Living with Alzheimer's: 3 years
I am 57 and was diagnosed in 2004 with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. I was a bank manager and was very active in my community and church.
One afternoon, I left work and did not know how to get home. This was the start of a "downhill no return" into the Alzheimer's world. I am now in my world, a world of confusion, fatigue, and most days, in severe pain.
I know there are days that I am more confused than others, and there are some days I am more agitated than others. I used to be this very independent, overachiever. And now, I am this very dependent underachiever, which causes me much frustration. Where things used to be very easy for me, all things now I find very complicated – even the easiest task.
My eyesight is unpredictable, so that leaves me with little reading time. But when I can read, I enjoy reading my Bible and spending time with God. I love it when my husband tells me it is time to go to church. There I find peace (even though sometimes it can be chaotic).
I now have a part-time caregiver, and she has been a lifesaver for me. She gets me out of the house, and I try to with my time with her help others. I go to a support group meeting near my home, which has been very helpful. I am hoping there will be a support group for early-onset Alzheimer's disease coming to my area very soon, and I am looking forward to it.
I have a husband of 38 years that is very supportive, even though I know I put lots of pressure on him. He tells me he can handle it, and I love him even more. We have a 5th wheel camper, and we love traveling when we can. He is still employed, but we travel to the mountains and to a local lake where we can fish for crappie, which we both love to do. We own a pontoon boat due to me and my disorientation; I can fish from it much better.
We love spending time with our grandchildren. We have three (two boys, one little girl and another due in September). We have two daughters who are a great support to us, but we try not to put too much pressure on them because they have their husbands, work and children.
I have autonomic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy, which gives me much leg and arm pain. This complicates things, but I am a fighter. I have much determination, so I keep on fighting and keep on going. God is good, and he will always remain on his throne. There is where I find my peace and draw my strength.
I never have what people call normal days, but each day is a day in its own and I thank God for every day. He gives me as someone else stated (which I can't remember who), "I am thankful for this day God has granted me on this side of the soil." Another one of my favorite's is, "This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it."