Now I'm no doctor so I'm terribly sorry if anything I write in this post is wrong in some way or offensive to some people. I just want to talk about what my family has been going through these last few years.
On the 18th of August this year my mother was officially diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's disease.
She is 45 years old.
My family has a lot of history with Alzheimer's disease. When my mother was younger than I am now, she lost her father, her aunt and her uncle to Early On Set Alzheimer's Disease. In a few short years she had lost a big important chunk of her family.
It was around six years ago when we started noticing a difference with my mother. I remember her repeating herself a lot and having to write down everything she had to do that day. For a long time none of us did anything about it because a few years before this she had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and we had been told that it came with slight memory loss. We told ourselves that it was just that, we had nothing to worry about.
Then when I turned eighteen. I finished a college course and started looking for work. There wasn't much around so I ended up spending a lot of my time at home with my mam. I began noticing her getting worse and worse and one day she left the house to go to the opticians. I remember getting worried because she'd been gone for awhile, I rang her mobile and when she answered, she told me she couldn't find the car. I told her to stay were she was and I phoned my father to go pick her up. He found her easily but that night we decided as a family to go to the doctors the next morning.
It took them a long time to diagnose her, the doctor we were given in the beginning was useless and we just kept going around in circles. Then at the beginning of this year we went back to our GP and told him that we weren't happy with the doctor she was under and he was shocked to find that they had no records of any tests the memory doctor had given her. So our GP told us that she needed to see a neurologist. It took another six months to get the appointment.
He diagnosed her within two hours of meeting her.
Even though my whole family at that point had come to there own conclusion of what was going on it was still a kick in the teeth when we were told. It's funny, even though my mother has been diagnosed with this horrible disease. I have this fear that the doctors are going to say they were wrong and take the diagnosis away. How fucked up is that? All I can figure from it is that at least now we know, I hate the fact that she has this disease but at least now we know what we're fighting against. I would never wish the limbo of not knowing on anyone. It was the worst time of my life.
I've been officially caring for my mam now for about two years because we realized that someone needed to be with her at all times.
What I've come to understand these last few years is that unsurprisingly a lot of the time the movies get it wrong and you can't really understand this disease unless you see it up close and personal. Until the day comes when you realize that someone you love and respect has lost the ability to write, to drive, to cut up their food, to get dressed or even say a complete sentence without muddling up their words.
So that's all I want to say about it for now, I've kept it quite for a long time. Longer than I should have.
You know what though? A day doesn't go by that me and my mam don't laugh our arses off. I think that's how we've gotten through what we have so far. She's still my best friend and she always will be.
Love You Mam x