31st July 2014 – the day I sat in the consultant’s room and received the official diagnosis. It wasn’t a surprise as we’d frequently spoken about the outcome in those terms. However, there’s always this slight hope in the back of your mind that they’d made a mistake and have now found the real cause of your symptoms. It wasn’t to be.
Some people may not want to know they have dementia – I was actually relieved to have a diagnosis. It meant I could finally bring a closure to all the uncertainty, to all the ‘what ifs’ , ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’. It enables you to look at life from a new perspective and to plan and take up challenges that might otherwise never have crossed your path. For example, talented researchers may be on the brink of a new breakthrough. An early diagnosis has given me the opportunity to go on medication which may give me long enough to benefit from such discoveries.
It has also given me the opportunity to sit down and talk honestly and openly with my daughters and plan my future, which in turn has relieved them from having to make those difficult emotional decisions around my care and future treatment. If more people had the same early diagnosis they too could plan their own future care and enjoy life while they still had the mental capacity to do so. It must be so difficult for loved ones to feel they’re making the ‘right’ decision if no discussions have taken place.
After the recent announcement that GP’s would get £50 for each patient diagnosed with dementia, my initial reaction was ‘any publicity is good publicity’ but I also wondered how many GP’s would find this an insult and yet another target to meet. Surely the vast majority of GP’s don’t need an incentive to diagnose…………I think one of the major hurdles to overcome is getting people to go the the GP in the first place and not being afraid to admit they may need help. After all there is still a stigma attached to the diagnosis of dementia for some people.
One Saturday a couple of weeks ago we sat down together and went through the difficult task of completing the Lasting Powers of Attorney. We were all drained at the end but at least we now have everything on paper. Receiving the diagnosis was just as difficult for them as it was for me but we’ve supported and protected each other through this. Needless to say they’re not just my rock, they’re my mountains and I wouldn’t be in the state I am today if it wasn’t for their love and support – it might also have something to do with me making a pretty mean Afternoon Tea as well…………….:)