How a woman’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s changed her life.
It crept up on Mitchell gradually as a general feeling of tiredness and a fuzziness to her thinking, then one day, she fell, and a few weeks later, fell again, her coordination definitely off. Cognitive tests revealed the diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s, and Mitchell felt her world slowly slide away in forgotten bits and pieces. In this moving, well-written memoir, Mitchell relates how her life inevitably changed; she went from a person whose work required her to remember tremendous amounts of information to someone who didn’t understand the computer system she had navigated so easily; she needed to leave herself reminders on her phone and notes on the floor to eat and take her medications; she no longer dared drive and felt anxious riding the bus or walking in unknown neighborhoods. Yet, once she was forced to retire, her life was still full; she reached out to others with the same diagnosis, gave talks on the topic, and engaged in research projects that might help someone in the future. Mitchell’s sharing of the personal details of her mental decline helps readers thoroughly understand the scariness and confusion that Alzheimer’s patients go through as they gradually lose the ability to take care of themselves and perform daily tasks that used to be done by rote. She triumphantly shows methods she used to help overcome some of her setbacks so she could continue to live independently, offering others with this disease examples of what can be done. The journey continues to grow harder, but Mitchell obviously refuses to give up, as evidenced by her writing this poignant statement of her life after the diagnosis.
A sensitive, affective, and moving chronicle of how a woman with Alzheimer’s has refused to let the disease completely rule her life.