Judy is the love of my life. She is 70 years old and was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This month we are celebrating 22 years together. Wonderful. Our home, jarred by confusion and the daily trials that are extensive, is also filled with love. I will do anything in my power to make the coming years comfortable and soothing for her.
Alzheimer's is a complex and difficult disease to deal with. Even the diagnosis was trying. The first stages of dementia are jarring and confusing and scary. I think I may have been in a kind of perpetual state of confusion and fear when it became clear that Judy was suffering from some level of dementia. Once you accept that dementia is evident, it becomes time to determine what kind of dementia. The neurologist, Dr. Roman, a fine man and renowned in his field said that it was important to determine which type of dementia, and with an MRI and a blood test that looks for hereditary signs, we received the diagnosis of the Alzheimer's form. Alzheimer's, as best they can figure, is due to a protein called amyloid. This protein makes its way into the hippocampus, the part of the brain where information comes in, and also where much of the emotive responses come from, and the protein turns to a kind of plaque that jams the communication between neuron transmitters. Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease with no cure.
The day-to-day trials may be hard to imagine. Judy struggles so much with her clothes. She has never been a fashion woman, but clothes define us, and she is more and more concerned with how she looks in public. This is so hard when she cannot figure how to dress herself. It may sound simple, but it is not. So much confusion now. I help her each day with this, and some times it goes well, and other times it becomes horribly frustrating for her. And then there is simple memory loss. She became so distraught recently because she could not remember that she had spoken with her son the day before. Then we talk of acceptance, the idea that we only have today, that we must revel in today, and that we must accept where we are today. Very easy words. And luckily most times, she understands that this is the only path.
I am Judy's husband and primary care giver. I teach full time at a local private high school. I teach English Literature and Drama for 7th and 9th graders at The European School, San Pablo de Heredia, Costa Rica. After many years of teaching English in the States, Judy taught at the same prominent school for 13 years before she retired four years ago. She is well loved by the school community and they support me in my effort to take good care of Judy.
Judy receives social security and a retirement payment from the State of Florida for her years as a teacher there. Between her retirement funds and my salary, we have been able to live—until now. The medication is expensive and the cost of having someone here in the house while I am at work makes it impossible to make ends meet. If only I could stay home with her myself. With financial support, we can cover the cost of help for her at home while I am at work.
Life has been tough at times, very hard for both of us but for very different reasons. She struggles so much, but has such an amazing attitude. We are both so grateful to have each other. Against the trials, there is a lot of love in our home. Judy has changed a lot, but her essence is all there. Still the lovely Judy.
Any financial help is welcome and greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much.
- Julie Gess
- Courtney Walsh
- Olivia Dalby
Organizer and beneficiary
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more