Okay, multiple generations of women on my mother's side of the family have suffered from Alzheimer's Disease. My mom. My grandmother. My great-aunt. My great-grandmother. And these are only the ones I know of.
I can't speak for my sister, but I'm sure it's crossed her mind, as it has mine. "Am I next?" It's a question that could rule my life, if I choose to let it. Though it is a question that I wrestle with on occasion, it's not taking over. I won't let it.
How do I get beyond it? How do I deal with it? Educating myself on the disease helped. Last year I wrote a newspaper article on "menopause brain." Essentially, it involves women getting forgetful during that stage of their lives - it doesn't last and it's not Alzheimer's. I also interviewed a nurse practitioner about brain aging -- something we all go through. I remember something she told me -- that everyone forgets where their car keys are, but you don't have to worry unless you forgot what the car keys are for.
That interview helped tremendously. That and realizing I'm going to live the best life I can and take care of myself and my brain. No, it doesn't mean I'll be doing crossword puzzles 24/7 or only eating those foods that help brain function.
I will, however, work on issues that could contribute to the disease and could come up in my life -- I know they came up in my mom's and she didn't address them -- anxiety and depression, to name a few.
And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that medical research finds some answers to combat this disease.