Barry Petersen, an award-winning CBS correspondent, was living a happy and globe-trotting life with his beloved wife, Jan, when she received the diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Living in Tokyo at the time, Barry struggled to make sense of Jan’s episodes before finally hearing the diagnosis from a San Francisco based neurologist. In Jan’s Story, he describes the progression of what he calls The Disease, the learning curve of becoming Jan’s caregiver, his own emotional struggles and his eventual decision to place Jan in an assisted living facility.
When he first met Jan, Barry was a recently divorced father of two girls. Jan was working as a news anchor in Seattle and Barry was a visiting correspondent; both quickly knew that their connection was undeniable and according to Barry, their honeymoon period never ended. When Jan was initially diagnosed with The Disease at 55, the couple did not know what to make of it and were cautiously optimistic that the drugs would work well enough to allow Jan to live out a normal life. Looking back, Barry could recognize warning signs in Jan long before the diagnosis, but he still did not understand how quickly their lives would change.
Jan’s Story is a very honest and touching look into what it feels like to lose someone to early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and into what it means to be a caregiver for that person. Barry Peterson spares no details when it comes to describing his journey and I can only assume that his recollections are accurate, or at least as accurate as he remembers them. He covers everything from initial signs, behavioral changes, Jan’s coping mechanisms and diagnostic tools to care giving challenges, emotional responses and reactions by family and friends.
I believe that his intent with Jan’s Story was to provide others in similar situations with a feeling that they are not alone, and he definitely succeeded in that regard. Given that many people assume that Alzheimer’s is a disease that only affects the very elderly, Barry also gives a different face to the disease – that of his wife Jan. Prior to her diagnosis, Jan was vibrant and lively, with many more years ahead of her. She loved to be around people and was often the life of the party. She was by no means the typical person someone would associate with Alzheimer’s, and yet she was another one of this terrible disease’s victims.
To learn more about the book, visit Barry Petersen’s website.
This book was provided free of any obligation by Meryl L. Moss Media Relations. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.