You Are Not Alone

Today I’m sharing a very personal story. My hope is that in sharing this story I can let others who have similar stories know that they are not alone.

My husband has recently been diagnosed with “mixed dementia”, with vascular dementia being the most prevalent. Although he has exhibited the various symptoms to varying degrees over the last several years, I – and our former primary doctor – attributed those symptoms to various other health issues.

Some of the effects of hubby’s dementia are the inability to reason, to accept facts that he doesn’t agree with, and to exhibit inappropriate behaviors. It’s not constant, but at times it seems to manifest more frequently.

We also have two dogs with various gastrointestinal issues. They both have sensitive stomachs, they both have one degree or another of lactose intolerance, and they both react when their systems are overloaded with the wrong food and treats.

For the sake of my dogs’ health status, I have to be on guard constantly. It’s impossible to convince hubby that this human treat or that human food item isn’t good for the dogs.

(I used to attribute this trait to just being “a man thing” but now I’m not so sure.)

It’s like trying to reason with a toddler who wants to share his potato chips with the family dog. That toddler isn’t old enough to understand that the family dog’s system can’t handle the chips or other human treats. And hubby’s capacity to reason has been diminished to that same level. When my calm requests that he not share those human treats and food items are met with snarkiness, it tears me apart.

All is not negative, however. A Nurse Practitioner who works at our hospital system’s Center For Successful Aging prescribed Namenda to help slow the progression of some of hubby’s symptoms. While he only started this drug last week, his mood changes already seem to have leveled out somewhat.

Now I need to work on my own stress levels. (Better sleeping habits would be a good start.) I have been doing some research, as well as subscribing to a newsletter from the Alzheimer’s organization. Additionally, family members and friends have been super supportive all along, even before our first appointment at the aging center. There is also a local support program for caregivers – called REACH – and I will be meeting with one of their folks soon.

If you deal with a similar situation, please feel free to reach out to me in the comments. Maybe we can help each other.

25 thoughts on “You Are Not Alone

  1. behr rake says:

    I just stumbled upon this in reader while looking for dog blogs. Ugh. My heart aches for anyone going through this. Not the way you plan for your lives together to end at all 😦 BEFORE YOU GIVE UP, tho, PLEASE look into the work of Dr. Dale Bredesen!!!!!!!! I am in the medical field and have studied under him and can VERIFY that he has successfully reversed ALZ and now some other neurological issues in his patients. I have used his suggestions on my family members and friends’ family members with good – amazing results (varied because of their compliance level) It would not be prudent for me to promise results for you, especially with vascular dementia, but it would be remiss of me if I didn’t at least encourage you to try. I have attended the international neurological conferences and have learned that the brain is far more plastic than we imagined, and amazing things are now being to varying degrees reversed. The hard part is that it requires changes, and some people are not willing to give up things that would bring about the changes. Here’s a good starting point : It’s Dr. Bredesen’s book. Either way, take care of yourself. Like they tell us on airline flights – put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others. Don’t feel guilty about it, either. You must take care of you. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. derrycats says:

    I’m so sorry for your struggles. My dad has vascular dementia, and my sister (Ogee) dealt with it first hand. (I got the easy part – taking in Dad’s dog, who turned out to have Cushings!) But I know the struggles are exhausting. I hope you are able to find some ways to nurture and care for yourself in the midst of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My Golden Life says:

      Thank you. Right now I’m finding that taking the dogs outside to play helps me “chill out” enough to keep from pulling my hair out. I just try to take it one day at a time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maggie says:

    Please know that YOU are not alone either. I can only imagine the burden you’re carrying, and if there’s anything ever that I can do to help lighten that load even a little, say the word. I hope the medication does its job and you’re able to find a little time for you. It’s easier said than done, but remember…. you can’t pour from an empty cup.

    Lots of love and hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beth says:

    My heart goes out to you, I can imagine what a tough time this is for both of you. I hope the meds continue to help him and you get the support you need!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jane says:

    Sorry to hear this. Dementia is a terrible disease. We just visited my mother-in-law who in a memory care facility. Anout a year and a half ago she was bustling around the kitchen preparing a dinner for 25. Her onset was rapid. Today, she speaks rarely and haltingly, walks with a walker and only recognizes her loved ones occasionally. I am so glad for the advances in care and new medicines. I will keep you in my prayers.


    • My Golden Life says:

      Oh, Jane, I’m so sorry about your mother-in-law! Dementia IS a terrible disease. And doesn’t seem to discriminate amongst its victims. My grandmother and my mother-in-law were also it’s victims. It’s sooo sad. I will keep you in my prayers as well.


  6. Emmadog says:

    So sorry to hear about your husband. My dad had Parkinsons, but there are many kinds, not just the tremor variety people think of. He had a lot of memory and behavior issues, and being a strong guy, it was very hard for my mom. Scans of his brain showed how bad the brain was. There wasn’t much that could be done, and eventually, he had to go to a care facility because he was a danger to himself and others. It is a tough and long road. Stay strong, and most of all take care of yourself. A lot of people lose themselves in the care of their partner which is not good. All the best to you, and hopefully medications will help him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My Golden Life says:

      Thank you for sharing about your Dad. I can only barely begin to imagine what your Mom must have gone through. Hubby is still in the earlier stages, so I’m hoping the Namenda will help for a long time. Meanwhile, I’ve been doing my best to “live in the moment” like Shadow and Ducky.


  7. Jan K says:

    Oh, Sue, that is so tough!! My oldest sister was dealing with similar things with her hubby before he passed away (from a heart condition); and I know just how hard it was on her. She was no longer able to go on most of our girls’ trips because she just couldn’t leave him alone.
    Being a caregiver, and having to be on constant watch, has to be exhausting. I’m glad you have some resources to help you; support groups can be really great – it’s so helpful to know you are not alone in dealing with this, and sharing about it is a great thing to do. ♥xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. All Things Collie says:

    I’m so sorry to read this news. I don’t have personal experience with this, but I see the families at the Nursing homes we visit struggling with dementia. I hope you are getting support, as this can be so draining on the caregiver.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. easyweimaraner says:

    I wish you a night with relaxing sleep and lots of power to be strong for your hubby and for your pups and I hope with managing all that you can find some minutes just for yourself… hugs to you and POTP….

    Liked by 1 person

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