In Jan’s Story you will meet an amazing, lively and vivacious woman who loved her husband and her life, and who globe-trotted from country to country with aplomb. Jan laughed easily and thought life was about adventure and relished every new one that came along as she and Barry moved from postings in San Francisco to Tokyo to Moscow to London and back to Japan and China.
There was no dramatic moment, no instant of knowing how much life would change with the 2005 diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, when Jan was only 55. At first, she fought against the deterioration as best she could. But the medicines could not cure, only slow the disease.
And Barry, a journalist who had seen the worst of the world, from wars and genocide to the murder of innocent children, was not prepared for watching and enduring Jan’s fading away.
There was her unpredictable behavior that got worse, the caregiving that seemed controllable in the beginning and ended up sapping both his mental and physical health, the aching and inevitable decision that Jan needed to go into an assisted living facility. For Barry, then living in Tokyo, it meant moving her back to America, half a world away from him.
There were tough decisions along the way that some applauded and others condemned. There were friends who saw what he was enduring and offered not just advice, but their own suggestions of hope. There were fellow travelers on the same journey as caregivers who reached out to comfort and share what they had learned.
As Jan deteriorated to the point of not even remembering him, Barry finally reached the lonely dangerous midnight of a saddened and defeated soul, and he had to decide…to surrender…or survive.
His answer is Jan’s Story.