Hi my name is Dee Anna Sapp, I am 51 years old, just recently married my best friend, Mike, and one of my biggest supporters. I’m also a mother of 5 and grandmother of 4 and great grandmother of 3…So here is how I got here! When I was around 28 years old, one of my Aunts was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Then in April of 2009, my own mother was diagnosed with the same dreaded disease. My mother, my best friend, my go to for strength, lost her battle with it in September of the same year. So for 5 months I watched a once strong vibrant woman, slip away from me with each passing day she would lose more and more of herself to this horrible disease and she was not able to remember those around her.
Growing up, my mother was the strength and backbone of our family, she was an amazing mother with a grand sense of humor, but as I watched her slowly change and become angry and frustrated with every day things. Plus, she was battling Parkinson’s as well so it did not make things any easier for her. She became a very fragile woman, and I saw she would try so hard to do things but couldn’t. It never stopped me from helping her to dress herself and bathe herself but 5 months she no longer knew anyone and was bedridden and stopped talking and eating and would not open her eyes. On September 29th, 2009 she gave up and lost her fight, but that is not the end of my story because in June of 2020, I myself was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I never thought the strength I gained from her as she slipped away would one day help me to deal with this disease again.
All to often do we forget what is truly important in our lives and since dealing with this disease I have realized that the most important thing is family and time and those moments and memories we make with them. So if my short story can some how help just one person, whether it be a caregiver, the one living with it or the people behind the scenes who provides support, education or just a shoulder to cry on then I have done my job by sharing. So now I am doing all I can to stay focused and also to help my family to understand the different stages I will eventually go through, so like my mother I will not give up this fight for myself and so many others until I absolutely have too. I am very passionate about this and will do all I can to educate and participate until I can no longer do it.
Thank you all for reading this and I wish you all the best! Hugs and prayers!!! Stay strong!!! I am adding a few pictures. My Mother Judy and my father Ronnie, My new husband Mike and myself, Me with my two children my son and his wife on the right and my daughter and her partner on the left, two of my grandchildren and my smallest granddaughter…These are just some of my inspirations to keep going every day… Thank you!!!
– Dee Anna Sapp