My interest and dedication to ending Alzheimer’s disease started with my husband’s diagnosis. Our initial commitment to ending the disease was his participation in a clinical trial at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders in New Haven. Nick spoke at the start of a walk at Lighthouse Point when Kristen Cusato was involved. We were interviewed on Connecticut Style to bring awareness to clinical trials in the area, especially at IND. Our second video brought awareness to available driving assessments for those with Alzheimer’s or other limitations.
As Nick progressed our ability to be in the public eye was no longer possible. Being outgoing about Nick’s condition was always important to both of us.
My husband and I have known each other for over 50 years. We met when I was in high school and he was a freshman in college. Our lives began to weave together right from the start. So many indelible memories from our young romance to the present are sewn together with threads of happiness, joy and mostly love.
Immediate family was of course our main support as we began our lives together and started our own family. Our tapestry became more elaborate as we continued to meet new people, travel to new places and grown in our professional careers.
As we prepared for retirement we felt our best years were just within reach. Oh, how we envisioned new colorful threads being added to our canvas of life.
One would think a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s would start the unraveling of all our hopes. While the diagnosis was shocking, it provided an impetus to do, go and make the best of the time we still had. We added so many beautiful memories to our fabric and events with our children and grandchildren are among the most prized.
New friends were made along our journey. Nick was a teacher and he continued to educate others just by being him. As we went about our days, waitresses, bank tellers, retail clerks and others saw the struggles that Alzheimer’s brings. By knowing Nick, they went out of their way to make his day the best it could possibly be. Old friends learned to understand the changes in him as he progressed with the disease. Nick was always providing new lessons of life. He participated in a clinical trial for five years hoping for pharmaceutical advances to end Alzheimer’s. That was his contribution to the future.
We now have an even larger support system and many new friends. Nick presently resides in the Harbor Unit in Benchmark at Split Rock of Shelton, Connecticut. Everyone in his new home cares for him with the dignity, respect and understanding that he so deserves. Nick is helped to live now and live engaged to the fullest extent possible.
Threads of comfort and compassion make a beautiful fabric. There is richness to life when so many individuals share the experience. Our tapestry will be treasured for a long time as it continues to weave new memories. Yes, new memories are made each day and they are sewn together with love.