Parenting Your Parents

Are you prepared to become the parent of your parents? It’s an almost incomprehensible thought, but it’s becoming more prevalent as our parents age. It’s difficult to shift into this new role of caregiver. This has become my story in the last few years.

Image 8Caring for an ill parent is potentially in all our futures. As you learned in my last post, my dad has leukemia. And shortly after his initial diagnosis 4 years ago, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My dad’s cancer is so much easier to deal with than Alzheimer’s; there are so many more treatment options. Alzheimer’s has got to be one of the cruelest diseases out there! It took an intelligent, well-spoken, out-going individual, and depleted so much of who she was. It’s hard to watch, as someone you knew so well transforms into someone else. After a while, you begin to forget what that person was like before the disease.

Needless to say, my role in the family has taken a dramatic turn. I’m the youngest of 5 kids, and suddenly I feel like I’m a single mom to a grown woman. It’s a tough transition.

I know this sounds dire, but it’s not all bad. Even though my mom has lost her ability to reason and carry a conversation that makes sense, she is still playful, kind, and compassionate. The only blessing is that I don’t think she understands what’s going on. Most of the time, it’s harder on those around her who just want her to return to the person she once was.

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Forrest Gump Knew Best

When Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get, ” he was dead on. I began this blog with the intention of creating something lighthearted and useful. However, today I don’t feel like posting about how to create a healthier version of fried chicken. Instead, life threw my family a curve ball, so I’d rather write about that.

DSC_0070My dad was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in December of 2008. In fact, it was that diagnosis that brought me back to Houston from California. Thankfully, he responded immediately to his course of treatment and went into remission after his first round of chemo. He continued to receive chemo for another 2+ years. He finished his final round of chemo almost two years ago. He’s been feeling great and getting stronger every day. All of that changed this morning, when his doctor told us that his leukemia has returned. This is a very unwelcome visitor indeed! His prognosis looks good, but you never know.

My interest in healthy eating stems from his initial diagnosis. I will post updates about my dad’s health, in addition to writing about nutrition and how healthy eating can aid in disease prevention/recovery.