Figure. Photographs by Michael Paras
Karen Henes, age 63.
When were you diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease?
In January 2006, at age 60.
How did you react when you received the diagnosis?
I cried and said goodbye to myself, because both my father and grandfather had Alzheimer's and died from it. I didn't think that I was going to die immediately, but I thought I would die soon. Then I stopped crying and decided I was going to go on with my life and see if I could make a difference.
How did friends and family react?
Friends were wonderful and my family for the most part accepted it, but my brothers did not and still have not.
What person, place, or thing has helped you deal with your condition?
Talking about the disease and helping other people deal with what's going on. I get a chance to talk about it in Alzheimer Association support groups and with my friends.