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Friday, October 18, 2013



Tuesday, October 15, 2013



Published October 13, 2013 | By Dr. Vasquez
I am the voice of Alzheimer’s and let me tell you this. My boundaries are Limitless. I can strike anyone at any time. I am not partial to race, creed or gender. I travel all over the world. I live in the minds of people in every city, town, village, state, country and continent in the entire world. If I could invade space, I would.
My goal, unless you stop me is to take over and rule as many minds as possible increasing the need for more nursing homes, home health aides and draining Medicare and Medicaid services. I hope to use up all of their resources unless you stop FIND A CURE and me!
I challenge you all of you researchers and doctors to find a cure and stop me from spreading.
Before It took her away: My Mom
Imagine a flame that engulfs and envelopes a building so fast that there is nothing left but burnt ash within seconds of the fire starting. Imagine a wild fire moving so rapidly an entire forest or national park is destroyed. Imagine a tornado that brings down an entire community leveling it the ground. Imagine one day looking in the mirror and the next having no idea who you are! Imagine your brain sharp, alert and right on target slowly withering away being eaten away by plague and your sense of who you are and where diminishing. Imagine one day saying goodbye to yourself even though you are still here.

Alzheimer’s knows no bounds. Alzheimer’s does not discriminate it just destroys. The realization that your mind is going, your senses diminishing and your ability to be whom you are taken away, is more than frightening. When this disease makes its first appearance some feel that they are just forgetful and need to create lists in order to remember and do simple tasks. Forgetting where you put your keys and remembering where they are a few minutes later is no big deal. Walking out of your house and not remembering where you are going and how you will get home, alarming. What do you do when you are no longer in control of who you are, what you can do and how you are going to live out your years? This disease has a serious mind of its own and it affects not only the person diagnosed with it but the family too. Many families are faced with making some hard and fast decisions about how to care for the person who has Alzheimer’s every day. Do you wait until they really need help to find another place for that person? Do you get some kind of help at home? Are you willing to make the sacrifice and take care of this person making sure he/she receives quality care that you have to monitor every day? Are you willing to change your lifestyle and realize that your freedom to do many things will be curtailed? Then years ago I made that decision to care for my mom and I have never looked back. How do you face saying no to the one person who made your life so right? How do you cast aside all that was done for you by this person and decide to leave it to others to care for her? This was the hardest decision I ever had to make. Teaching reading and writing as a staff developer was my passion and giving up required a great deal of thought. My sister worked for doctors and my brother for a business and both would not think of retiring or relocating to live near my mom. The decision was made in 2003 and I retired from the best job in the world: Teaching.
Realizing what it entailed to take care of my mom I became familiar with the health care system and dealt with homecare agencies. It took a long time to get the right aids in place and have the right agency behind me. It took even longer to get full Medicaid and it took every ounce of energy and all my strength and fortitude to make sure that no one took away what I worked so hard to get for my mom. Alzheimer’s took her life slowly and methodically. My family supported me to a point. My sister came every Thursday to spend time with my mom and bring some of the supplies that I needed. My brother came less often living quite a distance away yet calling her daily.
Alzheimer’s is deadly and no one knows who is next. Families need to realize that the caregiver is a person and needs time to regroup, reorganize and enjoy life. You get frustrated when others go away and you cannot. You get frustrated when others will not come for the holidays because they remember your mom the way she was even though she is still here. Despite the disease she knew who she was and who we were till the day she closed her eyes in front of me as if to say: No More!
Imagine being able to put out that flame before the forest is destroyed. Imagine being able to predict where and when a tornado will hit and saving lives before it’s too late. Imagine finding the cause of this deadly disease before it takes any more lives and find a cure. Imagine Life Without Alzheimer’s. Imagine every mind safe!
Fran Lewis
My parents: my mom before it was too late

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