I'm Not Average: Brian
Early on-set Alzheimer's disease
As Brian describes it: "This disease attacks your motivation and energy” and some days he wanted “to sit on the couch and do nothing.” Brian fought those urges and pushed forward to find a new purpose.
January 2015, Brian was at work when something unusual happened. He suddenly felt as if he had blanked out or had fallen asleep. For the next six months this sensation continued and went from once a day or so to multiple times every hour. He thought his bouts of blanking out would be helped by changing his sleeping habits or drinking more caffeine, but nothing seemed to work. Around that time his Fiancé became increasingly concerned about his memory issues. In July of 2015, at age 54, he began a series of tests – neurological and cognitive battery tests, PET scans, MRIs, and lumber punctures. Eventually, all of his test results indicated a diagnosis of early on-set Alzheimer’s disease.
Before the diagnosis, Brian was an avid runner and took pride in his work. No longer able to work he was forced to retire. Years earlier he worked as a counselor and he came to realize a lot of different psychological ways the disease was affecting him. As Brian describes it, “This disease attacks your motivation and energy” and some days he wanted “to sit on the couch and do nothing.” Brian fought those urges and pushed forward to find a new purpose.
A year after his initial diagnosis, Brian decided he needed to help others like him and raise public awareness of the disease. More research is needed to find a cure for the next generation. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and effects more than 5 million Americans. Brian is helping those being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and their families by providing his insight and perspective on how to find hope and purpose in the midst of the disease through his blog.
Brian has hope that someday there will be a cure, but knows that he needs to advocate for greater awareness, research and understanding while he still has the ability to do so.