Mike Hughbanks May Update

Time flies by so very quickly now. At times I don’t think I have much to write on. But soon it seems my head is full of ideas to write about. What I need to do is use my dry erase board on the wall next to my computer monitor to write these ideas down so I don’t forget them. Here a few things I have been thinking about since my March update.

Our Disability Income and Health Insurance has been tweaked and seems to be going smoothly right now. We know that in future we will have to do something  for health insurance since Cobra only lasts for 18 months. Cobra is expensive at  $1250.00 a month to cover both Debra and myself.

After being approved for Social Security Disability we realized we would have to do something different with our health insurance with the obvious choice being Medicare. At least that was we thought, but we were wrong. I get asked this a lot during Q&A time when I am speaking. This is one of the craziest things we ran into. You do not qualify for Medicare for 2 years. The only way you can qualify would be if you were destitute and unable to afford insurance.

Home ownership can have it challenges especially when you live in a house that was built in 1933. Our sewer line separated at the foundation where it leaves the house and travels under the front yard out to the street where the city main line is. It is amazing what your front yard looks like with a 12 foot deep hole in the middle of it. Since the front yard was already dug up, we decided to replace the crumbling driveway and sidewalk. Where do you stop, we decided to also replace the front yard with sod and a sprinkler system. 8 weeks later, we are nearing completion. I have learned through this process that I am not a patient person. I struggle dealing with multiple things at the same time. Replacing the sewer line, driveway, sidewalk, sod, and installing a retaining wall and sprinkler system at the same time was almost too much. At the same time, our raised beds in the backyard were rotted out and we had someone building a new raised bed in the backyard. The raised bed is finished and looks great, tomatoes are growing and the seeds we planted are popping through.

Debra and I were discussing some of the interviews, speaking engagements, and meetings that I have been involved with since September of last year. Out of curiosity, I looked at my calendar and started counting. I was surprised that there were over 40. There were 9 broadcasts on local TV and a variety of other media. There were Skype and in-person interviews, speaking engagements to large groups and to smaller support groups.

April was very busy. I spoke at the Dementia Care Conference in Omaha and at the NALA/NNFA State Convention in Kearney. Several hundred were in attendance at both of these events. I was also privileged to meet Dr. Petersen from Mayo when he was speaking in Omaha.

I had a telephone interview for the National Early Stage Advisory Group. There were a lot of applicants for this very important role. I am looking forward to getting the call in June to see I will be invited to be part of this select group of 10 people.

The Growing Hope Gala in March was one of the events that was very personal for me. It was an honor to be recognized with the Courage Award at the event and given the opportunity to speak.

We are looking at a possible change in medication. I have been taking Aricept even before my diagnosis and I am struggling with the side effects. We discussed a possible change to another medication with Dr. Murman at my last appointment.

It was nice having a few weeks off after a busy March and April. I have been spending a lot of time outside working in the yard and helping with the work on the front of the house. I set two records for myself on my Fitbit going over 7 miles on two consecutive days and I never left my yard.  We are doing fruit smoothies for lunch every day we are home. Each smoothie has a lemon or a lime, apple, orange, protein powder, green tea extract, DHA (1000mg), frozen blueberries,  baby spinach or kale and finally we decide on a frozen fruit. We keep raspberries, mango, pineapple, red cherries, and strawberries in the freezer. Our diet has changed dramatically. We haven’t given up red meat completely, but have cut back significantly. Fast food has quickly become a thing of the past. We have vegetables and fruits daily.

I am doing well on my brain games. I play Mah Jong, spider or regular solitaire daily. Several times a week I do Lumosity.

It looks to be a busy summer. It is a beautiful time of year. I think I am enjoying spring more than I ever have before. It seems I have time now to stop and smell the roses. It makes you thankful for what your have. I am blessed with a loving family, a good home (with a new driveway), great neighbors and a dog who is by my side every minute I am home. Sometimes it seems we can think that life is not fair, or want to blame someone or something for the way our life is. I didn’t ask for this diagnosis but I am not running away from it either. I guess I am a fighter and I want others to know that life doesn’t end with the diagnosis.