After her husband passed away from Alzheimer’s disease, Sault native Sonia Discher published her first book on July 10, with the goal of helping herself and readers cope.
The nonfiction book recounts her experiences from the moment her husband was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 50 in an otherwise healthy state. It is titled Dealing with Early Onset Alzherimer’s: Love, Laughter & Tears.
“My aim is to give you some insight into how to perhaps deal with each change with a little more understanding, and the knowledge that you aren't alone,” reads a press release. “I wanted to ‘give back’ in some way to help others who are facing what we faced. My memories are still very vivid right from the first indication that something was wrong.”
A book signing will take place on 30 August followed by a questions and answers period.
To Discher, writing the book – which was published by Victoria-based publishing house Tellwell – served two purposes:
First, the act of writing itself helped her cope with the loss of her husband, Steve, who is also from the Sault.
“As I was writing [my memories] down, it was therapy for me. As I sat down to write, it just flowed because the memories were still fresh,” she told SooToday.
Second, Discher saw publishing the book as a way to guide others in comparable situations. This was her response to the support she had received from friends who had gone through something similar and family members.
“I wanted to give back and help somebody because of what we went through. I never knew what to expect.”
Dealing with Early Onset Alzheimer’s offers personal anecdotes as well as resources. She hopes “anybody that is dealing with someone that has dementia” will take something away from the book.
It may also help readers with Alzheimer’s.
The book offers “functional, day-to-day tips about early warning signs, medication levels, and how to address doctors, nurses and other professional caregivers,” according to her editor.
She further, “engages the reader deeply in the story and let's them know, what they may or may not be feeling is okay.
“Everyone reacts differently.”
So far, the book has helped its readers heal their emotional wounds. “I have a friend in Arizona,” said Discher. “His wife is dealing with Alzheimer’s. I got him to read it and he cried every time he read it.”
Ultimately, Discher’s story is about coping with loss and the struggle to support one’s loved ones. These are universal struggles and can be understood by everyone.
“In fact, a friend of mine, her husband had cancer, and it went to the brain… She experienced some similar things and she could relate to it.”
Book stores can order the book on a print-on-demand basis with a hard or soft cover. Copies (including e-books) are equally available at various online book stores.
The book signing will take place Aug. 30 from 2-4 p.m. in the backyard at 108 Bainbridge St.