Inside the Story: Living with Alzheimer's disease
Bob Yetz has lived long enough to know what's important to him, and after being diagnosed with stage one Alzheimer’s, fighting its progression is at the top of his list.
“It's frustrating, very frustrating,” says Yetz, 70.
The frustration and shock were just the beginning for Bob, as the disease continued its cruel march.
He knew where he was headed, and soon learned he would be fighting this battle alone. The burden was just too heavy for his wife of 37 years to help carry.
"It’s so emotional, and putting up with what's changing in me, it made it hard for her, and things didn't work out,” he explains.
Unfortunately it's a story that's not unusual for those diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.
“There are all kinds of aspects to deal with. How do you deal with someone with dementia who cannot sleep, cannot eat, plans for the financial future... legal plans,” says Niki Rubarth, regional director of Alzheimer’s Association of Northern Nevada.
Bob Yetz got involved in the organization shortly after his diagnosis two years ago. Now he's a fixture who sometimes leads support meetings for others headed for the same fate.
"I try to tell the stage one folks that you need to tell your partner, 'I'm sorry. I love you, but I won't be able to say that at one point in time, and I'm sorry for that.'"
But for now, Bob and the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern Nevada have no choice but to try and stay positive, raising awareness and helping to raise money for a cure.
"I know there's something out there," says Rubarth. "I see how hard the researchers are working and what they're working on. There is great hope for our future."
On September 23, you can help the organization’s cause by taking part in the walk to end Alzheimer’s at the Sparks Marina. To learn more head to act.alz.org or call 786-8061.