I started getting lost in familiar places.
I’d lose my way going to visit my relatives or stores that I’d always shopped at. I suddenly couldn’t find my way to work – the same school I’d taught at for nearly 25 years.
I began misplacing things at work and home. I struggled with everyday tasks that used to be second nature to me, like following a recipe and cooking.
It wasn’t like me at all.
My family became concerned and brought it to my attention. After consulting with my doctor, going through testing and visits with a neurologist, I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.
Living with Alzheimer’s disease
The doctor immediately wrote a letter, saying that I was unable to work at this time. My driver’s license was also taken away. I was disappointed, concerned and worried about our future.
Now, I have to rely a lot on my husband and my children for many everyday tasks.
I miss driving, teaching and everyday experiences.
Focused ultrasound study for Alzheimer’s disease
My daughter and son-in law are both paramedics and had researched the focused ultrasound trial for Alzheimer’s disease at Sunnybrook. We discussed it in length as a family and I decided it would be a good study to be a part of.
I am the first Alzheimer’s patient in the world to be part of the study investigating the safety of using MRI-guided focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier in multiple regions of the brain.
I realize this trial may not help me, but I hope that it can help someone down the road.
What it is like to be part of the focused ultrasound study
On the first day of the trial, I had to have my head shaved so that the doctors could place a specialized head frame on me. I had to be inside the MRI for several hours as the team used focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier.
I didn’t feel anything through the process and even though I was in the MRI for awhile, I thought about my family to keep me going.
I had the procedure once every two weeks, over a six-week period for the trial, and have been back for follow up tests. The staff at Sunnybrook have been wonderful, supportive and helpful through this process.
So far, I feel fine. No side effects felt after the procedures.
Hope for the future of Alzheimer’s
It means so much to be a part of this trial. I have had so much love and support from my family and friends.
I hope that the doctors and researchers can find a way to slow down, stop and cure Alzheimer’s disease for future generations.