Mother of daughter with short term memory
by Cindi Wilkof
(Canton, Ohio, USA)
My daughter is 39 in a few days. It was 14 years ago as she was graduating from college that she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
She had to undergo treatments because surgery was too risky. But the tumor returned. She then went to NYC for a STEM CELL TRANSPLANT done at MEMORIAL SLOAN-KETTERING. They saved her life.
But she needs to meet others like her to talk to. So please feel free to contact Heather.
If you want to know more about her, our local newspaper published a big article on her. If you just google "canton repository" and put in "Lutton". You will see article "Mom seeks support for brain-injury sufferers".
I, her mother, wrote the article, except for a few quotes and picture by the editor.
(Here is a direct link to the article: Mom seeks support for brain-injury sufferers
The main thing my daughter is experiencing now is depression because she cannot find a job with her memory problems. She could if an employer would have patience with her. If Heather would be shown what to do and it was repetitive, she could learn it.
Then it's hard to find friends, the kind that relate to her DISABILTY. So as a result she is very lonely. The only social life she has is with her family.
She never married, as this happened when graduating. In fact most of her friends didn't even know what had happened. But if they did, they still didn't stick around. Very sad.
I am trying to form a social group with people like my daughter. Her disability is so slight you wouldn't even notice any visible signs. Just after spending time with her would you notice some repetition. But if I can find enough people for a group, then we can do some activities together.Doug's Reply.
Cindi, I admire your determination. Clearly you are willing to do whatever it takes to help your daughter achieve her potential despite her mild memory-related disability. I agree 100% that everyone, whether they have a disability or not, deserves the chance to find fulfillment and happiness.
Even though faced by challenges relating to both her brain injury and life circumstances, she seems to have the right
attitude, the desire for something more out of life:
I want to do more for myself. I want to know what there is out there for me.
- Heather Lutton
If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be for Heather to start writing in a journal. Keeping a journal
is a way to essentially transfer information from short-term memory to a hard copy book for later review.
You mentioned in the article that Heather has some trouble recalling daily events. A journal is the perfect place to record the details of daily life that are so easily forgotten (and not just by people with memory loss).
Now this is only a suggestion, and I don't know if it will work for her, but one approach would be for her to carry the journal everywhere she goes. Perhaps she could keep it in her purse. Immediately following events or experiences, she could find a quiet place where she could open her journal and write an outline of what had just occurred, who was there, and so on.
Then, in the evening, Heather could re-read what she had written during the day, as a way to jog her memory of the day's events and help put as many details as possible into long-term memory.
She could also re-read entries from previous days, as far back as she cared to. Through this review, memories written on paper while fresh could help strengthen the actual memories in her mind later.
Keeping a journal might be a challenge at first depending on how much of an experience she instantly forgets. But getting her recollections, such as they may be, onto paper (together with re-reading earlier entries), could, I suspect, help tie up loose ends and perhaps set her on the road to weaving a more complete set of episodic memories.
I wish you both the very best of luck going forward, and I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I'm sure the visitors to my site who read this page will do likewise.
This is information only. It is not medical advice
, diagnosis, or treatment.