Hi, I'm working on a short story at the moment and I'm trying to develop the Grandfather of my main character. He's in his eighties and it's crucial to the plot that he have a long term illness. My initial thought was cancer, however I have no knowledge of how cancer works as no one in my family has cancer and there are so many different types that I fear my limited research has only confused me further. I was wondering if anyone knew of an illness or disease that would persist over an 11 year period. The grandfather is ill with this at the time that the main character begins to visit him and about 11 years later he dies from the illness. The tricky part is that the grandfather needs to remain mentally cognizant over the course of those 11 years. If I'm totally of base with an illness that lasts that long, are there any other long term illnesses (perhaps five or six years) that would behave like that? Thank you so much in advance. -Kate I'm new to the site and I hope it will be helpful for me. My brother who is my usual source for writing tips is about to the end of his patience with my questions and I think I might be on a list somewhere because of my google search history.