I happen to have found out that I have inherited late onset cerebellar ataxia (probably SCA6) from my father. Dr Giunti, my ataxia neurologist, thought this because of the confluence of my family history and the report from the neuro-opthalmologist she sent me to who reported on my patterns of eye movement that are typical of ataxia. I am 58 and I got the diagnosis some two years ago.
I imagine that most people, when they see me, do not think I have ataxia, because I do not exhibit any typical symptoms. In fact I am hardly aware of my symptoms. I know that I am more careful with some activities than others, for example I always walk up and down stairs holding on, whereas in the past I would run without thinking about it. My slow reading is probably due to limitations in my eye movements. Also, I was recently holiday and sightseeing meant that I climbed up some steps which did not have a rail - the climbing up was easy but I found the going down very difficult. Generally I have learned to compensate (without really being aware of it) so that ataxia does not interfere with my daily life.
However, I have the image of my father who, by my age, zigzagged when he walked and was already slurring his speech. He lived into his early 90s (so ataxia did not shorten his life) but was progressively more and more physically disabled, using a wheelchair, his handwriting was more and more difficult to read because of his disturbed fine motor control, and his speech was more and more difficult to understand.
Although I have now come to terms with the fact that I will acquire these symptoms in the coming years (or decades), for the first year or so after my diagnosis I found it difficult to entertain the idea that, as I grew older, I would be disabled like my father.
I have not come across people who have been given a diagnosis of ataxia, but for whom the impact of the symptoms lies in the future. I wonder if that applies to anyone on this forum who could share how they dealt with that knowledge, or if anyone knows of others who are in a similar situation. At the moment I feel 'unique' and I would be interested in hearing from or about others like me.