Some of you have already heard about Rebecca Doig, a 31-year-old mother-to-be, who was diagnosed with depression when she began forgetting things and seeming less mentally present.
But her condition quickly worsened, and doctors discovered it was actually a rare genetic form of Alzheimer’s disease, one that has taken much of her personality and memory in just a couple of short years.
Around the same time that she received her diagnosis, Rebecca and her husband, Steve, also found out they were expecting their first child. But what should be one of the happiest moments of their lives turned into a roller coaster ride of anxiety and fear. How do you go about raising a child when you’re not even sure you’ll be able to remember its name?
This update on Rebecca’s story is a tragic twist on an already sad situation.
Rebecca’s disease took hold with great speed, leaving her unable to continue living with her family in their home. She lived out the last days of her life at Bowden Brae care facility and passed away in 2011 at the age of 32. Her daughter, Emily, was 15 months old.
Watch the video below to remember Rebecca, a brave woman who endured despite her disease and whose face always lit up at the sight of her family, even when she was in terrible mental health. Rest in peace, Rebecca.
Early-onset dementia in any of its forms is a very real and very scary disease. And just like its later-onset cousins, our treatments for it are very often ineffective. However, there are a few things you can do to prepare, so that you can rest assured that you will be safe and well cared for as your condition worsens.
Give power of attorney to someone (or more than one someone) you trust so that they can be in charge of your health and finances when you’re unable to be. It’s also a great idea to think about how you’re going to cover the costs of any safety equipment or medical care you’ll need later. make a plan for where you’d like to live and how you’d like your treatment to be handled. Let as many of your loved ones as you can know about your plans so they can help you implement them and ensure they are carried out properly.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?