OT: Alzheimer's | The Boneyard

OT: Alzheimer's

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diggerfoot

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My "summer vacation" and beyond has been a five-month hike of the Pacific Crest Trail with my wife Cindy and daughter Charissa, starting last June and continuing until this coming Thanksgiving. This journey relates to Alzheimer's in several ways.

Cindy has early onset Alzheimer's, her first symptoms beginning when she was 49. Our unspoken mission for our recent 5,000 mile walk across the country was to improve her mental health. It worked. For example, she could not even help me set up a tent in the beginning of the year long hike; towards the end she could set up the tent by herself. This hike now is providing a similar "treatment."

Once the doctors stopped telling us "she is too young" and delivered the diagnosis of Alzheimer's we formed a bucket list of things to do, resolving that we would enjoy life until the end. The top item is to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, the only long distance trail we have not done together (I hiked the PCT in 1977, before we met). By completing this trail she achieves the Triple Crown of long distance hiking, something she has wanted to finish up for decades (she was the first woman to thru-hike one of those trails, the CDT, back in 1985).

In recent times I have used my passion for hiking to promote a cause. Formerly that cause was raising awareness for the presence and virtues of kindness and community. Now that the first five years of our marriage were spent taking care of my Mom with Alzheimer's, the last years will be spent taking care of Cindy, with a stint of taking care of her Dad in between, I've had it with this $&@-/):(; disease. My cause now is to raise Hope for Alzheimer's in several ways. Interested Boneyarders can assist me in several ways.

FOLLOW my blog. There's a button for that in the lower right hand corner. This currently reports on the Hope in Cindy's journey, with the underlying theme that even someone with advanced Alzheimer's can pursue dreams and live a vibrant life with enough support.
Most recent post: http://www.humanityhiker.com/of-dreams-and-dreamy-days

LIKE my Facebook page. Before the journey I was using this page to post articles about the Hope in lifestyle choices on Alzheimer's patients and caregivers. Admittedly I'm only reposting my blog articles right now because that is all I have time for on this journey, but I'll return to the former function when the journey is over. I also have a group page where I post nice pictures from the hike.
Fan page URL: http://www.facebook.com/humanityhiker
Group page search: 2014 Pacific Crest Trail Journey

DONATE to the Exercise for Brain Health Research Fund. This may be somewhat blasphemous on the Boneyard, but the University of Maryland is doing some good work in this regards and we are plugged in to that (other universities plugged into this particular line of research include Pitt, Wisconsin, Arizona and Harvard). As Dr. Carson Smith from UMd mentioned to me: "exercise is not patentable." Research into brain health does not receive the same level of funding as brain treatment with drugs. However, exercise is the only treatment shown to regenerate brain tissue. While that alone does not make you smarter or overcomes brain diseases, it's the one thing that provides the "raw material" to work with, something that provides Hope.
Donation site: http://tinyurl.com/umdbrainhealth

By Following my blog and Liking my Facebook page you will assist me with some fundraising ideas for the future. Such funds will continue to be used to support brain health research that focuses on lifestyle choices: exercise, diet, music, leisure, etc. Musicians might also want to check out my YouTube channel for a particular fundraising project, explained on the channel. That project will resume at the end of this journey.
YouTube project: http://www.youtube.com/humanityhiker

If you've arrived at this point thanks for your attention on this. Go Huskies!
 
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Kudos to you and your wife for your success.

I don't know anything about this terrible disease, but I found this article linked on Dr. Terry Wahls webpage. If you don't know her, she reversed her MS with her diet, which i found amazing...she now has a clinical trial going on.

Lower your risk of diabetes/ dementia – follow the Wahls Diet™ plan- to lower risk of diabetes - Alzheimer’s Disease Is Type 3 Diabetes–Evidence Reviewed - by Suzanne M. de la Monte, M.D. M.P.H., Jack R. Wands, M.D. November 2008​
 
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My father died of complications due to Alzheimer's this past spring and I too raise money for this hell disease. You have my sympathies. It's in both my wife's and my immediate family.

Your hike and walk is a great way to combat it. My father walked miles even in his late 70s, every day, and we had someone trailing him. Paid to walk, essentially. When he was hospitalized and couldn't walk anymore, the onset of symptoms was ferociously quick. Walking is what kept him going for years. When he stopped his exercise, he deteriorated in a matter of weeks, less than a month.

They don't know much about this disease, and it's incredibly frustrating.
 

diggerfoot

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We are hiking in California now, after visiting the Boneyard Brewery in Bend, Oregon. Cindy has not improved as much on this hike as she did on the last, but she's still going strong. Having taken care of two other relatives with Alzheimer's in my lifetime, she is quite vibrant at this stage.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202003287198748&l=dbb275e418
 

joober jones

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Thoughts, prayers, and best of wishes for you, your wife, and your family. I've had Alzheimer's in my family so I can feel for you on this one.
 

intlzncster

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Whoops, I wrote 'senior' there, not 'senhor'. Maybe that's just a subconcious acknowledgement that he has retired, gold watch ring in hand.
 
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