Anna Suarez, father diagnosed with dementia at age 64
My Dad’s dementia diagnosis came as a bonus; after successful surgery to remove his right frontal lobe due to a grade III oligodendroglioma brain tumor. He had surgery November 2, 2011—he was 64. Post surgery he seemed great—once chemo and radiation started we noticed a steep decline—he became suspicious of everything, was incredibly anxious, and was prone to angry outbursts. He had no concept of where he was or what was going on—he walked out of a hospital and was missing for 12 hours, having no understanding of what had happened. I was so angry—how could this be happening, my Dad was battling cancer—he is young, healthy—why were we getting dealt this crummy 2nd hand? I watched as the disease quickly stole my Dad’s ability to take care of himself—and it became unsafe for him to stay at home being cared for by Mom. In May of 2012 we moved him and my Mom from AZ to CA to be closer to my sister and I. I am thankful that this disease has brought my family closer together—we all live within 10 minutes of each other now, and it has given me the relationship that I’ve always wanted with my Mom—I’ve become her person—her partner to navigate how different things have become. My Dad still eats and walks, but he no longer knows who we are—and is unable to really communicate. The disease has robbed me of my pal—the man that could chat up anyone, anywhere and has turned him into an old man. The disease has taught me to find joy and comfort in the little moments—like that my Dad will still let me hold his hand.