“In a way, Alzheimer’s has freed me from having to remember who I met yesterday and what they said,” my husband told me. “Now, I live for the day and at least, there is no more pressure.”
Gradually, Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive form of dementia, diminished my husband’s sharp memory and stole him away from me. It affected his cognitive ability and caused the area of his brain that controls memory and cognitive functioning to degenerate. Common everyday tasks became difficult and affected his quality of life.
Can you imagine someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s standing in a desert during a mild sandstorm? He might look like a sand sculpture, yet, each week some sand will fall off, and as time goes by, the sculpture will gradually lose its original form. That’s what happened to my husband’s brain.
A 70-year-old woman I met, was unable to recognize her children and suspected others of robbing her. Minutes after a meal, she’d forgotten what she had eaten and worse still, she’d forgotten that she had even eaten.
Years ago, people whispered when they spoke about Cancer or Alzheimer’s so maybe we are now on the way to treat brain illnesses as such, instead of stigmatizing the person who is unfortunate enough to get one of them
In yesterday’s newspaper, April 3, 2013, I read the following very promising headline: Obama launches brain research initiative. The White House unveiled details of a new initiative to study the human brain with the goal of treating or curing Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders. The program is called The Brain Research through advancing innovative neurotechnology … Brain Initiative. The program is to be funded with $100 million from President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget. The White House is slated to release the budget next week.
This impressed me so much, that I found a place on the internet whereby I was able to send an e-mail directly to the White House. I thanked President Obama for his initiative and told him that schizophrenia had claimed my son and Alzheimer’s my husband. Then I added; ‘few politicians to date have gained any votes for championing people suffering from a mental illness nor individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or any other brain illness for that matter.’
I realize that there is not much hope of the President ever getting to read my message, but I can hope, can’t I?