Thoughts of Yesterday by Catherine Frayne, came across my desk recently.
Catherine’s story is not only one of love, but of hope. Many dementia patient and their family caregivers look for alternative solutions to slowing the progression of dementia. While Catherine’s book talks about the improvements with Coconut Oil, it is important that every dementia caregiver must make that decision based on their own research.
Here is Catherine’s story…
My Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009 and the disease progressed quite rapidly over the course of 2 years. When I first discussed Alzheimer’s with friends and colleagues, I was met with such sympathy for the disease, introduced to me as ‘the long goodbye’.
‘You know the day will come when she won’t know who you are’, one person warned. ‘I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy’, another said.
I wanted to avoid the inevitable, not witness the living loss which was fast approaching. Thankfully, I resisted this urge and poured my energy into researching and learning about Alzheimer’s in order to be better able to understand the disease and help my Mother.
Through research, I came across a Doctor in Florida, called Mary Newport MD. Dr. Newport’s husband, Steve ,was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s some years previously.
My introduction to Coconut Oil began. Dr Newport found that non-hydrogenated coconut oil was helping her husband greatly. In 2012, we began giving my Mother the oil and noticed improvements after just 2 weeks.
The improvements continued and I decided to keep a journal and log what we noticed. From this journal, emerged my first book called Thoughts of Yesterday.
I gave my book this title because I remember, as I watched my Mother decline, she could still tell me about her first day at school but her thoughts of yesterday were gone.
I would take her for lunch and we would hardly have left the restaurant when she would ask if we could go for something to eat. Aggression took hold on several occasions and sedatives were prescribed. Kidney infections became more and more frequent; a vacant fog crept into Mammy’s beautiful bright blue eyes.
As Mammy continued to improve I feared I was being over-optimistic and arranged for her to be assessed by her Geriatrician. She astounded her Geriatrician by scoring 25 out of 30 in her memory test along with drawing a perfect clock!
It is 2 years later now and Mammy is still at home, shopping and banking once a week. She sits up at night doing crossword puzzles, word searches and reading the book I have written about her!
I felt I had to share this story with carers and families far and near as it is not often that one hears of a happy ending once the dreaded word ‘Alzheimer’s’ is mentioned.
The book follows Mammy’s upbringing in the West of Ireland in the 1930’s, her love of dancing, her dedication to her own parents when they needed her most, the progression of Alzheimer’s and the subsequent remarkable improvements noted.
It is also a literary memory box for my Mother to leaf through, which captures and treasures her youth, her loves, her life, laughs and family. Even if Mammy were to decline again tomorrow, no measure can ever be put on the unexpected time we managed to claw back from this cruel disease.
Thoughts of Yesterday is a tribute to one remarkable lady, a true blue Mother! It is a story that I simply could NOT, not share!
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