Will I Forget You?


Will I forget you? Never. You hear couples tell one another this all the time. We will grow old together and will always be there for each other.

Try having dementia. That puts a whole new spin on "I will always love you," or "I will never forget you."

Whoever thought that after decades of being with just one person that you would or could never forget them, never had in mind dementia.

I think about this every day. I worry about it, I stress over it. Think of it as being at the airport telling your loved one good-bye, knowing you will never, ever see them again.

That is what it's like. The worry, the constant worry of when will that day come. In time, with this disease, you lose everything.

This is because dementia slowly but surely takes your memories. I have Early Onset Alzheimer's, so they tell me.

"They" also say it progresses far faster than Alzheimer's. Couple of questions here. Who is "they" and who told "them" this?

This could very well be true. But don't go citing statistics to me. That's another thing that is done with this disease that is bogus.

Not until recently have they even been putting cause of death as dementia on a death certificate. So any statistics anyone gives me are in no way meaningful, and simply don't hold water as far as I'm concerned.

Just the very term "Early Onset" is in itself misleading. Here's how, once again, "they" came up with that term.

If you are 65 years or older and are diagnosed with Alzheimer's, that indeed is what it is, Alzheimer's.

Now, if you are younger than 65 and diagnosed with Alzheimer's, it is indeed Early Onset. And just by calling it Early Onset, "they" concur it progresses faster.

I have yet to read in any medical journal, or hear anyone with any medical background i.e. Neurologists, explain to me why there's a difference.

My take on it is simple. I have much more time to worry about losing things by being diagnosed at 57, and having had memory problems for five years prior to that, than someone who is diagnosed at 70.

It's not rocket science. It's simple math. The stress alone will drive you crazy as will the worry about when you will forget about your loved ones.

I don't know what made me think of this, could it be it's all I think about? Perhaps. 'Course it's happening to me and yet, "they," whoever "they" are know better . . .

Editor's note: Rick's journey with Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease was chronicled in "Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer's," an in-depth look at the real lives of families impacted by the Alzheimer's epidemic. His story continues on his personal blog on AgingCare.com.

Rick Phelps became an advocate for dementia awareness after being diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in June of 2010, at the age of 57. He was forced into early retirement and created Memory People, an online dementia and memory impairment group which supports over 7,000 individuals, all touched in some way by dementia.

While I Still Can

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Rick, "they" like to reduce everything to simple equations. The mind, however, is complex beyond all human comprehension. You are aware that all is not well, but you still have the ability to think and reason, therefore you are able to pursue any avenue of healing that holds promise. Meditation, prayer, diet, exercise, herbs, physical therapy, or whatever... anything that helps ease your anxiety and strengthen your cognitive abilities.

I've been talking to someone who takes a jellyfish based product called Prevagen to deal with "brain fog" and memory issues. She claims it has helped her greatly, but she doesn't have dementia, just "why did I come into this room?" syndrome that is so common among middle-aged and older. The FDA is not so sure, but they haven't pulled it from the market, and anyway I don't trust government alphabet agencies, especially one that is in the hip pocket of the pharmaceutical industry!

Since I haven't seen reports of side effects, this could be something that might help stave off the progression of your illness. As we all discover sooner or later, even a few extra years of good living is priceless!

P.S. Judging from your writing, I'd say you have better mental faculties than 90% of the people who post comments in places like youtube, LOL!
My mom was diagnosed around age 72. She passed away a year ago at the age of 81. She ended up in a NH for the last 3 years of her life. While her memory waxed and waned, and on some days over the last 6 months of her life she didn't seem to recognize my brother or me, on her last day she still knew me. She couldn't speak, but she could still mostly understand. The look of relief when I walked into her room told me that she knew who I was. She held my hand for support and they were able to make her comfortable. I talked to her, told her her life story- which she had always loved to hear- and assured her I would be okay. Not everyone with a diagnosis of dementia forgets it all.
I did read recently some research that indicates that dementia patients can react to recent events that they do not apparently "remember"--but there is something back there that does retain it. My brother had Parkinsons, and showed memory problems before the physical symptoms. But even late in the disease, he would occasionally "come back" for a short period--so there was more there than he could usually communicate.