“A powerful portrait of Alzheimer’s…marked by strong emotions and often bleak honesty.”
—The Washington Post
“The vulnerability, courage, and honesty in Before I Forget are heart-opening. Fear can be paralyzing…yet B. and Dan beautifully demonstrate that there is a different way to approach this stealthy invader. Alzheimer’s needs to come out of the shadows, and this book is an important step.”
Restaurateur, magazine publisher, celebrity chef, and nationally known lifestyle maven, B. Smith is struggling at 66 with a tag she never expected to add to that string: Alzheimer's patient. She’s not alone. Every 67 seconds someone newly develops it, and millions of lives are affected by its aftershocks.
B. and her husband, Dan, working with Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson, unstintingly share their unfolding story. Crafted in short chapters that interweave their narrative with practical and helpful advice, readers learn about dealing with Alzheimer's day-to-day challenges: the family realities and tensions, ways of coping, coming research that may tip the scale, as well as lessons learned along the way.
At its heart, Before I Forget is a love story: illuminating a love of family, life, and hope.
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
DAN GASBY has been a television media sales executive and a television producer for both network & syndicated programs. He helped publish and launch B.'s eponymous magazine and helped cofound her lifestyle retail brand.
MICHAEL SHNAYERSON is a long-time contributing editor to Vanity Fair. He is also the author or co-author of six books, among them entertainer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte's My Song: A Memoir of Art, Race and Defiance, published in 2011. He has recently published an unauthorized biography of New York governor Andrew Cuomo, The Contender.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Little Signs of Difference 1
Part 2 The New Normal 35
Part 3 Putting Aside Pride and Privacy 67
Part 4 Queen of the Three Rivers 95
Part 5 Brave, Then and Now 127
Part 6 Time to Speak Out 149
Part 7 Walking in Her Shoes 177
Part 8 Stalking an Unstoppable Disease 205
Part 9 Alzheimer's and African Americans 243
Part 10 The Road Ahead 265
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A call to arms for EVERYONE. Sign up, help out, donate, participate. There is never enough.
This book was inspiring and very helpful to those with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s. A must read for African Americans.
Very interesting. Learned at lot about this disease.
And Resourceful! I know I will take action, get involved, and and keep faith.. for myself and others.
Powerful and heartbreaking. This is a look into the lives of B. Smith, (model, restaurant owner and now an Alzheimer's patient); and her husband Dan Gasby (businessman and now B's caregiver).. Dan gives insight on how he feels as a caregiver, the day to day challenges, gives practical advice, ways of coping,, lessons learned and research that is being done. B interjects her feelings on how it feels to not remember as well as she used to. She describes her feelings as "talking to her other self". This was courageous and so necessary. My Grandmother had Alzheimer's so I understood and felt his frustrations at dealing with this disease and the fact that there is not yet a cure.
How do I write a book review on something that’s personal, not just a subject of interest? How do I write a review on a book that stirs up memories and emotions from the six most difficult years of my life? That’s my challenge as I try to sum up on thoughts on Before I Forget by B. Smith and Dan Gasby with Michael Shnayerson. I looked at this book, Before I Forget, and read the description a number of times before I decided to take the leap and read B. Smith and Dan Gasby’s experience on the Alzheimer’s. I knew it would bring back the memories from the years my mother battled Alzheimer’s; a losing a battle she and our family had to endure. Before I Forget was indeed painful to read; but I urge you to read it anyway. It’s made all the more painful because B. is far too young to endure the indignities that Alzheimer’s inflicts on her daily and ultimately the robbery of her memories, her personality and finally physically as she succumbs to this horrible disease. But I thank God for B. and her beloved husband Dan Gasby who are willing to be open and transparent and be the face of Alzheimer’s to help educate people and raise awareness and funding for this important and hugely impacting ugly, ugly awful disease. Before I Forget would have been very helpful when I was going through this with my mother. I would have found relief and comfort knowing that others have felt similar emotions that I experienced. Dan shared a lot of information about various treatments that may be beneficial and the latest drug research. Some progress has been made since my mother died in 2008. One of the biggest advances is being able to diagnose Alzheimer’s with a PET scan. Just a few years ago that wasn’t possible. It was alarming and disheartening to read about the disparity of funding for Alzheimer’s compared to other diseases, especially considering the number of people and families affected. I had never heard about the greater incidence of Alzheimer’s in the African –American community, nor the reluctance of people in that community to participate in medical studies. I was stunned to read about the Tuskegee research which was unconscionable at best and criminal at worst. After reading about that, I can understand why some people might be jaded and hesitant to participate in medical research. I applaud Dan’s persuasive arguments to participate in spite of research history. I appreciated the detailed explanations of the various stages of Alzheimer’s. That would have been very helpful, not only to understand what stage my mother was in, but also to know what the road up ahead was going to be like. What I loved the most in this book was the open sharing from B. and Dan, her husband, as he is watching the woman he loves robbed daily. How blessed they both are, but especially B. to have a man committed to being there with her and for her and her advocate. Their daughter Dana has been a huge support and help. One word of caution, if you are offended by profanity, I want you to be aware that there is some salty language in this book, but not a lot. I found myself sad that Dan and B. do not have the benefit of faith in Christ to undergird them and carry them through each day along with the support of a church family. I pray that they will meet God in the midst of this battle. One memorable line from Dan was, “Don’t fear Alzheimer’s. Hate it! And Fight Back – with the one weapon we have, money, to develop the drug that finally beats i
Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in our Fight against Alzheimer's As a nurse who works in a skilled nursing facility that specializes in dementia and Alzheimer’s, I see firsthand what this disease does to patients and their families. Caring for these individuals, we often wonder what happens when they go home or how they were cared for before being admitted. It is surprising how little families know about the disease their loved ones have, even though they are the ones caring for them. This book does a great job of teaching about Alzheimer’s and how families can cope. What I enjoyed most about this book was the statistics it shows of how many Americans have Alzheimer’s and what little funding they have for research. My favorite quote from the book is, “If you happen to be more frightened by Ebola than by Alzheimer's, consider this. While there is virtually no chance of contracting Ebola in the US right now, the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's or needing to care for someone with Alzheimer's is staggering. Thankfully, some who have developed Ebola have survived. No one has yet survived Alzheimer's”. Alzheimer’s is a disease that many Americans will get in their lifetime and yet we know so little about its future. I also enjoyed reading Dan’s experience being a caregiver. While a lot of what he said was repetitive, he gives a good look into how difficult caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be. Dan explains countless times that Alzheimer’s does not just affect the individual diagnosed with the disease, but the whole family as well. His accounts could not be truer. I would have liked to have heard more from B. Smith, but understandable why her words were fewer than his. If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, are in the medical field, or if you are just interested in this disease process, I recommend you read this book. It is an easy read and I give it 4/5 stars. Imagine what we can do to change the course of this disease if everyone read just a little bit about it and did something to make a change. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
This was a very honest easy to read book. They let into their lives showing the challenges that we might expect to find no matter who you are. Dan as the caregiver spouse was open about how things can change and how you sometimes feel about the person and yourself. They gave good reference material and ways that we can help ourselves along with others. Enjoyed having it in layman's terms which made it easier to understand. Great addition on this terrible disease.