Even A Rocket Scientist Can Be at Risk for Alzheimer’s

I retired from Mission Analysis and Design (MAD scientist) 11 years ago, having worked a diverse mission set, including Apollo, Comet Sample Return, Mars exploration and classified projects (if I told you, I’d have to kill you).  One of my favorite movies is “Dr.Strangelove”.

My symptoms were first noticed by my wife about 15 years ago, which started a search for answers.  About 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with Early Stage Alzheimer’s, soon followed with a diagnosis of the behavioral variation of Frontal Temporal lobe Degeneration, or bvFTD.

I believe FTD is the more correct diagnosis, but am attending the monthly Alzheimer’s Early Stage patient support group since my diagnoses.  I encourage anyone who has dementia to attend this or any other support group.  It is a great way to share experiences in a safe environment.  You would be surprised at how many symptoms you have in common with others.

My dementia has noticeably increased over the last couple of years.  Memory is a challenge, as is math, including simple arithmetic.  Verbal communication skills and comprehension have also significantly declined.

 Difficulty completing familiar tasks can be a sign of Alzheimer's disease.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks can be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

The scientist in me can observe these things in a detached and studious way (a defense mechanism?) which helps, plus being a naturally low key person with a sense of humor.  Either that or my brain has reduced my ability to feel and/or consciously express things.  Probably some combination of all the above.

I have done some consulting for NASA, my last job ending in early 2012.  But it is clear that I can no longer contribute as I once did.  It was fun, and paid well, but all good things come to an end.

My motto is as it always has been, to love and appreciate my wife, to adapt to cognitive decline as best as possible, and to enjoy life as much as possible.

-Phil

One thought on “Even A Rocket Scientist Can Be at Risk for Alzheimer’s

  1. Wow. What a wonderful teacher you will be for so many people. Thank you for sharing this part of yourself Phil.

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