Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fun Pictures of Fun Days


Mom and Me in the back yard having some fun. Although Mom looks like she's having more fun than me...check out that terrified look on my face!!


Mom and I at Flameworks. This was before Mom's dementia diagnosis. We were with all of the women of our family one November to blow our own glass Christmas ornaments. It is always a fun time when all of us "Bromley" women get together.

Memories & friendship from my parents Highlands neighbor, Steve Head

"When I move in my house on Carolina, the first neighbor to come over and introduce himself was Hal. That was May 22, 1991. I liked him right away. I met Marilyn several days after that. They both always took time to say hi and talked with me as I working on my house. I spent many hours since then sitting with them outside their house, talking about any and everything. There's a lot I could say, but the bottom line is that they are both very good friends and I miss them A LOT since they have moved. As I learnt more about Marilyn and her present and past health issues, I became more and more impressed about her strength as a person. Her love of Hal and her children/grandchildren was always shared by the stories the she told and of the updates on what they were doing or did do. I learnt a lot from both Hal and Marilyn. Not just about general things but about love and devotion. I have only met two couples that I can say I thought were honestly deeply in love, respected and accepted each other, and were 100% devoted to each other. Hal and Marilyn are one of those couples. Their interaction with each other, the way they talk is amazing to witness. Even how they look at each other, I can't explain justly with words. They could finish each others sentences, They were so respectful and honest to each other and so very caring for each other. It was a you " see one" you" see two" relationship. They were always together. I think people that know them or get the chance to are truly blessed. I am very honored and proud to know Hal and Marilyn and to be able to call them not just "my old neighbors" but my life long very good friends. I love them both. Steve Head"

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Thank you so much Steve. I actually got a lump in my throat reading this. I am so glad that you have such high regard for my parents. Reading your letter makes me feel proud to be their daughter. Thank you so much. I wish so badly that things could be the way they used to be, I'm so homesick for that. .. ..

From Mom's Journal - Sept. 2, 1979 Sunday (age 42)

"Today has not been a very happy day for me. I feel left out of life and a prisoner in this unit and in a body that will not let me be me. I fear today that as soon as one problem crops up and we begin to get it under control another rears its ugly head. I am just 42 years old and have things I want to do yet. Why do I have to go thru all of this?
Am I really on my way out soon? Or will I survive this experience and go on to do those things I want to do? Today & tonight I fear that it is all over for me - "

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I am Mom's youngest child, age 45. I cannot imagine going through all of what my mother went through at her age at the time, or ever really. To have overcome all that she had from the age of 40 to her late 60's to then be told you have dementia is unbearable. All of the memories over the years that Mom struggled to make with Dad, Camille, and me; all that was so important to her is being taken away. However, my mother, only in her moments of clarity still manages to lull though with any grace and dignity that she has left (even a sense of humor). When Mom's dementia becomes apparent during her hours of sundowners I become full of anxiety and find myself wanting to leave. I wish I could help to pull Mom out of her sundowners and return her to "Marilyn". I do love you Mom.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Camille winning State! One of my favorite memories!

Camille - the first across the finish line. Notice that there are no other runners anywhere close to her. Yes, I am bragging about my sister.
Camille receiving her State Championship award.
>
Camille greeting Mom after receiving her award.
It's a miracle, Mom Stands from wheelchair!! haha.
Camille being interviewed by the Courier-Journal sports writer.
Camille with her team - Central High School. Coach is EJ Henderson.

One of my most favorite memories is one of the times Camille won the State High School Cross Country meet. I think the year was either 1980 or 1981. Mom hadn't been out of the hospital for too long so we had to take her to the meet in a wheel chair because she was too weak to walk to the finish line. There were people everywhere, including the press.
Camille was the first to cross the finish line and when she did Mom jumped up from her wheel chair, cheering from pure joy and excitement! Camille found Mom and came over to give her a big hug. I believe I remember the Courier-Journal printing in the article about the meet, something about it being a miracle that Camille Forrester's mother was healed at the finish line. We all got a big laugh out of that. I will have to see if Camille has that article so I can print the exact quote.
These pictures are from that day. Mom and Dad were so very proud of Camille. I have to admit that I was too. Those meets were always soooooo exciting to watch and now I get to enjoy watching my own son compete in the same sport.

From Mom's Journal - Friday Augut 31, 1979 (age 42)

"Monday night my back began to hurt again and we called Lucy. I am now back in CCU because my blood thinner was no longer working right.

I've been here these last few days trying to get my blood thin enough so I will not throw off clots again. We discovered today that I had not been getting all my medicines therefore the blood was not right. It means I will have to be another 5 to 7 days.

I am really diappointed for I wanted to go to the Joe Binks race tomorrow morning. It is the first race for the cross country season. Camille has invited the Central Cross Country teams for a cook-out tomorrow night. But I was afraid Monday night that I would not make the race. Lucy was going to let me go and then come back to the hospital - but she says it is too risky now.

I also will not be home for the long holiday weekend nor our anniversary. I miss being with Hal terribly. I hope I can go home some day and just stay there for a while and get off this hospital merry-go-round.

Yesterday when coming back from EKG lab we were toating along with me in a wheelchair & an Ivac in tow despensing my Heprin all being pushed by Jane Rose the aide. As we came in the door to the unit the bottle fell off the IV pole and landed right on my shin. Boy did I see star. It has raised a bump and a small bruise.

I find when in the hospital it is so hard to hold on to who you are."

Fr-om Mom's Journal - Tuesday August 28, 1979 (age 42)

"Had pain this AM about 2 - went to sleep then. Woke up about 6 & have had pains ever ince. Am now feeling nauseated. Was so cold all night long - thermostat did not work right - was about 65 degrees in the room.
The man came & worked on the thermostat - hope it works better."
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"Macho stethescope for arms & legs."
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"Dizzy
headache
ringing in head
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12:42 AM - felt a blemp, was lying almost flat on my back resting.
1:20 - blemp - reading.
1:50 - trying to go to sleep."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

700 Club's Pat Robertson is a careless, insensitive BAFOON!!

Pat Robertson is UNBELIEVEABLE! Please read this article and post your comments clicking on the "comment" link at the end of this post. I would love to hear what you think. This man just has no clue and I am really appauled that people actually follow the sick, discusting words of him or that he would have any kind of authority on this subject.

Pat Robertson says Alzheimer's makes divorce OK

AP – FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010 file picture, Rev. Pat Robertson talks to attendees at a prayer … .

By TOM BREEN, Associated Press Tom Breen,

Associated Press – Wed Sep 14, 9:21 pm ET

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson told his "700 Club" viewers that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's is justifiable because the disease is "a kind of death."

During the portion of the show where the one-time Republican presidential candidate takes questions from viewers, Robertson was asked what advice a man should give to a friend who began seeing another woman after his wife started suffering from the incurable neurological disorder.

"I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her," Robertson said.

The chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, which airs the "700 Club," said he wouldn't "put a guilt trip" on anyone who divorces a spouse who suffers from the illness, but added, "Get some ethicist besides me to give you the answer."

Most Christian denominations at least discourage divorce, citing Jesus' words in the Gospel of Mark that equate divorce and remarriage with adultery.

Terry Meeuwsen, Robertson's co-host, asked him about couples' marriage vows to take care of each other "for better or for worse" and "in sickness and in health."

"If you respect that vow, you say `til death do us part,'" Robertson said during the Tuesday broadcast. "This is a kind of death."

A network spokesman said Wednesday that Robertson had no further statement.

Divorce is uncommon among couples where one partner is suffering from Alzheimer's, said Beth Kallmyer, director of constituent services for the Alzheimer's Association, which provides resources to sufferers and their families.

"We don't hear a lot of people saying `I'm going to get divorced,'" she told The Associated Press. "Families typically respond the way they do to any other fatal disease."

The stress can be significant in marriages though, Kallmyer said, because it results in the gradual loss of a person's mental faculties.

"The caregiving can be really stressful on a couple of levels," she said. "There's the physical level. There's also the emotional level of feeling like you're losing that person you love."

As a result, she said, it's important for couples to make decisions about care together in the early stages of the illness, when its effects aren't as prominent.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Photo from Mom's 60th birthday party,1997.

This is Mom and Dad from Mom's 60th birthday party. My Dad had a huge party for Mom at their home to not only celebrate her birthday but also the fact that she had lived 20 years beyond what doctors originally told our family.
The weather that day was perfect and Mom couldn't have been happier.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tribute's to Mom, not her dementia

Hi everyone!
I have been writing in this blog since 2007. So far it has mostly been my own thoughts on dealing with her dementia, my sadness for her mental decline and for my father who has stuck by her side nomatter what.
Now, I've decided to branch out to my other family members and Mom's friends since all of us are affected in one way or another. I think her friends are just as important to her and her memory.
So, I'm asking all of you a huge favor. Any of you reading this blog who knew Mom before dementia or even after her dementia diagnosis, would you please write one (or more) of your favorite memories about Mom and email it to me (email address is below)? I'd love to insert these into my blog. I'm wanting to go a new direction and focus more on Mom than on her dementia, even though the dementia is the main focus. Feel free to include any of your favorite pictures, they can be inserted as well.

The two posts below are tribute's to Mom from Mom's "favorite" neice and a dear friend of Mom's.
Thanks so much, this means a lot to me.
Love, Anne B.
balcom@insightbb.com

A Favoirte Memory from a good friend of Mom's, Carol Westerman. 9/13/2011

"I am new to Facebook so I haven't learned enough yet to post but I want you to know that when we were in Atherton High School your Mom could have been voted the "Sweetest Girl in the 1955 Class". I have never changed in my opinion of her and what a wonderful legacy for her two daughters to know about her.
All the best.
Carol"

A Favorite Memory from Anne P. Stewart, Marilyn's "favorite" niece - 9/6/2011

"Hey Anne,
I have nothing but good memories of your mother. For my whole life, whenever she saw me, she made me feel like she was so happy to see me. She called me her favorite niece which I still love so much, even though I am her only one. When she smiles, she has a twinkle in her eye, even when she is not feeling her best. She and mom always took such pride in the Bromley traditions and am happy how they have taught us how to make holidays special with the good china, silver, flowers, etc.

I can only remember one time that she really got mad at me. I must have been around 9 and we were riding our bikes around my lowell neighborhood. I still feel really badly about this but a black boy in our neighborhood was following us around and I called him chocolate ice cream. Somehow he went to my house, told your mom who was there and she came after me immediately. At the time, I had some "love beads" around my neck. She told me to take them off and told me I did not deserve to wear them for calling people names. It really sunk in to me and I have never done anything like that again. And I detest it when ever I hear people doing that. I apologized to Shawn, and I think she knew I was sincerely sorry as she gave them back to me with a big hug and made me feel better. She has always been a person that I have admired and wanted to make proud. Also her and your father are the true definition of true loves. They have always been crazy about each other and it has been a great example to us all of true devotion. I am crazy about my Uncle Harold too! Need to see them much more! I'm so glad you are doing the blog.

Hope this helps cuz!
Love,
Anne"
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Anne Stewart is the older daughter of Mom's sister Margaret Bromley and she is my cousin.

From Mom's Journal - August 16, 1979 Thursday (age 42)

"I think this marks my 66th day in the hospital since March. Oh I hope I can go home and stay there.
I am angry this morning at all this mess. I want to get well and stay that way. I am so tired of hurting. Please let it end and let me get strong again."

From Mom's Journal - Aug 10(?), 1979 - Sunday (age 42)

"When I went down to x-ray for the lung series it was so funny to look around in this very sterile room and see all the many sizes & kinds of catherters hanging from hooks on the wall and in amongst them all was this great green plastic fly swatter.

Plus the fact you are laid out on this table and then everyone runs for cover."

From Mom's Journal - July 1979 (age 42)

"Tomorrow I can go home. In the last 5 mos. I have spent almost 60 days in the hospital. Going home tomorrow seems to be so much more special than before.
I am still afraid sometimes but I must learn to live with this situation & make the best of it.
I love Hal so very much but hope he will not rush to buy relief.
I hurt a lot tonight but I will have to remain calm & still so the hurting will go away."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

From Mom's Journal - July 21, 1979 (age 42)

"The time has gone by & has been so long since I first went to bed. I do wonder sometimes if I will ever really get up again.

Hal & I had a long talk tonight & tears about all this. I hope I can find some years left for me somewhere in all this. I want so very much to have time with him again. I love him so very much and believe he will tell me the truth in all of this - I hope so for I think he owes me that - I owe it to him."

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"Hal -
In most all things I do try to consider if whatever is fair to you. You asked me tonight to not take my life without first discussing it with you -

I could not do something like that to you unless you really understood why - I would not want to put that burden on you -

So I guess I am saying I will talk it over with your first in fairness to you - if that all makes any sense.
Most of all remember - I have loved you with all my being -

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2:00 AM - 7/22/79

Woke up in sweat - pain in chest not bad but there - asked for pill - spilled water - coughed some but not enough to be productive - back of me is all wet with sweat - hair & all -
pain becomes very intense on movement - she gives me 2 Empirine #3 -

I have been here a week today and I have never heard from Mended Hearts - I think that is really strange - it is almost like an omen -

2:40 AM pain moved to rt shoulder & arm will take a NTG to see what happens - finally gone at 3:00.

Hal - Anne is a lot like you in that she likes to organize things - let her work on her dressing table & fix the chair that goes with it. She likes to have dividers etc to get everything together."

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Is this something that is on a blitz & rampage?
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What kind of time frame are we working in?
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How & what do we tell Anne?
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Why is it so hard to get answers from Lansing?
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

From Mom's Journal - July 15, 1979 - Sunday (age 42)

"I came into Jewish (Hospital) at about 10:30 11:00 & was put to bed.

Developed pressure in chest that probably could have been relieved by a little TLC. Dr. L's comment was put her out until Tues & forget it.

I do not think it would hurt for some one around here to talk to a patient - it is almost as if we did not exist.

I don't think I would tell them I had a chest pain even if my heart was falling out of my chest.

My room is nice - I hope I have the same one when my surgery is over -

One of the nurses told me they may get veins from my arms - how much more can I be disfigured?"

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"All anyone does is sit around and say buck up it's going to be okay - don't worry it will come out okay - not one of them has to hurt like that."

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"Please keep my door closed so everyone will not hear my moans & groans."

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"The fear & loneliness are almost unbearable."

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"I hope Lucy comes to see Hal and I do hope Hal is not alone - "

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"Hal - you really will be married to the Bride of Frankenstein now"

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

From Mom's Journal - July 14, 1979 (age 42)

"I'm so scared I hardly know what to do. I get angry, depressed, want to cry, want to be dead and away from all this, lonesome. I wish Hal was here to hold me. It is so hard to be a grown up sometimes. I have to get through this situation and get well but oh is it hard to do. I want to get well so that I can be with Hal & go places and do fun things with him. We have worked so hard & been thru so many bad days. I hope & pray we can have some fun days together.
I want to see my girls reach womanhood and see them achieve some of the good that will surely come to them.
I am so very lonely tonight and it is hard to go to sleep.

Lucy came into my room last night about 2:00 AM & sat down. We had such a nice talk.
We talked about my feelings about this operation - whether I would live or die. About Hal & our relationship.

I am sitting here in the semi-darkness of my room in CCU at Bapt East and it is 5:00 AM - in 4-1/2 hrs I will be moved to Jewish Hosp. to start getting ready for my 2nd heart operation. This is all so weird. I want to do this and get well so badly.
Please make it be successful."

From Mom's Journal - date is not given, probably between July 12 & 14 (age 42)

A note from Mom to her Dr. Lucy Tyler

"I've been worrying about your feeling you pushed me into this. Please don't feel that for you did not do that at all.
I am just so very grateful to you because you listened to me. It had been very difficult and I was beginning to feel dumb about telling anyone I was sick.
Thank you for all the help you have given me - including helping with a feeling of self-worth."

From Mom's Journal - July 12, 1979 - Thursday (age 42)

"They have decided to reoperate. I hope it works this time - Had some really bad times today - "

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My sweet visit and a letter

This evening I visited Mom in the nursing home. When I walked into her room she was sound asleep. I hated to wake her but I needed to take her to get some dinner in the dining room of the nursing home. When I woke her she seemed so weak, it took every ounce of energy just to sit up in bed. I asked her if she'd rather eat in her room but she said she wanted to try to go, to get a change of scenery. I put her socks on for her, helped her with her sweater then she said she needed to lay back down. Just those minor activities, things we take for granted, exhausted her. Before I helped her lay back down I sat next to her on her bed and she laid her head on my shoulder and wrapped her arms around me. I rested my head on hers and hugged her back telling her that I wished she could get well. I helped her lay down then she asked me to lay next to her in the bed and put my arms around her. She said she needed to feel my arms around her. It was such a sweet moment and I couldn't help but tear up.
Mom seemed to have all of her mental clarity at that moment. I felt like I was hugging my mother for the very last time; she looks so fraile now, so much like a little old lady. I hated leaving her alone tonight. I hate that her life has come to this. Cried all the way home.

Below....I posted this letter written by my mother back in 2008 but wanted to post it again.
I believe Mom wrote it back in 1998 but not certain.

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"My journey with heart disease started back in 1979. It has been a rough trip but I feel I have learned so much about myself, life, and living with chronic illness.

I was forty-one years old when I was diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease. I had asked doctors for a number of years why I was having chest pain and felt so tired most of the time. The thinking in the 1970's was that premenopausal women did not have heart disease. Although I had a very strong family history of heart disease, I was told it was "nerves", "depression", or "young housewife's battle fatigue". Then I would be given a prescription for a tranquilizer, told not to let stress get to me, and sent home. I even went to my parent's cardiologist and was told there were irregularities on my EKG but that I was probably stressed out and sent home - two different times!

Finally, I saw a doctor who I did not tell about my chest pain. I told of my fatigue and the general sense of not feeling well. She asked me to agree to go to the hospital for testing. She felt there was more than fatigue going on. The second night in the hospital, I called the nurse and told her I was having chest pain. The nurse took my blood pressure, asked me some questions and left the room. Shortly she returned with a small bottle of nitroglycerin. When I saw that, it made me angry for I knew what it was and why it was used. She had me place one tablet under my tongue. It worked! Then I was really upset for I knew I was in trouble. Shortly after that, my doctor appeared at my bedside. The time was after midnight but the nurse had called for her to come. The next morning I met the first cardiologist who would be taking care of me.

Three days later, I had my first Coronary Artery Bypass surgery. That was March, 1979. After surgery, I did not seem to be improved. Three months later in July, 1979, the Bypass surgery was repeated. The prognosis given at that time was poor. I was devastated. Our two daughters were in middle and high school. We were told I probably would not live to see either of them graduate from high school. How could this happen to us!

Hal, my husband, called in a psychiatrist to talk to me. I cried a lot and felt so completely hopeless. The psychiatrist encouraged me to take it one day at a time and strive to make it to the next day. Then I would tackle the next day in the same fashion. He helped me to deal with my death and my living. To this day I still work on the premise of one day at a time. I do plan for events knowing that the plans may have to change, but I have learned to be very flexible.

I also was so afraid of dying alone. The doctor taught me to realize that dying was something everyone did alone - even if the room was filled with people. He helped me lose my fear of death and I find I seldom give it much of my thought. I put my energies into living today.

The future that we were told to expect was short and very gloomy. Hal and I agreed and told our doctor to have my chart in the hospital marked "No Code". We just felt that life was over for me. One night I was having a very bad night in Coronary Care. I asked the nurse to call Hal and ask him to come to my side. I felt that I was going to die that night. I wanted Hal to come into my room and be with me. When he came, I asked him to hold my hand. I felt that as long as I held on to his hand I would not die. We held hands for several hours and finally I felt that sense of crisis leave me. I told Hal he should go on home to get some rest. As he got near the door I asked him to tell the nurses "Don't be too quick on the No Code". We have laughed over the years about this incident. We decided early on in this journey that humor was necessary to pull us through. We try to find some humor in all situations. It is difficult sometimes but if you look hard enough you can usually find something to laugh about.

Recently I was in the emergency room with severe angina. It seemed that another heart attack was in progress. There was a woman from housekeeping moving around the area doing her job. Each time she passed my bed she would look over and say, "You feeling any better honey?" and each time I had to say "No". The third time she passed by my bed she asked the question again. My answer was the same as before "No". She said, "You don't look so good neither". Hal and I looked at each other - we had found our humor for the evening. It did break the tension for a moment.

The first four years after my diagnosis I was in the hospital more than I was at home. It was a very difficult time for our family to survive. We did a lot of reading in our search for information and help. We did have some counseling for our daughters and ourselves.

I had been a smoker before the first By-pass surgery. My doctor and my husband collected my cigarettes and lighter the day I was told that I would be having surgery. The respiratory therapist followed right behind them into my room. We worked for the next three days to try to clear my lungs so that I would be in better condition for surgery. After the surgery, I felt so very bad that smoking did not even occur to me. By the time the second By-pass surgery in July 1979 was past, the thought of smoking just was out of the question. I had been through too much already and the thought of smoking again was an anathema.

I was enrolled in Cardiac Rehab after surgery. Each time I did not continue to exercise on a regular basis after finishing the course of rehab. I did change my diet and the way I cooked. I have learned over the years to create interesting and flavorful dishes based on the low-fat way of cooking. Low-fat cooking does not mean unattractive or bland.

Through the 1980's my condition fluctuated between not good and poor. I was hospitalized numerous times. I had to have abdominal surgery twice, I had a pulmonary embolism, I had congestive heart failure problems. It was one thing after another.

Sometimes I would be so weak I needed a wheelchair, I needed a walker for I had a string of leg and foot fractures. The list seems endless.

My energy level was so poor I could function at only a very low level of activity. I was still having trouble with angina. I was sent to the hospital many times because I seemed to be having a heart attack. I became more and more depressed. I went to Mayo Clinic seeking help. Pain had become nearly constant in my chest, my back and in other areas of my body.

Over the years I have also been diagnosed as having Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Psoriasis, and Multiple Sclerosis. The diagnosis of MS came just about two years ago. I was started on Betaseron (Interferon beta-1b) in April of 1994. It has made a great change in my energy level and contributed to improving my overall sense of feeling better. The finding of MS has explained so many of the problems that have confounded the doctors who take care of me. And it has helped me to know that so many mysteries about my condition can be explained.

By the end of 1993 I felt so bad all the time and I could barely walk across a room. I was so worried and depressed about my situation. In early January, 1994, I was again taken by ambulance to the hospital. Another cardiac catherization was done. The idea was to do the cath and then try another angioplasty. I had had a number of catherizations over the years and two angioplasties. At the time of the cath I had a heart attack and was taken to surgery. That was my third Coronary Artery Bypass surgery. To quote the cardiologist, "The recovery in the hospital was stormy". In recovery I went into cardiac arrest. From my point of view it was the worst experience of my life.

I had been having trouble with my vision for a year or more before 1994. I was having holes in what I was seeing, and in other ways my vision was distorted. The doctors thought I was having small strokes. After my third bypass surgery the problem continued to worsen. One morning in the Spring of 1995 I awoke and could not see and could not remember much. I finally was able to remember how to call one of my daughters. I found I could barely talk. I did get her to understand it was me and that I needed help. She came and called for an ambulance. There was another trip to the hospital. At first they thought I had had a stroke again. Further testing finally showed Multiple Sclerosis. The previous "strokes" turned out to be exacerbations of the MS. My vision was so disturbed I was seeing double. I wore an eye patch and could not drive and could barely read. This continued until I had been taking medication for the MS for months. Gradually my vision has improved to where I no longer need the eye patch and I can drive in the day time. My night vision is really not good.

I started another course of Cardiac Rehab after the surgery in January 1994. I have stayed with it this time. The idea that I am expected makes me keep my commitment to my exercise program. I tell everyone it keeps me honest. Since 1994 I have lost over fifty pounds. I have gone from a dress size of 18 or 20 to a size 10 or 12. I am so very proud of myself and how I look and feel. The weight is off and I am toning up the body. I feel better than I ever have most of my adult life. Someday I may even be crowned the Cardiac Rehab Poster Lady!

I have just briefly mention dealing with depression. It is something that at different times I have both dealt with and have denied its presence. It is very difficult to deal with chronic illness, pain, uncertainty created by both, and facing your own mortality. The work needed to create new ways of thinking about life and who you are requires time. It takes a lot of energy, both mental and physical. I have read many books and articles searching for answers and comfort. I have found a psychiatrist who has been a great help over the last number of years. He has helped me to know that adversity comes to all of us but how we diced to feel about it is most important. We cannot control all things that happen to us in our lives. We can control our feelings. Many times I have cried and been devastated by bad things that have come into my life. I let myself have a few tears, and "why me's", but then I must turn my thinking around. I must start to concentrate on thinking "Well, how am I going to cope with this?". I gather information to study and learn about the problem. You cannot cope with or deal with a problem without information. The next step is to take the gathered information and apply it to the problem and how it all relates to me. Next "How can I use this knowledge to help me live each moment in a way that will make me the most comfortable and happy." The major understanding that I feel I have gained is to live each moment to the fullest and to accept it as a gift. The freedom that that way of living and thinking gives you is limited only by your willingness to believe that this is so.

Our daughters are grown and out on their own now. We are grandparents. We are looking forward to retirement soon. I am so filled with wonder and joy to find I have made it almost twenty more years. I know I cannot make all my problems go away. But I can accept each day as a gift and a challenge. And there must be humor in there somewhere.

Marilyn B. Forrester"

From Mom's Journal - July 11 or 12, 1979 (age 42)

This journal entry is a letter that Mom wrote to good friends of hers and Dad's, Carol & Shelby Feinerman. I believe she was saying good-bye.

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"Dear Carol & Shelby - They are going to do the surgery to me again sometime in the next few days. This all seems like a terrible bad dream but no one will come to wake me up. You all have been wonderful friends and I love you very much. Just...... "

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That is it, that's all....I don't know why Mom didn't finish that letter. Maybe someone came into her hospital room, maybe she fell asleep, maybe she got too upset and couldn't write any more. Either way, I cannot imagine her fear of getting prepared for a second coronary bypass surgery at the age of 42.

From Mom's Journal - July 11, 1979 (age 42)

"12:08 - rt shoulder hurts & chest has pressure - will take a NTG
12:50 - seem to feel better right now - Hal just left - love him so very much
3:05 - rt shoulder hurts again & arm - NTG
3:12 - NTG
3:17 - NTG
3:22 - NTG

Lucy -
1. Why am I taking Lanoxin?
2. What do we do if Lansing says No?
3. If I should get in real trouble please do not keep me if it gets to permanent vegetable"

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Number 3 makes me tear up everytime I read it.

From Mom's Journal - date either July 10 or 11, 1979 (age 42)

The date for this journal entry is either July 10 or 11 of 1979 because of where it was written in Mom's journal. Looks as if she wrote it in the middle of the night so she could remember what to tell her, then, doctor....Dr. Lucy Tyler.

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"Lucy - please, I really need to be home with Hal next week. We need very badly the time alone together.

What kind of diet should I have here?

It is 1:30 AM - took NTG at 1:00 & told RN - she gave me isordil & 30 mg Inderal instead of 2nd NTG but rt shoulder aches. Head really ringing.

Lucy - what is the Lanoxin for?

What do we do if Lansing says no?"

Saturday, September 3, 2011

51 Years!

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

From Mom's Journal - July 10, 1979 - Tuesday (age 42)

"Feelings of pressure all day long that come & go - sometimes have sharp pain in chest. Will have numbness in an arm. Some pressure in neck - When I move around & walk sense of great pressure - took NTG (Nitroglycerin) at 5:10 - pressure in chest. pain in lower rt bk."

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"Have had some pain tonight but not bad. I do wish we did not have to go through all this -

I must come thru this in spite of it all - the bastards will not grind me down - "

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Throughout all the years of Mom's illnesses she has always maintained her sense of humor. I guess if you don't keep humor in your life then what is there really left to live for. Afterall, laughter is the best medicine. I try to remember that in my everyday life. I think mom does a much better job at it than I. Even now, with her memory loss Mom will pop off with some zingers. In the midst of her confusion at the hospital one night last week she pulled out her IV's and oxygen because she didn't know where she was and wanted to leave. Sadly she had to be restrained and sedated. But at one point she woke up just long enough to tell Dad, Camille, and me that if we believed that she did all of that then we would believe that cars could fly. Don't get me wrong, she was very angry but her comment made us giggle. Mom fell back to sleep immediately, almost as if it took every ounce of her energy to make that statement.

Friday, September 2, 2011

From Mom's Journal - June 5, 1979 - Tuesday

"Really had waves of dizziness & sick at stomach feeling all day - would come over me just sitting in chair - stomach hurts some.

Felt better emotionally today - would like to be able to do more about the house etc but am too weak - "

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Mom's heart disease which was brought to our attention in about 1977 or 1978 was the beginning of the downward spiral in her health. She has lived the remainder of her life being sick, very sick. After her heart disease was diagnosed she was later, many years later, diagnosed with rosacia, osteoarthritis, rheumetoid arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), type 2 diabetes, and finally dementia. The dementia was probably caused by the accumulation of all the others. To this day, Mom is fighting. Always a fighter. To our dismay, she cannot overcome the dementia and it is slowly taking her away from us. Dementia is turning my mother into someone she never wanted to become. We all have to remember the REAL Marilyn so as not to be torn apart by some of what she says. We all have to remember that this horrible disease also has a voice but a voice that does not belong to the person in which it lives. Dementia is a parasite but one that cannot be cured or killed until it slowly devours it's host. And we, her family... all we can do is sit and watch it happen. But we do have wonderful small moments of her clarity where we can all, including Mom, love and laugh together. So we do our best.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

From Mom's Journal - June 4, 1979 - Monday (age 42)

"10:15 PM - Bad day today - very depressed. Wished I was dead but still cannot give up.
Went to exercise - drove myself - drove all right.
Seemed to have a good day on the bike - rode bike at home for about 5 min - was ok.
Ulcer really acting up - lots of swelling around middle was kind of sick at stomach - taste metal in mouth.
Scars are really tight - especially chest -
Wonder if I will get well ever -
Went to Hawley-Cooke with Hal & sat in chair to wait for him.
Really had waves of dizziness & sick feeling."

Above is an entry from Mom's journal. I am so sad that Mom didn't have a better quality of her physical being. As a family, we are so lucky to have had her as long as we did. Mom had her first open heart surgery when she was just 40 years old. We were told she probably wouldn't make it to age 42. At the time I was just 12 years old; not easy news for a young girl.
I have a very strong mother.....she is now 74 years old. However, now at 74 she really has no quality of life. Mom, physically, is just existing. And now mentally, her mind is slowly leaving us. No one should have to live like this. But Mom has always made the best of her situation and kept her wonderful sense of humor.

I love my mother so much. This is so difficult for me to be witness to. Sometimes I just cannot deal with all of this and withdraw from the entire situation. Probably not the best way to handle things, but it's my way. Journaling, blogging is my outlet to express what I'm feeling. I don't like to talk much with others, don't want to be considered a "downer at the party". Really wanting all of this to be over for my mother, I don't want her suffering to continue. I really don't want to lose her....but I'm losing her anyway either way.