Alzheimer’s disease can be very taxing on the brain of the individual with the disease. I should know – I have early-stage Alzheimer’s. The disease zaps your energy, your goals, your outlook on life. It drags you down. Sometimes, it drags me way down and makes me so angry that I want to spell it out on the sidewalk and spit on it, then wash it away with a hose!
However to survive with thoughts that bring on depression we – the individuals living with Alzheimer’s – must fight the disease. Something I saw out my window this winter gave me the courage to stop feeling sorry for myself. I believe that God gave me courage.
When I saw the deer up on the hill in our back yard limping, I knew that she was injured. She was still there later in the day. I watched her lie down. My husband Dan and I thought that she might have sprained or broken her leg coming down the rocky, snow covered hill. She stayed there on the hill for three days.
During that time, we called the local police department. An officer came. He was sympathetic and understanding of our feelings. We discussed the option of having him shoot her to put her out of her pain. We decided to let nature take its course.
Dan I would get up in the morning, raise the bedroom shades to see if she was still there, alive.
One morning, we got up, raised the shades. She was gone.
A month later we saw three deer walk through our yard. One deer walked with a limp. Dan and I looked at each other and said in unison “She survived!” We hugged each other and I said “So will we.”
This is my message: Make the best of each and every day. Walk with courage and a purpose.
And maybe one day, just like the deer, we will be able to walk away too, free of Alzheimer’s disease. Let’s #ENDALZ!
~ Barbara Cheek Johnson is a journalist living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.~