Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Many of us know someone affected by Alzheimer's. It's a cruel disease that makes no sense. But a local woman is trying to help us understand.
Nancy Nelson's walls are covered with pictures that may one day help her remember. She thought one of these pictures, which show her jumping off a 40 foot pole would be her greatest challenge, that was before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
"Last September I got the news. I suspected it for a long time. I would start out in the road and didn't know where I was going."
Nancy was diagnosed when her doctor asked her to remember three words: Blue. River. Apple. She couldn't. They are now the title of a book of poems she's written to help all of us understand the anger, frustration, and hope she feels.
"I am sitting on the lighter side of strong. For the most part. Climbing toward solution."
For months, she'd wake in the middle of the night putting pen to paper. "I would just start writing like this. Like I was possessed."
There's a reason for that. You see, Nancy's got some experience with this cruel disease.
"This is my dad and he had Alzheimer's."
Her beloved Father would yell and shake his fist and no one understood what was happening to him. Years later, Nancy attended an Alzheimer's support group and began to understand.
And that's what she wants for her family. She's told them the truth, and asked her family to attend support groups. "I just think openness is where we need to be with this. It will help them. It will be an easier slide."
Most of her family has not read her book. It's too painful to read about what their mom is going through.
"Oh don't feel sorry. Let me be patently clear. No pity sign displayed here" one poem reads. But for the readers who are picking up Blue. River. Apple it is clarity. It is honest. It is a glimpse into the mind of someone facing Alzheimer's. And it helps us understand what's happening to the person we love."
"If this is a vehicle for someone to be able to understand that part a little bit then I am blessed to be on that path and I gladly accept the challenge."