Let me be clear, yes, I would want to know as early as possible if I was going to live with Alzheimer's disease.
I am going to attack this controversial issue - would you want to know if you were going to suffer from Alzheimer's disease years before it happened - by relating this issue back to my mother.
My mother, Dotty, lived with Alzheimer's disease for a long time.
I first realized something was drastically wrong in 2003. So I came to Delray Beach, Florida on November 17, 2003 to find out what was wrong.
Shortly thereafter, I dropped out of the world (first by quitting my job) to find out what was really wrong, and to take care of my mom.
I was with my mom for all but 22 days from November 17, 2003 until May 25, 2012, the day she went to Heaven.
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My mother was "officially" diagnosed in 2004. She had all kinds of tests; but, the bottom line was she was rapidly closing in on the moderate to severe stage of dementia.
So, yes I would have wanted to know sooner.
Because I could have spent all those extra years doing the one and most important thing I could have done.
Let me shout it.
I could have reassured my mother that I was doing to take good care of her; and that, we were going to continue living our life.
Now I am not the kind of guy that dwells on the past -- other than to learn from it.
It is my belief that
you cannot change the past,
But you can change the future.
So when I say here that I wish I had known sooner please put these words in the proper context.
As for my mother, I do believe that if I had asked my mother to take a memory test in say 2000, she would have done it willingly. I had a very good relationship with my mom.
So there you go, we might have known three years sooner. Both of us.
I would have had the time when she was more cognitively efficient to explain to her what we were going to do, and to
Reassure her that I was going to take care of her.
I cannot say for certain what we would have done, because you can't change the past. However, what I think we would have done is the same thing we did do.
We attacked Alzheimer's disease.
We did not stick our head in the sand.
For those of you that were here while Dotty was still alive, you saw how she changed. How she became more aware in her own way. How she became happy after being meaner than a junk yard dog.
And, you followed along as we lived our life.
Yes, after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's we continued to live our life.
Everyone has a choice. We chose life.
So as I look back I come to one simple conclusion every time.
The sooner you know the better.
Now you might not like the words below but let me tell it like it is.
You might delude yourself into thinking that since there is no effective treatment or cure, you don't want to know.
Well I don't know of any situation in life where
Sticking Your Head in the Sand
makes things better.
When you ignore a big problem it only gets worse. Problems rarely go away.
Over the years I learned a lot about Alzheimer's disease.
I learned that persons living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia are capable of
More Than We Can Imagine.
Dotty made me smile, laugh and feel enormous Joy thousands of time even when she was beyond the moderate stage of Alzheimer's disease.
I have thousands of pictures in my brain of Dotty and her sweet little smile.
I learned that Alzheimer's patients, not just Dotty, are often wonderful, sweet, and sometimes entertaining.
They can blow you away if you open your mind and heart.
I also learned that Alzheimer's care partners are often wonderful in their own right.
Let me close by telling you this.
I often read care partners say right here on the Alzheimer's Reading Room that if they get Alzheimer's
they don't want anyone to "suffer" taking care of them.
Well let me tell you something I learned along the way.
If you have a
in your family they are going to take care of you.
And, once I get your ONE up to "snuff" right here in the Alzheimer's Reading Room, you will be living your life just like my mom did.
I must admit I am full of emotion right now. I have to blow my nose.
For those of you that knew us I'll end by telling you.
I'm hungry, I'm starving. Cheesesteak anyone?
Don't put your head in the sand.
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized Influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community Worldwide. The Alzheimer's Reading Knowledge Base contains more than 4,600 articles, and the ARR has more than 343,000 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room