|Graphic by Shannon Wiersbitzky. Photo by Rfischia via Dreamstime. |
When coping with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s easy to feel alone. The disease can be isolating. Not talked about as often as other ailments, there’s a stigma associated with losing memories, a certain shame. There shouldn’t be. It’s as uncontrollable as cancer, and yet there’s a shroud of silence that surrounds it. This silence leads to a denial of symptoms. Which may be why, according to a 2006 study by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is delayed an average of 27.8 months after symptoms appear.
Alzheimer’s is a death in slow motion. For close to ten years, writer Greg O’Brien, diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s, has chronicled its progression as an embedded reporter inside the mind of this monster of a disease that is akin to having a sliver of your brain shaved off every day.
Greg O’Brien has more than 35 years of newspaper and magazine experience as a writer, editor, investigative reporter, and publisher. Over the years, he has contributed to, among other publications, the Associated Press, UPI, USA Today, Arizona Republic, Boston Herald American, Boston Metro, New York Metro, Philadelphia Metro, Providence Journal, Cape Cod Times, Boston Irish Reporter, and Boston Magazine, where he was senior writer. He is former editor and publisher of the Cape Codder and Register newspapers, former editor of Cape Cod Life, and was a founding managing director of Community Newspaper Company in Boston. He is the editor/author of several books, has published 17 books by other writers through his publishing affiliate Codfish Press, has written/produced documentaries, and has been a scriptwriter. O’Brien is the editor and president of Stony Brook Group located on Cape Cod in Brewster, MA, through which he runs local, regional, and national political and corporate communication strategy campaigns. He and his wife Mary Catherine have three children: Brendan, Colleen, and Conor.
Shannon Wiersbitzky, What Flowers Remember, fiction
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