My Journey with Alzheimer's Disease

My family’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease began in 1983 when my 82 year old mother-in-law and my best friend, Martha, started showing signs of memory loss, confusion, depression, and personality change. Initially, we sought help from a psychiatrist who felt Martha was grieving and depressed because several of her closest friends died or entered nursing home facilities.

At that time, little was known about the disease in Rochester, N.Y. Initially, Martha was diagnosed with acute depression and shock therapy was recommended. We declined. Martha endured three psychiatric hospitalizations and several years in a long term care facility before she was finally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. During this time, together, we traveled an unimaginable journey with little or no support.

Alzheimer’s disease took much from me and my family. It robbed my children of the childhood they deserved and of their much beloved grandmother long before her actual death. It robbed my husband of his mother and his feelings, rendering him unable to invest fully in our family. It robbed me of my best friend, of the joy I wanted so much to give to my family, and of the career I had to set aside.

But, it gave more than it took! In spite of Alzheimer’s, my children and husband have a unique understanding of the fragility of life and a great compassion for others that I do not think they would have had otherwise. For me, I learned a lot about myself, my strengths, and my talents. Alzheimer’s gave me a mission in life. Helping is healing.

It is with great hope that my book, Bitter/Sweet, After Thoughts of a Daughter-in-Law, will bring some comfort and understanding to anyone traveling this most unwelcomed journey. "Bitter/Sweet" is a memoir about our family's journey with Alzheimer's disease.

It is also with great hope that my children's books, "Elephants Never Forget, Daisy’s Story" and "Lucky, The Little Monkey" will help children and teens gain insight into and understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and into their importance in the lives of their loved ones touched by this disease. "Daisy" is the story of an elephant who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. "Lucky", the sequel to "Daisy" is written for teenagers and adults and describes how Lucky transforms his grief into action and advocacy. “Helping Children Understand Alzheimer’s Disease” was written with the goal of helping our children understand and cope with Alzheimer’s disease.

You can visit my online store to purchase copies of all of my books.