Keep Up The Fight
When a person is diagnosed with cancer, there is a time to freak out, do research and come up with a plan. You can keep hope with you at all times. As a person with a definitive answer on what is going on and what will most likely happen, there is opportunity to round up the troops and make strategic plans to fight and beat the horrible disease battering your body. There are options and new treatments finding their way to your local oncologist office regularly. Fighting through dementia isn’t quite the same. Actually, it isn’t even close.
It can take years to just get a diagnosis. The treatments promise no cure. Nothing new has hit the market in years. There are no teary eyed actors portraying survivors. There are no major campaigns to bring awareness and funds to the masses. There are frustrations and paperwork and isolation. There is sadness and dejection at every new loss of ability for the person afflicted.
Cancer patients are supported by the community. They are supported by huge corporations. They are supported by professional sports teams, government agencies, credit card companies, food companies, hotel chains, toy makers, car companies and just about every conceivable way to support a sickness. Cancer is supported as far as publicity and money for research, programs and options for help. When I first started searching for support groups or help taking a last family vacation and programs for the kids, website after website showed interest in helping those afflicted with cancer but at the time, I couldn’t find anything for help with Alzheimer’s Disease, let alone Younger Onset.
And Cancer should get help. WE ALL SHOULD. Fighting cancer is a tough, tough battle. Sometimes it has a very sad, very unexpected ending. It is painful to be part of the process even if the outcome is a positive one. The treatments are sometimes worse than the actual disease and a person is never the same after battling the big C. I am not here to take away the pain caused by losing someone to cancer or dealing with the aftermath or the lingering affects of cancer. I am trying to point out the discrepancy between the diseases. The amount for funding. The number of businesses shouting out support and offering financial backing as well. I don’t want cancer research to stop….it is imperative to keep moving forward in finding ways to cure all cancers. I just think dementia deserves the same help since there is no cure, the battles usually last much longer, play havoc with the whole family and drain families finances (just as many cancer treatments do). Cancer has taken away people I love dearly. My father is a cancer survivor, which undoubtedly is due to the fact research was done and treatments for his particular cancers were found. And I strongly believe one day, dementia patients will be treated with different medications and plans depending on the type of dementia they are afflicted with. Younger Onset will have a different plan than Frontotemporal dementia which will differ from Lewy Body Dementia.
But we are a long way from being able to effectively treat one form of dementia, let alone break them down into separate treatment plans to delve into individually. Cancer just happens to be the disease I am using as an example. AIDS/HIV now has survivors and treatments. Huge strides have been made with heart disease and it is common to not only survive a heart attack, but know before one happens. (Again, I am very thankful as my dear Mom is a receiver of these successes in advancing treatments) Polio was once feared and wreaked havoc until the government got serious and threw financial backing into research. We have made strides this past year with more funding for Alzheimer’s research than ever before, but we must not get complacent.
Dementia is so much more than just being the 6th leading cause of death. It is the death of marriages, families, savings, caregivers and so much more. There is not only no cure, there is no true plan for helping families, helping those suffering and assisting those going through the post traumatic stress that usually accompanies caring for someone for years with Alzheimer’s Disease. It is imperative we keep fighting and forcing our voices to be heard.