Memories and the Impact of Dementia on Caregivers

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Being an ostomate, we know there are many that don't understand our anatomy. It's simply because they haven't had to endure the issues that led to the surgery that left us as ostomates.

Last year in June, I posted about a surgery I had, that surgery somehow affected my memory afterwards, which prompted me to search about diseases that affect memory loss.

Reading stories that my fellow ostomates share, about their journeys, though I don't always comment some stick in my mind. Such as caregivers, love, and how some relationships change. Doing much reading, I read about a couple and I want to share their story. The story follows:

In 1985 John married Bonnie, who he describes as the love of his life. John said Bonnie was physically beautiful, "what man wouldn't want that," he said. In 2006 he lost Bonnie to Dementia, he went from being her lover to her caregiver, which he stated was simply heartbreaking. John said as a journalist, reporter, and a newscaster, he has always been in control of his life.

Suddenly he was no longer in control and it angered him. Bonnie had been in a care home for about 6 months. John said she never asked once where he had been, what had he been doing and why was she there? If he left her for a short time to talk to the nurse, when he returned Bonnie greeted him as if she just seen him. Bonnie is content, he's not, he remembers what she has forgotten.

Dementia can get the caregiver too, he's grieving and mourning for someone who's still living. The first Bonnie he loved is gone. Bonnie is still there, yet a different Bonnie whom he loves. This dreaded disease erases the entire memory of the one suffering with it.

Alzheimer's is a form of dementia. In the earlier years when people spoke of this disease, it was always assumed that the one suffering was elderly. Early onset of dementia can begin with people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. If this disease is caught early, it can be slowed down but not cured.

As an ostomate, I was given a second chance to live. In some non-ostomates' minds, they would rather not live if they had to endure what we do each day. It isn't easy but we live. I can't imagine losing the memories of my entire life - before and after my colostomy. I do hope this helped someone because it definitely helped me.

Take care,


Past Member

We never know what we can endure, until we have to endure it. It's amazing how our perceptions of what is "unendurable" can change as life marches on. What once seemed so awful can, in retrospect, seem like the good old days. Everything is relative, I guess. Your post says to me that we should enjoy the present, however it may be, because today is all we really have.

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There are many stages to endure when life happens to us. It may be dementia, cancer, loss of a spouse or child. At first, it is disbelief or denial. Then it is anger. We are mad at everyone and everything as well as God and ourselves for allowing this to happen. Finally, in the end, there is acceptance and that is when living begins again. We take care of business, whether it be treatment, surgery, or arrangements for a loved one. None of it is easy no matter which side you sit on. All is affected! I have always heard that God only gives us what we can handle, so sometimes it does not seem to be advantageous to be so strong!

Being strong is what ostomates are, regardless of what brought us here, and now we have each other to get us through the tough times!

Thanks for your post, Angel.


Puppyluv56. Thanks for your comments.

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Lt. Dan

What a great story!! Loved the read. It is so true.


Lt. Dan... Glad you enjoyed it, makes one appreciate each moment.


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