“I'm going to live as long as I can and enjoy every day.”
"I was born and raised in Allendale, but I have always loved the St. Helena area. First we vacationed here and, later after a divorce, I decided to come here for good. It’s a healing place."
“I love walking the beach and looking for sea glass. Or I ride around on my golf cart and take pictures. A few years ago at work I began to have trouble concentrating. I’d get confused easily and even make mistakes. I’m one of those people who’s worked since the age of 15 without any big issues. That’s when I knew I had a problem."
"We had Alzheimer’s on my grandmother’s side of the family, and in every health issue I have been just like her. I began to wonder if that’s what it was."
Fighting Early-onset Alzheimer's Disease
“I wasn’t shocked when the diagnosis came back. But I’ve not forgotten what Dr. Mazzeo said that day. He didn’t tell me they found plaque or tangles on the PET scan of my brain. He didn’t tell me that I had early-onset Alzheimer’s and that life wasn’t fair. He told me everything was going to be okay. That’s when I knew I had it. But, in the back of my mind, I also knew that I was going to be okay.
“I’ll tell you, after I was diagnosed, I wallowed in self-pity for about six months. But then it’s like God shook me and told me to get a grip. I lost about 40 pounds and started to eat healthier. Now I walk every day and play brain games to stay sharp.”
“One day Dr. Mazzeo wanted me to go see a speech pathologist, and I thought it was strange since I was speaking and swallowing just fine. Well, it turns out they work with memory issues, too. I was so impressed with everything the Memory Center taught me. It’s been so helpful. They helped me learn to focus. Distractions don’t bother me as much as they did. And sticky notes are a huge help!"
“I looked for a support group so I could talk with people who are sharing this experience. That’s when I learned that there were lots of caregiver groups, but there wasn’t a group for people with early memory loss like me. So Alzheimer’s Family Services of Greater Beaufort started a support group for people with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.“
“I’ve done a lot to prepare for the years ahead because I know, someday, I won’t be able to. Right now I am living like people should. I’m doing the things I want to do. I’ve gotten rid of the poisonous things in my life, including stress. Once I did that, I started feeling so much better. One new thing I enjoy is speaking to groups about living with early-onset Alzheimer’s.”
“I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 56, but I don’t see it as a death sentence. If I make the best of every day that has been given to me, I still have Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s does not have me.”