Praying for an Alzheimer’s cure

Published 7:56 pm Thursday, July 26, 2018

always find myself feeling embarrassed if I forget someone’s name or can’t remember a face.

Just this week, a woman came into the Vicksburg Post and I thought she looked familiar. As I walked by she said, “You don’t know who I am, do you?”

Fear welled up inside of me and I threw out my best guess, and fortunately I was right.

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It had been a former next-door neighbor and friend I had not seen in a while.

To my credit, she had lost a lot of weight and changed her hair-do, but still, having that glimmer of recognition, but not being able to instantly know who she was alarmed me.

I have felt a similar sensation when I have misplaced my keys or can’t remember where I parked my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Am I getting Alzheimer’s?

My paternal grandfather died in 2000 after developing the disease and my maternal grandmother, who will turn 100 this year, suffers from dementia that has progressed to the point that she no longer recognizes any of her family.

So when Dr. John Torres, an NBC News medical correspondent, reported on the “Today Show” this week that there is a new trial on a breakthrough Alzheimer’s medication, I paid close attention.

According to Torres, the medication, which is being developed from a Japanese partner to the company Biogen, finds that in the 18-month study the drug not only influences the structural changes to the brain, it also helps reduce memory decline.

Sounds like promising news, however, it will take years before the medication will be available to the public.

According to, 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and in Mississippi alone there has been a 216 percent increase in deaths due to the disease since my grandfather died.

Although these numbers are staggering for the Magnolia state, increases are being seen nation-wide and this is due to our large aging population.

With these increases comes the dilemma of how to adequately care for those who can no longer take care of themselves.

My paternal grandmother took care of her husband in their home with the help of part-time sitters, and while my maternal grandmother has lived in nursing home type facilities after she could no longer care for herself, my mother and aunt have devoted much time to her continued care, sometimes to the point of it affecting their health.

Alzheimer’s and dementia patients require an inordinate amount of physical care, and the emotional side can also take a toll.

I think this is why I worry that I, too, may one day develop Alzheimer’s.

I have personally seen how ugly this disease can be.

While there are many diseases and ailments that seem foul and heartless, Alzheimer’s to me is the worst.

Living and not knowing seems incomprehensible, so I pray this breakthrough advances sooner than later.

So in the future I, nor anyone else will have to worry about getting Alzheimer’s.

Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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