Now Where Was I…?

Where did this journey begin?

There was no single trigger that launched my early onset Alzheimers and what they call MCI (mild cognitive impairment) problems.  Things happened gradually, in a random order that even puzzled my doctors,  not to mention my husband and me.

My life was busy, healthy and happy. I will begin in the year 2000. 

Bob, Jillian and I moved from New Jersey to Austin; Texas to Overland Park, KS in early 2000.  We wanted to be closer to our other daughter Tracy, her children, Bob’s mother Fran.  I’m originally a Jersey girl so, Texas was a total culture shock and then Kansas as well. I enjoyed living in both locations. 

The year 2002 I had my first of two back surgeries.  I inherited her bones; plus, the house I grew up in was built on top of a radium dump site {the Glen Ridge, Montclair, and West Orange super fund site).  I will get more into that later.

In 2006, returning from a trip to Amalfi, Italy, I became horribly nauseous. I initially thought it was a roller coaster ride up and down hills and scary curves. IT WAS DIABETES. My diet had to change.  My whole way of living had to change. I was diagnosed with Type 2 initially, then to find out years later it was Type 1 and I had to start wearing an insulin pump and constant glucose monitor. 

I worked as a Sr. Technical Recruiter for a Fortune 100 Engineering company for many years, I worked about 60 hours a week and traveled country-wide several days a week. Traveling was hard for me due to my bad back and diabetes. I loved my job, so I was determined to make it work. I was doing well according to my reviews, goals and surveys.

What made my back worse wasbeing hit by a car going 60 mph while I was at a complete stop in traffic on a recruiting trip. My neck and back took a big hit. Having a bad back and suffering from migraines did not mix well with them. After lots of physic al therapy, I still couldn’t sit or stand for long periods of time without having pain in my back and neck which then raised my blood sugar levels! A vicious circle. Towards the end of my employment with this Engineering firm, in 2011, I started having migraine headaches, more back issues, strange yawning and laughing attacks.  To my surprise, I lost my job! They claimed I wasn’t worthy to work there anymore.

My beautiful Mother passed away on July 4th, 2008.  I didn’t handle this well.  I still grieve her.  I started going to therapy.  In May of 2010 my father announced he had cancer of the colon and liver.  I never was close with him; in fact, it was a horrible relationship; he abused my mother and me for years.  In June, 2010 my father passed away.  Without getting into detail, it was a stressful time for me.  I ask myself today, did this horrible time in my life cause PTSD and add to some of my EOA and MCI cognitive problems?  It definitely caused me to have an outbreak of Shingles and my blood sugar levels were off the charts high!!!  What more could have happened? 

In 2010, while walking into a local grocery store, my husband looked at me and stopped suddenly.  I looked like the Joker of Batman fame. In minutes we were at the emergency room of a hospital.  IT WAS A TRANSIENT ESCHEMIC ATTACK; a TIA.  The hospital visit was a real trip!!!  I couldn’t really talk, the once side of my face was completely drooped and numb; so of course the doctors wanted to ask me to repeat tongue twisters for an hour!  It was frustrating and hard as hell to figure out what was going on!  I thought I had a stroke!!!  Some of the ER drs. said I did have a stroke and others said it was a TIA.  So, the unanswered question…TIA or stroke???

In mid-2011, I was working on a consulting job for a global telecom corporation when my left eye started twitching. An eye twitch isn’t fun.  To make a long story short, I had to have my mastoid bone removed, a mastoidectomy on the left side of my head.  There was fluid between the ear and brain; they had to remove the bone so it wouldn’t happen again.  I was still experiencing the hemiplegic migraines and tiredness.  I ask myself if this caused some of my cognitive problems.  BTW, my right eye now twitches on occasion.  My contract ended with this client and I was recruited to open a new start-up in town; a huge undertaking and honor for me.

So, I worked and accomplished great things for this new behavioral health software company; creating their workforce models and plans, HR plans and programs; and execution of these plans.  My hemiplegic migraines were getting worse and I was starting to lose consciousness during the seizures.  A member of the executive staff actually joked about my face during a seizure.  I was forgetting names, my short-term memory was horrible and aphasia was quite apparent at this time 2011. 

From 2010 until 2014 I worked, yet It was a struggle.  It was so hard to make it through each.  I was embarrassed every time I turned the corner.  I’m sure those with MCI, Dementia, EOA, or other disabilities who still work know how I felt, can identify with others judging you based on a disability. 

I never wanted to leave the workforce!  I loved my career choice, loved everything about it.  I don’t enjoy having Early Onset Alzheimer’s & MCI; but like anything else handed to me, I will make the best of it and take it one day at a time.

I plan to blog once a week. I will write about my cosmic days, where I surprise myself with a sharp memory and problem solving skills, and even out smart my husband; and my subsonic days where I grind through everything that’s thrown to me.  I want people to reach out to me so we can have positive conversations.

Although I wish that I knew now what I knew then, its much better than knowing nothing.

Until next week…    

2 thoughts on “Now Where Was I…?

  1. Love the personal and raw insight!! Look forward to the next edition!

    Liked by 1 person

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