A husband thought his wife’s strangeness was due to menopause or mid-life crisis. The actual cause was much, much worse.
by Dan Browning | Dan Browning covers health care and medical research for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. He dedicates this series to his wife, Elizabeth Cummings Browning, a bright, loving, mother and talented singer-songwriter who was diagnosed in August 2012 with probable frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the most common form of brain wasting that strikes people under 60.
Editor’s note: This is the first in an ongoing Next Avenue series about one family’s experience coping with frontotemporal dementia or FTD.
“‘Dad, something’s wrong with Mom. We have to do something.’
‘My daughter Elsa, was 15 when she uttered those words four years ago. Her mother, Liz, was 48. I assured Elsa that her mother was fine, that she was just going through menopause and maybe a bit of a mid-life crisis.
“But privately, it was hard to dismiss Liz’s behaviors, which grew more bizarre by the day. Her snide comments about Elsa adoring me and shunning her. Her bitterness over the amount of time I spent working or practicing martial arts. Her explosive confrontations with musicians who she believed, rightly or wrongly, had disrespected her. Her conviction that a kindly neighbor was a Peeping Tom.”
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