A New York Times Bestseller
Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist and leading Alzheimer’s advocate Meryl Comer’s Slow Dancing With a Stranger is a profoundly personal, unflinching account of her husband’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease that serves as a much-needed wake-up call to better understand and address a progressive and deadly affliction.
When Meryl Comer’s husband Harvey Gralnick was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 1996, she watched as the man who headed hematology and oncology research at the National Institutes of Health started to misplace important documents and forget clinical details that had once been cataloged encyclopedically in his mind. With harrowing honesty, she brings readers face to face with this devastating condition and its effects on its victims and those who care for them. Detailing the daily realities and overwhelming responsibilities of caregiving, Comer sheds intensive light on this national health crisis, using her personal experiences—the mistakes and the breakthroughs—to put a face to a misunderstood disease, while revealing the facts everyone needs to know.
Pragmatic and relentless, Meryl has dedicated herself to fighting Alzheimer’s and raising public awareness. “Nothing I do is really about me; it’s all about making sure no one ends up like me,” she writes. Deeply personal and illuminating, Slow Dancing With a Stranger offers insight and guidance for navigating Alzheimer’s challenges. It is also an urgent call to action for intensive research and a warning that we must prepare for the future, instead of being controlled by a disease and a healthcare system unable to fight it.
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A New York Times Bestseller
From Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist and leading Alzheimer's advocate Meryl Comer comes a profoundly intimate and unfl inching account of her husband's battle with Alzheimer's disease, one of today's most pressing—and least-understood—health epidemics.
When Meryl Comer's husband, Dr. Harvey Gralnick, chief of hematology and oncology at the National Institutes of Health, began forgetting routine things and demonstrating abrupt changes in behavior, doctors were confounded as to what was wrong. Diagnoses ranged from stress and depression to Lyme disease, from pernicious anemia to mad cow's disease supposedly acquired from a trip to London. Finally, after years of inconclusive tests, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, a seemingly impossible disease for a man in his prime.
Comer gave up her television career and for the next two decades cared for Harvey in their home, tending to his every need while watching him regress into an emotionally distant and sometimes violent stranger. "The man I live with is not the man I fell in love with and married," she writes. "He has slowly been robbed of what we all take for granted—the ability to navigate the mundane activities of daily living: bathing, shaving, dressing, feeding, and using the bathroom. His inner clock is confused and can't be reset. His eyes are vacant and unaware."
In Slow Dancing with a Stranger, Comer brings readers face-to-face with Alzheimer's, detailing the realities, its stressful emotional and fi nancial hardships for families, as well as the limitations of doctors and assisted living and long term care facilities to manage diffi cult patient behaviors. With candor and grace, Comer chronicles her personal experiences—her mistakes, her heartbreaks, her minor victories—to paint an intimate and moving portrait of Alzheimer's and, in the process, she reveals the truth about the disease and everyone it affects.
One hundred percent of the proceeds from Slow Dancing with a Stranger will support Alzheimer's research.About the Author:
Meryl Comer is an Emmy award–winning reporter, veteran TV producer, and business talk show host. She is president and CEO of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative, which promotes early diagnosis, innovation, and national public service campaigns like Geoffrey Beene's Rock Stars of Science™ and the 2009 HBO Alzheimer's Project. A co-founder of WomenAgainstAlzheimer's, she is a recipient of the 2005 Shriver Profi les in Dignity Award and the 2007 Proxmire Award. Comer has been the subject of prime time news stories by ABC's Nightline and the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
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