This is a topic I have wanted to write about for a long time but I haven’t been able to. I will probably have some texts or phone calls after this is posted, telling me to take it down. Asking why I am telling the world about something that we have been whispering about. I will probably have some people be mad at me. But this is something that I don’t want to hide anymore. And my hope is that maybe, just maybe, one person reading this might be struggling the same way that I am. I want that person to know that they aren’t alone. I don’t want anyone to have to feel the way that I feel. So it’s time to talk about Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is awkward.
Alzheimer’s is ugly.
Alzheimer’s is taboo.
It’s not something that people talk about openly.
And I would like to change that.
It is hard enough to have a family member suffer from a terrible, debilitating disease, but is even harder doing so in secret.
Secret because the person suffering can’t even remember that they have this disease. Secret because mental diseases are not something we openly talk about here. Yes, we have come a long way when it comes to understanding and treating those with mental diseases and disabilities. But we still have such a long way to go.
Think about it. When you are out and about in public and you see a person talking to themselves or just acting odd, is your first reaction to think that they might be struggling with a disease they can’t control? I’ll bet it’s not. And that’s sad. I’m certainly not judging you if your first thought is something negative about that person, because it’s my natural reaction to think something else too. But I desperately want to change that.
Another thing that makes me hate this disease is that it’s not something that you can fight. When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, there is always that tiny bit of hope that they can be strong, they can fight, and they can win. Please don’t get me wrong. Cancer SUCKS. But sometimes you win. You can’t fight Alzheimer’s. You can’t beat Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s wins every. single. time. When you, or someone you love, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is essentially a death sentence. But it won’t be quick or pretty. This is a disease that slowly takes over, and takes a person that you know and love more than anything in the world, and turns them into someone you don’t recognize anymore.
Just as they eventually won’t recognize you.
And the worst thing about Alzheimer’s is that there is nothing anyone can do about it. They have medication that “can help”, although in my experience I haven’t noticed a difference. As of right now, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. And we need to change that.
If you live in the PNW, specifically the Benton/Franklin county area. Please join me and my team, and walk with me in September in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, put on by the Alzheimer’s Associaton.
If you don’t live by me, or don’t want to walk, I hope that you will at least consider donating to my team.
I will be walking for my grandmother Peggy, and her sister Pat–who are currently living with this monster of a disease–and in memory of their sister Dotty, who lost her life to Alzheimer’s in 2012.
Alzheimer’s disease is the only cause of death in the top ten in America that can’t be prevented, cured, or slowed down.
And together, we will change that.