A Journey Through Alzheimer's Disease
Donna is on a long journey through Alzheimer’s disease. It is like a mountain road with many twists and turns, heading steadily downhill.
There are no places to make a U-turn; no rest stops. As Donna’s caregiver, I too am on this road, but I am fortunate. I am equipped with a set of brakes that I can apply periodically to enable me to stop and rest. I could even get off the road entirely, should I wish, but that would mean abandoning Donna, for Donna has no set of brakes.
This book describes the past seven years we have spent together on that road, sharing moments of tears and horror as well as some happy episodes. At times we questioned, “Is this all just a mistake—a nightmare from which we will soon awake?” No! The journey continues and it is relentless. Today, Donna is in care and her anxieties have eased, but her family, friends and I still accompany her on that road.
I do not offer suggestions or guidelines as to how you might manage yourself on a similar journey, as either victim or caregiver. All I can offer is some comfort that you are not alone. Alzheimer’s affects everyone differently. Your stories will all be unique.
This is Donna’s story.
John and Donna were, and are, soul mates - sharing a mutual love of the arts, particularly music, and a deep curiosity about the world around them and its various cultures.
When John realized and finally accepted the fact that he was gradually losing his life-partner, his frustrations, anger, fear, and anxiety, led him to write of their experiences. Regular quarterly, sometimes monthly, e-mail ‘updates’ provided a way to keep friends and relatives informed as well as offering him some release from the stresses they both faced as their world slowly closed in around them.
Doctors seemed unable to tell him much about the progress of Donna’s condition so John decided that by summarizing those e-mails and chronologically presenting their experiences in this book he believed he might be able to assist others going through the same confusion and fear.
“Ultimately, some understanding and acceptance of Donna’s situation was the critical first step towards my peace of mind.”
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