A woman who thought her brain fog was a symptom of long Covid was diagnosed with dementia – aged just 19.

Gianna Cabo, now 20, has been left “apathetic” and unable to recall her most treasured childhood memories, her mother says.

Rebecca Robertson, 50, first noticed something was wrong in September 2020 when her daughter went from being a straight-A student to floundering at the bottom of her class.

She presumed Gianna was still suffering from the effects of Covid, having fallen severely ill with the virus in June 2020.

The mother and daughter were also involved in a car crash a year earlier which left Rebecca with severe concussion and compressed discs in her neck.

““I thought this can’t be true, she’s only 19,” mother says

(Rebecca Ancira Robertson / SWNS)

Gianna then deteriorated over the next few years and can no longer even perform basic household tasks like operating a tin opener.

She withdrew from her friends, stopped doing her homework and would fall asleep as soon as she arrived home after school.

Her memory gaps increased and she was prescribed antidepressants in June 2021 and began seeing a counsellor, but neither treatment helped bring her memory back.

Rebecca took her to see a neurologist in November 2022 and after a series of medical tests, doctors found there was no electrical activity in Gianna’s right central lobe and she was diagnosed with dementia.

Rebecca, from McKinney, Texas said: “I felt like someone had just punched me in my heart. I sat there stunned.

“I thought this can’t be true, she’s only 19. I never thought it could be dementia – not in my wildest dreams.

“Every day I see a little bit of her fade away. I try not to associate my feelings with it because I’m so focussed on getting her better, but I’m scared to death.

Gianna Cabo with her mother Becky

(Rebecca Ancira Robertson / SWNS)

“I’m not going to give up on my kid. I can’t give up. Hopefully we’ll find a new doctor who can help.”

Gianna’s problems began after she and her mother, Rebecca, were involved in a car crash in June 2019.

Rebecca was injured but was eventually given the was given the all clear by doctors.

But in June 2020, while Rebecca was recovering from her neck operations, she and Gianna fell severely ill with Covid.

They both struggled with a tight chest which made Rebecca feel as if she had “an elephant sitting on my chest”.

Although Gianna recovered from her immediate symptoms, Rebecca said: “I didn’t recognise the true impact until she went back to school in September.

“All of a sudden, she went from being a straight-A student to me crying and begging a teacher to pass her so she could graduate.

“The doctors thought it could be stress and prescribed her antidepressants, but it didn’t work.

“As the weeks went by, she started having more problems in school. The answer to any question started to be, ‘I don’t remember’.

“If she was asked why she hadn’t done her homework, she would say she didn’t remember.”

At first, Rebecca thought her daughter’s behaviour might be the result of a general malaise caused by the pandemic.

She said: “But suddenly I started getting calls from her teachers saying, ‘She’s one of our star students.

“Now when she’s in class, she’s in la-la-land and just stares blankly out the window.’

“She was becoming more and more detached and apathetic. She said ‘I just feel lost’.”

Brain fog and the long term effects of Covid started appearing in the news around that time, and Rebecca thought that it must be the cause.

Rebecca said: “It was more than brain fog – it was a lack of emotion. She just started drifting away.

“I asked her what was the happiest moment of your life, and she just looked confused and said ‘I don’t remember’.”

At one point, during Gianna’s deterioration, she took down all of her childhood photos in her room. When Rebecca asked why, she explained “she couldn’t remember them being taken”.

Gianna “just about managed to graduate from high school” in June 2021, after Rebecca “begged” her teachers to pass her.

But when it came to Gianna’s graduation ceremony, Rebecca said: “She was miserable the whole time.”

“Every other kid was super excited, but she just had eyes full of tears. She asked me, ‘Aren’t I supposed to be excited?’ But she felt nothing.”

With Gianna’s condition showing no sign of improving, Rebecca took her to see a neurologist in November 2022, where she was eventually diagnosed with dementia.

Rebecca said: “I feel like she’s slipping away and nobody knows what to do.

“I just pray there is a treatment out there that can give me some hope.

“She doesn’t laugh anymore. She doesn’t get out of bed. Whatever you ask her, any time of the day or night, she just says ‘I don’t remember’.

“The saddest part is it doesn’t bother Gianna. There’s no emotion there. None. She’s 100 per cent apathetic.”

Source link