc National Board meeting. I arrived on Wednesday and won’t be coming home until Sunday night. A busy week for me, but I’m happy to be using my brain and adding value to some of the committees I’m on.

The flight out was great and thankfully I had an aisle seat. I got to the airport early and grabbed a latte and made it to the gate in time for early boarding. One of the huge benefits of living with and having what’s considered a disability, is that I get to pre board!! I am so happy to be one of the first people on the plane and to get my bag in the bin before things start getting too crowded.  The plane was almost 100% full by the time everyone else was boarding. Summer definitely brings all the families and makes for long lines!

I was also very happy to see my fellow board member & good buddy Karen on my flight! She’s such a great person and I always love spending time with her. We shared an Uber to the hotel and ate in the lobby so we could watch the Warriors game. Unfortunately it was not a great game and the Warriors lost to the Raptors, 123-109.

The next day I got up early for my committee meeting. This year I was asked to join a committee that is looking at our Mission & Vision statement. It was created in 2005 and it is time to perhaps modify and update the wording. I’m so thankful to be part of this and have been doing my best to add value and help shape the future. Thankfully all my years at Intel have prepared me for this type of work. It’s a little confusing at times but everyone is very kind and helpful, which I greatly appreciate.

Later that evening the rest of the BOD arrived and we had a lovely reception and cocktail hour. Many of the folks went out to dinner but I was exhausted so I sat with my friend Tom who also has Alzheimer’s, and his husband Levi. I had a fabulous dinner of prawns, lobster  and vegetables!

We had a drink and talked and I was sorry to hear that Tom, in addition to Alzheimer’s, has been diagnosed with Levy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s. He is doing the best he can and is a fabulous speaker and he and his husband have been very active with events and programs. I will continue to pray for them and for all of us who are living with this disease๐Ÿ™

The next day was the official start of our Board meeting but I didn’t need to be there until after lunch. I decided to be brave and to take a walk outside all by myself ๐Ÿ˜ I don’t know the area well but I felt certain I could find my way back - and I did!! I got in 2 miles and enjoyed the sunshine and then hurried over to the office with the help of Tom & Levi.

We had a research update that was awesome and followed with a fabulous formal dinner event. Afterwards I needed some rest and went straight to bed!

The following day was our final day and most folks left after the closed session. I had an event to speak at the next day so I was able to get some rest and spent a few quality hours resting and watching Netflix!

Sunday was fabulous and I was honored to speak at the Illinois chapter event ‘The Power of Purple’. There were over 200 people and I was very happy to see so many men in attendance. Most of these events are filled with women but it’s great to educate everyone about this disease.

I was on stage following Dr. Maria Carrillo who was giving an update on the science and the new research projects. I cried several times as I shared my story, more than I normally do. I’m not sure why but thankfully I held it together the best I could. We both answered questions from the audience afterwards which was a nice touch.

Following the event I met with Amy Boyle who is undertaking a year long weekly photo essay project. She’s highlighting 52 phenomenal women๐Ÿ’œ All those participating will be supporting the efforts of ‘Dress For Success’.  I was happy to donate to her cause and was honored to be selected and photographed! She’s fabulous and I am impressed with the great work she is doing.

I arrived home very late that night and got a few hours of sleep. I would have spent the day resting normally but I had signed up to be the hostess at our ‘Longest Day’ fundraiser event in San Ramon so that wasn’t possible. I ran around town buying balloons and grabbing purple items from the Alzheimer’s office in Lafayette so I could decorate and arrive by 4pm for our training! Yikes. That was a long day. But here’s the good news, actually the great news ๐Ÿ˜Š We raised $2000 that night in the fight to #ENDALZ๐ŸŽ‰

So today I slept in and then had a fabulous time with my girlfriend in Pleasanton at the mall. We ate lunch, went shopping and tried to get some exercise by walking the mall! Oh and we had some retail therapy at Macy’s too๐Ÿคฃ

Now it’s time to rest and love on Rusty, and listen to my book on Audible! It was another busy few days but I continue to be amazed & blessed by all the love and support that comes my way. Thank you all and God bless you ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป You lift me up and keep me smiling๐Ÿ˜Ž

Monday, May 20, 2019

Never a dull moment ๐Ÿ˜

Happy month of May and happy spring to all of you. Happy Mother’s Day too ๐ŸŒทOur spring has included a ton of rain, but we are hoping for sunshine very soon! It’s been another busy few weeks, but I’ve had plenty of down time to spend time with my friends and sort through old family photos! I also started writing what will eventually be a book! I’m using the StoryWorth app. Every week they ask you a question and at the end of the year - or whenever you are done - they print all the stories into a book. I’m excited about it because I am able to talk about my mom and my family and what my life was like growing up. And it will be something my kids and grandkids will have forever. It’s been fun looking for old photos of my mom, or of me as a baby๐Ÿ˜ƒ

I spent some time at UCSF for the Eli Lily clinical trial at the end of April and was qualified to move forward to the next step. Last week I had a PET scan. In order to see the Tau in my brain they have to inject me with radioactive dye. I’ve had this procedure before and it doesn’t hurt. The PET scan is ok for me too. Only because it’s like a huge donut and my claustrophobia doesn’t kick in - thankfully!! This test is the most important part of the trial qualification. There are parameters in order to proceed so I am a little anxious about the results. I can’t have too much Tau, or too little Tau. It has to be just right. Sounds like Goldilocks and the three bears with their porridge! I should get some feedback this week so keep those prayers coming๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป If this trial doesn’t work out I’m hoping there will be something else very soon. I am not in control and I will do my best to take the information without having a breakdown. 

I had a meeting at the Alzheimer’s Assoc office this month and flew to Chicago by myself! I felt very comfortable and was able to navigate the delays and gate changes. I had a great dinner at the hotel and had a great chat about God and faith with a sweet waitress. I guess the cross necklace I wear every day gives me away!

The meeting was great and I always enjoy seeing my fellow Board members.  We did some good work talking about what’s changed in the past 14 years since our Mission & Vision statement was created. I look forward to our next meeting in June and in the mean time will be doing my best to come up with some good language for our new mission/ vision! I’m extremely happy to be part of this and to have a ‘job’ of sorts. It definitely gives me a purpose and keeps my brain active. 

My extended birthday celebrations continued too and I had lunch with my friends and did some shopping and chatting and a lot of laughing! I like it when my birthday celebrations carry into the next month๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜

I was really excited to be interviewed via live video chat this month with Deborah Kan, the founder of  ‘Being Patient Alzheimer’s’. Her mom has Alzheimer’s and she is a former author and columnist who is using live video chats to educate and inform others about Alzheimer’s. She has done many interviews and they are all great. Check out the link online if you are interested. My video is online as well and on my Facebook page. I was happy to share my story and to do my best to inspire others to get involved in fighting this disease!

So as you can see I’ve had another busy month. This weekend we had my daughters bridal shower and it was lovely and perfect! I gave her a cookbook that my mom had given me and I wrote in it so that when she uses it she will hopefully feel my love ❤️ She’s not much of a chef right now but she has plenty of time for that. My niece hosted it and it was so much fun to see some of the Bonnington’s and spend time with Kristen’s friends and bridal party. My sister and one of my best friends drove up too from Modesto!

Today is my sweet grandson Michael’s birthday! He’s nine and I can’t wait to celebrate with him. He’s getting so tall and really growing up but he’s still a goof ball and makes us laugh. It was so nice to talk with him and sing him a happy birthday song๐ŸŽ‚

Rusty is here with me and continues to be an amazing care giver๐Ÿˆ He really does lift me up when I’m having a bad day.

Bob and I are traveling together this weekend to see Phil & Elizabeth and our sweet grandson Benjamin. I’m very excited about that!

During the down days I’ve been listening to books on Audible. I’ve read some amazing books and am happy to share them with you. Most have been psychological thrillers but one of my favorites was ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’. Check it out if you can. Listening on Audible has been much better than reading and for some reason I seem to remember things better that way.

So that’s my update! Now it’s time for a rest. And thankfully Rusty is here next to me to keep me warm. Thank you all for your continued love, support and prayers.  And for all the local folks please
join us for our Alzheimer’s Assoc Longest Day event at Gianni’s Italian Bistro in San Ramon on June 10th! Reservations are required through Yelp or by calling the restaurant at 925-820-6969! They are donating 10% of all sales and 100% of the tips๐Ÿ’ฐ I will be the hostess that night and all the servers are volunteers or staff from the NorCal/NorNevada Alzheimer’s Association ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰ It will be a great evening.

Much love and blessing to you๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’œ

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Happy Birthday to me๐Ÿฅณ

It’s April and the sun is shining and we are finally done with the rain. At least I hope we are done with the rain. We had a wet and rainy season and during those days I’m not able to drive and be as active as I like. So hopefully this sunshine will continue and my spirits will be lifted with outdoor activities! I’m also looking forward to my roses and all the beautiful colors in our backyard๐ŸŒท

This weekend I was with my daughter and her fiancรฉ in Novato. It’s been a busy work week for Bob and he’s been out of town, so spending time with them is much better than staying home alone! Especially because I got to be with their sweet doggy Celly. He’s such a sweet boy and I love laying with him and having sloppy ‘good morning’ kisses from him๐Ÿ•

Last month I was at UCSF for the new Eli Lily clinical trial. Unfortunately I did not quality because I knew what season it was, what day it was and what city I was in!! Very frustrating but the good news is I’m going back at the end of the month to try again๐Ÿ˜€ I will do my best to forget what day it is and / or what the season is this time! The biggest determination is how much Tau I have in my brain. Those tests will happen in May and I will do my best to update all of you as things unfold. Being part of the solution and potentially the cure is extremely important me so I REALLY want to qualify for this clinical trial. Pray for me please๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

Yesterday I turned 64! Happy Birthday to me๐Ÿฅณ As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried my best to hide my age. I’ve never lied, but while I was working at Intel I certainly wasn’t telling my staff how old I was. Or my friends for that matter. Maybe they knew, maybe they didn’t care, but I didn’t want to be seen as an old lady. So I just kept things quiet. I even removed all my birthday data off of Facebook. How pathetic that seems now! But now things are different! Everyone knows how old I am, everyone knows how young I was when I started having symptoms, and as far as I can tell no one cares! They love me, they respect me and my age has nothing to do with it. What an idiot I was, I wish I would have been as loud and proud about my age as I am now about my diagnosis. I guess Alzheimer’s is making me wiser and more in the moment. I will take that as another blessing that has come my way.

My dancing buddies!
Earlier this month I had a fabulous time at our AIM Advocacy Forum in Washington, DC. The first night I was with one of my favorite new friends, Teresa Valko, from So Cal amd a bunch of amazing advocates from around the country. We danced and sang and had a blast cruising around on ‘The Spirit of the Potomac’. Such a great way to start the forum. I traveled with my good friend and fellow Alzheimer’s board member Karen Stevenson and even though we had to get up super early we had a good time. I’m so grateful for her support on these trips!
On our way to DC!

The event itself was filled with moving speeches, training on how to ask for support from our elected officials, and amazing people sharing their, or their families story of how Alzheimer’s has affected them. Bob wasn’t able to be there with me but I felt cared for and watched over by so many sweet friends.The only bad news was I got very ill on the last day and wasn’t able to travel to Capital Hill to speak with our representatives about the legislation we need their help with.  Not only that, but I was sick for almost two weeks. Thankfully that is all behind me now.

Harry Johns & the AIM Superstars

Since it’s my birthday month I plan on having as much fun as possible! Yesterday I had lunch with my girlfriend Andi who I’ve know since 6th grade! And I have a few other dates on the calendar so we will officially call this birthday month. I am grateful for all the love and the great excuse to see each other. We also have a family birthday Dinner planned with my daughter and her fiancรฉ and my husband of course!

So that’s my update. I’m doing pretty well and definitely living well with Alzheimer’s! And I plan on continuing that for as long as I can!!

Thank you for all your support and prayers. Oh, and all the birthday wishes too❤️๐ŸŽ‚❤️ God bless you all๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Good times & fun in the sun ๐Ÿ˜Ž

It's been a few weeks so I guess I better get busy and continue my goal of writing/blogging at least every month. Some days I certainly don't feel like it, but I do it anyway so that I can keep things straight and share the goodness of my life.

Our Maui vacation was wonderful and even though it rained a little we still had a great time. Bob and Michael played golf and Monica and I enjoyed an amazing day at the spa. The Grand Wailea has the biggest and most gorgeous spa I've ever seen! I've been there before but I forgot how beautiful it was. We spent most of the day there and were pampered and massaged and scrubbed and had our skin pampered with an amazing facial. 

We had some down time too which was good for me. I rested and read and wrote in my journal. We walked around and shopped and ate fantastic meals. We went to Mama's Fish House and had a wonderful time. We were there for several hours and enjoyed every minute. 

Luckily their son Austin had some time off as the 'head honcho' at The Andaz Resort so I got to see him too! I've known Monica since the early 80's and enjoy every minute with her and Michael and her kids. 

When I got back I was lucky enough to have lunch with my sister and Andi. I've probably mentioned this before, Andi and I have been friends since 6th grade! I am so happy to have her in my life and I love it when she and Sue come visit. We chatted and had a great meal in Danville. The time flies by when they visit and I am always sad when they leave. Oh, we snuck in some shopping too which is always fun!

Then things got a little crazy down in Scottsdale for Kristen's bachelorette party! Not really, I actually left before it got too wild๐Ÿ˜Š Kristen and I had some time alone before her 'crew' arrived and we made the most of it. The hotel knew it was her bachelorette weekend so they spoiled at the W Hotel with sushi, champagne and some amazing desert. The following day we had a massage which is always much needed.
That night after all her friends arrived we went to dinner and then back to the W for a few drinks. It was wonderful and I couldn't be happier for her! I am glad I flew home the next day because I'm too old for pool parties and late night extravaganza's. I did my best to keep up with them before it got too crazy and I had a fabulous time. I'm so thankful she included me for a portion of it. They went to spring training too and watched the Giants play some baseball. I think the best part of that was their matching tank tops! 

I probably mentioned a few months ago that the Roche/Genentech clinical trial I was in had been stopped. There were no visible / conclusive positive outcomes so they stopped the trial. I was sad at first but was happy to find out that I wasn't getting the drug anyway. I had been receiving the placebo all along these past several months. Last week I went back to UCSF to HOPEFULLY qualify for another clinical trial. This one is with Eli Lily and the focus is Tau, not the Amyloid plaques. I passed phase one testing but I have at PET scan, an MRI and two other appointments before I know if I quality. The PET is the most important for this trial. I can't have too little in my brain, and I can't have too much. I keep explaining it like Goldilocks and her porridge, it has to be 'just right'. I am praying that I can participate because without good and effective trials we will never find a cure.

My executive function continues to erode and my anxiety is high at times. I don't use my computer that much because I find it's easier for me to do things on my phone! Isn't that weird? Well, I think it's weird but I'm doing what works for me, and as my doctor said, I'm doing what makes me happy! And my phone makes me happy and makes my life easier than other devices.

My next trip is to Washington DC to attend our AIM Advocacy Forum and it will be my third time there. I'm very excited about it and very much looking forward to time with all my friends from around the country. It really is a fabulous forum and I love going to talk to all the Senators about our legislation and the URGENT need to find a cure.

It's time for dinner now and Rusty is trying to get my attention. Thanks for being there for me and for helping me through this journey of mine. I'm taking the good days with the bad and 'doing what makes me happy'! 

love and blessings 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

So much going on!

It’s Thursday. I’m flat on my back with my Rusty kitty on my lap. Thinking and reflecting on all the trips we’ve taken and the events we’ve been involved with in the past few weeks. I’m tired and my head hurts but I am thankful and fulfilled.

This week I had my annual visit with the neurologist who’s office is nearby. I was telling her about the State Advocacy Day in Sacramento we attended and the National board meeting we were going to in West Palm Beach. I told her about the cancellation of Roche Trial I was part of. And the Leadship Summit in San Antonio where I shared my story with 1200 attendees. And probably a few other things I don’t remember. She stopped me during this and cautioned me. Her concern was that my whole life now was focusing on Alzheimer’s, and that I wasn’t taking good care of me.

At first I was kind of offended, but then I realized she was trying to protect me. Yes she wants me to ‘do what makes me happy’ but she also wants me to do fun things that don’t have anything to do with Advocacy, raising money, attending board meetings or telling my story to hundreds of people.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that and I don’t have a solution yet. But I do know we are going to Maui on Sunday and I won’t be speaking or raising money for a cure over there. I do know that I spend many days with friends and / or family having great meals and chatting about meaningless topics. I do know that watching Grey’s Anatomy is extremely satisfying and even though there is talk of Alzheimer’s and clinical trials, I enjoy it. I think my life is balanced, but I do know that some events take a toll on me. Travel to the East coast is hard, especially with early morning wake up calls. But in the moment I don’t care, it’s a few days later that I realize I am exhausted and need to rest.

And so I do. I’m resting today. I’m resting tomorrow after I get my spray tan ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m going to rest on our flight. When we arrive on Maui we will be with one of my best friends and her husband, and I know I will be resting and relaxing with them, hopefully by the ocean. But I will also be thinking about Maria Shriver and her new role leading the Alzheimer’s Prevention Task Force in California! Thank you Governor Newsom! I will be thinking about our AIM Advocacy Summit in March and the fun dinner cruise on the Potomac River. And I will be spending a lot of time talking about and sharing all the details of my daughters wedding this June!

Yes, I am busy raising money and sharing my story. But I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I’m surrounded by love and support and that’s all that really matters. When I’m tired I rest. When I don’t want to do something I say no.

I think that’s a pretty good way to live, not only for me, but for all of us ๐Ÿ’œ

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Leadership Summit '19...And so much more....

Hello 2019! We've been pretty busy since New Years Eve so today seemed like a great day to blog and reflect on all the blessings that have come our way.

We started the year at UCSF for an appointment with my neurologist. She's the amazing woman that told me that the most important thing that I could do to help me deal with my diagnosis and potentially delay my progression was to 'do what makes me happy'! That's something I will continue to focus on and I hope others dealing with bad news can do the same thing.

Kristen and Bob were with me and not only did she help with the paperwork for my social security decision, she also told us I was doing well and progressing slowly. She was very happy with me and with all the activities I'm involved with๐Ÿ˜ƒ We left there hopeful and grateful for her honesty and support. Thank you Dr. Elahi.

After our appointment I had my 21st infusion as part of the clinical trial. It was a long day but we made the most of it. I tried to sleep (which never works), but I did get some rest. Afterwards I took Uber to Kristen's house and spent some quality time with my grand doggy Celly and my sweet daughter๐Ÿ’“

The following week was busy with yoga, workouts, lunch dates and some good laughs with my friends. Having something on my calendar every day really keeps my spirits up and gives me something to look forward to. Thank you Buck & Karen, Melaine and Debbie for making my week so special.

As I mentioned in my last blog I have been going to the gym and really enjoying Grey's Anatomy for the second time around. There are a few moments of recollection in some of the shows, but most of the time its as if I've never seen it before. I love it and I love the distraction on the treadmill. It feels great to be working out and I know I'm getting stronger. Maybe some day I will be able to thank 'Meredith' and 'Derek' and the others for bringing me so much joy.

Bob and I and our friends, Tim & Elaine, had a fantastic time at the Sharks Game on the 12th. The Alzheimer's Assoc sponsored an event and because we were one of the top fund raising Walk teams we were able to attend in the sky box. It was really fun and good to see my buddies from the staff in San Jose. The highlight was that I got to ride the Zamboni before the game! It was fun and exciting to be out there on the ice and to wave to everyone in the stands. Thank you Dagmar for this enjoyable event๐Ÿ’œ Oh, and they won which made it even better!

Yesterday I flew home from San Antonio Texas after attending a FANTASTIC Alzheimer's Assoc Leadership Summit! It was my first time attending the event and it was unbelievable! The energy, the passion, the excitement, the stories - I could go on and on.

I was honored to speak and share my story of living well with Alzheimer's, but
the most significant part of my speech focused on the importance of the staff. I used the stage the thank them and to showcase how their caring and commitment to me and my family have made such a difference in our lives. I also spoke to the volunteers to encourage them to extend their reach to ensure that everyone can feel as supported and cared for as we do!

I was overwhelmed with the love and support at this event. I took more selfies and photos and talked to more people than I have at any other event. I felt loved, supported and surrounded by people who really care. I am very thankful for the opportunity and the chance to attend this year. 

As you can see this month has been busy and fun! Next week is more of the same with three more lunch dates and good times with good people. I'm definitely feeling the 'love' and doing what makes me happy! 

Thank you for your support and prayers. I know they are working๐Ÿ™ God bless you all!