My name is Catherine Patten. I have a story to tell about
my mom, Nancy. I have a story about Alzheimer’s disease.
On August 13, 1949, Nancy Jo Haug was born in Aberdeen,
South Dakota. The Haug family immigrated to the United
States from Norway in the early 1900’s. She was the first
of four children. She excelled in school and graduated
from Central High School in 1967. In the early 1970’s,
mom moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where her folks
were already living.
She worked for an insurance company. While there she
met my dad. They married in 1973. They later moved
back to Cleveland, Tennessee, where dad was from
originally. They had four children, Amy, Charlie, Catherine,
Mom had a passion to help people. She was a natural-born caregiver. She went back to school to become a nurse. Mom graduated as a Registered Nurse from Cleveland State Community College in 1989. She was thrilled! She was living her dream!
She loved rescuing animals. They always seemed to find her. At one time, we had 10 pets!
She loved the holidays, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, ‘oldies’ music, her pool.
She loved her children.
In 2004, mom went back to school. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing with highest honors. She was on her way to get her master’s a year later, but quit. It was strange. She never quit anything. She really never told us why she did it. We now believe she was already in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
In 2007, at age 58 years old, mom was diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. 58 years old.
The mom became the child. The nurse became the patient.
Within a few months, we were in contact with The Alzheimer’s Association in Chattanooga. They assisted us in countless ways beginning with locating an Early-Onset Support Group. We attended caregiver conferences and in 2008, the Love Nancy team was formed in support of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Memory Walk. To this day, we still walk in, what is now, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
On December 23, 2009, mom told me she loved me for the last time. A few months later she would not speak again. Alzheimer’s takes away ‘I love you’s.’
In September 2011, mom fell and broke her hip. Even after a successful surgery, she would never walk again.
Mom had to wear diapers.
Mom had to be fed.
Alzheimer’s took my mom from her children. It took her from her grandchild. It took her from her animals. It took her from nursing. It took her car keys, her home, her dignity, her dreams and her mind. On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, at 63 years old, Alzheimer’s took her life.
I promised her I would continue in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease, memory impairments and special needs for as long as I am alive.
Love Nancy evolved over time, was incorporated and became a nonprofit in February, 2014 with the hope to provide respite support to caregivers and their loved one's living with Alzheimer’s disease, progressive memory impairments and special needs.
Love Nancy is Nancy Patten. She is a face, a name, a mom with Alzheimer’s.