Billy's Monster: A Love and Life Surrendered Amidst War with the Alzheimer's Monster (Hardcover)
A poignant and personal account of the progressive ravages of Early-Onset Alzheimer's disease, not only on Billy's memory and quality of life, but also the relationship between a husband and a wife, as the disease steadily dissolved the partnership of marriage far too soon. The transition of Billy's fiery independence into that of a childlike dependent was consistent and confounding, and a stark contrast to the vibrant personality he had always embodied. The Monster of Alzheimer's grew fierce quickly, but with determination to fill the final chapter of their love story with moments of joy, they attempted to ignore the Monster for a small bit of time and live intentionally in each gifted moment together. With defiance against the Monster's inevitable conquest of Billy's beautiful mind, and a desire to fill that final chapter with sustaining memories, the conservative boundaries of a planned out future were forfeited and Billy's natural tendency to live life with wild abandon embraced. Uprooting a life of security built together in rural Montana and transplanting it on Oregon's serene central coast, ushered in one significant summer in which to search out adventure, reconnect with distant family members, and settle into a temporary bubble to share a precious season together. The Giver allowed a whirlwind of adventure and wild abandon before the Monster could no longer be ignored and The Taker threatened to step in. The depth of love and strength often realized only through battle, teamed with frustration and panic, became weapons in this heart-wrenching war and eventually led them back to Montana where the inevitable surrender took place on the battlefield of home. Early-Onset Alzheimer's without a genetic component itself is quite rare, but a twist in the last days of Billy's war revealed a possible and yet rarer diagnosis of Multiple System Atrophy. And, although Alzheimer's disease has become a research priority and has been deemed an epidemic.