Lee Wei Ling diagnosed with rare brain disorder with no cure, wishes it was a nightmare

PHOTO: The Straits Times file

Dr Lee Wei Ling, the younger sister of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has been diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare brain disorder that results in the weakening of certain muscles.

She broke the news on Saturday night (Aug 8) in a Facebook post.

The disorder, which starts off similar to Parkinson's Disease, impairs fast eye-movement and balance, before causing difficulty in swallowing, choking aspiration, pneumonia, dementia with prominent behavioural changes and eventually results in death, the 65-year-old neurologist shared.

"It is a rather nasty brain disease."

As much as she wished that the entire ordeal would just be "a nightmare" she would wake up from, "it [was] getting increasingly real and inescapable every day", she wrote. Now, Dr Lee finds her movements slow and hesitant. She also has difficulty getting up from her futon every morning.

Her first reaction upon learning her diagnosis was to tolerate and endure, something she explained she had been practising since young.

While she did not voice it, her next reaction had been: "Why me?"

The cause of her illness is not known. According to Stanford Health Care, there is no medication or procedure available to cure PSP or control its symptoms.

Earlier in May, Dr Lee shared that she had been suffering from acute retention of urine for the past 13 years, a condition which results in an inability to voluntarily pass urine.

Lee was formerly the director of the National Neuroscience Institute. Apart from her duties as a neurologist and epileptologist, Lee has been involved with several debates surrounding other ethical transgressions in the community, as well as writing for The Straits Times and The Sunday Times.

After her father's death in 2015, she was also involved in the Oxley House dispute with her siblings.

rainercheung@asiaone.com