It’s hard to believe something so horrible can exist, a disease that can rob your memories and steal away the essence of your being. Unfortunately Alzheimer’s in fact exists and is rapidly rising to a leading cause of death.
I was lucky to have had a grandmother help raise and shape me into the woman I am today. My grandmother was a very intelligent lady and had the best memory. She never forgot a birthday or a holiday. She actually was our alarm clock during our school days. She was always on time and never failed to have us set on schedule to anything we needed to attend.
With age certain things started to change my grandmother who was always active and social started to slowly decline. She started with these light tremors and found it harder to keep her balance. She stopped wanting to go out and became lethargic. Of course we worried but her physician assured us it was with age that many elders would decline but to reassure us he would have us check with a neurologist that specialized with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
I wish it would’ve been like this forever. Unfortunately nothing last forever; in the fall of 2009 my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s. We of course took advantage of all we could to help stop the progression of this horrible disease. The hardest part was seeing your very healthy active grandmother decline and there was nothing you could do. There was no cure out there and only certain drugs that can possible help slow down the symptoms. Our family did research and tried healthier diets even physical therapy to help grandmother stay active and help keep her brain healthy. We were fortunate to have our mother who became a full time care giver with the help of my sister and me.
We seemed to have some good years living after the diagnosis. In December of 2013, my grandmother suffered a mild stroke. After her stroke and a month of Physical therapy we were back home and things seemed to be looking good for what we were given. I remember those days when my sweet grandmother asked for the 12th time what day it was or assured me she hadn’t had anything to eat all day, when in fact she was on her second meal of the day. She also had more days of believing she was living with her sister like in her younger days. She was still mobile and able to get around with assistance. Shortly after her first stroke came another one. The second stroke left my grandmother less mobile. She became irritated with the fact she was not able to do much on her own. She forgot how to take steps and became less and less active. She became so upset with her accidents because it was a reminder that she was no longer able to control much. With incontinence also came frequent UTI’s that drained my Grandmother’s health. Her hospital stays increased and it seemed to be hard to get the help and fighters for her. It became frustrating finding hope. Most doctors assured us they would do all they could to help but weren’t hopeful. They blamed her Alzheimer’s; dementia and Parkinson’s didn’t help her prognosis. We continued to fight and she continued the fight with us. Until she couldn’t anymore, we lost the battle 9 months after her second stroke. My grandmother will always be my hero. She was the strongest fighter I’ve ever came across. It’s still very hard living in a world without my grandmother who was like a mother to me. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death; more than 5 million Americans are living with the disease. It is very crucial that we raise awareness and find a cure. I hope that in the future we do find a cure and stop losing the battle. I will continue to fight the battle for my grandmother and hopefully we will be closer to helping others battling this disease.