By Rick Phelps
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.