From the diary of my precious child…


I found these words in Vic’s diary. It was an entry towards the end of her life. I believe it is a message from my precious angel child – not only to me but to her friends and family.

I found a web source when I did the plagiarism check. The poem was written by Karen Vervaet. Vic changed some words by never finished writing what she started.

These are the words my beautiful child wanted to share with her friends and family…

Goodbye
I turn my head and look towards death now.
Feeling my way through the tunnel with the space of
emptiness and quiet.
The shimmering silence that awaits me.
This is my direction now; inward to the green pastures…
The cares of the world concern me no longer.
I have completed this life. My work is done, my 
children grown.

My loved ones are well on their hero’s journey. (original text – My husband is well on his…)
I have loved much and well…
Those I leave behind, I love.
I hope I will remain in their hearts as they will
in mine…
Thank you for taking such good care of me…
And all of you who have been my friends, thank you
for teaching me about love.

Karen Vervaet

I am Vic’s mother!


Child-loss is a black hole of grief and sorrow in which every emotion is compressed and compounded.   It is an inescapable vortex.  

Vic was the centre of my emotional cosmos. My world revolved around my precious child. Vic was my past, my present and my future. When she died it felt as if my life ended.


For the first time in 38 years I cried. I truly cried and called to the heavens. It was as if 38 years of pent up fear, anguish and stress was released. I screamed, I sobbed, I wept… Did you know that there is a difference between weeping and sobbing? I clung to my child. I stroked her hair. I washed her little body and dressed her in her favourite pyjamas. I sprayed her favourite perfume on her.

Grief is a strange journey.

When I embarked on the Journey of Mourning it was a strange road. I had lost people I love dearly before. My mom, my dad, BFF’s, colleagues and family had died. Of course grandparents too… But I had never lost a child. This is a road I had never travelled before. I did not only lose my precious child but I also lost the person I was.

Within a millisecond I ceased to be a mother. Wait – I became a “bereaved mother.” The hope I had clung to for 36.5 years was lost! The fight in me was gone.

The second my child’s soul left her body my heart shattered into a million pieces.

The hardest thing I had to do in my life was say goodbye to my child; listening to her breathing getting weaker and weaker…. knowing that her last breath was so close.


Then I thought nothing would match my pain watching my precious baby leave our home for the last time in a plastic sheet on a gurney until I had to stand and watch the hearse drive away with my precious, precious child lying in a cold hard coffin – her destination a crematorium!

No matter how prepared I thought I was for Vic’s death – I wasn’t! People seem to think I should be grateful Vic is dead. Just as people did not want to listen to me talking about Vic’s terrible suffering they now don’t want me to talk about Vic after she died. They ask you how you are doing hoping you won’t be honest and answer…

It is almost surreal to see that the world has carried on with its business; that the heavens are unchanged; that life has continued. I look at myself and I think that people that don’t know me would never guess that my life ended 6 months ago… People pat me on the back and say “You are so strong…”

We are nearing Vic’s 6 month anniversary and I have learnt to breathe again. I have learnt to stay strong for the boys. My life will and must mirror Vic’s strength and courage. Her dream of a Hospice will continue to live on in me…Her goodness will continue to spread to the community and the world!

I raised Vic to be strong, courageous, and brave. Vic taught her sons that she is their mother not their excuse…


I am Vic’s mother – she is my reason; not my excuse!


Always the lady


Exactly one year ago Vic had a Brazilian Blow-dry. This is what I posted then…

Today I took Vic to the hairdresser and she had a Brazilian blow-dry treatment.  Now, for those of you who are as ignorant as I was, this is a “hair straightening” process.  Four hours!!

Shame Vic was sleeping in the chair…poor baby!  She is exhausted but it will make her life so much easier for many months ahead.  Vic will not wash and leave her hair – it has to be sleek…Now with this Brazilian blow-dry thing we can wash her hair and leave it!  Bliss!!

I never saw my late Mom not immaculately dressed with her hair beautifully done.  No matter how ill she was, Mom went to the hairdresser three times a week.  Her nails were always immaculate and Mom would get very annoyed with me if I wasn’t wearing make-up and had my hair in a ponytail.  “Always the lady” was her motto.  As it is Vic’s.  I find it absolutely amazing that she insists on getting dressed most days.  Well, certainly before the boys get home from school.  She does not want the boys to see her in pyjamas. When we wash her hair it must be blow dried…She will not scrunch it or put it up in a ponytail, plait or pin…Vic’s hair has to be sleek…No matter how ill she is.

Her little body is so swollen from the cortisone.  Her face looks like a little chipmunk’s!  It happens from time to time.  What is worrying is that Vic’s blood pressure is steadily increasing.  Addison’s symptoms include low blood pressure…so why is Vic all of a sudden developing high blood pressure?  And Madam will not see a doctor!  What to do?

Vic does look so beautiful after her hairdressing marathon.  She is passed out and I know it will take her a week to recover from this outing.  But, it is well worth it!

These are the words Jared wrote for Vic’s funeral letter….

Dear Mommy…

Words could never explain what you mean to me…

It always meant so much to me that no matter how bad you felt or how sick you were, you always went out of your way to do anything and everything you could for us… Always going out of your way to make everyone’s life easier especially mine…

You were always my hero… No matter how sick you were every morning you woke up and got dressed. Even if you didn’t do anything you always looked your best…

I love you so much mommy… You made such an impact on everyone’s life that you will never be forgotten…you will forever live in our memories as the bravest woman and best Mommy of all time…

No one will ever be able to replace you…


Jared

Jared and his Mommy 1.1.2013

Always the lady…

Different types of depression


Clinical depression goes by many names — depression, “the blues,” biological depression, major depression. But it all refers to the same thing: feeling sad and depressed for weeks or months on end (not just a passing blue mood).

Depression (mood) as defined by Wikipedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Dejection” and “despair” redirect here. For the poem, see Dejection: An Ode. For other uses of despair, see despair (disambiguation).



Melencolia I (ca. 1514), by Albrecht Dürer

Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being.[1] Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, hurt, or restless. They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions, and may contemplate or attempt suicideInsomniaexcessive sleepingfatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains, or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may also be present.[2]

Depressed mood is not necessarily a psychiatric disorder. It may be a normal reaction to certain life events, a symptom of some medical conditions, or a side effect of some drugs or medical treatments. Depressed mood is also a primary or associated feature of certain psychiatric syndromes such as clinical depression.


Are you depressed?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behaviour. You engage in escapist behaviour such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
  • Negative thoughts. You can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
  • Suicidal thoughts. You have thoughts that life is not worth living (seek help immediately if this is the case)

There are many on-line depression tests. These tests should not replace or substitute a visit to a physician. It is only an indicator. http://www.depressedtest.com A physician will have to rule out other serious medical conditions that may cause similar symptoms.

The main types of depression include:

  • Major depression — to be diagnosed with major depression, you must have five or more of the symptoms listed above for at least 2 weeks. Major depression tends to continue for at least 6 months if not treated. (You are said to have minor depression if you have less than five depression symptoms for at least 2 weeks. Minor depression is similar to major depression except it only has two to four symptoms.)
  • Atypical depression — occurs in about a third of patients with depression. Symptoms include overeating and oversleeping. You may feel like you are weighed down and get very upset by rejection.
  • Dysthymia — a milder form of depression that can last for years, if not treated.
  • Postpartum depression — many women feel somewhat down after having a baby, but true postpartum depression is more severe and includes the symptoms of major depression.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) — symptoms of depression occur 1 week before your menstrual period and disappear after you menstruate.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — occurs most often during the fall-winter season and disappears during the spring-summer season. It is most likely due to a lack of sunlight.
  • Manic Depression may also alternate with mania (known as manic depression or bipolar disorder).

Factors that can may cause depression include:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Medical conditions and treatments, such as:
    • Certain types of cancer (pancreas, prostate, breast)
    • Long-term pain
    • Sleeping problems
    • Steroid medications – Corticosteroid medications such as prednisone, which people take for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or asthma
    • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
    • Illegal steroids
    • Amphetamines
    • Over the counter appetite suppressants
  • Stressful life events, such as:
    • Abuse or neglect
    • Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend
    • Certain types of cancer
    • Death of a relative or friend
    • Divorce, including a parent’s divorce
    • Failing a class
    • Illness in the family
    • Job loss
    • Long-term pain
    • Social isolation (common cause of depression in the elderly)
  • Many central nervous system illnesses and injuries can also lead to depression.
    • head trauma
    • multiple sclerosis
    • stroke
    • syphilis

Sources:

http://psychcentral.com/disorders/depression/

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_signs_types_diagnosis_treatment.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/opinion/sunday/wars-on-drugs.html?_r=0

http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/depression/overview.html

http://psychcentral.com/disorders/depression/

http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-types

 

I wish you peace…


Peace is not the absence of trouble; it is the presence of God



You are strong… when you take your grief and teach it to smile.






You are brave… when you overcome your fear and help others to do the same.






You are happy… when you see a flower and are thankful for the blessing.





You love… when your own pain does not blind you to the pain of others.






You are wise… when you know the limits of your wisdom.






You are true… when you admit there are times you fool yourself.





You are alive… when tomorrows hope means more to you than yesterday’s mistake.






You are growing… when you know that you are but not what you are becoming.






You are free… when you are in control of yourself but do not wish to control others.







You are honourable… when you find your honour is to honour others.





You are generous… when you can give as sweetly as you take.






You are humble… when you do not know how humble you are.






You are beautiful… when you don’t need a mirror to tell you.






You are rich… when you never need more than you have.







You are you… when you are at peace with who you are not.





I wish you peace, today, tomorrow and forever


A lifetime of sadness


2010
13.2.2011

I am so tired of being sad.  I am so terribly tired of missing my child.  I miss our easy friendship, our laughter.

I miss laughing!

I miss being happy.

I miss looking forward to tomorrow…

The pain is just too much.  I cannot bear the longing any more.

The sad thing is that I have a lifetime of sadness ahead of me.

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What do Alzheimer Patients Die from?


After my post https://tersiaburger.com/2013/06/16/what-is-the-difference-between-alzheimers-and-dementia/
I received a couple of emails and comments that I kept private and did not approve for publication. I decided to do this post at the time. Alzheimers is a terminal disease. Alzheimers has no survivors. The harsh truth is that there is no cure. There is no treatment.

Alzheimer’s disease is not just memory loss – Alzheimer’s kills.

• In 2010, 83,494 Americans died of Alzheimer’s disease – the 6th leading cause of death in the United States overall and the 5th leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older.

• Among 70-year-olds with Alzheimer’s, 61 percent are expected to die within a decade. Among 70-year-olds without Alzheimer’s, only 30 percent will die within a decade.

Deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 68 percent between 2000 and 2010, while deaths from other major diseases, including the number one cause of death (heart disease), decreased.

Change in Number of Deaths
between 2000 and 2010


• Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent it, cure it or even slow its progression.

Dementia is the second largest contributor to death among older Americans, second only to heart failure.

Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th

Today, there are no survivors of Alzheimer’s. If you do not die from it, you die with it.

• One in every three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

• In 2013, an estimated 450,000 people in the United States will die with Alzheimer’s, meaning they will die after developing the disease.

• Today, over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, including an estimated 200,000 under the age of 65. By 2050, up to 16 million will have the disease.

• Of Americans aged 65 and over, 1 in 9 has Alzheimer’s, and 1 in 3 people aged 85 and older has the disease.

• Another American develops Alzheimer’s disease every 68 seconds. In 2050, an American will develop the disease every 33 seconds.

Alzheimer’s takes a devastating toll not just on those with the disease – but also on their caregivers. http://www.alz.org/documents_custom/2013_facts_figures_fact_sheet.pdf

Statistics can be extremely misleading. Alzheimer’s disease cannot be definitely diagnosed until after death, when the brain can be closely examined for certain microscopic changes caused by the disease. However, through thorough testing and a “process of elimination,” doctors today can diagnose what they refer to as probable Alzheimer’s disease with almost 90% accuracy.

My father’s death certificate stated “Natural Causes“… In South Africa and most countries, the law requires that a death investigation, or autopsy, be performed when someone dies under mysterious circumstances. Autopsies are usually done if the death was caused by injury, poisoning, infectious complications, foul play (homicide), or when someone dies without an attending physician. If any one of these criteria is present, the local coroner or medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

So what do Alzheimers Patients die from?

Stroke is a major cause of death in Alzheimer’s patients

Falling. Slower reaction time, difficulty recognizing changes in the height or depth of a step, can lead to tripping and falling. Changes in balance and coordination combined with poor memory can make it difficult for a person with Alzheimer’s to get from one place to another and avoid hazardous objects at the same time. He may miss a step while looking for a door or trying to listen to someone’s conversation.

Pulmonary aspiration.  Aspiration is the entry of secretions or foreign material into the trachea and lungs.  Alzheimer’s patients forget how to eat and/or swallow and might start choking on their food. The food basically goes down the wrong pipe. A tell-tale sign is when they start coughing whilst eating. This can lead to infection and pneumonia.

Pneumonia is a major cause of death in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Decreased mobility and pulmonary aspiration are major causes of pneumonia…

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). An unidentified UTI can lead to sepsis which can in turn result in organ failure…

Dad in the ambulance en-route to hospital 1

On the 9th of May 2011 my dad had a bad fall. He was taken to hospital by ambulance and admitted to ICU as he required 24/7 care.  On the 10th I met with the medical team.  My Dad appeared to be in a coma.  The Physician said that Dad had pneumonia.  The Neurologist confirmed that Dad was in the Severe advanced stage of Alzheimers.  The Specialist Surgeon wanted to operate on my Dad’s aneurysm….

I made the heart wrenching decision that there would be no aggressive treatment of the pneumonia.  There would be no operation.  The Physician agreed with my decision.

On the 14th of May I took my Dad home.  Hospice evaluated Dad and accepted him as a case.  Hospice started administering Morphine, Dormicum and Serenace subcutaneously and my beautiful dad was comfortable. My Dad battled to swallow and I was pretty distressed about his liquid and food intake.  Dad’s core body temp had dropped to 34.5 degrees C.  Hospice said that Dad’s body had started shutting down and not to worry about his food or liquid intake.  On the 17th my beautiful father cried during a lucid moment because he could not articulate his thoughts and he was mumbling …

Twenty three days after his first fall my Dad lost his battle against Alzheimers when he forgot how to breathe.

Did he die from Alzheimers or pneumonia? Maybe it was the fall or even the aneurysm? His death certificate read “Natural Causes” – my Dad is not an Alzheimer statistic…