Published September 21, 2020 / All Stories
An unpredictable future
Jim Butler thrives on knowledge. The 72-year-old knows that when he wakes, he will read the daily paper over a cup of steaming coffee and a bowl of cereal. He knows that later, he’ll watch the news and traverse the city by bike, watching the world stream by despite an ostensible stillness created by the COVID-19 pandemic. What he doesn’t know is how and when his mind and body will deteriorate as a result of his Alzheimer’s disease – nor if he will know when it happens.
Jim can remember how his father’s Alzheimer’s disease progressed as a frame of reference. But he knows that it’s impossible to predict exactly how the disease will affect himself. “I hope I get real lucky and I don’t slip anymore,” Jim says. “My guess is if this thing gets worse, I’m not going to be cognizant of a lot of it.”
Amidst the weight of this looming unknown, Jim knows he can face each day toward an uncertain fate because his family will help him navigate the journey and because he is doing what he can to make a difference in Alzheimer’s research.
Family is everything
Jim was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016 after repeated instances of confusion and struggling with daily tasks prompted him to see a doctor. For him and his wife, Lisa Butler, the news was devastating. “We thought this was the beginning of the end,” he says.