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A Year of Alzheimer's
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.