What Alzheimer’s Cannot Do – Part 5

Alzheimer’s cannot guarantee that I will be diagnosed with the disease.Alz awareness

Although the gene often travels through the mother’s line, Alzheimer’s cannot guarantee that I or either of my siblings will suffer from it. Researchers are working all the time to find a cure and to find out the source of the disease.

I intend to work hard to make sure that Alzheimer’s does not happen to me.

What are some of the ways I try to protect myself from the disease? What clues have I discovered from my research and interviews with scientists and experts?

  • Watch out for Stress

The busyness of life, the worries of our society’s dangers, the struggles of our culture – these can all lead to undo stress.

I can feel when stress begins to overwhelm me. That’s when I take a walk, say “No” to any extra activities and find a quiet place to meditate, journal or color.

  • Eat Organic

As much as possible and as my budget allows, I try to eat organic foods. Fast food, junk food, preservatives, additives – I try to stay away from these. I shop at Sprout’s and Trader Joe’s, at the Health Department in Hy-Vee and sometimes at Aldi’s. As much as possible, I try to eat foods that are as close to God’s creation as possible.

My mantra is: If God made it, okay. Eat it with joy. If man made it, don’t waste your money on it.

  • Take Supplements

Turmeric and Rosemary are two of the supplements I use every day. These are both good for the brain. A nutritional doctor once said, “What is good for the heart is good for the brain.”

Another healthy food source is folic acid, so quinoa is my grain of choice. It is high in folic acid and healthy proteins and it is NOT modified or coated with chemicals. I throw quinoa in my oatmeal, my soups and my stir fries. Sometimes, I also scramble it in my eggs.

  • Delete Sugar

Some researchers are now calling Alzheimer’s, “Type 3 Diabetes.” The American diet is filled with sugar, and we are so addicted, we don’t even realize how damaging it can be. From high fructose corn syrup to the additives in our favorite lattes to those easy drive-through treats – sugar is our staple.

But even a two-week fast from sugar can clear the brain, create a glow to the skin and increase energy.

Still not convinced? Consider how our flu and cold season corresponds with sugar season. From Halloween through Easter, we are encouraged to buy candy, all the sweets that go along with the holidays, chocolate for our sweethearts and bags of candy Easter eggs.

We are encouraged to get flu shots and buy cough syrup that is often laced with corn syrup, yet from October – March, our immune systems take a major hit. Then we spread the germs to each other, coat them with more sugar and somebody makes a fortune off our illnesses.

That brings me to the next point.

  • Beware of Massive, General Suggestions for Health

As research for the Reverend G books, I started noticing how often the 50+ generation is urged to get flu shots, Shingles shots and pneumonia vaccines. Yet the numbers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s continues to rise – at last count, 5.4 million Americans.

Mercury and Aluminum are two of the metals that can contribute to Alzheimer’s and dementia. Many of our vaccinations are made with a base of mercury. Some of us wear metal fillings in our teeth, laced with mercury. And some of the so-called protein drinks given to the elderly are made with a base of aluminum. So are most of our deodorants.

So rather than bare my arm for all these vaccinations and use some of the products mass-produced as healthy – I increase my intake of garlic, onion and the rest of the root vegetables.

During the “sugar” season, I make my own chicken stock and my own vegetable soups, avoid extra sugars and add more garlic to my diet. I even take a garlic and parsley supplement. Ashwagandha is another supplement that improves the immune system so I throw it into my smoothies and soups.

As much as I love dark chocolate, I limit myself to one piece / week. Chocolate can block the amino acids we need. Without amino acids, we are more susceptible to cold sores and the virus that leads to Shingles. So I also take the supplement Lysine, which builds amino acids and prevents cold sores.

These are some of my health practices which I hope will prevent Alzheimer’s from invading my genes. And since I started these practices, I rarely have a cold and the flu hasn’t plagued me for at least five years.

Alzheimer’s cannot guarantee that I will be its victim, and I’ll do everything possible to fight against it.

©2015 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh

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Hope in Autumn Blooms

mumsIt is the season of mums – that glorious coloring of perennial happiness that I plant and nurture each year. These are the plants I prune in the spring when everything else yearns to bloom. Because I know that when late September and early October creep onto my calendar, these will be the plants that greet me with tiny buds and then full blooms.

Rust, purple, red, yellow – I love to fill my garden with these spots of color. Yet even within the enjoyment, I feel a chill of remembrance. Mums were the plants that loving friends brought to me when my babies died – Ryan in 1981 and Rachel in 1983.

Such promise those pregnancies brought. After years of infertility, sharing the joys of friends and family who so easily bore children while I waited with empty arms. It was finally my turn.

Waiting, hoping, praying for the lives of my little ones. Yet both of them – each life ending at 12 weeks.

How does a mother reconcile the image of her own womb becoming a coffin? She cannot. I could not.

Numb, then raw, then screaming out my grief to the God who watched my babies die and did nothing to save them. Was he not supposed to be a Savior?

Why? No answer. It is in the silence of our griefs that faith best grows. Faith – the evidence of things not seen. The babies never held yet somehow carried to heaven where I believed with certainty they were safe and loved.

Friends who provided no answers brought mums to plant, to nurture, to prune back and wait until autumn brought them to life. The hope of this mother that another autumn might bring another child – a living babe I could hold and kiss and sing to.

Again with divine silence came only the belief that somehow God knew a time and way to bring life to my womb just as mums somehow know when it is their time to bloom.

My Caleb – third born yet my only living child – delivered in 1985. Did ever the screams of a newborn sound so sweet?

Still, each year in late September and early October, I seek out another mum plant and gingerly plant it. Some unresolved grief so deep I can no longer weep cries out for a tangible reminder of the babes that were taken. Miscarried babies receive no funeral, no cemetery plot where mothers go to grieve. So I honor my children by planting mums as my personal cemetery token.

I wait for spring to cut them back, then marvel at the first blooms of autumn. And in those orbs of color, I see hope that somewhere in heaven wait two children who want to meet me, throw their arms around me and whisper love words we have longed to share all these years.

©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo

Thanks to Mom

Dear Mom,

This week, a thank you card will be delivered to you. The card is from me, your daughter – Rebecca. You may wonder why I sent you a thank you card.

October is my birthday month, and it’s okay, Mom, that you didn’t remember. Sometimes I, too, can hardly believe another year has gone by.

On my birthday, I want you to know how much I appreciate you. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I understood how much of ourselves we pour into our children. And I’m not just talking about the meals, the activities and making chicken soup when we’re sick.

I’m talking about the soul-giving that mothers extend to their children – that you extended to me.

Everyone knows about the labor and contractions you endured during my birth, but I also know you labored with soul contractions throughout my growing up years.

I’m talking about when you were bone tired from working your shift at the hospital, then you came home to make supper, finished a load of laundry and still made it to my softball game on time. Not once did you complain. In fact, when I looked into the crowd, you were the one cheering loudest for me.Mom

You defended me when other kids or even adults said unkind things to me. You taught me how to make the perfect zwieback with just the right dimple on top so that melted butter pooled inside that crevasse. And you showed me how to sew a perfect hem so that no one except the two of us could see the stitches.

I thank you, Mom, for the late nights when I know you were on your knees for me. You poured out your soul to Almighty God and asked him to keep me safe, but at the same time you were willing to let me go and let God do his work in my life.

You seemed proud when I left home to serve as a missionary, and you only cried when I returned – wiser and grateful for the experience. I know you prayed for me every day and asked God to send some of his big guy angels to protect your daughter so far from home.

Years later, you came to the hospital when I lost my baby – your first grandchild. Even now, I remember coming out of that anesthesia-induced haze. It was your hand that gripped mine – your tears that mingled with mine.

Best of all, Mom, you taught me to cherish words. You drove me to the library every week so I could check out books to read when I finished my chores. Then you provided the perfect example as you sat under the floor lamp and read your own stack of library books.

You wanted to be a writer, and I’m sorry that didn’t happen for you. Instead, you nourished my dream to become a writer. I’m an author now, Mom, with a book about Alzheimer’s. The irony is that many of the scenes in that book came from our moments together.

These days, I grip your hand and try not to cry when you repeat the same questions over and over.

So on my birthday week, I want to thank you, Mom, for all you’ve done for me. You brought me into the world and gave me the freedom to discover my purpose in that world. You encouraged me to use my gifts and showed me it was okay to be a radical, independent woman. You labored and prayed and then feasted on my accomplishments.

I know I have made you proud and although you may not remember the name inscribed on this card or the daughter who sent it, I just want to say thank you.

I love you Mom – forever.

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1

 

 

Why Mums?

The doctor’s eyes filled with empathy tears as he handed me the Kleenex box. “You know,” he said, “no one – not even the medical community – knows how to explain miscarriage. No one truly understands what happens to the woman or how she feels.

“For whatever reason, God chooses to take these babies early.”

After my second baby died, they decided to run tests. The results also provided no answers, no reasons why those little babes slithered out of my womb.

Each of them lived only 60 days. 12 weeks – enough time for me to fall in love with them and desperately long to hold them.

Ryan was born and died on November 3, 1981. He was the promised child, after six years of infertility – the baby who would finally fill the nursery with his whimpers and his tiny smile. I have wondered many times what kind of man he would be now, at the age of 32.

Only God knows, and God chooses to keep that secret from me – for now.

My daughter, Rachel, was born and died on January 6, 1983. She was the child who was expected to survive and grow to someday be my friend. She was the daughter of tea parties and coloring outside the lines and making chocolate chip cookies and shopping for just the right shoes. I wanted to help her fasten her wedding gown.

Someday, I will see her in a heavenly gown – both of us in our robes of white.

Every year in October, I celebrate the brief lives of my first two babies. I remember them this month because the chrysanthemums bloom.

Someone gave me a beautiful mum when Ryan died – red mums with orange centers and yellow tips. Someone else gave me a mum when Rachel died – deep, dark purple.

Both of those plants died, just like my children. Living and vibrant one moment. Cold and gone the next.

So every year, I find a beautiful mum and plant it in my yard. In the spring, when the first green leaves appear, I cut it back to protect it during the summer heat and encourage more growth. Then in October, it begins to bloom.mums

As I water my mums, I think about my children and thank God they are safe in heaven. I will never have to worry about their health or wonder if they are okay. I picture them happy and free – waiting for me to get there so we can finally meet in person.

The season of the mums helps me to find hope within these unraveling memories. It reminds me that no matter what happens to our children, mother love continues.

Even when our children leave us – through death or distance – our hearts are forever connected.

And somehow, whether it’s a journal entry, a faded sonogram photo or a beautiful mum – we keep the memories of our children alive.

We honor them and bow to the omniscience of Almighty God who knows best. He keeps the timelines for each of us and of course – he is the one who offers final hope.

So on this first day of October, I celebrate you, Ryan and Rachel. Your momma misses you, but I know you’re okay.

Someday we’ll meet and wow – won’t that be fine!

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1