Monday, November 25, 2013


People with Down Syndrome have a significantly higher propensity to get Alzheimer's Disease.  "By age 40, a full 40 percent of people with Down syndrome will develop the disease, and by age 50 that rises to 50 percent, Skotko told TODAY’s Maria Shriver."  This terrifies me.  I mean, full on, make me sick, terrified.

I know a typical someone who has been showing signs of Alzheimer's...I was suspicious, and googled it...and my suspicions were certainly confirmed:

  • trouble handling money and paying bills
  • repeating questions
  • taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
  • poor judgment
  • losing things or misplacing them in odd places
  • rummaging and hoarding
  • mood and personality changes
  • increased memory loss and confusion
  • problems recognizing family and friends
  • inability to learn new things
  • difficulty carrying out tasks that involve multiple steps (such as getting dressed)
  • problems coping with new situations
  • hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
  • impulsive behavior

  • Where it gets a little weird, is that Elise exhibits half of the things on this list on any given day.  So, frankly, it's not that much of a stretch to think that she will be susceptible to getting it.  Because I surround myself with people who are almost as blunt as myself, this sentence has been said, more than once:  "So, how will Elise having Alzheimer's be that different than now?"  Yeah.  That is part of my own personal terror torture...will I even know that she has Alzheimer's until she doesn't know me?

    I hope that the medical community will choose to pursue the link between Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease.  I don't like the idea of removing the third 21st chromosome (I'll save that one for another day)...but I have a lot of hope that in messing about with the links between Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's disease that they find ways of wiping the plaque and helping free the minds of those trapped...

    Because trapped out of your own life is even more terrifying than watching it happen to a loved one.

    Can you do anything to prevent Alzheimer's in yourself and your loved one that has a predisposition?  Actually, yes.

    The six pillars of a brain-healthy lifestyle are:
    1. Regular exercise
    2. Healthy diet
    3. Mental stimulation
    4. Quality sleep
    5. Stress management
    6. An active social life
    I fail to see how any of these are not something we should all be striving for anyway...and things this generation tends to allow many of these to slip regularly with flippant excuses....

    Don't make excuses.  Implement changes.  Protect your body.  Protect your brain.  Protect your future.


    Monday, November 11, 2013

    TMI and Shaving

    Elise is 11.  We are entering the lovely world of adolescence.  Which includes attitude fluxes, emotional breakdowns, and body changes.

    Lately, her sensory issues are taking a forefront.  Interestingly, one of her more debilitating issues has become her leg hair.  Like laying in the floor weeping over "HURT! LEGS!!"  It took me a little while to figure out that her leg hair is getting coarser, and is bothering her with her legging jeans.  Ladies, you totally know what I am talking about, right?

    So, think about a gal who gags at the sight of lotion, retches with it's application, hates baths and hair-washing, and jerks around and screams over her hair being brushed.  Then add a razor.  It's enough to cause an eye twitch just thinking about....

    First off, unless things get desperate, Nair is remarkably like lotion in texture.  And so it's at the end of my list, even though there is no razor involved.  Also, Elise's skin is hyper sensitive and dry, and I am really quite concerned how it would react to the chemicals in Nair.

    Which leaves razors, electric shavers, and getting it zapped off.  I plan on trying a few of these, and I will let you know how each compares in her response and effectiveness.  On my short list is the Schick Intuition, an electric razor, and the NO NO.  I know someone who is planning to purchase the NO NO, so I plan to beg and plead for a trial run.

    I put this concern up in a few forums for advice, and I got steered to several options, one of which I was leaning toward anyway.

    So, I've been looking low grade for the Schick Intuition on sale...and was planning on looking for a coupon, when I found it on crazy sale at Kroger for $5.99 this week.  They are usually around $10.  So I snapped it up.

    There are a few reasons I was tending toward this razor. 
    1)  They have a big soapy thing around the razor head that goops up your legs a little, so you don't need a separate soap or shaving cream.
    2)  Because of the big soapy thing, the razor head isn't quite as close a shave, so would reduce the nicking factor.
    3)  The razor head itself has little wires wrapping the blades to prevent nicks.  And even if you slide it sideways, it keeps your flesh from getting caught in the blades.

    4)  It has 4 blades! Even though it has all these anti-nick factors, it does have 4 blades, so you get bonus blade passes in one pass of the razor.
    5)  Also, the big soapy thing has moisturizors in it, so lotion after would be less necessary.

    Friday was such a day from hell thanks to Elise's reapplication for the Katie Beckett Deeming Waiver, so I figured, why not just round it out...

    So I ran a bath, and endured Elise's usual protestations.  And did the warning counting to get her in.  And let her play with her birthday party plastic dolphins, whales, and sharks for a while.

    And tried not to think about the Jaws theme song, which of course once I thought about, couldn't stop.

    And then I talked up how she was getting so big, and talked about her leg hairs hurting her, and told her we were going to get them off so her jeans didn't hurt.

    Then I played show-and-tell about the razor and told her what I was going to do with it.

    Then I had her sit sideways in the tub and put her foot up on the tub wall.  Prayed.  And made one pass with the razor.

    And, praise GOD!!  She didn't completely wig out.

    She got kinda squirrely, and had to touch her leg after, and swish it in the tub.  And we took probably 50 strokes of the razor per leg, when it could have taken 15.  And it was a little of each leg at a time....and back and forth....BUT, we finally got them done.  It took me way longer to talk her into letting me take a swipe at her armpits.  But I finally got one on each.  This apparently tickled and she giggled and it took me even longer to talk her into the other side...but it finally happened.

    At this point I had a crick in my neck and back that was going to black me out, I'm not sure from the stress of the situation or awkwardness of shaving someone else or the length of time involved...and I was more thrilled to be done than even Elise.  She even volunteered to take a swipe at the very end.  I figured we shouldn't mess with success for a little bit.  And I told her she could have a turn another time.

    So I am pleased to report, in the face of a sensorily spazzy day, she was able to handle it.  It will take a significant amount of patience and require more time than usually expected, but we have a working option.  I don't plan to do it again, until her leg hairs bother her again...I anticipate about once a week or so.

    I have to admit this was a gigantic worry, and having this much success the first time, was a huge answer to prayer...and yes, I was totally praying over shaving my daughter's legs.

    When I signed up to be a parent, I didn't anticipate this being in the job description...but it isn't as bad as I feared...I hope that some of my other stresses that are already causing panic prove to be as resasonably fixable...