A Moment Of Spiritual Perspective

A very important aspect of Jacquelynn’s treatment, and stressed by Dr. Ross, is finding your spiritual peace.  It has been proven more times than can ever be reiterated in the space I have here that worrying and fearing and stressing over your health has an inevitable and profound effect, causing a continued downward spiral.  The return to health simply can NOT happen if you’re spending your energy wallowing in your illness.

Our faith is something with which we are very comfortable.  I almost typed “which we take very seriously”, but honestly, I believe that humor is inseparable from faith.  If you’re too damned serious all the time, life and faith are both going to be pretty dour.  We are decidedly NOT what anyone would call religious people, but we do have our faith, and it is very important to us.

So you’ll understand what I mean when I say that, in as non-denominational a way as possible, I had on Monday a ”religious” experience second to none in my life.

I’ve been cleaning what used to be “my room” (Jacquelynn and I kept separate bedrooms up until last winter when she needed me there at all times, and quickly became permanent), sorting and organizing while preparing the room to once again become my writing space, and to double as a guest room when friends or family come to visit, as so many have recently been volunteering to do.  Much though it sometimes seems as though we’re out on an island here, I really do have a tremendous circle of love in my life, and I am inexpressibly grateful.

While cleaning, I’ve also been listening to music on my phone, it sitting on the bureau behind me as I sit on the floor at the closet door, rotating randomly through all the 2000+ tracks randomly.

Taken from the advice of Abraham*, one of the habits I’ve developed over the last few years is keeping what is called a “Magical Wishing Box”.   In this box, actually a repurposed and very ornate Christmas cookie tin, I keep my wishes. Only the very most important wishes go in, writ bold on a piece of notepaper, and when I close the box, I recite “That which is contained in this box IS”.  This is a very prayerful and meditative ritual for me, and that wording is repeated on the handmade label on the lid of the box.

I was casually sorting through a pile of things next to the closet door, and the wishing box was atop that pile. Playing in the background was a very good Neil Diamond song, but I wasn’t paying the sharpest attention to it. It wasn’t until I picked up the wishing box and opened it, and my eyes fell upon the largest of the two pieces of paper in the box that the music really caught my attention. Neil had gone silent, and at the very instant that my eyes beheld the paper reading “FULL HEALTH FOR JACQUELYNN”, the musical lead-in for Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” began.

At. Precisely. That. Instant.

This is, to my ears, the loveliest and most special and hopeful song I have ever heard. It has, for many years, meant beauty, peace, and contentment to me, and hearing it at that very moment as I read my wish-note, resonated and echoed in my mind and heart in giant, sky-high letters as


It took several moments for the flood of joyful and grateful tears to slow, as I wept and hugged the box to my chest. Afterward, I checked my fitness watch to find my heart rate slowly coming down from 107 bpm.


I’m still reeling, and still overflowing with joy and gratitude.


It’s rare, this kind of profound experience. Rare and not to be ignored.  I go forward today with a renewed and vibrant confidence.  I no longer have doubt and fear, I have banished uncertainty and replaced it with full confidence and unshakable faith.  We ARE on the path to full health, and we will not waver from it.


*From “Ask And It Is Given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks


Supporting vs Helping

Recently, I joined a virtual support group for dementia caregivers on Facebook. I did this for a few reasons.

  • 1) An honest desire for support. While I do have a few friends and family members who will listen to me and offer a kind ear, it’s very different than talking with people going through their version of the same thing you are. Even though my eldest sister was our Mom’s caregiver for years, the last year or so of which was colored by her growing dementia, I feel as though I’m dredging up things she’s working to get past when I discuss it with her.
  • 2) A hope to be of service. While getting help is terrific, nothing is more fulfilling than actually being of help to someone in need.   In this group, I figured I would be able to reach out and touch lives with compassion and love.
  • 3) Lastly, I wanted to expose the group to the fact that a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis is not the inarguable death sentence that many (most) doctors will tell you it is.   Jacquelynn is recovering from this diagnosis, and so can many of them, potentially.

The first two of these goals have been met and were almost instantly upon joining. This is an extremely compassionate and empathetic group, and everyone is always eager to offer love, advice, and prayers wherever needed.

However, I have been frankly shocked by the responses I’ve received upon mentioning the possibility of recovery. Yes, a couple of people have asked for details and links, but by and large, I’ve encountered everything from indifference to criticism and vitriol. I’ve had comments deleted and gotten “angry” emojis.


This experience brought to mind something that happened just after Jacquelynn and I returned from Savannah after our first appointment with Dr. Ross to get her started on the Bredesen Protocol. I have a close friend who is caregiver for her mother, also an Alzheimer’s patient, although much farther along than Jacquelynn was. When this friend saw the list of supplements we had been prescribed, the response was a disbelieving “THIS IS FOR ALZHEIMER’S?”, and I haven’t heard directly from them since, save in rare and curt response to something I post on Facebook.

At first, I thought perhaps I had said or done something wrong, but it occurred to me that it probably wasn’t me. While I don’t for one second think they or anyone else wish ill for Jacquelynn, I do think it possible that they reject the idea of recovery for several reasons.

One of those reasons may be guilt. Perhaps they feel they missed something and feel as though they’ve let down their loved one by not researching alternatives.

Another possibility is fear: I spoke to a dear friend recently whose friend has a mother recently diagnosed with dementia. The very concept of restricting her mother’s diet and working to help her is anathema to this woman. Her mom has a terrible sweet tooth, so restricting sugars is out of the question.   Out of whose question?   Are you truly so desperately afraid to upset your mother that you’d rather just let her wither and die, possibly over several years serving as her only caregiver and destroying your life as well, than to at least make an effort? Survival is work, for God’s sake, even for the healthiest among us.

Largely, though, I think it’s a result of an out-of-hand rejection of anything outside the medical mainstream. Their doctors have been telling them, and the media in all its myriad forms perpetuates it, that there is no treatment, no hope, and no future.   More money is spent each year on breast implants, one popular meme will tell you, than on Alzheimer’s research.   This mindset, fertilized by doctors and the useless monotasking medications they’re all so eager to prescribe, can only grow despair and hopelessness. It’s only crop is death, and we’re told only that “we’ll do everything we can for you until the end” because endings are so much easier to imagine than hope.

Doom-and-gloom is the fuel of desperation, and no hope ever grew from it.   I only wish to sow the seeds of hope, to enlighten people that there are alternatives to withering away despondently toward an inevitable and miserable end.

This is human existence, and not a single one of us is getting out of it alive. In the meantime, however, life is meant to be lived, and there IS hope for those with the courage to reach for it. PLEASE don’t reject hope out-of-hand. You haven’t failed your loved one, you’ve worked and sweated and sacrificed for them just as they have for you. Research.   Inquire. BEG for help.

I don’t consider myself or my dedication extraordinary. I’m a normal human desperate to save his wife, who is just as desperate to save herself. We’re a team, and we believe in our goal and its success. My purpose is not to elevate myself as some voice of authority, but merely to open eyes to the fact that there are alternatives, and Dr. Dale Bredesen has more time and commitment invested in this goal than any other single doctor on the planet, and the results he and his team are seeing are nothing short of miraculous. Eventually, mainstream medicine will be forced to accept and endorse his protocols, but can you afford to wait for that to happen? I know we couldn’t, and I’m damned glad we didn’t.

I thought long and hard about leaving the support group out of sheer frustration, but that would be quitting. As I said earlier, I’ve had a couple of requests for more information, and if that leads someone to seek help while it’s still possible than I’m elated to have served. So, I’ll be staying, learning, asking, and sharing in any way that service dictates.

I’ll be doing what little I may to save lives.

Please continue to follow and share these posts. Please do your part to help save lives that so many have already given up on.

Am I Who I Think I Am? Does It Even Matter?

Newsflash: I’m human.   I mean very human. I’m imperfect and flawed in ways I don’t even fucking want to talk about.

And every day, this situation brings them up and slaps me in the face with them, highlighting them in ways I never imagined. I stand exposed and emasculated at my million little failures, seeming to dance a vicious and taunting ballet of shortcomings and mistakes.

Often, I begin to retreat into myself. “I shouldn’t even try”, I curse to myself.  “I should just serve and shut up, not even try to communicate or deal with her socially.  It’s the only way to avoid being misunderstood and inadvertently hurting her feelings.”

Of course, I know that it is only by constantly communicating and engaging her that I have managed to pull her out of her shell, to engage parts of her brain as she regains access to them and to energize and excite the healing process, thereby accelerating and optimizing her usage of that most amazing tool she was born with.

I know these things, and I am beyond committed to continuing on course.

But still, I feel so small, so horrible and cruel when I make her cry.   It was certainly not intended, and seeing her in pain (especially when I am the cause of that pain!) tears the heart from me.  But I should know by now, right?   I should fucking KNOW how easily a remark can be misheard or misunderstood.  I should god damn well be able to predict and prevent most of these incidents.

Could it possibly be that some small, vicious part of me is doing this on purpose?

Fuck, I hope not.  I hope I’m not that person anymore.  I’ve worked so fucking hard to not be that person anymore.


On a much brighter note, there is more and mounting evidence of her undeniable improvement.  Yesterday was shower day.  You may know that I have, since approximately last March, taken complete responsibility for showering Jacquelynn.  She essentially stands there, trusting me without question as I wash her hair, get her all cleaned and primped, and dry her off.  Then she sits calmly as I comb and dry her hair, doing what I can within my (very narrow) limits to brush and style her hair as best I can.

This is our common and very familiar routine, as this process has evolved over 3 or 4 showers every week since last February.

Until this last week.

Gradually, over the last two or three showers, Jacquelynn has begun taking a more active role in her showers.  She’s twisting herself into position to rinse herself more effectively; taking a towel and working to dry herself, especially her hair; even running her fingers through her hair to measure moisture as I work to dry it.


Honestly, Jacquelynn’s courageous and miraculous journey amazes me every day. I took her aside this afternoon specifically to make certain she knew how indescribably proud of her I am.  Her incredible strength and bravery in facing this illness inspires me every day to strive to be all that she needs me to be.  As I stated above, I inevitably fail, but I will never stop trying, and I will never abandon her.  Nor will I ever trust her care to anyone else.

Yes, we cry.  We both occasionally hurt one another’s feelings.  We get angry and we calm down and make up.

We are married, after all.

Such is life, and we are completely succeeding at life and at love.

Two Thousand Seventeen Is Gone; Long Live Two Thousand Eighteen

It’s Twenty Eighteen, and I want to thank you all for the gift of your time and attention these past months. Those are the only things you can never recoup, and to give so freely of them to this blog is a staggering gift. I will do my very best to continue to earn it.

As her improvement grows, Jacquelynn is coming more and more into herself. As her self-awareness grows, she becomes, well, more her. The woman I fell in love with was a focused, determined professional woman with no patience with weakness, most especially her own. While this can render her almost furious with herself (and occasionally me) when she struggles with expressing herself, this falls mostly and in a very large way firmly in the “benefit” category.

Where before she loved her walks, she has resisted riding the recumbent stationary bike I purchased for her last September (at her request).   This resistance was at least partially because she was uncomfortable climbing on and off of it. Her improving coordination plays some part in the new willingness and eagerness to get on board. She is renewing her complete dedication to full recovery and getting sufficient exercise plays a key role in that recovery.

She’s also enjoying a renewed interest in quizzing with the flash cards we purchased for her a few weeks back. She asked me to quiz her today, after waffling and putting it off recently. The results were, frankly, shocking. When last we went through the deck of 52 images, two for each letter of the alphabet, several weeks ago she had a lot of difficulty coming up with the correct word, scoring on just short of half the deck (22 cards). Today, it was only necessary to set aside and come back to 8 cards, and she was successful on the second attempt on all but three of those. That is, by any measure, an incredible improvement, especially considering that she hasn’t played with or leafed through the decks even once in the interim.

As I was attempting to write the rest of this post, I realized that all I was doing was re-writing something I’d already posted on my personal Facebook page.   So, with respect, I’m simply going to share here what I’ve already posted publicly, mildly edited.

2017 is over, and given what we’ve been through, many may expect me to celebrate its end as having been a horrible year, and glad to have it behind us.

Not so fast.

Yes, Twenty-Seventeen brought us a horrifying near-death experience (on Valentine’s Day, of all days), followed the next month by a sobering and terrifying diagnosis. We also said a tearful farewell to my mom after her illness. All ingredients for a truly shitty year, right? I don’t think anyone would argue with me if I raged at the departed year while begging for a better new one.

I’m unemployed. My wife has a terminal disease with no recognized treatment options. I’ll never see my mom again.

But look at it as I choose to:

Jacquelynn defied a 75% mortality rate for her “Severe Sepsis w/Acute Kidney Injury”.

We were in a position to allow me to take an extended break to be at home where my wife needs me.

Despite her regular doctor telling her there was no treatment for her illness, Jacquelynn is making a recovery that can only be classified as miraculous. Especially given that, without treatment, it’s likely she would already be essentially lost to me. Now, I can confidently project that 2018 will see her completely returned to herself, to me, and to the world.

Mom, much though I miss her and still weep at the thought of our loss, is truly home and free from her suffering.

So, while I’m not going to miss 2017, neither will I lament what it brought us. You’ve probably heard me say (and I believe this 1000%) that life happens FOR us, rather than TO us, and I look at last year in that same light. Nothing happened that wasn’t necessary to get us where we need to go, and we are, without a shred of doubt, on the right path.


I bid you WELCOME, 2018. I greet you with tremendous expectations and open my arms to whatever blessings you may bestow.


Exercising The Old Noodle

So, this has been a very interesting couple of days.

I’ve been exploring a few options to trim expenses around the house, while also desperately needing to upgrade the snails-pace of our nearly 15-year-old internet service. These two desires sort of dovetailed into some research with a local provider who offers both. Actually, it’s the same carrier we’ve been patronizing for our ‘net all this time, but with the new fiber-optic lines just laid in our neighborhood last summer, their services have expanded greatly, and with the bundling options, I’ve hammered out a plan which should provide benefits on both fronts: faster service and about $20-ish less outlay per month.

Not wanting to just make the executive decision without involving her, I enlisted Jacquelynn’s input.

It was with a little trepidation that I did so. I truly wanted her opinion, and I hoped to stretch her self-expression muscles a bit at the same time. The results just knocked my proverbial socks off. Her response was so ready, so fluid, that it would almost have been possible to forget her illness. I’m honestly tearing up again right now reliving it.

Her speech was sharper. Her focus was more intense. Yes, there were stumbles. She paused to find the right word a few times and even wandered off track once or twice. But for the first time in a very long time, I could see the woman who used to negotiate multi-million-dollar supplier contracts while wearing costume eyeglasses as a body-language deception, a classic trick to help ensure your opponent would underestimate you.   She made shrewd points, suggested different research parameters, and insisted on polling friends and neighbors on their experiences with the companies we’re considering. Examples from her past experiences dealing with utility companies sprung forth with rhythm as the conversation got flowing.

Today, we’ve revisited the subject, of course. I haven’t yet illuminated on her the great growth evident in the conversation because I don’t want to get her focused on the thought just yet. I will, of course; I’ve promised to always point out the progress and improvement when I see it, so as to boost her confidence even more. She has, however, begun talking today about working again when she’s fully recovered. It’s become quite the focus for her today, actually, and I believe that to be a very, very good thing. She’s always been a goal-oriented person, and if she’s now able to set and focus on goals, I say that can only signal a still-further-healed brain.


Just a couple of days ago, I was looking at a photo of her I took from around the time of our wedding last April. It is miraculous to me to see her in that photo and in the flesh today.   She’s smiling in the photo, modeling her dress, and it is obvious at only a glance that she’s very ill; there’s an emptiness to her look, as if she’s really not there at all. I see that and I recall how very frightened I was for her. Today, however, the lights are truly on and there is clearly someone home and hard at work. She looks sharp, and is obviously thinking at all times.   She’s working her heart out, and I see more and more lights coming on in the mansion that is her mind every day, and nothing could thrill me more.







Joy On The Holidays

The Christmas holiday is behind us now, and overall it was a terrific time.

As evidenced by every word written in this blog the entire time, this has been quite the momentous year for us. From the depths of terror and fear of what the future will bring to a renewed capacity for joy in the understanding that a “mortal” diagnosis is, in truth, no such thing.

There has been pain. There has been and will continue for the remainder of our lives be sacrifice and dedication to a strict and straight path for total health. Tears have flowed in anger, in fear, in love, in relief, and in joy. Great things have been forgotten and recovered.

Rings and vows have been exchanged as two people who believe they were intended for one another from the dawn of time were joined in matrimony.

The photo above is of the single gift exchanged between us this holiday.   My words to her from the cars I wrote to accompany it follow:

“Today belongs to “Us”, and tomorrow is ours as well. It is that promise that this gift represents:

            These two rings symbolize our wedding bands; forever joined over your heart and never straying from one another.

 I hope you wear it with pride and feel my love filling you as long as it rests upon your breast.”

 The week preceding Christmas, I saw a doctor myself for some (hopefully) minor health concerns. The fears unearthed by my (now scheduled) cancer screening bubbled up into an overly-emotional response to something on Christmas Eve, which led to tears and her thinking she had done something to make me angry at her. It wasn’t until I opened up to her about those fears (there are cancers in my family history) that I even realized for myself how afraid I was, and that I had let it boil over and affect her.   She forgives readily and quickly, though. Further proof of how blessed I am with her as my wife.

And she continues to improve! Things I can point to this week are subtle, but significant in my eyes, as they seem to indicate more “lights coming on” in the great house of her brain. A greater awareness of her body and its functions is making itself apparent; she’s more aware of when her clothes need laundering, for example. She’s reminding me of when it’s time for her meds only moments before the alarms I’ve set on my phone chime the need. She even remembers her hormone patch first, which is only replaced every four days.

Surprising me greatly, she has for the very first time since this all began, asked me if she can get her shower. Normally, she’ll cringe from my statement that it’s time for the shower, as she greatly dreads that momentary chill between turning off the warm water and getting dry. But not anymore. Yes, she still gets chilled, but getting and feeling clean has taken back its priority. That is significant, at least in my eyes.

So, this Christmas was a joyous one, even with a few tears thrown in.   Jacquelynn still makes certain, every single day, to stop and thank me for all she says I have done and continue to do for her. Of course, I’m truly just trying to be what she needs me to be, and to enable her to do the work of healing. But that’s not how she sees it. Again, the fact that she’s now able to remember, each and every day, that she has set herself this task, cannot be insignificant.

We hope that everyone who reads this is having a spectacular Holiday season, regardless of how or if you celebrate it at all. We send you joy, love, and deepest gratitude for reading and sharing this important message.

…Two Steps Forward

To begin with, thank you all SO much for the reads and shares. This has been a good week of growth for the blog, and I’m grateful to everyone who reads and shares. Every reader is another chance that someone afflicted with Alzheimer’s or other dementias will look beyond their traditional options for care, and, just maybe, find themselves recovering from a disease their doctor told them was untreatable and terminal. I also want to apologize for the long-ish wait between posts, but we have made up some significant ground this week.

We have even, I daresay, advanced just a bit along the course toward true health.

As usual, Jacquelynn is her own harshest judge, and she can struggle with accepting the minor improvements as I lay them out for her. Often, she smiles and embraces them, but she can also reject the idea of them as she struggles to make a verbal point or when I (as just happened) struggle to follow her point.

Oftentimes, she changes subjects so quickly that I fail to keep up, and my struggles to follow can anger her. Every time she struggles like that, it feels to her as if she’s going backward rather than forward, and nothing is more important than her believing in her progress.   So I work extra hard to ensure that she never loses sight of the gains she’s making.

Jacquelynn truly is improving in great measures when it comes to being left alone. Yesterday was the second time in two months that I’ve left her alone for several hours to go to the movies. While she was very happy when I came home, I get zero indication that she struggled excessively with my absence. Apparently, she napped much of the time. Mind you, she’s still terrible at hiding her angst, so I’m certain I’d know if she had struggled significantly.

A brief overview of our week:

Following our recent setback (read my last post for details), Jacquelynn has had an elevated difficulty swallowing her pills. Basic capsules remained pretty straightforward, but tablets or anything were giving her a great deal of trouble. Honestly, she would even occasionally get lost mid-process, stopping with a pill in her mouth to ask what she should do next.

She had even developed a new physical manifestation: while swallowing each pill, she makes a very distinct gesture with her right hand. My theory is that, as a very right-handed person with a right arm she cannot trust (due to the unpredictable “twitch”), she is forced to drink with her left and the right simply has to be involved on some level.

But we seem to have quickly moved past those issues. She has had absolutely no difficulty with her pills these last couple of days. Yes, even the odd gesturing is greatly reduced (though not gone altogether).   The pills she had struggled most with, a tiny thyroid caplet and an aspirin-sized tablet, which I’ve taken to splitting into two pieces for her, have gone down with zero complications for two days in a row.

Jacquelynn has also had, since last February, a strange tendency to tilt her head to the left. When I’m combing/drying her hair, I constantly have to gently correct the angle simply so that I can work on her left side. It’s also very pronounced when I help her with her prescription PED nasal spray. She holds her head quite straight as we do the right nostril, but when we move to the left, she tilts her head about 25-30 degrees to the left. It’s not a subtle tilt. The few times I’ve remarked on it, she has told me that it’s me who is tilting, and she’s compensating to see me straight, which honestly caused me a little alarm.

This Thursday, quite suddenly, that behavior stopped completely. I first noticed it during her morning dose (it’s administered thrice daily) of nasal spray. Not remarking on it for fear of causing her to unconsciously and immediately revert, I just noted it and moved on. An hour or so later, I was doing her hair after her shower and noticed precisely the same thing happening: there was, again, no unconscious tilt to her head at all. If the pressure of the comb pulled in that direction, she resisted lightly and kept her head erect.

After the post-lunch nasal spray produced the same result, I mentioned it to her. As I said earlier, I’d not made a big deal out of it, so she didn’t see it as very significant, but it also didn’t return, and hasn’t yet two days later. But I see this as very exciting, and possibly (I’m waiting to discuss it with Dr. Ross at our next appointment) one of the more significant developments yet.

With the increasing cold, we’ve taken to driving across the street and power walking a few laps through Meijer. An upside to this is more interaction for Jacquelynn. There are several women working there with whom she has developed friendships, and talking with anyone other than me is very good for her. She’s improving in her conversational skills, and I marked what I saw as rather a significant breakthrough two days ago: while discussing one of her previous jobs, she mentioned the company by name with no pause and just powered right through making her point. This is literally a first. Ever since her decline began to accelerate late last winter, she’s had increasing difficulty with nouns; names, titles, stores, and companies elude her like mercury, slipping away time after time, always just that far out of her grasp. This first, very casual, return to easy noun usage is by no means the new norm, but it is just as clearly (in my eyes, anyway) a legitimate step in the right direction.

As ever, there are bumps in the road. Sleep has gotten difficult for both of us this week, and an under-rested Jacquelynn is a Jacquelynn who will have speech and comprehension problems throughout the day. I even administered a little sleep aid in the form of a half-dose of Nyquil once.   Bonus is she was out within 15 minutes, but I dislike leaning on such things (plus the sugars in it are NOT on her diet). Even now, at 10:30 a.m., she’s dozing in her chair. If I were to allow myself to do so, I’ve no doubt that I’d be doing much the same.


Overall, a terrific week.



…Two Steps Back

When we got Jacquelynn started on the ReCoDe protocols, Dr. Ross made it abundantly clear to us that this was a lifestyle change, not a temporary treatment. The diet is permanent and inflexible; organic ONLY, no added sugars, and no chemical additives, and of course ZERO artificial GMO “foodstuffs” (that very term should frighten you; when did food become foodstuffs?).

The supplements she’s on are also key and must stay at consistent elevated levels in the body. This weekend drove home how vital this element is.

I’ve mentioned here before that, with the goal of alleviating the burden of taking SO many pills, I serve Jacquelynn two smoothies each day, each with eight capsules broken into it. Well, I was feeling a bit under the weather for a couple of days, and for two days I failed to make her evening smoothies, which obviously cost her a total of sixteen pills over the course of those two days.

Difficulties began surfacing for Jacquelynn after the first missed (Friday evening) smoothie. She felt slow and complained of feeling as if she were perhaps ill. We even discussed the possibility of going to the emergency room. But she had no pain and no fever. I checked her urine for the tell-tale cloudiness of an infection, and it was thankfully clear. Her symptoms worsened, though. From reduced physical coordination evident in simple things like brushing her teeth and climbing the stairs to levels of difficulty taking her pills reminiscent of two months back. She evidenced a more childlike problem with the mechanics of swallowing the pills, even getting confused between putting the pill in her mouth and forgetting what she was supposed to do next. It wasn’t until late Saturday evening, as things got worse and I had missed that evening’s smoothie as well, that I began to put two and two together. I realized what had happened too late to do anything about it then, and apologized to her as earnestly as possible. I feel as though I’ve failed her in every way. I have one responsibility, and that is her care, and I’ve let her down. It honestly feels, in a few ways, as if missing those pills set her back a month or more. We now have significant ground to make up, but as we’re fully back on track, she’s recovering those lost faculties quickly.

It is with deep gratitude that I embrace the lesson evident here, and within that lesson, I have taken further steps to ensure that none of her meds are ever missed again, and have further vowed greater care and vigilance in her recovery. Today we begin a modified exercise routine designed to get her heart rate up, which (according to Dr. Ross and tons of anecdotal evidence) offers commensurate rewards in feelings of sharpness and elevated mood.

I spent much of Saturday night and Sunday morning wallowing in self-rapprochement and hatred. Now, I know full well that those emotions serve precisely no one, and I swore them off with my renewed vows of vigilance. I apologized one last time and will not look back again save in ways that are truly constructive and helpful. We are back on track and will make up lost gains as quickly as we may.

Spreading Holiday Joy (join us, won’t you?)

I hope all of you are experiencing the greatest joys this season can have to offer. My personal history with Christmastime is spotty (at the least), but the very woman who inspires and whose recovery fuels this blog single-handedly returned the love and joy of the Holidays to my heart, and it is in that spirit that I work to bring Christmas joy into this home and to share it with each and every soul I encounter.

Jacquelynn and I have made a significant turn this week. While there are always difficulties and tears, her curiosity and thirst for improvement have reached a point where she is eager to begin retraining her brain. To that end, we went out this morning and purchased several sets of beginner math and phonics flashcards. Considering she truly is such a polymath, I was concerned about trying something so basic as she may consider it insulting, I was also a bit worried that if she did have difficulty with them, it would hurt her even more.

This, by the way, is what my father referred to as “borrowing trouble”, and I should damn well know better.

So, we went to our local United Art And Education store (a favorite place of mine) and purchased 4 decks; Addition, Subtraction, Phonics, and Words. I think we’ll begin with words, as nouns seem to be her biggest hang up in expressing herself.   Additionally, this is a focus of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) test everyone wants to put her through every time we visit a doctor. This may empower her to face those tests with confidence rather than the immense pressure that all but paralyzes her each time.

During the conversations that led to this shopping trip, I reviewed with her the most recent improvements I’ve noticed in her recovery.   These so excited her that she instantly began reaching and asking for more ways to exercise and hone her mind.   Individually, many of the recent changes for the better in her everyday behavior could be seen as insignificant, but taken collectively, they would seem to indicate an increase in cognitive capacity. However small, these things must be highlighted and pointed out, and they must also be celebrated.   This helps to give life and reality to the feeling of improvement, and to buoy her spirits when she occasionally feels that she’s going backward rather than forward.

For instance, every time we prepare her for her shower, I take her jewelry (wedding rings and Fitbit bracelet) off. Afterward, when I take her back to the room to put them back on, she has always offered me her right hand. Of course, the rings go on the left, but as she’s right-handed, it’s easy to see why she unconsciously leads with it. Yesterday, however, and for the first time in almost a year of me managing her showers, she casually and unthinkingly offered me her left hand when I told her I was going to return her wedding rings to her.

Insignificant?   Maybe, but I don’t believe so.   She unconsciously offered the proper hand after all this time, and I choose to make note of it.

At the same time, I made note of her greatly improved sense of balance in both donning and removing her shoes. In the past several weeks, she’s progressed from needing to sit down and have her foot guided into the shoe (or to have me remove them for her) to balancing herself against the chair while stepping into the shoe and removing them just the way you and I do; by stepping against the heel with the opposite foot and stepping out of the shoe. Again, an obvious and very notable improvement.

Finally, and you’ll forgive me here; I wasn’t raised to discuss such things publicly. It feels wrong, but I did promise to be open and honest about her progress, and I do believe this is important.

Jacquelynn has begun expressing real interest in physical relations again. Not that we’ve never discussed it before, but for the first time since her diagnosis early last year she is giving the idea actual thought, rather than responding to stimuli.

We had a long talk about it, and I made it clear that I was never going to ask it of her, but that she should never hesitate to raise the subject.   Everyone wants to feel desired, and I made it as clear as I possibly could that she is what I want, and I’m not going to go looking elsewhere for anything. I’ll be here when she needs/wants me to be. For reasons she couldn’t express, this brought her to smiling tears and a great relief I had no idea she needed. She didn’t suspect otherwise, according to her, but hearing it had a profound effect on her.

I realize that some/all of this is resultant of her hormones returning to a normal level via her meds, but this is key to full and proper cognitive function, so I’m calling it a full-fledged win.

Jacquelynn is also having a better time with her pills. Some of them (tablets, mostly) still give her a bit of pause, but overall it’s much easier for her today than just a few days ago.

I want to take a moment to thank you all for following this blog both via WordPress and through facebook.com/SimplyUplift/. Many of you have shared and helped to disseminate this page so as to help get the important message that Alzheimer’s isn’t a death sentence. SO many people are diagnosed each and every day whose doctors (like Jacquelynn’s former PCP) won’t, for whatever reason, expose them to the “alternative” (i.e. only) treatment protocols. If not for a truly charitable stranger who sent me the name of Dr. Bredesen in hopes it would be of help, I don’t know where we’d be today. I do know that without the help we’ve received, it’s very possible that Jacquelynn wouldn’t even know me by next Spring. Maybe sooner. I was losing her very quickly, but now I have her back and our future is open-ended and without limit.

Spread this blog, and spread the word. Do for someone else what he did for us.


Save a life.


Thank you.

Sunshine On My Shoulders


Yes, that’s honestly the best word to sum up the day. I do have a couple of other relevant adjectives, though.

More. Yeah, that’s a good one.

Radiant. I used that one earlier, and suddenly she was even more so.

So, yeah, Jacquelynn had a terrific day. It started with good energy and just got better as it went.   For starters, all of her pills went down exactly the way you’d want; with no difficulty at all. One took an extra swallow, but otherwise perfect.   Two fun, energetic walks helped, too.   I think the highlight, though, was Joyce’s visit.

I’ve mentioned our neighbor before. Joyce has been Jacquelynn’s best friend for some years now. Having lost her husband to a long battle with cancer recently, Joyce has been dealing with the loss and they haven’t spent much time together for quite a while. So, when I finished repairing the chimes we gave her a couple of months back (she dropped and tangled them pretty badly), I invited Joyce over to show off our Christmas decorations and (covertly) so the two of them could spend a little time catching up.

Joyce spent most of that time gushing to Jacquelynn over how much she’s improved since they last visited. She went down the same list I do, citing so many areas where Jacquelynn is clearly so much better than before. From her thicker and more lustrous hair to the brightness of her smile and the fact that there is, very simply, just so much MORE Jacquelynn behind her eyes than had been the case for so long.

It’s 100% true, by the way. Maybe today, especially, but it’s been increasing gradually for some time, and she was truly radiant today, and Joyce saw it.

When Joyce left after half an hour or so, Jacquelynn was even bouncier and happier than she was when she got out of bed. We immediately went for a walk before I made lunch, and she asked me if it was time for her pills yet. Yes, she asked for her pills.

It was only one day, I know, and I promise I’m nowhere near figuring we’re “there” yet. But it was an outstanding day, and I’ll bloody well take every one of those I can get.


And so will she.