Sunday, September 14, 2014
Dead brain cells...
One of my OARS Group members posted about a blog she had come across that helped her with her feelings of guilt over her husband’s alcoholism. I followed the link and found this terrific blog post (written by “Charlie”) that I felt I needed to share with all my readers.
You might want to check it out and read some of Charlie’s other posts as well. I will certainly be following him.
We had an update on Riley’s MRI results that were ordered by the neurologist. It was explained to us that Riley has the physical body of an 85 year old man even though he is only 75 years old. He is diagnosed with “moderate brain atrophy”. But, don’t let the “moderate” fool you. As we age our brains do atrophy – how much depends on many factors. Let’s say that Riley had never used any alcohol, then normal atrophy would probably be minimal, but Riley has an alcohol abused brain with moderate atrophy for an 85 year old man. And… it is continuing to atrophy. This means he “officially,” medically, has been diagnosed with dementia and it will become worse as he continues to travel in this world. There is something reassuring that the debate on his mental health (does he or doesn’t he have dementia) will no longer be an issue.
In my research I found that it really doesn’t take much alcohol (2 to 4 drinks a day) to increase the percentage of atrophy in our brains as we age. I remember back in the day, that we used to joke about “killing some brain cells” as we open another bottle of wine. I don’t think any of us realized then what harm we were actually doing to our future health. We were young and probably would not have changed even if we knew.
There are things that we can do throughout the years to help our brain be healthier. If we exercise our thought processes it’s like exercising our bodies. Things like crossword or word puzzles and taking those quizzes, reading and even those argumentative debates can help keep your mind sharp. Of course, it also helps if you have a balanced diet and limit your intake of unhealthy substances like alcohol.
We finally have a blissfully appointment free week – with the exception of a dentist appointment for me. I thought this was the week we would get all the “official” results from all the tests and a decision on the treatment plan for Riley’s cancer. But, some things got changed around and now the week of the 22nd will be the week for all that. I want to enjoy and take advantage of this week by taking things slow and easy. Hopefully I won’t have to do a lot of driving or running errands. I can get some housekeeping things done and manage to get some cooking done. Oh, yeah, and I’m hoping for a little rest.
The one thing I will be continuing with is my pursuit of finding alcoholics who are willing to be filmed for the upcoming documentary. Actually, it won’t be premiered until January 2016, but we are in the process of gathering stories now. If you are an actively drinking alcoholic, I’d love to hear your story of how you have come to be in the position you are in. How you survive each day? If you have a job, how do you “hold it together” and get through the day without a negative incident? If you have suffered consequences from your drinking, what were they and how did you resolve the consequences? Imagine the benefit that can be gained for the audience and possibly for you by bringing the issues of being a practicing alcoholic into the light. Maybe you can show that it is possible to be a heavy-drinker and still maintain a sound, productive life. E-mail me if you are thinking about participating and we can connect you with the producers who can answer all your questions.
The main thing I’m not able to do is the biggest project on my table and I’m still feeling a bit of resentment over having to postpone my seminars sessions. But I’ll work through it by getting some of the prep stuff done. I have centerpieces to make, door prizes to gather, welcome bags to stuff, and PowerPoint presentations to compose. By the time I’m able to go forward with the seminars, all the little time-consuming things will already be done and have a choice of topics all set to go.
When I re-start the seminars, I’m considering beginning in the Washington DC area sometime in December (if possible) and focus on the topic of surviving the holidays. I can’t think of any time of the year that is more stressful on the loved ones of alcoholics than the holiday season. Alcohol flows like the waterfalls at Yosemite. It’s as though people don’t know how to have a party or a dinner or even a kid’s party without rum laced eggnog or bourbon soaked cookies. I remember my mother once getting tipsy from the bourbon balls she made for my deployed Riley. It was certainly a very rare occasion.
Normally, Riley and I live a quiet, simple existence out here in the country. However, I’m told that things won’t be so quiet once Riley starts chemo/radiation. I’m not really sure what to expect. I know he will most likely be very sick and weak. But, that’s about all I’ve been told. I have already asked for hospice to come out and evaluate our prospective needs. But, really, I’m in a wait-and-see mode.
My plan is to keep you posted and possibly get Riley to agree to some more videos of him as he goes on this cancer journey.
at 9:48 AM