Ask Amy: Tough diagnosis brings disclosure dilemma
Dear Amy: I am 58 years old. I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s two years ago. My friends all know about my diagnosis.
My question relates to my sister. She and I had been estranged for almost a decade. Two years ago, I realized that our disagreements were water under the bridge, and we re-established a relationship. She lives several states away and has no contact with my friends.
I have never disclosed my diagnosis to her.
I don’t want her to come to the conclusion that I broke down the barriers between us because of my illness.
I did that because I love her, and not because I am staring in the face of my own mortality.
I also don’t want to bring stress into her life, she has enough of that, and she will fly into stress mode — that is who she is.
Also, because she is my “big sister” I also know that she will go into: “I’ll take care of you” mode (again, it is her nature), which is not what I need or want to be the basis for our relationship.
On the other hand, I don’t want her to feel betrayed when she inevitably learns about my illness.
Right now, I am able to hide my symptoms well.
When the day comes when this is not the case, I plan on telling her (and her children).