Alzheimer's Families React With Caution To Promising Study
GREAT FALLS, Va. (WUSA) --- One Northern Virginia couple that lives with Alzheimer's Disease every day is skeptical but hopeful about this week's announcement that a cancer drug has reversed Alzheimer's Disease in laboratory mice.
"I've heard that before. We've heard it again and again but a lot of the trials have failed so I would give anything for a cure but I guess I'll wait and see what it really does...I would be the happiest person in the world. It would be the happiest day of my life if they could find a cure for it but I think people have to be cautious and not jump on it too soon, " said Carol Blackwell, whose husband Bob was diagnosed with the disease five years ago.
Although her husband's mother has suffered with Alzheimer's for years, Carol missed the early signs in Bob.
"He just seemed more like an absent-minded professor. I thought he was depressed because he was going to retire so the symptoms were not what I expected, so it took a while before we were able to get a diagnosis," she said.
Bob and Carol write a blog on Alzheimer's Disease for USA Today and it is widely read.
"We've had a lot of people write or call and say that it helped them realize they weren't the only ones going through what they are going through. There are millions of people going through it, but you sometimes feel you're the only one. It can be very lonely, so it's good to know
that people are reading it, that they find it very helpful," she said.
The blog helps those who don't have a first-hand understanding of the disease what it is like.
"It's very difficult. People really can't understand unless they are living with it but it is very difficult. It's a horrible disease, just horrible and it makes it very hard for all members of the family and friends...they should know that it's hard. They should know that you need to have support, that you need to have people help, that you can't do it alone. People try to do it, but you can't," Carol said in a Thursday interview with 9News Now.
"You need to be pretty honest in how you're feeling. You need to find groups that the person can go to to stay active, to stay mentally active. They have a lot of activities and daycares.
"Bob goes to Friend's Club, which is wonderful, So, keeping active, keeping physically active to try to keep the disease at bay, doing whatever you can to read. Reading aloud is supposed to be helpful, but it takes its toll. It is relentless. It never stops, and it's very hard.
"You never adjust to it. You think you've adjusted to one stage. Then, things change and you have to re-adjust again, so it's never off your mind. You're never free," Carol Blackwell said.
"i think people have to live in hope. You can not give up.
Even though things are discouraging, trial fail. There is one out there that will be the cure. There is one out there, so I think we can't give up, but they sure gotta find a cure and hopefully before 2025. Next year would be nice...Tomorrow would be super!"