Before I Forget – by B. Smith and Dan Gasby – A Painful but Valuable Resource For Those Facing Alzheimer’s

How do I write a book review on something that’s personal, not just a subject of interest?  How do I write a review on a book that stirs up memories and emotions from the six most difficult years of my life?  That’s my challenge as I try to sum up on thoughts on Before I Forget by B. Smith and Dan Gasby with Michael Shnayerson.

I looked at this book, Before I Forget, and read the description a number of times before I decided to take the leap and read B. Smith and Dan Gasby’s experience on the Alzheimer’s.  I knew it would bring back the memories from the years my mother battled Alzheimer’s; a losing a battle she and our family had to endure.

Before I Forget was indeed painful to read; but I urge you to read it anyway.  It’s made all the more painful because B. is far too young to endure the indignities that Alzheimer’s inflicts on her daily and ultimately the robbery of her memories, her personality and finally physically as she succumbs to this horrible disease.  But I thank God for B. and her beloved husband Dan Gasby who are willing to be open and transparent and be the face of Alzheimer’s to help educate people and raise awareness and funding for this important and hugely impacting ugly, ugly awful disease.

Before I Forget would have been very helpful when I was going through this with my mother.  I would have found relief and comfort knowing that others have felt similar emotions that I experienced.  Dan shared a lot of information about various treatments that may be beneficial and the latest drug research.  Some progress has been made since my mother died in 2008.  One of the biggest advances is being able to diagnose Alzheimer’s with a PET scan.  Just a few years ago that wasn’t possible.

It was alarming and disheartening to read about the disparity of funding for Alzheimer’s compared to other diseases, especially considering the number of people and families affected.  I had never heard about the greater incidence of Alzheimer’s in the African –American community, nor the reluctance of people in that community to participate in medical studies.  I was stunned to read about the Tuskegee research which was unconscionable at best and criminal at worst.  After reading about that, I can understand why some people might be jaded and hesitant to participate in medical research.  I applaud Dan’s persuasive arguments to participate in spite of research history.

I appreciated the detailed explanations of the various stages of Alzheimer’s.  That would have been very helpful, not only to understand what stage my mother was in, but also to know what the road up ahead was going to be like.

What I loved the most in this book was the open sharing from B. and Dan, her husband, as he is watching the woman he loves robbed daily.  How blessed they both are, but especially B. to have a man committed to being there with her and for her and her advocate.  Their daughter Dana has been a huge support and help.

One word of caution, if you are offended by profanity, I want you to be aware that there is some salty language in this book, but not a lot. I found myself sad that Dan and B. do not have the benefit of faith in Christ to undergird them and carry them through each day along with the support of a church family.  I pray that they will meet God in the midst of this battle.

One memorable line from Dan was, “Don’t fear Alzheimer’s.  Hate it!  And Fight Back – with the one weapon we have, money, to develop the drug that finally beats it.”

I highly recommend Before I Forget by B. Smith and Dan Gasby.  I wish I had this book when my mother battled Alzheimer’s.  I recommend this book to anyone who is stricken with this wretched disease as well as the family and friends whose lives have been or will be greatly impacted.

I would like to thank Blogging for Books and Harmony Books for the opportunity to read Before I Forget in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

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