Although we may face many difficulties in life, one of the most difficult will be caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
That disease takes over a person slowly, leaving you dealing with someone that is exceedingly hard to recognize. It can tear at your heart when it is anyone but when it is your spouse, it is even more difficult.
Former fashion model B. Smith is one woman who always seemed to have her act together. She was a magazine publisher, restaurant owner, chef and was known by many for her popular show in 1999, B. Smith With Style.
When she was 64, however, doctors told her she had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
That diagnosis came in 2013 and her husband, Dan Gatsby, described it as being ‘like chewing glass’.
Dan’s daughter noticed something wasn’t right in 2008, five years before she was diagnosed. At that time, even B. knew something was amiss.
“[B.] said to me one day, ‘Dan, I feel broken, like there’s something not right,’” Dan recalled of his wife. “I had an inkling, [but] I wouldn’t believe that it could be something as devastating and catastrophic as Alzheimer’s.”
Since being diagnosed, the symptoms have continued to progress. Before long, she would start forgetting even simple things, such as the sauce she was cooking when doing a live TV segment.
As it continued to intensify, she started having problems recognizing people, including her husband.
“She has called me Dan,” Dan said, positively, but then adding: “She has called me Dad. She has called me one of her three brothers, Gary, or Ron or Dennis. She’s even called me Bishop, our dog.”
B. may occasionally have lucid moments but it has taken a toll on the relationship she has with her husband. Sometimes it is as if she just doesn’t know him.
Things took a turn for the worse when Dan let everyone know he was in a relationship with another woman, Alex Lerner. It seemed as if everyone was against his decision.
“Every kind of bad thing you can possibly imagine I was accused of,” Dan said. “The other side of that coin was also because the person that I am now involved with is white, the racial innuendo is devastating.”
B. might not fully understand the relationship between her husband and Alex but the three of them do just fine. Alex even calls their relationship ‘sisterly’ and a ‘sweet feeling’.
Dan has many personal reasons for making the decision to start dating and he is now letting us know about them.
He recently gave an interview with Al Roker and he opens up about his role as a caregiver for a wife with Alzheimer’s and his choice of dating during this time.
You can hear his side in the following video: