Alzheimer's Daughter

The Story

Alzheimer’s Daughter introduces the reader to my healthy parents, Ed and Ibby, years before their diagnosis, then recounts painful details as our roles reversed and I became my parents’ parent.

Their disease started as translucent, confused thoughts and ended in a locked memory care unit after a near decade of descent into the opaque world of Alzheimer's.

I began writing Alzheimer’s Daughter one week after my mother's death––when I was stunned, realizing Dad had no memory of her or their 66-year marriage.

I write to pay tribute to the undying spirit at Ed and Ibby's core, and with the hope that the story of their parallel decline might be helpful to others.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Somebody Stole My Iron by Vicki Tapia

I love technology. Technology helped me write and publish Alzheimer's Daughter. Just as importantly, technology has allowed me to connect with people all over the world who share an interest in Alzheimer's disease. 

Through the use of technology, I've formed friendships with other authors who have written about personal experiences with the disease. 

Vicki Tapia, author of Somebody Stole My Iron, also became the caregiver/decision-maker for two parents diagnosed with Alzheimer's/dementia. 

Through conversations with Vicki, I thought people who were interested in Alzheimer's Daughter would also like to know about Vicki's book, Somebody Stole My Iron. 

Below is my interview with Vicki, along with her book description, an excerpt, her biography, and ordering information.

Be sure to click the Goodreads Giveaway link at the bottom of the page for a chance to win Vicki's book. 

Interview Questions

When, why, and how did you start writing?

My writing “career” started decades ago, journaling about a summer romance in a small, line-filled ledger with a red cover. From that time on, journal writing has been the means by which I’ve processed the twists and turns in my life. Over the years, I have found that my journal entries are proportional to my stress level. There’s something about the writing process that helps me clarify situations, but also provides me with solace in times of turmoil or sadness. I call it “writing therapy.” Not surprisingly, throughout the years of caregiving for my parents, I was especially drawn to journaling in an attempt to make sense of what was my parents were changing and how it affected and ultimately changed me. Writing was the one constant in my life that made no demands and asked nothing in return. 

What inspires you?

Traveling the dementia road with my parents, I found few practical resources available to guide or help me cope. This inspired me to take action and transform our family’s story from a journal into a book, in order to share what I’d learned with others in similar situations. After friends and friends of friends read my unpublished manuscript and expressed how useful and relevant they found the story, I was further inspired to pursue publication.

Do you have a special place to write?

Although I’m actually typing on a keyboard, I still think of it as “writing,” and I do have a special place…sitting (or standing) at my kitchen breakfast bar. However, I’m not limited to this location and writing can happen anywhere my Mac is situated. Admittedly not nearly as convenient or user friendly, I’ve occasionally used my iPad mini, with a little portable keyboard, in airports, airplanes and hotel rooms, when my laptop has been left behind. 

Describe your writing process.

Well, I wish I might say that I am “very disciplined” and set aside a set number of hours at the same time each day to write and that I ignore all extraneous distractions. Doesn’t happen. Wish it did, but it doesn’t.

When writing, I enjoy the details and the research involved in the creation of the story. I have productive writing days and not-so-productive writing days. As I tell my husband, it seems I either have “word diarrhea” or “word constipation.”

Life distracts me in many ways, most of which I’d label as “good” distractions…those of my family, who are truly the most important part of my life. There are other distractions that I’d categorize as “busywork,” but unavoidable (housekeeping, paying bills, errands, appointments).

Promoting Somebody Stole My Iron takes effort each and every day. Social media distracts me. Walking my dog distracts me. Sometimes, it seems that writing is the last activity on the list! Somehow, though, I manage to find time to write, although it’s often in fits and starts. 

Yesterday I read an article that suggested setting aside one hour a day specifically to write and keeping that hour sacred. My goal is to put that recommendation into practice, starting now!

Thank you, Jean, for this opportunity to connect with your readers!

Somebody Stole My Iron: A Family Memoir of Dementia
By Vicki Tapia

Genre: Memoir

Book Description:

Somebody Stole My Iron chronicles a family’s journey down the rabbit hole that is dementia. After Vicki’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, followed closely by her father with Parkinson’s disease-related dementia, the 3 of them embarked on a sojourn that was heartbreaking and painful and at times, sadly humorous. What began as a diary to help the author cope, morphed into an inspirational memoir, filled with personal lessons learned along the way, ideas/tips for managing the day-to-day ups and downs of dementia, as well as useful information from experts within the field of Alzheimer’s research. This conversational narrative, sprinkled with both laughter and tears, offers a sense of hope to those who lives have been intimately affected by dementia, letting them know they aren’t alone. 

Excerpt from Somebody Stole My Iron: A Family Memoir of Dementia

I arrived at my mother’s apartment at 2 p.m. one afternoon. Upon knocking and hearing her invitation to come in, I opened the door and was greeted with her shocked face, as if she couldn’t fathom why I was there. She cautiously ventured, “What are you doing here? It’s time for bed.” As my focus returned, I realized my mother was sitting in front of me, on her bed, completely naked.

“Look outside,” I replied as gently as I could, “Is it dark out?”

She turned and gazed out her window at the clear, azure blue sky. “No,” she replied, matter-of-factly.

“You can go to bed when it gets dark outside, okay?”

I was immediately struck with the same recurring thought that, in so many ways, dealing with demented people is like living with toddlers.

The administrator at Tendercare Cottages informed me that following a move to a new facility, it takes the elderly about 90 days to adjust. It had been more than 90 days, and Mom had still not adjusted. If anything, the move to Tendercare Cottages seemed to have accelerated Mom’s decline, as her dementia was more and more noticeable. The latest development was her declaration she could no longer read. 

“There is no sense in bringing me any more magazines, I can’t read anymore,” she said with resignation in her voice.

What could I possibly say in response to that? I looked at her with compassion, but couldn’t stop thinking about how one of her few remaining pleasures was now fleeting. I supposed I no longer needed to continue the search for her eyeglasses, which had mysteriously gone missing.


Somebody Stole My Iron is the first book-length publication for author Vicki Tapia, who in a former life, wrote for lactation journals. She retired from her career as a lactation consultant to direct her energies toward writing. She is currently at work on a new book, which will focus on women’s issues at the turn of the 20th century. 

Vicki is the mother of 3 grown children, and Nana to 7 grandsons and a granddaughter. She lives in south central Montana with her husband and mini-Schnauzer. You are quite likely to find a picture of Vicki and her dog on her Twitter feed or Facebook page.

Purchase Somebody Stole My Iron 
(Available in paperback and Kindle editions)

Click on the above link to win a free copy of 
Somebody Stole My Iron
1 of 3 to be given away on August 1st.

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