My name is Wendy and I am 54 years old. Prior to my diagnosis (which was 3 years ago) I was working full-time as a Payroll Officer and I was a sole parent with my 22 year old daughter living at home.
It was in my work place that I first noticed something was not right. I had been in Payroll for 18 years and couldn’t remember how to do back pay or remember the meetings that I had attended. So after becoming quite concerned about what was going on at work I went to my GP of several years.
My husband was diagnosed 4 years ago with Alzheimer’s as a result of my noticing speech repetition patterns developing over a period of a few months. There are some excellent services available to people suffering from this dreadful disease but I feel that there are some areas which need addressing urgently especially in the light of the burgeoning number of cases diagnosed each year.
Michael grew up in the South-West of England, living in the fishing villages of Cornwall and Devon.
He enjoyed an active outdoor life.
A natural ability in art took him to art college, which was then interrupted by his conscription to the British Air-Force, where he was chosen to be a Fitness Instructor. From there he was recruited to be trained in the newly developed Diploma in Remedial Gymnastics, to help rehabilitate severely disabled ex-servicemen.
I went through the public system having blood tests, bone marrow biopsies, psychological tests, cat scans and MRI tests. They all came back negative. The doctors said they couldn't find out what was wrong with me. It was only that we pushed for a SPECT test that finally showed the severe damage in my brain that was causing the dementia.
It has been 9 years since my father had a heart transplant giving him a new lease of life and allowing us to have him with us for much longer.
Unfortunately, the drugs that suppress my father’s immune system cause him to frequently develop skin cancers even though he never ventures into the sun. He is, in fact, currently undergoing radiotherapy for a deadly melanoma known for its prevalence to those with suppressed immune systems.
What makes the side effects of his medication more challenging is the fact that he has vascular dementia.