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An Alzheimer's Story That Really Resonates

Mezzettone, Gabriella

Department: Letter

Forest Hills, N.Y.

The cover story on Leeza Gibbons in your Fall issue really hit close to home. As I read about how Alzheimer's disease afflicted her mother and her maternal grandmother, I felt as if I were reading my own story — for my father and my paternal grandmother both died with Alzheimer's. I was so touched emotionally that I had to put the article down and call a friend who also has a family history of Alzheimer's. We both agreed that we're terrified of the mere word “Alzheimer's” and that we're worried about the possibility of inheriting this devastating disease.

When I resumed reading the story, however, I felt supported and relieved as Gibbons explained how she's doing everything possible to protect herself from getting Alzheimer's. I too have decided that I will do all I can to stay healthy: I exercise, eat right, and read books to keep my mind sharp. As I'm sure many of your readers can attest, once you've experienced Alzheimer's in your family, it's never far from your thoughts. So I always offer support and understanding to those who are affected by the disease, from patients to caregivers. And every night I end my prayers with this: “Please keep me healthy.”

Gabriella Mezzettone

Forest Hills, N.Y.

©2006 American Academy of Neurology