One of the darkest days of my life occurred on June 27, 2012. I was hit by a Mack Truck when the Cognitive Neurologist told me and my wife that everything leads to Lewy Body Disease (aka Dementia with Lewy Bodies). My faith sustained me at that moment. My wife left the room we were in to make an appointment for the next month. I walked into the waiting area where our friends Phil and Gail Lawson were seated. With a quiet voice, I told them I had been diagnosed with LBD.
Then I told them"It is what it is, and everything will be okay". That was solely because of my faith. Several months later, I felt I was a convicted murderer. Where would I go from here? Several months later, I developed an inner peace that would sustain me to this moment in time. I know that it will continue to sustain me.
The road has been rocky....many ups and downs, many highs and lows. At the time of diagnosis, I was sleeping 16 to 20 hours a day. I was experiencing syncope, injuring myself with falls, blood pressure dropping to 60/40 with heart rates in the 50 to 56 range. My gait was altered, my bilateral tremor was active, apathy was a daily occurrence, and my alertness and train of thought were very poor. The diagnosis though brought closure to a path of eight physicians in eighteen months. Finally I had some answers.
In August 2013, I decided that I wanted to live. No longer did I think that I would experience a shorter life expectancy. I knew the only way that I could change my thought process was to allow God to work more in my life. I gave "it all to Him". I told Him that I could not carry this burden. When I did this, the load was lifted, and I started living.
My faith has grown stronger, and I have done a lot better. Am I healed, no, but I do have an inner peace in my life that keeps me focused on living and helping others. My memory has stayed largely intact, good nights I will sleep from seven to ten hours with minimum interruptions, and the friends that I have gained have been part of my support system.
My processing and retrieval have declined and my motor symptoms have increased. The hallucinations, nightmares, restless leg syndrome, terrors and dream acting have all increased. Some nights are filled the entire time with three of them at the same time. The next morning is like I had been hit by a Mack Truck. I am thankful that in these difficult times, I feel God's presence and my Lord and Savior is taking me through that valley. Fortunately the next morning, I am usually able to recover within an hour. I always learn something through these times that allows me to help others.
Where do I go from here? I have no idea. My motto is, "one day at time". I will attempt to stay positive, passionate, energetic, help others and advocate for dementia awareness and education. We all need purpose.
As I have said before, the range is 2 years to 20 years, and I plan to beat 20.
Fight Like a Tiger - Be LBD Strong
©June 27, 2016 Robert Bowles
Robert Bowles, Jr.