Saturday, August 30, 2014

Having Lunch with an Uncle and a New Term.

I finally had lunch with my uncle, who also happens to be the last one I have. He has been struggling with cancer and its treatments for several years now. He happened to mention that his chemo treatments affect his brain. My cousin explained it as "chemo brain". He confesses to not being able to find the right words he wants to say or remember things.

According the MayoClinic, it can also be called 'chemo fog' and is a condition that affects cognitive impairment or dysfunction. They also state that it is not solely a side effect of chemotherapy.


Here are some of the symptoms the clinic mentions: short attention span, difficulty learning something new, difficulty multitasking, fatigue, confusion -- and the list goes on. There may be other causes for this: hormone treatments, fatigue, anemia, depression, medication, and other factors.


The clinic mentions risk factors that increase this memory issue with cancer survivors: •Brain cancer, •Chemotherapy given directly to the central nervous system, •Chemotherapy combined with whole-brain radiation, •Higher doses of chemotherapy or radiation, •Radiation therapy to the brain, •Younger age at time of cancer diagnosis and treatment. You can choose to discuss these issues with your doctor - if so keep a diary of when these memory lapses happen, what medication you are taking, and write down your questions when you think of them. Best to bring a person with you when you go to help you with the information.


Whether your doctor will prescribe anything or not, there are ways to train your brain. 1 - Repetitive exercises to train your brain. 2 - Tracking and understanding what influences memory problems. 3 - Learning coping strategies. 4 - Stress-relief techniques. Plus they suggest lifestyle and home remedies: •Control what you can about your working environment. *Prepare yourself for success. *Stay organized. *Clear your mind of distractions. *Take frequent breaks. *Exercise your Exercise your brain. *Exercise your body. There may be alternative medicines to take but always check with your doctor first. Lastly don't be afraid to talk to people about this problem. We all have memory issues from time to time. Get help from a support group. You don't have to go it alone.

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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload

ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink

Ranting

You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.

A Caregiver's Poem

I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!

Grandma’s Pearls of Wisdom:
(picture from Caregivers Blog)

I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.

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