Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Relationships with FTD

In life, you cannot stop the constant flow or ebb the flow. Attitude and mindset can be used to adapt to any situation, therefore bringing happiness and contentment in life.
When I started this blog it was with the intention of writing new article 2-3 times a week. Unfortunately I have been going through FTD related difficulties which I will address later. From the neck down I am in excellent health. I'm just slowly losing my mind. Even with losing my mind and being 100% disabled, I do notice that I am now in better mental shape than most people in NYC. As far as physical health, my blood pressure which was extremely high for years has now been normal for a year. I do attribute that to less salt in my body due to the amount of tears shed over the last year.
Well, I lost another person to FTD. No, not someone that died. I've never met anyone else with FTD. We have been seeing each other for a little over a month. She is incredibly direct, funny, and understanding. She was also very religious and was affiliated with one of the more compassionate religions. From the beginning we both have been clear that it would be only a romantic relationship because of my health. Much of our communication was done over the internet. The first few weeks over our friendship we went through a few major crises with me unintentionally hurting her with things I said. 
There is no way for me to stop with the sexual innuendos and inappropriate remarks. It would take me an hour to dig myself out of a hole, not knowing if I could. She is a wonderful woman and she tried to get it. She hung in there longer than most. Last night it happened again and she told me she didn't want to see me again. I can't blame her. She tried her best. I totally understand that I look normal and sound normal a good deal of the time, so when something I say is inappropriate the person is shocked and thinks I'm insensitive or have as in this case only sex on my mind. She didn't realize that nothing is further from the truth. She is now out of my life and I'm sad. 

This happens all the time, but every once in a while I think there is someone there for the long term as a friend and they’re gone.

I am painfully aware that I am unaware of what I say a good deal of the time, it is just difficult for others to comprehend. I will miss her.

Alas.  But there is a new person in my life who so far is hanging in there. A good Starbucks friend of mine, Alice, a health and medical writer with a PhD.  Alice quite often sits across from me. She is intelligent, unpretentious, incredible writer and a loving single mom. I met Alice a few months ago and we have become good friends.  I see Alice just about every day at Starbucks and she the only new person I've met in a long time that gets me and FTD.
She has that natural beauty and aura that is always turning heads. Alice is 20 years my junior and our lives are heading in different directions which is good so I cannot even think about her as anything but a friend. Still I feel like it is another cruel joke of the universe that such a beautiful woman in every respect has been thrown into my life and I will have to be tortured about the, "What If"  possibilities if I was 15 years younger and healthy. A friend of mine first introduced the idea of starting a blog to give me a positive thing to do and have purpose in my life. This was something I was looking for for a while. Alice took the time to show me the site I that could use to create my own blog. Like most things in life I pounced on it. Alice is consistently helping me by reading my articles before I publish them to make sure I won't have anyone chasing me home or suing me for my food stamps. I am a real pain in the ass and I really make a concerted effort to let her do her work and not drive her crazy. Alice's articles have been a huge help for me in putting together and keeping together my life. I'm attaching a link to an article which she just sent me the other day that anybody affiliated with any major illness should read. Caregiver or patient. 
I am also attaching a link to her Forbes health blog which has plenty of articles. Here is a particular one I enjoyed about the psychology of yoga:
Of course now I need to add on a cute FTD story. They’re not all nightmares. This happened about 2 weeks ago:
Please remember I go this Starbucks 7 days a week for a minimum of 3 hours. I know quite a few people there and they know not only about me and FTD, but the work I am doing to help others. I sort of notice when Alice is on line for her herbal tea refills, I don't gawk or stare, but I notice. I am also very careful about monitoring my behavior as much as I can. People that know me do give me a gentle nudge once in a while by saying, "Howard you look like your getting a bit tired" or "Staying late today". I realize I'm being told I'm slipping and it's time to go. It's usually only 9:30-10:30am.
Anyway as I was previously saying, I do notice Alice when she is on line just like I notice quite a few other females. A few days ago Alice had on a different manufacturer’s jeans than she usually wears and I noticed it, but of course didn't say anything. At one point she sat down and said, "Howard, that's a nice shirt you’re wearing". Without thinking, I retorted, "Thank you Alice. By the way those jeans fit you really well, they look much nicer on you than the Levi's you usually wear". Alice turned a little red and of course I couldn't help myself and I said, "you’re blushing". She said, "Of course I am, and those aren't Levi's.".
Later in the day I sent Alice an email: “Alice, congratulations! You have been officially FTD'd.” We still laugh about it.
I saw Alice this morning and told her how much I value her friendship. I told her when I see her sometimes I think of the first US astronaut to go into space Alan Shepard and the Shepard Prayer:   Shortly before the launch, Shepard said to himself:  "Dear Lord, please don't let me fuck up".  
All relationships with FTD are extremely hard. In life, there are many unknowns. I might live another 3 years or 30 years. There is no crystal ball and absolutely nobody knows. I do value family, friendship, and love. 
The romance and intimacy that I had in the first relationship was wonderful while it lasted. I have been in a string of these since last year when I was diagnosed. It’s not easy being 53 with a libido of a teenager. Another identifiable FTD symptom. 
What has developed with Alice is a wonderful friendship and I’m hoping she will stick with me through thick and thin. Yesterday, I went for a walk with Alice and her adorable 2 year old son.  I was well rested having a nap. Of course I cursed a couple of times and Alice asked me to try and watch my language. It took a concerted effort to slow myself down and monitor everything that came out of my mouth. I still blurted out a few things over the hour we were together, but for the most part I kept it together. 
I cannot tell you how difficult it is to keep it together. Keeping myself silent and not cursing, saying sexual innuendoes, making derogatory statements about a dog etc. Every 2 minutes it was something else. I mentioned this periodically to Alice. 
In the last year I have worked extremely hard to deal with the symptoms of FTD. In other words I still believe it’s mind over brain matter, though others believe there is less brain matter and behavior cannot be controlled. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me because I am going to continue to be happy and lead a purposeful life with meaningful friends. 

My true friends and children will always be there for me, just as I will always be there for them and maybe,  just maybe I will be lucky once more in life to find true love and romance together again.

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