Linda R. - My Family and Alzheimer's
I am 71, and I have a strong family history, on my Father's side of Alzheimer's. Beginning with his father, then his sister, his brother and finally himself. His sister's son, my first cousin, (he was some older than me), was affected too and died two months ago.
And so I grew to know this disease as a child and young girl. I remember how it upset dad to visit his sister, who had progressed. It devasted him and he would cry and cry. Then, even though he was the oldest, his younger brother came down with it next and suddenly too.
The reason? He needed knee surgery, and when he mentioned this to his regular physician she asked, "Are you sure you want to do this?" Nothing about why and he was in such pain with his knee that he had the surgrey.
When he woke after the surgery, he was a completely different man! He was so confused they had to restrain him in his bed. Alzheimer's had arrived with a bang. Gradually he lost more and more of his memory, and the only person he knew was Dad. Although not a violent man, one day, he left at the house with a nurse so my aunt could get groceries, the nurse was walking him and he just punched her in the face full force! He was my favorite Uncle and it was agony to see this vibrant fun man like this.
My only sibling, my brother, died in 2007 from prostate cancer, but his greatest fear was Alzheimer's and was terrified. I am afraid too, but not so much for myself as for my family. If it comes, I know I will not be aware at some pont, but it is horrible to think that my two children, one adopted, (who is hopefully safe), will have to go through the agony of being a witness like my dad and my brother and I were.
One thing I do know. If I ever face surgery and annesthia, I will research it and possibly not have it unless it is life threatening, for I feel that my Uncle's surgery sped almost within 24 hours, to his rapid decent into the disease.
I am, however, encouraged by the research and work being done by Dr. David Perlmutter, GrainBrain, Type 3 Diabetes, Coconut Oil, and the recent announcement about a possible cure!
When they call it "The Long Death", that is exactly what it is, and it is gueling on the families left behind to watch helplessly as their loved one becomes a hollow shelll of what they once were, and the caretakers too.