Thursday, August 19, 2010

Heavy Hearts

We are agonizing over the next step with my Gigi. I have been blessed to have an extremely close relationship with my grandparents growing up and into adulthood. There are not many of my most significant memories in childhood and young adult life that do not include them. As a married couple, Chad and I have spent 11 of our 16 years of marriage, together with Papa and Gigi. This relationship has been an invaluable blessing to us. Our children do not know life without them. Mitchell was 3 and we had no other little ones when we first had the privilege of living together. We were always on the same property with their “traveling home” parked next to ours and now we have lived together in this home for almost 4 years. Our hearts desire ALWAYS has been to keep both of them with us until the Lord called them home. Even when Gigi was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease our desire remained the same. Sadly, we are recognizing that for at least this stage of the disease, this might not be a possibility. As Gigi’s Alzheimer's has progressed, so has this stage of aggression. It is one thing to simply be dealing with confusion, hallucination, paranoia, hygiene care and so on but, unfortunately for the last few months, she has become quite physically combative and hostile towards my Papa and us. While she is tiny, every once in a while she can still pack a mean punch and for my Papa, who is essentially helpless in his wheelchair, that is not good. She is still mobile and he becomes an easy target. Most days, morning and evening dressing and undressing, mealtime and much of the day in between have had hours of agitation and hostility that we struggle to control. There are many days she refuses to eat or drink a single meal or any meal, and of course mostly refuses the medication that would help calm her. When she does agree to eat or drink, we are able to slip her medicine into what she is eating but there is truly no consistency in this situation. We have worked hard with the information we have learned about dealing with this stage of the disease, we have tried and are still trying different medication, and we have some help coming in but at this point, we are truly feeling helpless and the struggles are beginning to wear us down. We recognize that we have reached a decision making time as either homeschooling or our care for Gigi will have to be different this year. We know that we simply cannot continue to do both and we feel strongly that we cannot sacrifice our conviction to home school, so we must make changes as we can, as heartbreaking as it is. Simply entertaining the thought of having to move Gigi, is devastating to us and the final decision will not be made without much prayer and heavy hearts. We are currently learning about all of our options including Hospice, dementia homes or even simply respite care. Her physician had mentioned Hospice to us during her last visit, with the understanding that she may not yet meet the criteria needed to bring them in. We have had initial contact with them and will have an evaluation sometime this week or early next and they will determine if she is ready or not. If she is not able to stay at home with us, we are trusting that this move will only be temporary. Even if we have to place her in a home for a little while, our hearts desire is and goal that when this difficult stage is over and she enters the last stage of her disease we will bring her home again until the end. We are praying and trusting the Lord to bring about what He desires in this situation. Very possibly the Lord will supply the perfect solution and we can continue to care for Gigi at home, but for now we feel led to move in this direction.

I cannot express enough how we appreciate your prayers, words of wisdom and encouragement. These are uncharted waters and the ocean ahead looks vast and deep to us. We have been immensely blessed by the circle of support the Lord has given us both practically and prayerfully and we are exceedingly grateful for each of you both near and far.

Psalm 9: 9-10
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
A refuge in times of trouble. 
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;
For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

The JOY of the Lord is my strength


  1. My prayers are with you all sister. I love you!!!


  2. Oh sweet Chessa. I can hear the guilt through your words. If it helps in the slightest, what you have done for both of your grandparents is nothing short of amazing. I don't think you should carry any guilt over doing what is in each of their best interest, and that of your own precious family. I don't know you well, but I know you mean every word - it is agonizing and decisions won't be made without prayer and guidance. You are really an incredible person. I respect you so much!
    It was a joy to see you this week, and I look forward to getting together, but no rush at all! Let's shoot for autumn, or even winter. :) Besides praying, what can I do practically to help right now? Can I help with your SLP's? You could quickly tell me the kids goals and I could write it up in wings for you to look over and edit. Or whatever will help, I am happy to do. Really, I'd be honored, please ask, as I don't know specifics to offer other than school related. I'd also be happy to do any gathering of supplies you might need - books, amazon order or rainbow, even crayons.

  3. I just prayed for you and your family, Chessa, and will continue to do so when God brings you to my mind. I trust He will give you and Chad much wisdom as you decide what the next step is. Love you guys!

  4. Sweet, sweet friend...You are doing such an amazing job! I can not imagine how difficult it is to weigh such important things as homeschooling and caring for Gigi. As I have said to you before, your desire to honor God above all has come through to me time and time again. Thank you for being a living example of His grace, faith, and steadfastness.
    Love you friend!

  5. Wow, I am praying Chessa! And I totally agree with what Shawn said! I wish I could be there and lend a hand. I am remembering the days that I worked in the Alzheimer's unit at CHCC. You and your family are in my heart today. And I know you are close Jesus' heart too!

  6. Thank you gals....we are so grateful for each prayer. The Joy of the Lord is my strength.

    Sweet Shawn...I emailed you...:-)

  7. Oh Chessa, what a heart wrenching decision to make. I know that God will guide you in this and will be there for you. We will pray for you.