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A Year of Alzheimer's
By Elisa Lewis

(Page 3 of 3)

Now I had my explanation. I was loaded for a fight. That evening I confessed to my husband what I had been going through and what my plan was. He tried to understand but he had no experience with such things. Since I had been so easily sent away with my previous fears, I prepared myself to stand up to my doctor and not back down. There had to be another way to treat my cancer. I could not accept living the way I had been.

Four long days later, I saw the nurse practitioner instead of the oncologist when I went in for my bi-annual visit. I told her about my inability to find the proper word or write narrative; and how these endangered my marriage, my friendships, my self image and my career and income. She immediately said that we could substitute another medication. I was shocked that I didnít have to use my entire store of arguments. My reaction to tamoxifen was uncommon, but documented. It was over. Such a relief. In two weeks I was back to normal.

I had felt what it must be like to experience the slow onset of Alzheimerís and it was the most awful thing you can imagine. Being aware of losing your mind is extremely worse than losing a body part. And I was laden with the responsibility to tell others of my experience. What would I tell them? First, if you know something isnít normal for you, it isnít. Help is out there. Go for it. Donít wait. Ask for what you want. Demand what you need.

What else would I tell them? What I asked of my husband. When you see others change, suffer, struggle, tell them that something is different about them. Tell them, lovingly, that their behavior is not like them. Donít discount them, push them away, blame them. Tell them you love them and you want to see them get help and find out what is wrong. It may well be the best gift of love you will ever give.

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