Alzheimer’s Disease is Killing My Mom

Alzheimer’s disease is killing my mom.  Sounds harsh, but it’s true.  It’s deliberately taking over my mom’s brain like a wildfire out of control.  It’s an insidious, controlled blaze that is slowly and methodically destroying the parts of her brain responsible for memory, language, reasoning, walking, swallowing and eventually breathing. It’s a long drawn out death that will most likely have my mom in a vegetative state near the end.

Nothing will put out this fire except the fire itself when it destroys it’s host.

In describing the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease, alzheimersillness.com says,

In this final stage of disease progression, many individuals enter a catatonic-like state, and they are suffering from the worst effects of Alzheimer’s disease. They lose their ability to speak and respond to others, though occasionally words may be uttered. They are unable to sit up, smile, swallow, hold their head up, and their reflexes become abnormal and muscles get rigid. Eventually this end stage leads to death, typically about eight years after they were diagnosed with the disease.

 

I’m telling you this because we forget that Alzheimer’s is a terminal illness.  Well, I know I did — rather, I was in denial about it.  The symptoms of Alzheimer’s shift the focus from terminal illness to memory impairment and strange behavior.   It becomes real easy to focus on how the Alzheimer’s sufferer is no longer normal and how we are coping with the abnormal behavior, rather than acknowledging they are dying a long drawn out death.

We are complacent when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease.  We hear the term all the time and many of us come to believe it’s a natural part of aging, but it’s not.

Quick — what do you think of when I say Alzheimer’s disease?  If you’re like me, you think of memory loss.  But that’s just the first of 7 stages of the disease, with death being the last.   What if I told you that 42.3 million people worldwide will die from brain cancer in the year 2020.  Scary right?  This isn’t true, but if you replace the words brain cancer with Alzheimer’s, that would be true.

Alzheimer’s is a deadly disease not a memory disease.

There is no cure.  Which means my mom is dying.

Yes, I’m angry about this.

Come back tomorrow for “10 Reasons I’m Grateful for Alzheimer’s Disease”

 

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Comments

  1. Jeanne says:

    I share your anger Joanne. Much love to you.

    • Joanne Leonardis says:

      The anger comes and goes and I’m usually not angry about this, but I guess I was angry yesterday when I wrote this. I’m just trying to be honest here. Love you too Jeanne. : )

  2. Barbara Mabary says:

    Hi, Joanne, I am Christy Hall’s mom. (Scott Hall, son of John, is Christy’s husband) Christy shared your site with me today. My mother-in-law is 95 and on her own journey. She is staying with us two months at a time, and then with Bob’s sister for two months, etc. This is already helping us better understand what is happening. Thank you so much for the way you are sharing your own experiences. I can see that this will be a blessing for all of us. God bless you and give you continued strength in the days ahead. Your mother is truly blessed. Barbara

    • Joanne Leonardis says:

      Hi Barbara, Of course I know Christy and I’m so glad you shared here! I’m sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. It sounds like your family is taking care of her the way my mom, aunt and uncle took care of my grandmother when she had Alzheimer’s — it’s one of the toughest jobs there is. I’m so glad you’re finding my writing helpful. It’s a devastating disease that I’m only beginning to understand and sharing about it has been beneficial for me as well. I thank you for coming on this journey with me and I wish you peace and understanding on yours.
      Please give my love to Scott, Christy and family.
      Joanne

  3. Laura Wood says:

    Hello…
    I just stumbled across your site while searching for info about how people progress into the last stage. I felt like I was reading my own words.
    I’m sorry for your loss, your Mom was beautiful and your love for her so evident.
    I hate this disease. I hate the lack of understanding about it – even in the healthcare community where this should not be the case. And I hate watching what has happened to my sweet loving beautiful mother. My best friend, my touchstone. I hate watching her die a little bit more every day.
    Thank you for your voice and understanding still out there on the internet even tho your Mom is free of it all…
    Thanks,
    Laura

    • Joanne Leonardis says:

      Hi Laura, I’m glad you found me, even though I haven’t written in a long time. I also found it difficult finding information on the “stages” of dementia. But I have an excellent information sheet on this that I can scan and send if you’re interested. Hang in there. Your mother is still with you — just look, and you will find her. : ) ~ Joanne

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