Blog

Alzheimer Valley: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/13/2020 4:00:00 AM by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

When my husband was only in his mid-fifties, he began to have problems with his memory. Fred worked for a large industrial company as a chemical engineer. His chemical calculations had to be exact; his financial record keeping for the company had to be absolutely accurate. For some unknown reason, his job was getting harder and harder for him.

Then I began to notice that sometimes Fred couldn’t find his way even through familiar streets in his home town. His driving scared me. Both at home and at work he completely forgot entire conversations, leading to frustration and misunderstanding. What was happening?

Weird world

Two years into this weird world, doctors decided Fred must be suffering from depression. But antidepressants did not help his short-term memory loss or prevent the steady progression of his odd symptoms. It was a puzzling time.

After four years of wondering what his problem could be, I finally received his diagnosis--early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Fred was barely 60 years old. It was a devastating blow.

At first we did not tell him his diagnosis, thinking the news would be more than he could bear. I grieved in private for months, but around Fred I tried to act like everything was fine. It was a hard act!

How can I manage?

One day as I was pouring out my heartache to the Lord in prayer, I told Him I wasn’t strong enough for this trial. Immediately a Bible verse I had learned years ago came to mind, "As your days, so shall your strength be" (Dt. 33:25 NKJ).

I went on. "But, Lord, I feel overwhelmed. Alzheimer’s is a frightening valley. How can I make it through?" My answer came when yet another Scripture memorized long before came to mind: "The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you" (Deut. 33:27 NLT).

In other words, I would not be walking through this terrifying valley alone. God promised to be with me, providing His strength for my weakness. And whenever I stumbled over problems in my pathway, His wonderful arms would be there to pick me up.

Fred died at the age of 66 in 1999, six years after I learned he had Alzheimer’s. So, because the symptoms were years before his diagnosis, we walked that Valley about a dozen years.

God’s comfort, God’s provision

How else did God comfort me?

The Lord provided precious friends who ministered to me with the priceless gift of listening. And He put the idea in the hearts of a group of retired men at church to take turns taking Fred to lunch or to run errands with them one day a week. Fred looked forward to being with the guys, and it gave me a very needed break from the constancy of care giving. It was a great gift!

One day I was feeling overwhelmed and decided to drive around awhile just to have some alone time. I speak Spanish, and when I got in the car, the radio was tuned to a Christian Spanish station. They were playing a song I'd never heard, "Paz en medio de la Tormenta," (“Peace in the Midst of the Storm”). And I knew that God knew exactly where I was, and what I was feeling, and was ministering His grace, and yes, His peace to me, in the midst of that day's storm.

I had to make many decisions all along the way, for now I was the decision maker. I was very aware of the Holy Spirit guiding me and giving wisdom that I didn't have or bringing someone along who had the expertise needed for the problem. 

Nancy Reagan called Alzheimer's the "long good-by." Yes, I know what she meant. For me the mourning started the day Fred was diagnosed and continued until the Lord released him those years later. But I discovered that the Comforter never left me. Unexpectedly, He brought times of great joy in the Valley. In looking back, I remember tears and laughter, frustration and peace, weakness and strength. It was a great lesson in learning to lean on Him.

What Jesus said

On his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

Today’s prayer

"Dear God, thank You for Your wonderful promises to me. Help me to lean on Your everlasting arms when I don’t know how to go on with life. Help me to look to You each day to replace my weakness with Your strength. Thank You for Your faithfulness to me and Your assurance that goodness and mercy will be with me all the days of my life. Amen."

 

©2020 Paula Kortcamp Combs 

You can find more stories by Paula Kortkamp Combs in My Roots Go Back to Loving and other stories from Year of the Family in the Bookstore

 


Previous Posts

Ruth & Boaz, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/12/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Maria Luisa Navarro

Ruth & Boaz, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/9/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Maria Luisa Navarro

Enemies No More, Part 2: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/30/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Enemies No More, Part 1: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/28/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Double Minded Doggie: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/22/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Father's Blessing: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/13/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Dad's Green Packard: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Hill of Woman's Fidelity: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/1/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

In Praise of Naps: from the Parent Powerline
9/28/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Music Enriches the Family
9/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Pre-School at Home During Covid-19: tips from the Parent Powerline
8/21/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Parenting in the Mess: Tips from the Parent Powerline
8/16/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandpa Thure Cerling, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Way We Homeschooled, Part 1 Balance: from the Parent Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandpa Thure Cerling, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Temptation: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
7/23/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw

A Simple Way to Help Kids with School: from the Parent Powerline
7/21/2020 9:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Honest Abe Lincoln: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
7/14/2020 11:00:00 PM  by: Randy Limbird

The Most Conscientious Hunter I Ever Met: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/24/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw

Washing Feet: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/17/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers and Lee Merrill Byrd

No Parking: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Ruby Bridges, part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/3/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Ruby Bridges, part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/2/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Raising Fluent Readers: tips from the Parent Powerline
5/29/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Unwanted Baby: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/26/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Eileen as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Family Funnies: Tips from the Parent Powerline
5/22/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Joey's Letters: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/21/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Lee Merrill Byrd

Alzheimer Valley: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/13/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

New Bride Confusion: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/12/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Amaris Luz, Light from Darkness: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/28/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Lee Merrill Byrd

Losing Poetry: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/22/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Let Kids Cure Their Own Boredom: Tips from the Parent Powerline
4/15/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Naaman, Rich in Money and Presumption: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/14/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs and Becky Cerling Powers

David, Bathsheba & Psalm 51: a faith based story story from the Story Powerline
4/9/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

The Hundred Chart: math lesson tips from the Parent Powerline
4/8/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Beer Would Call Me: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/7/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Beatriz Balcort as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Turned Around: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/2/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Brian Bolton with Becky Cerling Powers

Toddlers Helping During COVID-19 and Beyond: tips from the Parent Powerline
4/1/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Elijah & the Captain of 50 Men: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/31/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

Fear in Residence: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/24/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Household Management During COVID-19 Time: tips from the Parent Powerline
3/23/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Dreaming of Anita Jo: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/12/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

No Complaint Dinners: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/10/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

DIY Plumbing: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/5/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Jennifer Cummings

A Brother's Love: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/3/2020 7:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part three: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/27/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part two: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/26/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part one: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/25/2020 7:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Grandma's Apron: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/20/2020 12:45:00 PM  by: Jennifer Cummings

Colors of the Beetle: a retold faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/13/2020 12:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Cantaloupe Crop Disaster: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/5/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Glen Hinshaw

The Grumble Family: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/28/2020 7:00:00 AM  by: Anonymous

Afraid to Sleep at Night (Psalm 91): a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/22/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

How the Camel Got His Hump: a retold faith based story
1/13/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Growing Up With Polio: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/9/2020 10:01:00 PM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

All Things Bright and Beautiful: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/7/2020 6:20:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers, poem by Cecil Frances Alexander

One Dollar for a Donut: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/1/2020 6:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Star of Wonder
12/26/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

The Shepherds
12/24/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Mary and the Angel
12/18/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Zechariah
12/17/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Slow Down for Christmas: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
12/13/2019 10:35:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Christmas Cookies: a a faith based story from the Story Powerline
12/10/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

First Thanksgiving, Part 2: Beginning in Weakness (a faith based story)
11/28/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

First Thanksgiving, Part 3: Gifts & Gratitude (a faith based story from the Story Powerline)
11/28/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

First Thanksgiving, Part 1: Enduring the Sea Voyage (a faith based story)
11/27/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 3: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/22/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Néaouguen Nodjimbadem as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/19/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Néaouguen Nodjimbadem

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/12/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Nodji (Néaouguen Nodjimbadem) as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Preventing Parent Burnout: from the Parent Powerline
11/4/2019 5:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandma Time: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/1/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Jennifer Cummings

Safe Amid Snakes and Semi-Trucks: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/30/2019 3:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Love & Diaper (Nappy) Connection
10/25/2019 6:30:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Avon Perfume Surprise: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/22/2019 7:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Saving Butterscotch: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/16/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Karen M. Pickett Ward

The Patient in Room 116: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/8/2019 9:10:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Belshazzar: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/2/2019 6:45:00 AM  by: Retold by Paula Kortkamp Combs

Reading to Babies
9/30/2019 2:37:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

My Mysterious Relative & the Missing Paycheck: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
9/26/2019 3:17:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Keeping in Touch with Cousins: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
9/24/2019 3:20:00 PM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

How the Ostrich Got His Long Neck: a faith based retold story from the Story Powerline
9/9/2019 3:49:00 PM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

When Life Goes Up in Smoke: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/20/2019 3:28:00 PM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw

Focusing on the good stuff: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/20/2019 3:24:00 PM  by: Joe Herman