The secret diary of courage by Alzheimer wife, 39: Husband discovers heartbreaking notes detailing her care wishes – and he'd followed him to the letter
Steve Boryszczuk realised he'd followed his wife Michelle's wishes when he moved her into a specialist care homeShe was diagnosed with the disease aged just 39 and is now bed-bound and needs round-the-clock care
She had spent eight years writing detailed notes about how she wanted to be looked after which her husband has just discovered
22:37 GMT, 3 September 2012
After watching his young wife succumb to the ravages of Alzheimer's, Steve Boryszczuk faced the heart-rending decision so many carers have had to confront – whether or not to place their loved one in a care home.
Filled with guilt, he eventually agreed that Michelle – at 43 one of the country's youngest sufferers – needed to be looked after by health professionals.
It was only when he went through her belongings that he found a comfort he could barely have hoped for.
Discovery: Steve Boryszczuk, 47, found touching diary entries written by
his wife Michelle, 43, revealing her fears about Alzheimer's after she
discovered she carried the same gene defect as her father
Michelle had kept a secret diary in
which she chronicled, among many other heart-rending emotions, her
realisation and acceptance of that fate.
The journal addressed the difficulties
she was facing in day-to-day life, her brave attempts to hold back the
disease's development, and how she wished to be cared for as her mental
Michelle had started her diary when
she learned she had early onset Alzheimer's at 39. The hand-written
pages provided some solace to her husband by assuring him that he had
followed the unspoken wishes of the mother-of-two.
Her move to a professional environment
providing round-the-clock care was given implicit approval when she
wrote how she realised she would eventually have to reside in a
'specialist unit or hospice'.
Mr Boryszczuk, who gave up his job as a
lorry driver to look after his wife of 27 years and still spends up to
12 hours a day by her bedside, has now released excerpts from the diary
to raise awareness of the condition.
'It's difficult when you watch a loved
one slip away and there's nothing you can do to stop it,' said the
47-year-old, who lives in Wickenby, Lincolnshire.
Wishes: Pages from a secret diary written by Mrs Boryszczuk after her diagnosis. In the note on the left she reveals how she wanted to be in a specialist unit or hospice only during the later stages of the disease
'I thought Michelle
and I would grow old together and tell our grandkids stories about how
we met. But that's not going to happen now. I miss my wife every day but
I have to accept she is gone.
'Putting Michelle in a home was the
hardest thing I have ever had to do, but it got to the point where I
just couldn't give her the care she needed.
'After she moved into the home I sat down and read through all her notes and diary and cried.
Devoted: The couple pictured on holiday in Cyprus in 2010. Mr Boryszczuk said he had no idea his wife had written down all her thoughts in the early stages of her diagnosis about how she wanted to be cared for
'It is a comfort knowing I can give Michelle what she wants now she is ill and cannot tell me herself.'
Mrs Boryszczuk lost her father to
Alzheimer's when he was 46. She was 28 when she was told she carried the
same gene defect that made her susceptible to the disease. She first
noticed symptoms in 2008 and was formally diagnosed with the disease a
Genetic: Michelle on her wedding day in August 1985 with her father Anthony who died of the disease aged just 46
In an effort to hold back her
symptoms, she recorded key details about family members in her diary,
compiled lists of where she placed things and labelled cupboards with
The ability to complete everyday tasks
such as driving and going shopping were the first major problems. These
were followed by forgetting to check for traffic when she crossed
She also began disappearing for hours
on end as she had difficulty recalling her way home. /09/03/article-0-14D06ED1000005DC-924_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”Pages from a secret diary written by Michelle Boryszczuk after her diagnosis with Alzheimers” class=”blkBorder” />
Moving: These notes reveal a factsheet of important details to look into, as well as 'significant emotional statements'. Mrs Boryszczuk first lost the ability to complete simple tasks like driving and shopping
Family: Steve and Michelle after the christening of their son Richard, before the Alzheimer's kicked in
Couple: Steve and Michelle have been married for 27 years and used to love holidaying together
The note on the left details tips and techniques to help her remember things and on the right she explains why she didn't want to move house 'as it will disorientate me'. She also said she wanted to paint and go for drives