Even in the best of circumstances, divorce is devastating. It’s natural to grieve the loss of your relationship and your spouse.

But in the very unusual case of this Russian woman, she is reminded of this loss every day.

Veronika Mescheryakova has porphyria, which is a disorder that comes from a buildup of chemicals called porphyrins in your system. Porphyrins help red blood cells function properly, but when they stop being flushed from the body, they impede the functioning of the nervous system, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Acute porphyria can’t be cured.

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Mescheryakova has short-term memory loss due to her condition. This means that she has difficulty recalling recent events – including her husband leaving her.

She and her ex-husband got married before she was diagnosed with acute porphyria, and he filed for divorce in 2017 for reasons that have not been made public – after her diagnosis. In addition to causing memory loss, Mescheryakova’s illness has made her wheelchair bound.

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According to the Daily Mail, Mescheryakova’s mother often has the responsibility of explaining why her husband isn’t there. This leaves her understandably upset.

With time in therapy, Mescheryakova’s mother hopes that her daughter’s symptoms will improve and that she will be able to reconnect with her husband.

Some memory loss is a common symptom of aging, according to the Mayo Clinic. But Mescheryakova is still young enough that, were she healthy, she would undoubtedly still have her memory. There are other conditions, like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, that also cause severe memory problems.

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Dealing with severe memory loss is frightening for patients and challenging for families. Caregivers can find valuable support through local organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association.

If you need help, never hesitate to ask!