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Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer's Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 5, 2002
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This first-person account of Alzheimer's ties several powerful stories together. Losing My Mind blends personal history with the fear and pain of developing the disease at the age of 57; it is both a sadly fascinating account of Alzheimer's progression and an attempt for the writer to remember his past before it is gone for good.
While his history is recounted in chronological order, these memories--of his childhood; marriage to his wife, Joyce; their years in writing and politics; his passion for herbs and the growing of a successful business--are interspersed with unrelated musings on everything from his cat's sudden deafness to losing his wallet. Clips from articles on Alzheimer's research are sprinkled around, and statistics like the $174,000 that a patient spends on the disease over a lifetime are sobering. Throughout the book, he clearly speaks of his diagnosis as a "sentence"; the lack of a cure is dwelt on in many sections, and a story about an accidental overdose of his prescriptions is particularly grim.
This is not a book that supplies any "power of positive thinking" messages, but instead shows the daily struggle of a man coming to terms with a terrible disease. Poignant and thoughtful, DeBaggio's life will hold meaning for anyone who has been touched by Alzheimer's. --Jill Lightner
From Publishers Weekly
"I have a clear sense of history, I just don't know whether it is mine," writes DeBaggio in this moving and unusual memoir. The author, who has previously written about his gardening business (Growing Herbs from Seed, Cutting and Root), documents his mental deterioration from Alzheimer's. Diagnosed with the disease in 1999 at the age of 57, DeBaggio undertook this project in order to increase awareness of this devastating illness from a patient's point of view. He describes how his gradual loss of memory has impacted his life. For example, after he became confused about how to get to his niece's house, he realized he had to give up driving a car. The increased loss of language has been extremely difficult for a man who once worked as a journalist and a freelance writer. Interspersed throughout the narrative are DeBaggio's recollections of his childhood events that may soon be lost to him. He also describes the disease's negative effect on his wife and grown son. Although DeBaggio provides information on the medical advances that are being made to treat this disease, it is clear that a breakthrough will come too late for him. With this rare first-person account, DeBaggio has made a significant contribution to literature on an illness that currently affects four million Americans.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Most of the alzheimer's books are for the caretaker. Or written about the person with Alzheimer's. And this makes sense. The stresses on caretakers is off the scale. Anyone who says God does not give a person more than they can handle is not living in the world I have seen.
But too few books are written by the person suffering Alzheimer's. This is needed for those diagnosed in early stages.
Not all with Alzheimer's can express them selves. Some can. This is a good book for anyone to understand what it feels like to unable to remember the name of your next door neighbor for 20 years. To be able to quote Shakespeare but not your address.
It explains what it feels like when someone discovers a person discovers someone has Alzheimers and instantly others talk louder. Good, decent people with the best of intentions. They only act out of inexperience, not cruelty.
They are surprised alzheimer's patients in early stages can still write novels and even teach at universities.
If you have the courage, to see life though the eyes of a person looking into the abyss, this a worthwhile book.