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The Art of Running in the Rain

"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift." -Prefontaine

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dementia

Alzheimer’s

This post has definitely been a hard one to write.  It’s a combination of loss for words and avoiding sadness.

I’ll start with my first experience with Alzheimer’s.  I don’t recall the exact age, but I was very young, and received the news that my nonno (Italian for grandfather) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

nonno and mom

Here are the things I remember about my nonno: he had a sense of humor, he loved to sing, he loved to hunt (I’ll forgive him for that one because he loved dogs), and he cared very dearly about providing for his family.  He taught me the Italian songs that I still know how to sing.  I was young when he passed away, 18; but I still have good memories of times spent together, laughing, singing, and of course (we’re Italian) eating.

My nonna is a strong woman, she also has a sense of humor which can erupt an entire room into laughter (I will never forget the time nonna, staring directly at a young man who was about to pass out from being so drunk, made a gregarious hand gesture and yells, “You have a bit too much of da juice?”).

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I remember it being hard times for her when my nonno wasn’t doing so well.  She was stressed, sad, confused, and so many emotions which it feels unfair for such a spirit to have to endure.  I know that the love my nonna and nonno had for one another helped them through such a difficult time.  I’m not a religious person, but I believe they will see each other again one day, without the burdens of life’s difficulties.  Until then, I’m happy I still have my nonna here with me.

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Now for the part that seems so unfair to be true.  Would you imagine that this disease would affect this family once again?  Well, it has.  Almost one year from today my dad received the diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s.

I’m going to start by telling you the positive things: he is active, strives to eat healthy, has a positive outlook, he doesn’t smoke, he drinks one glass of red wine each night, and it’s early.  Now that list is suppose to make us all feel better.  I guess the most important thing to me is that my dad is happy and enjoying life.

las vegas

If you know me or you’ve read my posts, I’m a realist.  I’m also a speech language pathologist, I’ve worked with people who’ve had dementia, traumatic brain injury, dysphagia, etc. and I know all too well the various roads that could be ahead.  My dad is right though, we can’t worry about what’s ahead, we can only try and handle what’s right there in front of you.

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I’m telling you my story because you can help.  They’ve made so many advances in the area of Alzheimer’s; however, they still have not determined a cure and the medicine they are using to slow the progress is the same medicine they were using when I was in grad school 5 years ago.

Family

Please join me and my team to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s.  A few of my family members and I are doing a walk in Southern California on November 14th, 2015.  I invite you to join us on the walk and/or donate to help make a difference in the lives of so many.

Click here to donate or join our team, thanks!!

Be well.

Slab city

Back in April (woah that’s forever ago), we came to Palm Springs with my parents and did some exploring around the area.  It was a ton of fun, and I snapped some pretty cool pictures of a place our friend told us to visit called “Salvation Mountain.”

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The gentleman who made the installation recently passed away (sometime in 2014), but they have continued to preserve it because of it’s magnitude and beauty.  Although we thought the area under construction looked questionably empty…

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It was crazy to learn that the entire thing was made of adobe, straw, and gallons of paint.  The gentleman who made it, Leonard Knight, definitely had some visions.  I’ll let you decide of what nature.

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DSC_0295.JPGIt was fun to walk around and see all the work he put into it, the thing is massive!  You could even go up to the top and look out at the desert.
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It’s hard to know what is Knight’s work at this point, because in 2011 he was placed in a long term care facility with dementia.  In 2012 was when the public really began assisting in it’s maintenance.

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What a beautiful legacy to leave.  It’s located at the entrance of slab city, in Imperial, CA check it out if you have a chance.  It’s very close to the Salton Sea, which sounds like a body of water that you never want to swim in.  

Be well. 

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