Before It's Too Late: Alzheimer's: Return of Childhood Emotions

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Author House, Oct 23, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 204 pages
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At the present time there are 5.3 million people in the U.S. living with Alzheimer’s, and by 2010 nearly half a million new cases will be added each year.  Data indicate that 70% of Alzheimer’s patients are cared for at home.  Current studies of Alzheimer’s raise the possibility that early life traumas may be influential in the development of the disease.  There is evidence that chronic psychological stress is associated with a nearly three fold increased risk of the illness. Family members and caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, health professionals, and all who are concerned about the dramatic increase of the illness are interested in information which brings a greater depth to understanding those afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

 

This book is autobiographical, and thus becomes an Alzheimer’s story.  It is the story of an emotionally isolated childhood, an unproductive education, and an unhappy first marriage.  My deliverance came in the sustaining love of a second marriage and a rewarding life with my psychiatrist husband.  But now I have an illness that threatens the life restored and attempts to pummel me back into the depths of those earlier years.  Since the onset of Alzheimer’s six years ago, the memories of my early years now return not just as thoughts but as feelings, and they leave a defining imprint on the symptoms of “my Alzheimer’s.”  

 

These symptoms include unreasoned resentment, desperate feelings of isolation, periods of profound embarrassment and humiliation, inexplicable and uncontrollable anger, recurring perceptions of personal guilt and inadequacy.  All of these currently darken my days and threaten my desire to live.  These are the same emotions that colored the earlier years of my life.  Now the raging emotions return, and the “emotional incontinence” of Alzheimer’s puts my peace, my love, indeed my life once again in jeopardy.    
 

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About the author (2009)

Jane grew up in the "K and A" section of Philadelphia. In 1951 she graduated from the Moore Institute of Art. She has through the past 50 years "found comfort in writing about my thoughts, my feelings, my dreams, and many of the experiences that continue to live all too vividly for me." Jane's sporadic journaling, which is often poetic and inspirational, is incorporated in her life story, told here through the assistance of her scribe-husband, Robbie. This is Jane's first book, and it will necessarily be her last. Alzheimer's Disease has increasingly limited her writing abilities. "The change in my handwriting disturbs me somewhat when I come across notes written so long ago in some ring book-each letter clear, each word as if there had been lines on the page, holding the names I now cannot remember. I feel flushed and not relaxed as the letters grow crooked making misspelled words.

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