Survival 1301 - An Alzheimer Journey by Susan Scoggins

One year ago this month, I bought a bike.  The reason this is important is that one of the keys to caregiver success is to exercise. Trust me, this is not to pump me up or give me “kudos”.  This is for you!  So many of the caregivers that I meet are so strong and resilient.   I’ve often wondered how they remain so strong and not so seemingly emotional as I am.  Honestly, I am a emotional who wears her emotions on her shoulder and who shares a lot with others.  No pretense here.  I am an open book.

Last July, my lower back gave out.  Jerry had been in his new home for about 8 months.  Each day was a struggle for me, but my game face remained on.  Unfortunately, my body was falling apart day by day.  When the back went out, I remained immobile and in excruciating pain for weeks.  I was faced with a decision.  Either crawl under a rock and die.....or pull myself together and get stronger.

Money is rather tight when memory care facilities are a part of your monthly bills.  So, I really was having a hard time with what to do.  I frequented our local bike shop which is only a 2 mile walk from my house.  The bikes were so exciting to look pipe dream was to be the female version of Lance Armstrong.  I stewed over it for about a week, when I got a call from my gallery.  Henrietta, my ostrich sold!  Yay!  It was as if she was saying, “Quit procrastinating!  Go buy that bike!”  The thrill of the sale prompted me to run right over and collect that money.  Shortly after that I skipped into the bike shop and paid cash for that bike.

That was the beginning of getting stronger.  The sense of  accomplishment by adding on more miles each week gave me a revived energy and I soon found myself looking  forward in a positive way.  My attitude in dealing with Jerry became stronger both physically and emotionally.  Not that there haven’t been set backs.  After all, it does rain now and then.  But I am here, one year later, to say that my outlook is different, my body is thirty pounds lighter and much healthier.  Tour de France, here I come!

Take it from me, we need this to survive and thrive.   Thirteen years and still counting with my Jerry dearest.  All the more reason to be strong.  It’s what our loved ones would have wanted.