UPSIDE DOWN

My lovely mother-in-law passed away on Saturday, and while we’ve been losing her to Alzheimer’s for several years, the final goodbyes were still understandably painful. The whole family will miss her tender touch, sweet smile and loving embraces.

As might be expected, the days leading up to her passing and for several days since, have been turned upside down. Working through the emotions of losing her, coupled with managing the planned activities of everyday life have been challenging.

With running my own business, I tend to be a fairly structured person - I plan my days and have daily goals and make sure I “walk my talk” by including self-care like exercise, meditation and healthy eating.  When such life-altering events occur, that structure flies out the door.

And that lack of structure, that inability to accomplish what I plan to do is - {gulp} - really hard for me.

I feel commitment to my goals. There were appointments and meetings and so many things I planned to get done. Of course, none of them was as important as attending to family. Yet the cancellations and uncertainty of knowing when I’d be able to reschedule really weighed on me.  I felt so much anxiety. 

So many unknowns – who’s coming in town and when, who will be staying with us and for how long, the funeral arrangements, who will notify whom..... 

It all became a personal growth exercise for me.  I cleared my calendar and To Dos and made myself available. Lots of self-talk - “take a deep breath,” “go with the flow,” “it will all work out.” 

I’m not saying it was easy, but I did it. In fact, one day I found there was nothing I could do, so I experienced the spontaneous reward of taking myself to a park and going for a walk. Beautiful sunshine, brisk clean air, a few rustling colorful leaves still remaining on trees and the lovely scent of pine. On a trail, an adorable toddler asked his mom if a Siberian husky dog (taking its owner for a walk) was a coyote. When she replied no, he didn’t give her a chance to finish her sentence and blurted “it’s a werewolf!”  Those moments provided much needed lightness for my heart, my mind, my spirit.

And it is all working out. The rescheduling is all coming together (Thanks!) and all the To Dos are still there.  At this point, I’m quite proud of myself. I discovered that my training and coaching skills worked on myself - It’s not often we can say we took our own advice, and yay - it worked!

There’s a quote that I use quite often, that has been especially helpful to me through this time.  I’m not certain of its origin, so I’ll credit Mike Dooley, from whom I originally heard it:


“Do All You Can, With What You Have, From Where You Are.”

And that’s what I’ll continue to do - Do All I Can, With What I Have, From Where I Am.

P.S. I’d love to hear about you manage the big upheavals in your life.  Please share your Comments below or send me note!  

Can I Go Home Now?

Can I Go Home Now?

I’ve been fortunate – I love my mother-in-law. She’s a gem - sweet, caring, loving and the true matriarch of my husband’s family. So it was really challenging for me as I visited her at the “senior behavioral health unit” (a facility for evaluation of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia) while she was there for observation. I won’t pain you with too many details, but will simply say it was agonizing.

While she recognizes our faces and sometimes our names, her day is like the movie “Groundhog Day” where everything repeats itself over and over and over again. But unlike the movie, her repeat cycle isn’t every day, it’s more like every minute – asking us the same questions - over and over and over again. She wants to know when she’s going home, but she doesn’t remember if “home” is her childhood home, the house she lived in when she was first married, the house she lived in for over 50 years or my sister-in-law’s house where she’s lived the past few years.  

I feel so helpless watching her suffer. She weeps every couple of minutes. She’s aware enough to know that she can’t remember and is tormented by that fact. She apologizes for not remembering and is filled with anxiety, as everything is an unknown. All that is familiar and dear to her is a comfort one minute, and a complete unknown the next. I don’t want to see anyone go through this!  

Interesting timing that I came upon a study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, May 2015 linking high blood sugar levels with Alzheimer’s. All of us know about blood sugar and its impact on diabetes and obesity (hence the rise of the term “diabesity”). And now this research is showing an increased connection with Alzheimer’s, summarized by the lead researcher Dr. Shannon Macauley, "Our results suggest that diabetes, or other conditions that make it hard to control blood sugar levels, can have harmful effects on brain function and exacerbate neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease." 

Do you know your blood sugar number?
I hear about high blood sugar from clients and prospective clients regularly. And while there are protocols in place to help with diabetes and obesity, Alzheimer’s is a different story altogether. So to me, there’s an even stronger message to take action. If you don't know your blood sugar levels, please have it tested. And if it's high, I encourage you to make lifestyle changes to reduce it.

Simple dietary changes can make all the difference!  Here are just a few of the powerhouse foods that can improve your blood sugar levels:

  • Blueberries and cherries
  • Nuts and seeds - choose a variety including walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, flax, chia, hemp, sesame and more
  • Avocados 
  • Olive oil and olives
  • Vinegar
  • Spices, especially ceylon cinnamon

Have any questions? Don't hesitate to comment, send me a note or give me a call.


Wishing You Well!
Karen