Christine Bryden was 46 years old when she was diagnosed with dementia, and in this book she describes her remarkable emotional, physical and spiritual journey in the three years immediately following. Offering rare first-hand insights into how it feels to gradually lose the ability to undertake tasks most people take for granted, it is made all the more remarkable by Christine's positivity and strength, and deep sense, drawn in part from her Christian faith, that life continues to have purpose and meaning.
Originally published in Australia in 1998, the book is brought up-to-date with a new Foreword, Preface and Appendix, in which Christine explains how the disease has progressed over the years, and how she is today. It also contains many previously unseen photographs of Christine and her family, from around the time of her diagnosis up to the present day.
Inspirational and informative in equal measure, Who will I be when I die? will be of interest to other people with dementia and their families, as well as to dementia care professionals.
About the Author
Christine Bryden has worked in the pharmaceutical industry and as a senior executive in the Australian Prime Minister's Department. Following her diagnosis with Alzheimer's Disease in 1995, she has been instrumental in setting up local support groups for people with dementia and has addressed national and international conferences. In 2003 she was the first person with dementia to be elected to the Board of Alzheimer's Disease International. Her first book Who will I be when I die? was published in 1998 and has been translated into several languages. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.
Her story is remarkable and humbling... This complex condition affects each individual differently, but Christine Bryden, in a clear and lucid overview, is able to explain in detail what happens to the brain and what varying symptoms this may produce. -- The Way
This book's great strength, apart from the vivid and moving testimony of one who is facing up to the challenge of dementia with faith and courage, is the challenge to us in the church that underlies it all. Longevity, and the increasing incidence of dementia, are a call to us in CCOA and the churches to ensure that we continue to raise awareness of the need for understanding and trained pastoral care, in respect of those who suffer from dementia together with their carers. The book includes a helpful description of the types of dementia and resources, in terms of literature and organisations, that can help. I commend this book as a helpful source of better understanding of the plight of dementia sufferers and a means of prompting us to respond with the informed care that they require. -- Plus - Quarterly magazine of Christian Council on Ageing
Bryden becomes a campaigner for social change for those affected by dementia in Australia. It is a moving and inspiring book. -- Church Times
a very readable book about dementia, told through the personal experience of a sufferer rather than a carer. -- the Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy
I am delighted that this book of a first-hand account of dementia is being republished. I know it has been inspirational for many who have dementia and for their families. These days, most people say that they know someone who has dementia, and it is my hope that Christine's words will be read by many others, who will also find inspiration in her journey, her strength and her faith, which have carried her through all this time. -- from the Foreword by Elizabeth MacKinlay
Christine's story is one of inspiration and strength. A single mother with Alzheimer's disease and three young daughters: all that and only in her mid-40s facing another decade of life if she's lucky. But she's already jumped her greatest hurdle - that of facing the unknown. Christine has put that greatest of fears behind her. Who will she be when she dies? A mother remembered and revered by her family and a woman who gave a great deal of herself to strangers. -- Mike Munro, Australian television presenter
I read this book in several sessions over the course of one day and found it a moving and compelling read... I can heartily recommend it for those in the early stages of Alzheimer's or dementia, and to their carers. -- GoodBookStall.co.uk
Preface. The Diagnosis. 1. I'm too young! 2. The first signs. 3. The second opinion. Who Will I Be When I Die? 4. At least you can't die from it! - wrong!. 5. You look so well! - if only I had cancer! 6. A terminal illness - so why are we ashamed of it? What's It Like, Having Alzheimer's? 7. Clinging to a precipice with my fingernails. 8. From 'super-memory' to losing the plot. 9. A confusion of sight and sound. 10. A jumble of words. 11. Life's essentials. An Adventure into the Unknown. 12. Trying to be prepared. 13. My car's an alien spaceship! - and other oddities. 14. From 'super-mum' to dependent mum. 15. A scary road ahead? Where to Now? 16. Our fifteen minutes of fame. 17. Do I really believe in healing? A Postscript - A God of Surprises! 18. I'm getting better! 19. A 'miracle cure'? Thank God God's in Charge! 20. Getting onto 'God's roller-coaster'. 21. Why me - and why Alzheimer's, God? 22. Is God a 'bandaid'? 23. Am I afraid of dying? Appendix. What is Alzheimer's disease?