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This is who I am: Ann Romick or Mrs. Kenneth Romick as I appear on the bill from Macy’s. However, my birth certificate reads differently with the name Mabel preceding Ann. For many years now, I have used my middle name, Ann, as my pen name.  The trouble with being Mabel is that it is a very difficult name to live with, and I have found that Ann, being a bit on the bland side of the rather zesty innuendoes my first named often generates, makes introductions more comfortable.  Besides, I have found that “Ann” is more reader and editor friendly. Yet, I am who I am, and if I were nameless I would still be me. 

That said, my writings are not about my name, but about living with Alzheimer’s disease which will not only include both me and Ken, but generations of family.  Remembering and appreciating the past and learning to live with, understand and accept the present can bring both joy and sorrow. The writings, memories and musings involve our parents, friends, aunts and uncles, and our children, and a glimpse of the circumstances which tie us all together.   

Ken and I have been battling his Alzheimer’s since January of 2004. Actually, I have known of its high probability for much longer as both of his parents were victims as is his sister, Loretta. I first noticed signs of Ken forgetting in the late 1990s. There were small indications: forgetting things we had done, some of the places we had been, but the glaring forgetfulness was his inability to find the homes of our children who had lived in their same houses for years. Somehow, he couldn’t remember how to get there without my help.

Finally, we visited a neurologist. I shared what I knew, but added, “Perhaps we can just say he is forgetful.” So for a year we pretended nothing was wrong. In 2005, the diagnosis was confirmed: my husband had Alzheimer’s. Even though I could see it was coming, it was an awful blow; no longer was it “maybe” Ken has Alzheimer’s. It was now chiseled in stone.

My life had become a constant struggle, and this will be somewhat of a journal which I will write on a regular basis.  Writing is therapy for me which allows me to read my own thoughts giving me a broader perspective of caregivers who are caring for their loved ones no matter what the disease.  Some days, thank goodness, are rather uneventful.  Meanwhile, and on good days, I will look for, appreciate and count each and every blessings.

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