RICHMOND, Ky (WTVQ)- Richmond resident Tammy Brewer says her sister Rita was once a strong woman.
“Good leadership, she worked in the church a lot, she did a lot of things in the church, she ministered,” Brewer said.
Brewer says gradually Rita’s demeanor and decision making changed and they knew something was wrong.
“One day I went to pick her up and I went into her apartment and she was standing there crying. She said “I promise you I’m not crazy. I’ve not lost my mind she said but in my headI know to turn the door knob. But i cant get my hand to do that.” She said my hands just don’t want to do that,” Brewer said.
Huntington’s Disease was never on there radar, until a nurse practitioner noticed the signs. After visiting several health professionals and numerous tests, Huntington’s was the grim diagnosis.
“I think the testing process is too long and too hard, “Brewer said.
They’ve since learned other family members have the disease. That’s the tragedy of a genetic disorder. Tammy got tested and was negative.
“Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m negative and they are going through this,” Brewer said.
Rita is now in a health care facility in Indiana getting the care she needs, as she struggles with her life and knowing what the future holds.
“The only thing they do there is Huntington’s patients. The staff, the doctors, the recreational people, this is what they specialize in. They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re dealing with,” Brewer said.
Since there is a 50/50 chance a child of someone who has the gene could have Huntington’s, Tammy encourages others to get tested.
“I think that it is very important to get tested. A lot of people don’t want to get tested, they don’t want to know,” Brewer said.
Brewer hopes research will find treatments or cures that will give families, like hers, hope.