Navigating the Unknown

I am in a pretty dark place today and I’m not quite sure how to shake it. We had over an hour meeting via Zoom with Dan’s neurology team, followed by Dan doing 2 1/2 hours of cognitive testing. The poor guy was exhausted after all of that, so we went out to enjoy a nice lunch as a special treat for him. So much is uncertain right now, but the one thing we never have to doubt is our love for each other. We’ll get through whatever life throws our way, together, as we always do.

The best part of this morning is that both of us felt heard by the doctors. So much of this has gone on behind the scenes, with Dan going to appointments that Covid protocols wouldn’t allow me to join him for or lengthy testing from which we never got any real results. I think we’ve both felt in the dark and today at least I felt hope that there will be some sort of plan in place not too long from now where we can hopefully slow down the progression of dementia symptoms.

I knew when we got up early this morning that Dan was very stressed about the appointment as I watched him hurry around to get coffee and breakfast before getting his computer set up on the sunporch so that we could be comfortable for the long meeting ahead. During one point in the questioning, Dan teared up and told them that his wife is ten years younger than he is and what worried him most was “how this was going to impact her”. Then I cried. At lunch I told him to never worry or apologize, that I loved him and would always be there for him. For better or worse…With all of our ‘better’ we sure have had a lot of the ‘worse’, too. I’m grateful for my life with Dan and never want him to feel worried that he is a burden. He could never be that to me; he is my heart.

My BFF Diane looking out for me.

All said and done, this has just been a rough summer; instead of the slow-paced, more care-free months of fun and office work that I remember in years past, I have spent so much time in meetings, traveling for work, attending conferences, dealing with the struggles of trying to preside with my colleagues over a conference in the time of Covid. Even the trip I took to the cabin in North Carolina with my BFF earlier in the summer had work as part of it. I feel beaten up, both literally and figuratively, and I don’t know if there is any real end in sight. I have had back and neck trouble this summer and contracted salmonella poisoning from the recent Jif peanut butter debacle. As I wrote in my last post, just in the past couple of weeks I was hit by a car in Reno while on my morning walk and had to go to the ER, missing most of a day of the conference. As unfortunately many of us did, I came down with Covid when I returned home from Reno. After that, I took a bad fall while out walking Marley over old buckled sidewalks and ended up yet again in the ER for stitches in my elbow and bad abrasions on my palm and knees. Seriously, what the hell is going on? At this point I’m expecting an asteroid to flat out land on me.

Beauty everywhere…

I have to wonder if maybe some of it is just being so preoccupied with things all the time. No matter how cheery my disposition, behind the smile is a brain that constantly rifles through past, present, and future, searching (and finding) things to worry about. All the time. I also wonder if I need to get my eyes checked; I seem to have issues with spatial distancing (not sure if that’s the right wording), where sometimes I’m not aware of where I’m stepping (for example, I sometimes step on Dan’s heel by mistake when walking behind him). I hope it’s not just that I am so inside my head worrying that I’m clueless about my surroundings. I’m making a concerted effort to be more present, more aware of myself and my surroundings. Let’s hope it makes a difference. I’ve been the butt of jokes concerning bubble wrap and other safety measures because of all of this. Well-deserved, I know, but I’d rather be known for more noble things than falling or getting hit by a car.

I really need to get myself in good shape mentally and physically so that I am best-prepared to care for Dan (and myself) when and if the time comes. I need to continue to read and educate myself about the disease that my husband is facing; Alzheimer’s is in my family history, too, so who knows what the future holds for us. Right now I want to live in appreciation for this precious man who changed my life in so many wonderful ways. Right now things are mostly normal, but when the time comes that things change, I want to hold onto all of the good and beautiful to keep me strong when I feel soul-weary and weak. Live in the moment, not in the ambiguous future of what if’s. Easier said than done, but I will do my best.


8 thoughts on “Navigating the Unknown

  1. When I am actively worrying, i become a clumsy accident-magnet. I feel it is a message to slow down and take rest. You have a lot on your mind — try to rest if possible! You are doing all that you can. It is ok to do less for a day! Good Luck!

    1. Thank you so much, Nora. Being distracted is a huge part of the problem, I’m sure. I will keep working on trying to be in the moment…always hard for me. ❤️

  2. Oh Denise, I think of you often, knowing through your writings that you’re going through some worrisome times. I wish I had some wonderful magical advice that would help in some way, but I in the end I guess we all have to figure out our own way through. All I know through my 68 years of being on this earth is that somehow, no matter what life has thrown at me (and at times there was a lot), I did my best to navigate my way through it, and somehow I made it to the other side and things got better again. In some way I can’t explain, I know you will do the same. Love and prayers to you and Dan. (And don’t forget…Heavy D is right there with you in spirit…always.)

    1. I so appreciate your kind and encouraging words, Lynn- thank you. I love your outlook on life and I also know that we will get through this. I have no doubt that Heavy D will whispering words of wisdom and comfort to my heart. I hope that you are doing well! ❤️

  3. Dearest Denise, You are one remarkable Lady! You are not shying away from facts and feelings. You are dealing with life in all it’s mystery and glory. And that said, yours is a Life filled with mystery and blessings! You and Dan have a strong bond. Isn’t that the Bestest Blessing! Believe in your strength and your enduring Love. Blessings to both you and Dan. Listen for your own special music in all things

    1. Thank you so much, Audrey. I am so grateful for Dan and our relationship. We will get through whatever comes our way, most likely with some tears and lots of laughter. And so much love. ❤️

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