Sunday, September 22, 2019

I Have A Story To Tell - Part II - The Beginning

This is the story of Ross and my personal Alzheimers Journey
In case you missed it, click here for Part I.

Part II - The beginning.

People have been asking me this question: "In retrospect, when you look back, do you now recognize that Ross may have been struggling with any kind of cognitive issues?"

Of course it's true, hindsight is 20/20.  What I am about to relay to you is apparent to me now. At the time, though, I didn't give it much thought.

All during our marriage of 18 years, Ross was the one who paid the bills, balanced the check book, did our taxes, etc. Although I understood how to do that task, I left it up to him.

 About a year and half ago he began to spend more time at the computer.  He was having difficulty balancing the check book.   At first, I didn't pay much attention to it.   At some point, though, I would jump in to help him.  Although he never missed a bill payment,  I noticed there were some errors in the amounts he was paying. 

About a year ago, I finally had to take over the task of the finances.  This year, for the first time in our marriage, I had the responsibility of filing our tax return.

Also, during this past year Ross was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  We became so engulfed in tests, biopsies, treatment options and ultimately a regiment of hormone therapy medications and a course of a nine week, 45 radiation treatment schedule that the cancer became our main focus.

Ross has always been an excellent navigator, with a terrific memory of places.  All he had to do was visit a location once and he could remember how to get there the next time.   He could envision where on he was on the map in his head.   He knew which direction he needed to head for get to our destination.

I always marveled at this skill.  Mostly because I have no sense of any of that.
I became a more relaxed driver when GPS became readily available.

The first time I noticed his navigation skills were faltering was when we had to start going for his radiation treatments.  Even though the route was an easy one, he could not remember how to get to the radiation center.  He also had tremendous anxiety about the daily trip.  I attributed that to the stress that anyone who was dealing with cancer would have.

About a month after the completion of the radiation treatments,  Ross began to experience hallucinations.  Our first thought was that it must be a side effect of his meds or radiation.
I also knew he was due for an eye exam, so I figured  he was just misinterpreting objects that were not well lit.

I have to say that we experienced much frustration with our health care community, as we were shuffled from doctor to doctor.  With each phone call we were directed to someone other than who we were speaking to. 

Eventually, on a late Friday afternoon phone call to our primary care physician, he suggested Ross go to the emergency room. 

It was there, in the hospital, that Ross had all sorts of tests to rule out other things that may have been causing his difficulties and hallucinations.  Through a process of elimination, the diagnosis was declared by a neurologist to be Alzheimers.

I suppose the bottom line here is that Prostate cancer took up all of our attention and energy, which apparently clouded and hid the signals that Alzheimers was trying to send.

So that is the end of the  beginning of our personal Alzheimer's story.

Now we are in the middle.

Part III next time.

By the way, my blog can not only be about Alzheimers.  I will also be writing about all or any other things that  inspire me to write.

Please feel free to comment.  We gratefully appreciate all of the support and encouragement that your generous hearts are sending our way.


  1. Wow. My mom had Alzheimer’s and none of us, her children, recognized the signs either. We were probably too caught up in our own lives. And too uneducated on the topic.
    Like everyone else, I wish I lived closer so we could spend time together.
    Take care of you!

  2. I recently found your blog. I have followed you on IG and have watched your podcast. I think you and Ross are adorable. I just want to tell you that I will be praying for you and Ross.

  3. Sending prayers to both of you. I’m so sorry.