Sobering Advice From My Doctor

I received some sobering advice from my neurologist at my latest Alzheimer’s appointment. We were discussing all the things I am focused on including:

My doctor was fascinated with how busy I am. She then floored me when she said “Kelly, I admire you for your tenacity, but at this point in your life with Alzheimer’s, you only have a finite time of quality cognitive time left. My recommendation is that you only spend it on things that bring you joy”.

Boom, punch in the gut. She took the wind out of my sail. She was right. Am I focusing on things I enjoy or things I feel obligated to do? If I only have a certain number of days left how do I want to spend them?

It would be foolish of me to not put my end of life plans in place or to exercise and try to maintain my brain health (see my brain health checklist). Those are musts. She has a really good point though about me reevaluating my priorities.

I need to improve on saying no and doing things out of obligation. I never want to disappoint anyone. I am also the person who organizes everything. I am good at it and people have come to expect me to do it. Quite frankly at this point in my life it is getting more difficult and exhausting. I need to learn to say no and not worry about disappointing someone.

My focus going forward is to ask myself when I am contemplating doing something whether or not I really want to do it because I enjoy it or because I am doing out of obligation. I only have so much time left. We all do.

Not today, Alzheimer’s, not today.

4 thoughts on “Sobering Advice From My Doctor

  1. Oh Kelly you are so very right. I am the same way, I am good at getting things done and don’t know how to say no I am working on it and it’s hard. I admire you so much and all you do. Yes your doctor is right. I was happy to see you have so much fun on your trip. I know I don’t need to tell you keep fighting and put you first!

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  2. I also have a limited life span due to illness. I do things that keep my house running, and then I spend time every day do something I love. I was disappointed that my life was filled with what ifs. What if autoimmune diseases hadn’t struck me in my 30’s, what if I wasn’t diagnosed with early onset dementia, and then the personal what ifs from a childhood filled with abuse. I am trying desperately to leave the what ifs behind and just focus on today. I try to bring a small joy to my life everyday. The wonderful thing is that many small joys don’t cost a thing. Even though the memories I’m making today will not be with me later, I am choosing to live my best, happiest life today. I snuggle and love my dogs and foster dogs, I snuggle my cat, I sew, quilt, and garden she I’m physically able. Tonight, when I go to bed, I will have the memories of happiness, even though they may not stay with me for very long.
    Your blog comforts me. I feel less alone. The thoughts you feel are similar to my own. Thank you.

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    1. Wow, we have a lot in common. I also have an autoimmune disease that struck me in my teens, I have Early Onset Alzheimers, and I was abused as a child. I also recently lost a dog to Science Diet Vitamin D Toxicity so I started a group on Facebook called Saving Pets One Pet @ a Time. Please join it. We will help keep your pets healthy.

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  3. Kelly,

    Thanks for sharing your blog and your trip on Facebook. I want to thank you also for reminding me, that we only have so much time. I’m going to improve on saying no to those things I feel obligated to do. I will do more of the things I enjoy! I was born in 1961 too.

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