Richard Taylor has been a source of inspiration, a bright light, and an advocate for the Alzheimer's dementia community worldwide for many years. He now needs our support and prayers.
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
Hello, well I have twice lost this mailing list and once lost all the copy that went with it, so I am starting over.
I am on the eve of a life changing (for better, at least temporarily, or worst - permanent) event.
Tomorrow about 7 PM CDST I will open my eyes and the light I will see will signal either the end of my days, or that I am in the recovery room of The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas USA.
In either case there is a pretty good chance I won't we able to understand either situation. I will spend 6-10 hours on the operating room table that I will share with a six armed robot surgery machine named Da Vinci.
As most of you already know I just completed a month of chemo therapy, a month of radiation therapy, and a month trying to recover from the therapies. I have stage three esophageal cancer, a virulent, returning, and spreading form of cancer. I have stage three of it right now.
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For almost a week I have been back to my old energy level. Now its two weeks without swallowing ( how the hell I am going to accomplish remains to be seen), 5 weeks with a feeding tube, and about a year and a half to get to the point where a tablespoonful full of food five or six times a day satisfy my hunger and common sense.
I will lose 50 pounds returning me back to my Senior year in High School weight. I guess at least my old speed-o will fit if I can find it! Would that it bring other parts of my body to this prime age it would almost be worth it. But alas I'll still be living with a skinny 70 year old body!
I wish I could report I am full of self confidence, strength, and a positive sense of the future, but my fabled courage/strength (which was never there in the first place as far as I'm concerned, but it felt good for others to tell that) has been temporarily over come with fears that I may never wake up from this 10 hour operation or when I do I won't know who I am or where I am or what's going on around me.
My hope/plan is to regain the ability to write a monthly newsletter and one lone long journal article starting in May or June. I'm just not sure of the speaking. I'll have to see what happens to my "public" exposed symptoms, and if I get any more invites. I have plenty of work to do in my garden, my dear Grand children and family still seem to want to spend time with me, and even though I can't remember the news from one day to the other, I still enjoy watching it.
My attempts to get someone(s) in the medical community to address my fears, the research into delirium and dementia I have completed, the new ideas, aids, techniques, types of anesthesia, supporting mediation - all of which seek to lessen the impact of anesthesia on someone already living have fallen off well intended but ignorant ears.
The current trend to hire gas for hire anesthesiologists has produced totally uncoordinated staff, staffing, procedures, and interest in the impact on their gasses and drips on people living with the symptoms of dementia.
Most depend on after the fact identification of delirium by nurses in critical care units.
The fact are they are usually assigned early in the morning by a spin of the wheel assures there are no real considered consults between patients and their gas passers. Couple this with the fact the actual MD is serving five or six other patients at the SAME TIME through the reports of a non MD and you can see why I fear the process as much as I fear the cancer and its possible return.
The fact that I have left some people off this note and I have repeated some people - despite my best proof reading efforts at 1 AM the morning of my surgery is sign evidence of what has happened to my dementia symptoms.
I have been sort of overwhelmed by the feelings and side effects of the mid November cancer announcement. I know they are there but I just move right through them, errors and all, questions and prompts and all, gaps and abrupt changes of subject and all.
I appreciate all your messages of support and concern. I'll probably be out of touch for at least the 10 days I am in the hospital.
I'll write you all when I pull myself together enough to respond - provided of course I know who I am am, who you are, and what happened.
Thank you again for being my friends. Keep it up - and so will I.
Note from Bob DeMarco - I received this email from Richard Taylor at 3 AM this morning. If you would like to send Richard words of encouragement or prayers use this email address - richardtaylorphd (at) gmail (dot) com .
Richard Taylor had been battling cancer since last year.
I know the power of support and prayers because all of you were so wonderful and caring during Dotty's illnesses.
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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room