“A powerful portrait of Alzheimer’s…marked by strong emotions and often bleak honesty.”
—The Washington Post
“The vulnerability, courage, and honesty in Before I Forget are heart-opening. Fear can be paralyzing…yet B. and Dan beautifully demonstrate that there is a different way to approach this stealthy invader. Alzheimer’s needs to come out of the shadows, and this book is an important step.”
Restaurateur, magazine publisher, celebrity chef, and nationally known lifestyle maven, B. Smith is struggling at 66 with a tag she never expected to add to that string: Alzheimer's patient. She’s not alone. Every 67 seconds someone newly develops it, and millions of lives are affected by its aftershocks.
B. and her husband, Dan, working with Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson, unstintingly share their unfolding story. Crafted in short chapters that interweave their narrative with practical and helpful advice, readers learn about dealing with Alzheimer's day-to-day challenges: the family realities and tensions, ways of coping, coming research that may tip the scale, as well as lessons learned along the way.
At its heart, Before I Forget is a love story: illuminating a love of family, life, and hope.
With the assistance of Vanity Fair contributing editor Shnayerson, spouses Smith (a restaurateur and model) and Gasby (a marketing exec) explain the slow, grinding stages of Alzheimer's disease as it is affecting Smith. The couple recently went public about Smith's degenerative disease after a revealing Today Show segment and a frantic missing-person search that turned the East Coast upside down. Over the course of Gasby's loving narrative as the chief caregiver and Smith's compelling inserts as the courageous patient, they take the reader through the early stages of forgetfulness, the horror of the diagnosis, and the mood swings and inappropriate behavior of the later symptoms. The doctors try to keep the couple abreast of drug trials and new research in the pipeline, but acknowledge it's an uphill fight. However, underneath the grim march of the disease, there is an enduring love story of care and adoration, anchored by their campaign for new funding for research into possible cures.