April 11, 2015

Alzheimer's Disease--The Growing, Unstoppable Epidemic

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

My wife, Marty, began undergoing chemo treatments for Lymphoma during the spring of 2011. In the summer of 2013 cognitive disruption began to rear its ugly head. When I asked her oncologist could it be  "chemo brain",  he more or less gave me an I'm not sure, maybe shrug followed by a "I don't think so.",  answer.

During the late summer of 2014 the "cognitive disruption" I had noticed  was officially diagnosed as Alzheimer's Disease.  So much for my "chemo brain" theory. The mental "fog"  was never going to go away.  On the contrary, I quickly found out that her newly discovered illness would hang on to her and not leave until it succeeded in taking her life. Alzheimer's Disease is the only cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed down.

Marty did not understand what was happening to her and I was having no luck trying to explain it. All she knew was that the rehab center she was in was not her home and that I had put her there and did not stay with her anymore. She had no idea where I (we) lived and was as frightened as a child whose parents at dropped her off at a strange place and left her there with strangers.  The whole situation actually sickened me. When I would leave after four or five hours of visiting the pathetically sad and forlorn look that appeared on her face was almost too much to bear.

It is now almost eight months since the official diagnosis of Alzheimer's. She has been home since the end of last October. I have told her that she has Alzheimer's Disease and she tells me that she understands. She does not understand but, since she forgets the conversation within minutes, it does not matter anyway.

Marty has become my new seven year-old existing in an old body. No one can tell she is ill, except me, of course, and several close friends that know about her condition.  When I take her with me to church and to the stores etc., I always hear how "wonderful" she looks. Yeah, well the Titanic looked all bright and shiny as it headed out into the Atlantic that cold, April day in 1912. (Oops, sorry, I try to avoid being "down" about this but sometimes it just bites me, especially when I write about it.) Moving forward---here is a link to Alzheimer's Disease .

Today, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease and about 200,000 of those folks are under the age of 65. The disease kills more people every year than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. It is estimated that by the year 2050, 16 million people will have this disease. Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's every 67 seconds. They have estimated that by 2050 it will be every 33 seconds. This is an epidemic growing before our eyes. It is also becoming a nightmare for more and more moms, dads, sons, daughters, grandchildren, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and society as a whole.

Imagine  that all around the country people like Marty Peterson, are having their brains slowly erased by an invisible demon inside their heads. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh; back and forth, back and forth, the tiny eraser keeps moving--back and forth, back and forth. Slowly but methodically the demon goes about its work 24/7. After awhile the person under attack does not even remember how to go to the bathroom. And then, after a time,  the eraser stops. It stops when  the disease it is part of finally erases the person's life.

That is the course of the relentless, unstoppable, illness known as Alzheimer's Disease. It is at work at this very moment. Somehow, someway we will have to stop it. We will need God's help because this war cannot be won without Him.

For more information click on this link  Alzheimer's Info

                                       copyright©Larry Peterson 2015