In July 2009, after 42 years of marriage, my 69-year-old husband, Michael Reynolds, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). As frightening and horrendous as that diagnosis was, it went a long way toward explaining the frustrating and puzzling changes in Mike's behavior that I'd been experiencing from as early as 2005. Neither I nor any of our family members or friends had ever heard of frontotemporal dementia until the term was applied to Mike...There is no known cause. No cure. It is progressive, but the rate of progression is unpredictable...
This account of the steady deterioration of a much loved, bright, talented, funny, emotionally connected husband, father, brother, uncle, music colleague, and friend is unavoidably skewed by my own particular view. But, particular as it is, it also depicts much that is common to victims of FTD and to the ones who love them.
"'Til Death or Dementia is a love story above all else, a wonderful account of the relationship that Marilyn Reynolds celebrated with her husband, Mike. It is beautiful to read and an example of what I hope for all my patients' families--a deep reflection on memories representing all that was wonderful before the diagnosis of dementia. These memories can bring joy amid the struggle with the realities of the disease.
In a most courageous way, Marilyn shares her feelings, doubts, fears and regrets as she recalls Mike's personality and cognitive changes, both before and after his dementia diagnosis. Her words convey the emotional roller coaster in a way that the reader can feel every turn, loop, climb and free fall. Her remarkable ability to share serves as a road map for all those who care for someone with dementia, as I have witnessed among hundreds of families.
I would hope that everyone would read this story, not just those who find themselves caring for someone with dementia. This beautiful book reminds us that life is finite and worth living to the fullest. It brought a renewed mindfulness for me that every moment counts, and despite all life's challenges, love reigns supreme and can carry us through the darkest of times. Our legacy lives on in those we leave behind. Read this book, then think about the life soundtrack you want, and start singing!"
A moving account of her husband's losing battle with frontotemporal dementia. Throughout their journey, Marilyn clings to hope, the comfort of family and friends, and her own strong sense of self, all while having the clear-eyed recognition that her beloved Mike is slipping away. Includes a listing of resources (books, organizations, and tips) that she found helpful.
Originally published by River Rock Books. 360 pages.
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