Living Life After Diagnosis

by Lon Cole

In 2010, while being treated for PTSD from the Vietnam War, the VA hospital in American Lake noticed that I had some memory problems. They conducted an extensive memory test that took about four hours.  Afterwards, they informed my wife and I that I had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Lon Cole, Vietnam

I really didn’t take them very seriously, but when I got to the car and asked my wife what her take was on all of this she looked at me very sadly and said, “I was hoping you would get a pass on this one.”

That’s when I realized how serious this was.  It bothered me all day and late into the night. I was a mess. I remembered the doctor telling me about the Alzheimer’s Association and that they had a 24/7 Helpline. So at about 2:00 AM I called. The person on the other line answered all my questions and put my fears at rest. When I hung up the phone I knew that I was not alone in this journey. I had God, my family, my faith and hope and I had the Alzheimer’s Association who had my back.

Since my diagnosis I’ve kept busy. I do volunteer work, I help the Alzheimer’s Association as much as I can, I write and publish books. My third book Celebrate Survival will be out anytime now.

People sometimes don’t believe me, but I promise you there is life after Alzheimer’s.

If you have had a similar experience or if you’re experiencing memory loss, join me at the Early Stage Memory Loss Forum in Tacoma on May 14th.

2015-3-28 Lon Cole (45 of 70)
Lon Cole reads from his writings at the University Bookstore in Bellevue in 2015.

Lon Cole has authored three poetry books including his latest, Alive and Thankful. “I love reaching out to people. It’s why I volunteer so much, and it’s why I wrote my books–so I could reach out and lighten others’ burdens,” says Lon. “It brings me strength and new life, and I guess it is what our Lord does for us all. I just try to follow Him.”

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