Thursday, January 15, 2015

How to deal with a progressive disease

As I wrote my last post, I got to thinking how I could do so well with a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia.  Many people, including our dinner partner this evening, comment that I do not show signs of LBD.  Of course, they have no basis of my past capabilities to make that judgement.  But, it came to me tonight, that how a person does with a disease, is totally dependent on how they handle the diagnosis!

My neighbor across the hall is not doing well.  He had a degenerative muscle disease that has required him to be surgically catheterized.  He is not happy with the procedure and how it effects his quality of life.  So, his unhappiness translates into how he lives.  He is miserable because he is not capable of the things he once was.  And that mental battle keeps him upset, unable to sleep, and miserable!

I know people that have very destructive diseases, that look bright, happy, and for all perceptions, unaffected by the disease that is ravaging their bodies.  They look at life as a challenge and choose to find the positives i their life, regardless of their medical condition.

I choose to look at my life in the same way.  I used to have a near photographic memory.  I could remember the electronic, hydraulic, and mechanical, schematics of the MK 42 gun mount.  I could use that memory to trouble shoot this extremely complicated weapons system. Now, I cannot remember most things.   In case you did not read a previous post, I have actually woke my wife up in the middle of the night to ask her name!  True!!

So, I choose to enjoy life on the level I am at today.  Yes, I no longer drive.  Yes, I have lost much of my muscle mass.  Yes, my cognitive skills are waining, but, I still can serve God through a ministry He gave me.  Yes, I can still enjoy some of my old hobbies.  But, I also have great conversations with new friends.  Do I remember who they were 10 minutes after I met them?  No!  Who cares, they wear name tags here!!   I can still read.

So, I  credit my slow progression, even though it has progressed lately, to my positive attitude towards my disease.  And that applies to my wife also.  She does not let me divorce myself from the things of life.  I believe this will keep me mentally active longer than someone who gives in.  Yes, I have relaxed my fight.  I do not pretend to be normal anymore.  But, I am still engaged and as active as I can be.

So, if you had LBD, perk up!!  Look at the things that happen to you as a new challenge and something interesting to live through.  Not the end of you life as you knew it!  Because if you do look at you disease as the "End of your life as you knew it",  it will be!!

1 comment:

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