I am not certain when my Mom’s decline started, looking back those close to her differ on this a bit.  Pick’s Disease can start out very gradually, therefore confusing everyone with what exactly is going on.

My Mom left my Dad when I was 19.  They never had a good relationship, and I didn’t understand why she stayed so it was not surprising when she did leave.  What was surprising was how she did it.  She met a man at a nightclub, instantly became hooked, and had him over at our house as though he were a friend, talking to him on the phone, etc.  In the process she upset my Father and his family, but seemed not to care.

She had started exercising awhile before she met him, and became addicted to working out and walking.  She would walk miles.  She lost a lot of weight and updated her look.  She seemed happy for the first time in many years.

She moved in with the new guy, into his sisters that is, is 1996.  Then they bought a condo together and a dog, which I told her was against the condo rules, but she wouldn’t listen.  Then when they were told to get rid of the dog, she made me keep the dog in my apartment for about a year as she tried to sell the condo and buy a house.

After selling her condo, she didn’t have a house yet as it was when the housing market was hot, prices were up and competition was fierce.  She thought her and her husband could move in with myself and my husband, in our new home.  We told them no, and she couldn’t understand why.

When she moved into her house in 1998, she was very tidy, tidier than she ever was when I was growing up.  She worked hard to maintain the inside of the house and the yard also, and said she loved cutting the grass.  She would always leave her dog loose, a Beagle, and i told her countless times not to do this as she lived on a busier street.  One night I received a phone call that the dog was hit by a car as it shot across the street to chase another animal.  I was crying and angry, and wondering why she hadn’t listened to me as it was common sense not to leave a Beagle who never listened from day one, unleashed like that.

Her husband seemed to have a large group of friends, which my Mom never did, she came from a large family and only hung out with them as far as I can remember, but she became best friends with this group, and loud and outgoing, which she never was.  She said she loved to dance and would get a bit kooky.  Everyone seemed to tolerate her, my husband called her an airhead, I was confused as this was a night and day difference from the quiet TV watching Mom I grew up with.

In 2000 I became pregnant for the first time, and my Mom was so excited, planning to be a Grandmother and buying presents.  She insisted on being in the delivery room with my husband, and drove us both nuts as she basically just repeated what he said and did.  My Mom also threw a shower and invited all the new friends of hers, which was a bit awkward as I barely knew some of them.

My Mom was working as a telemarketer, had been for years, and was laid off in 2001.  She had lots of ideas in her head for jobs she wanted, but was computer illiterate and not qualified for most she desired.  I tried to teach her the basics, how to move a mouse, etc. but she was not catching on at all.  She found a job doing surveys in the local mall and seemed content with it, but grumbled about the low pay.

My Mom loved being with my son, but was clueless when it came to feeding him, seemed to get very confused and said all had changed so much since she was a Mom.  She would take my son for walks, her favorite hobby, and it became a problem as she would not come back for an hour, in the middle of summer, and when I would explain he was a newborn and the 90 degree heat wasn’t good for a long time, she would just ignore me.

My Mom purchased a cocker spaniel from a lady, she had always loved little cute dogs.  Then she bought her husband a german shepard – my Mom never liked big dogs so I found this surprising.  She would alternate walking the dogs for miles, and say she would stop at the McDonald’s drive thru to get them a cup of water.  She mentioned they were “fat”, and needed to be “on a diet”.  I told her she was crazy but she would not listen, and complained the cocker spaniel was lazy and would lay down halfway through the walk.  I told her the dog probably wasn’t made for 5 mile walks.

By 2003 my Mom had lost a tremendous amount of wait, was skin and bones.  She told me she had seen the dentist and he said sugar was bad for her teeth, and she took that literally, not eating any sweets.  She began to wear inappropriate clothing, short shorts, teenager type clothing that made me cringe.  My Mom is about 5’1 and was down to about 100 pounds.  She became unkept as well, and took to wearing hats everywhere she went.  Her new friends began to complain to me about her.  She stopped cooking, and wanted to either eat out every night or have her husband grill.  She would sit there spaced out and I thought she was having a mid life crisis, not eating properly to be skinny, and that was affecting her thinking.  I was getting really annoyed by the way she was acting.

My Mom’s mental condition began to deteriorate, she began to repeat herself constantly, and seemed to only be able to focus on one thing at a time.  She stopped cleaning, or if she did would use the wrong chemicals around the house.  She also lost interest in her dogs, and other than walking them left them caged.  She didn’t appear to bathe regularly.  The house started to appear unkept, luckily her husband didn’t like clutter so it wasn’t unless you looked closely you noticed the dust, messy closets, drawers.

I knew something was going on but my Mom fought me whenever I would bring up going to a psychiatrist, becoming very mad at me and yelling.  she started erratically switching MD’s, and I managed to come with her to one appointment, where the doctor said he was worried about her and she needed to follow up.  She refused to acknowledge anything was wrong.  The tipping point came when I took her to my cousins and after to Sam’s Club.  She had to get iced tea, beer and coffee, and kept repeating this over and over to me.  She became obsessed with this and speeded through the store in a daze getting the items.  While waiting in line, she became agitated that we weren’t being checked out, and started throwing her items on the belt, and the coffee opened and dumped everywhere.  I told her then I was setting up an appointment to see a psychiatrist.  She fought me and her husband, and he started screaming.  He was becoming another problem, drinking heavily and becoming verbally abusive with her.

We went to two psychiatrists who misdiagnosed her as BiPolar.  They medicated her and it didn’t help.  Finally I found a younger doctor who performed a brain scan that he based his diagnosis of Pick’s disease on.  I was told there was no cure, and it was rare, affected people younger and more women than men, and the life expectancy was 5-15 years.