- Special Sections
- Public Notices
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease – a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.
Most people who develop symptoms are 65 and older. About 200,000 individuals are younger than 65.
Paul Hornback of Hodgenville was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in October 2009 at age 55. The U.S. Army analyst and engineer and former U.S. Marine helicopter pilot began having problems remembering what he had written a week before at his job.
After he “opened up” about his symptoms to his neurologist , it took about 18 months to obtain a diagnosis. He spent time at both the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic looking for answers.
Hornback, a member of Hodgenville United Methodist Church, immediately turned to God for comfort.
He is an avid reader of devotional books but could not find one for his specific need. The marketplace had plenty of offerings for caregivers, but none for those with Alzheimer’s.
He began writing his own devotionals and last month, at the age of 59, self-published his first book, God Still Remembers Me. The book contains a 42-week collection of devotionals supported by scripture.
“There are a lot of ways people cope with this and this is one of my ways,” he said.
Hornback said an Alzheimer’s patient carries a tremendous fear: “What if I forget God? What if God forgets me?”
“I wrote it to help me – it gave me something to do each day,” he said. “But also to encourage others, to let them know their life isn’t over.”
“There is still a lot you can do,” he added. “There is a lot God wants you to do.”
On some days, Hornback had problems getting the words on paper. On his “clear” days, he realized “it didn’t make sense.” He re-wrote the passages, sometimes with the assistance of his wife, Sarah.
Hornback said his wife and three grown children encouraged him to keep writing even when he “didn’t want to anymore.”
“Some days I could write a whole devotional,” he said. “Other, I would just copy scripture.”
His long-term memory is still good but his short-term memory is deteriorating.
“I have good days and bad days. Some days, I feel almost normal. Other days, I know something is dreadfully wrong.”
He also writes a daily blog, www.faithfulfoggyliving, describing his journey with Alzheimer’s.
The following is an excerpt.:
I live my life in hope.
I live my life as a warrior against Alzheimer’s disease.
I live my life in service to others.
I live my life as if the disease has no real hold on me.
I live my life by faith in the one true God.
He is working on a second book of devotions, this one about President Abraham Lincoln’s character. He uses the 500-plus Lincoln books his father left him for research.
“I couldn’t do any of this without God’s help,” he said. “He has been so good to me – I never thought I could write.”
A book signing for God Still Remembers Me will be 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10 at Hodgenville United Methodist Church.
The book will be available for purchase at the signing or online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Hardback, soft cover and E-books are options.