Thursday, April 30, 2009

Everywun Haiku

Recently through Facebook I became aware of a web site called Everywun. The mission is simply to give every person the opportunity to make a difference. Last Saturday the founder of the site posted a challenge asking people to write haikus about their cause. A fellow Lewy Body friend sent out a message asking if anyone wanted to write a haiku about Lewy. I don’t think I have written a haiku since high school, but I gave it a try. Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry – 3 lines that consist of 5 syllables in line 1, 7 syllables in line 2, and 5 syllables in line 3. You can visit the Everywun sight here. Here are the two haikus that I wrote.

Be a volunteer
Fight Lewy Body Disease

Tangles in the brain
Lewy Body Dementia
Destroys those we love

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Move the Cause Forward

This is the time of year that they begin popping up all over – fundraising walks. These walks have become very popular in the last few years. They are a great way to raise awareness and to raise money for worthy causes. Some people walk because a friend asks them or because they want to get out and enjoy the weather while doing something good or some people walk because of a deep seated passion.

In the past I have fallen into the first two groups, but now I fall into the last group. I still participate in other walks to support friends in their causes, but I am a woman with a passion now, a woman with a cause. Honestly, I wish I didn’t have this passion, but because of circumstances I couldn’t control I had no choice. You see in the last ten years of my mother’s life she was increasingly tortured by dementia. My family and I became all too familiar with the devastation that dementia wreaks. It is this that fuels my passion and my cause. My goal is to wreak devastation on dementia so that someday other families won’t have to go through what we went through and other people won’t have to suffer as my Mom did.

Dementia is a generic term to describe a cluster of symptoms. There are many types of dementias that have slightly different symptoms. Alzheimer’s is currently the leading cause of dementia accounting for 60% of the population of people with dementia. Lewy Body Dementia affects 20% of the population of people with dementia and Vascular dementias affect 10-20%.

This year will mark the second annual walking of the Lewy Ladybugs in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk. 2009 marks the 20th year of Memory Walks in Colorado. This year’s theme is “Move the Cause Forward.” All funds raised during the Memory Walks in communities around the country go the local Alzheimer’s Associations. These groups provide support and education to their local communities.

You can find out where the Memory Walk is happening near you by visiting the Memory Walk Web Page.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Two Pictures

On the shelf in my cubicle at work are two pictures that tell a story; one of happy times and love, but also one of hard times and struggles.

In one picture I stand between my parents on my graduation day in 1998. My mother is a vibrant 57 year old. She smiles for pictures and tells people how proud she is of her daughter. This is the mom who taught me to be strong and independent. Mom raised me to be someone who pursues her dreams. She believed in me and was proud of the fact that I could do anything I put my heart into. Mom instilled in me the belief that I could do anything, be anything. In reality I am who I am because of my mother.

What that picture doesn’t show and that we didn’t know at the time was that tangles in Mom’s brain were beginning to change her. Lewy had already taken hold at that time and had begun its insidious creeping, overtaking, destroying.

In the second picture Mom is surrounded by my sisters and me; the strong women she raised. This picture was taken in May 2007 and is the last picture of Mom before her death. In the almost ten years since the first picture she has become frail, a shadow of her former self. Lewy has stolen her ability to do the basic things in life. The family that she raised is now taking care of her. She showered us with love over the years and the family returns that love.

It’s been a year and a half since Mom passed away. I think of her often; especially now at Easter. Mom always tried to make holidays special for us. Easter was a time of colored eggs, ham, Easter bunny cakes. She decorated the house with bunnies and eggs. It was always a special day at our house.

This Easter we will gather at Dad’s house and there will be Mom’s decorations, ham, colored eggs; even an Easter bunny cake. The only thing missing will be Mom. Our holidays are bittersweet these days. They just aren’t quite the same and that makes me sad. Still, I can’t help but be happy for Mom. Lewy can no longer torture her. Once again she is strong, healthy, and vibrant. She is in heaven and is celebrating with our Risen Lord and for that I rejoice.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I drive a lot for work and my drive often takes me along a two-lane highway that meanders through the country side. As the highway leaves the city it winds through a forested area and then opens up to rolling hills. It really is a beautiful drive. Houses and farms dot the fields along the road. This time of year the fields are full of horses, cows, sheep, and bison. The fields are still mostly brown with winter and the trees are just beginning to bud.

My car has always been my major thinking spot and that coupled with my love of driving means I don’t mind that I have to be on the road a lot. In years past when I really needed to think through something I got in my car and drove. Now I get regular time in the car and my thinking time is divided between thoughts of work and thoughts of my writing. I am often inspired by things I see during my travels.

Just recently on a cold morning when patches of snow created a patchwork quilt with the brown of the fields I noticed a clump of sheep in the side yard of a small house. I imagine they were enjoying an early morning spring breakfast. I couldn’t help but wonder if the baby sheep ever say to their mommas, “We hate cold, brown grass. Why can’t we have warm, green grass for breakfast?” To which I am sure the mommas reply, “There are starving sheep in Africa; you should be thankful for what you have. Now hush your mouths and eat your breakfast.” Yep, that’s what I thought and lo and behold, here it is in my blog. That’s the way it works for me…I see, I think, I write.

Lately my life has been crazy. Work has been busy and sometimes hard. We have had several bouts of snow that complicates my work schedule. Things at home like paying the bills and doing the taxes demand my attention. And even though it is just me and my kitty cat at home and we aren’t terribly messy the house still needs to be cleaned. It just seems as if there is never enough time and while I long for a simpler life I believe this is the plan for my life right now and its okay.

Still as I drive by the farms and the little houses during my time in the country I wonder if the people who live in these houses lead simpler lives. I wonder if any of those houses are home to a semi reclusive writer. I dream about living in a small house away from the hustle of the city. I see myself in this setting as being a semi reclusive writer enjoying a cup of coffee while watching out the kitchen window and seeing the sheep having their breakfast. (Not my sheep, mind you, but the closest neighbor’s sheep! Having sheep definitely would not be simplicity for me.) As I drain the last of my coffee I will pad to my office and sit before my keyboard. Words and sentences will flow from my fingers as I write amazing stories and best-selling books. This scenario isn’t anything new. I used to imagine a similar situation when I drove through the Columbia River valley in Oregon. The difference now is that I am actually writing and moving towards my dream of being published. Maybe someday I will live a different life and when people drive through the country side and see my little house they will wonder the same things I do.