With any disease
come losses. I have had my share. At age 51, I was diagnosed with Early
Onset Alzheimer's Disease. I was in shock and some denial. I knew what
Alzheimer's Disease was. I hadn't just heard about it. My Mother, who is
now 87, has Alzheimer's Disease and my Grandmother had Alzheimer's Disease.
Some of the classes that I had taken for my employment dealt with the disease,
and in fact, as a social worker I had worked with clients and families
with Alzheimer's disease. But somehow, I never thought for a moment that
I would someday have this terrible disease myself, especially at such an
I was forgetting, but I was under a lot of stress. Social work is not the easiest job, and I had done this type of work for many, many years. I was getting lost. Forgetting important names and information. Not able to follow through. I would get so upset that I would begin shaking and was not be able to stop for long periods of time. Then there were falling down occurrences and some depression.
After many tests and consultation with my doctor, I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. The only relief that came with the diagnosis was that I now knew what was happening to me. It didn't take long for the reality of the illness to set in. The losses were just beginning. Loss of memory, loss of employment, loss of goals, loss of some friends, loss of driving, and the losses continue to come. Alzheimer's to me means loss.
But all is not lost. One of the blessings that has come out of having more time on my hands is that I have had time to explore the computer. Thatís something that I never had time to do in the past. With my wife's help, I have been able to learn the basics. There are times that I even forget the basics, but Sharon is usually able to get me back on track.
I decided I wanted to share what is happening in my life with others. I discovered a web master, Tay Austin, who has a web site where those with dementia could share. At first I had reservations and some reluctance. I decided I would take it slow and do this for a short period of time, seeing how I felt about it.
To my surprise I was enjoying doing daily journaling. It helped to get me out of myself. It helped me put my feelings down in writing in a way that I was unable to verbalize. I began receiving comments from others that they also were enjoying my journaling. This was a great encouragement for me. I have just finished a year of journaling on July 18 this year, and I am still busy sharing my life with others.