Today is World’s Alzheimer’s Day. It is to bring light to one of the most devastating diseases out there. But to us caregivers, who have cared for someone with it, everyday is Alzheimer’s Day. Of course, mom had dementia which is an umbrella term for memory loss then there are several different types, with Alzheimer’s being the most common form of dementia. But that isn’t the reason I write this.
Mom has been on my mind a lot lately. My husband and I are following our dreams and are building a food truck. Bbq to be exact with a side of snow cones. I have really been wondering what mom would have thought about this venture. She was always our biggest fan no matter what. But, she knew my husband’s love for cooking, and how good he is at it. The reason I have been thinking of mom a lot lately is because of one thing. Why did she get dementia? There has been a few breakthroughs on research for this horrible disease. Scientist have found that a probable cause is from the same bacteria that is in gingivitis. Yes, that gingivitis that you get in your mouth. But, there has also been long term studies on certain medications. Lipitor, a cholesterol reducing medicine, has a long term effect of memory loss. Mom was on Lipitor for years before she was diagnosed. Also, mom was addicted to Diet Coke. Diet Coke, along with so many other diet drinks, has aspartame, has also been linked to memory loss. Now, I am not saying that these are the causes of dementia, but what I am saying, this is what I believe either one or both of these was the cause of my mom’s diagnosis.
Then you add in my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer a year and a half after her dementia diagnosis. She had it in her lymph nodes, a spot in her left lung, her left #8 rib, her adrenal glands, and her right hip (which happened to be the spot that grew). She had an MRI done when she was diagnosed with dementia and they checked for any brain cancer, which fortunately wasn’t there. Doing research while writing this, mom did have a couple of factors that might have led to her developing it. But then I wonder this, she had stage 4 when diagnosed. Research shows that an average of 5 years for a tumor to be felt. So, mom had breast cancer before she had dementia. Was there a cancer cell that they didn’t pick up on the MRI?
I know I will forever drive myself crazy with trying to figure out what killed my mom. I hate that I have even thought of this, but honestly, its a real question. My mom refused to get a mammogram. If she did, she could have probably saved her life. She could have had spared me of the heartache of watching her die before my eyes both mentally and physically. Yes, I am pissed that she put me through it. The only cancer on my mom’s side of the family was my grandmother (her mom) that had a melanoma on her wrist. It was cut out and that was that. Why did my mom have to be so selfish and not take care of herself. Did her cancer cause the dementia? I want to say yes. I know things are missed on an MRI, especially if they are small. But still. I really now wish I could just ask her why. Why did she not get them? Yes, I am upset. I miss her everyday and today, of all days, I realize it wasn’t the dementia that mom developed first. It was the cancer and cancer is what did her in.