It went on for 18 hours. I refused to look it up. Instead, I thought and thought and thought. I went to bed thinking about it. I woke up in the morning and thought about it.
Then magically around 10am in the morning, it hit me. It’s CIOPPINO! Of course! How could I forget?
Forgetting a simple, random and almost useless fact happens to me from time to time. I wasn’t always like this. In fact, I used to be so proud of my memory. I could recall a name of a person I met at a mixer with no problem. I could immediately call up a name of a strange dish or a name of a restaurant we just passed by as if I had known it all my life.
Now days, with more exposure and knowledge I have about Alzheimer’s disease, when I forget to recall something my thoughts race to wonder if it’s a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease for me. With recent studies pointing to genetic disposition of getting this disease, I think about the fact that my maternal grandmother had Alzheimer’s. I think about my mom currently suffering from it. I think about me. I think about my sister. I think about my daughter. I think about my future granddaughter. My thoughts began to cry out, “I am only 46. I’m too young to be forgetting simple things.“ Then I recall the Purple Sunshine community posts. “My mom is 50 and she has had Alzheimer’s for the last 4 years…. My husband was diagnosed with AD at age 50…”.
For those of us who are exposed to Alzheimer’s patients, we are so painfully aware of the devastating nature of this disease. It’s too easy to get caught up in the fear of possibly getting afflicted with the disease ourselves. I posed this question to our Purple Sunshine community and about three quarter of respondents said they live in fear that they will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Surprisingly, about a quarter of them said while it’s a thought they have, they don’t live in fear. I applaud the people who are living strong despite the fear.
If anyone is worried, the best thing you can do for yourself is get educated, find a support group, and make lifestyle changes…NOW. Make changes so you eat better, get exercise, do things to stimulate your brain, and think positively. In my case, I have pretty much completely removed all white flour and rice, white sugar, sodas, junk foods such as store bought chips, cookies and snacks from my cupboard. I have also made a commitment to exercise at least 20 minutes a day. I’m also learning to do brand new things. I’ve started a blog site. I have learned stock trading. I am reading financial news. All of these things are brand new for me from a year ago. I know I will continue to have moments where I forget names of dishes, names of people, name of places I had visited. I also know I will force my brain to recollect the answer, and I will not rest until it does. I also know I will not be on TV to play Jeopardy… but that’s OK. I’m living not in fear, but despite it. I choose to live strong and take each day for what it is. The fear that I too may be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease the way my grandmother was, and the way my mother is will persist. But it will only be a fleeting thought, living dormant in the back of my mind. Live strong. Live courageously. Live well despite the fear.