BY PAM MONTANA
Happy New Year! The beginning of the year allows me to reflect and to consider potential changes or modifications that I should make going forward, to reflect on 2018 and to try to appreciate all that I was able to achieve in my second year of living with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s disease.
I see the new year as an open book. An opportunity to make the most of every day. I know the progression of Alzheimer’s is slow, but I also know things have changed for me, and I want to relish every moment and make to most of every day.
I saw my neurologist last week and she was very hopeful and impressed with all that I was able to accomplish last year. She also reminded me that in addition to eating well, exercising, and using my brain, the most important thing was that I ‘do what makes me happy.’ Isn’t that amazing? I am reminded of that every day when i wake up. I start my day with espresso and my journal. I end my journaling routine with a list of gratitude. I’ve been doing this for over two years and it really helps me move forward. I also try to follow my routine with meditation and then head to the gym.
I wrote a blog the other day about the upside of having Alzheimer’s. There are so many horrible and depressing parts of this disease but it isn’t helpful for me to focus on them. I was raised in a Christian Science family and we didn’t go to the doctor but we did pray for healing. My mom was upbeat, happy, loving, and kind. She had a smile on her face and was extremely friendly. I believe everything happens for a reason. And so when I got my diagnosis in 2016, as devastating as it was, I knew I could deal with it. I knew I could make a difference and use my voice to remove the stigma and the shame of Alzheimer’s. More importantly, I could use my voice to raise money, to help find a cure and to be part of the solution.
If you are having memory issues, please don’t minimize them. As a woman, I know we are pretty good at that! Learn the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s. Make a list of the problems you are having. Get support from your family. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my husband’s testimony to our doctor, I probably never would have been diagnosed. I don’t remember what I did or didn’t do, but he does!
This is going to be a great year, a wonderful year. How do I know that? Because I’m going to make the most of every single day. I’m going to surround myself with friends and family who love me and lift me up. I’m going to use my voice to raise money, awareness and to remove the stigma of this disease. I’m going to stay active, continue to knit and eat well and most important, I’m going to do what makes me happy!
God bless you and Happy 2019!