The trouble started for Myriam Marquez in March of 2009. One evening while driving home from Mount Vernon where she worked as an attorney, Marquez came to the same four-way stop she always crossed in Stanwood, at Woodland Road and 70th Avenue. Only this time things were different. The roads looked unfamiliar. She was lost despite having driven this way home almost daily.
“I came to that stop and all of the sudden I didn’t know where I was,” Marquez remembers. “I panicked. I picked up my cell phone and called my daughter. But as I was talking to her I realized where I was and said, ‘Never mind. I know where I am,’ and I made the right and went home.”
Marquez always knew Alzheimer’s disease was common in her family, but since most of her relatives started showing signs in their 40s, she thought she was safe, having reached her 60s.
The following week would prove to be a relief. She went to her doctor and underwent a variety of tests — PET scans, MRI, memory tests, and blood work. Her doctor informed her that, according to the tests, nothing appeared to be amiss.
But over time, Marquez would find herself more and more often in unfamiliar territory. Things finally came to a head at a family Thanksgiving. While getting ready to leave her daughter’s house, Marquez went to grab the doorknob when suddenly her whereabouts escaped her again.
“The next week I went to my doctor and I said ‘I know I’ve got it,’ ” Marquez said.