Nancy Nelson Shares Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Poetry in Blue River Apple

About Nancy Nelson, Blue. River. Apple.

Nancy’s Inside View on the Blue.River.Apple. Sliding Scale

Blue. River. Apple. Nancy NelsonBy Nancy Nelson

One day traveling along the streetways of Las Vegas, NV, confident and sure of where I was going . . . and then I asked myself . . . WHERE am I going? Am I going to . . .?

Shoot! I cannot find the way from my side of town to Lake Las Vegas. Streets I’ve traveled on for forty-three years didn’t connect. A friend following me and I canNOT pull over! Nancy Anne, what is wrong with you? Get a grip! Anguish and stomach upset takes over as a forefinger taps my forehead. Moments pass and I pull up on the gas pedal . . . just knowing something will trigger my brain to recognize the surroundings it knows . . . but it’s not happening! I still don’t know the way, thinking . . . thinking . . . come to me, dammit! I continue driving . . . Shoot! Finally, the way does come to me. There you are! Geez! The sigh is all telling.

Time and time again, more and more often, the streets fade, and return. I ignore. I forget. It happens again like a gerbil climbing on the same old circular wheel. Doing the same thing and getting the same response, running round and round.

At a client’s office after spending a good two hours, it’s time for the sign and seal, and my time to say goodbye. Early the next day, Tim phones and wants to go over details of what insurance plans we’d decided upon. My throat plummets, wham! I cannot remember offhand, and realize yesterday’s meeting needs reconstructing from before the signed paperwork to now, using my uncooperative mind. Whatever do I do now?! Should I be worried about this memory thing?

I totally forgot a friend’s anniversary dinner at a fine dining restaurant. The one we made the previous night! When that call came in asking, where are you? I was flabbergasted, ashamed and lied in a complicated cover-up. What is happening to me?!

Is it time to check out Dad’s legacy? He passed from Alzheimer’s complications in 2002. Back then, shhh, was the word.


We sat in the neurologist’s office quite content in our knowing, everything was okay. Tired maybe? Overextended maybe? Jenn even reminded me, “Mom, why do you want to find out about your memory? You’re almost 70 years old, you’re bound to be a little forgetful.”

Squeezing Jenn’s hand with a smile on my outside face, ahhh, she . . . she just might be correct.

And then the crisp white jacket turned, and he said, “You have early-onset Alzheimer’s!”

From that day forward, words tumbled down from skies above onto my yellow tablet, and I began sharing my new challenge in easy-to-read verses. My first collection of poetry is called Blue.River.Apple.: an exploration of Alzheimer’s through poetry.

Purchase the book here.

About the Author

Nancy NelsonNancy Nelson was born and raised outside of Seattle, WA, and lived in Las Vegas, NV, for fifty-five years. She raised two daughters and is

grandmother to four and “bonus” mom and grandma to some special kids. Nancy was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2013 and re-diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment in 2017. Her COBRE brain test scores from 2019 suggest she is holding her own.

Dementia translates as “deprived of mind.” A confirmation that Nancy Nelson was to follow in her father’s footsteps jarred her in ways she never imagined. Nancy speaks, writes, and advocates from an inside view of an outside reality. She talks of hope and how she’s found joy and consolation in helping all who have any form of dementia. Also, she speaks with and holds care partners in the highest regard “for without them, where would we all be?!” Her belief is that communication is key and becoming a partner in one’s own health is paramount.

Nancy has authored and published three books in her Blue.River.Apple. series. She journals day-to-day experiences from frustration to discovery, offering a new perspective that helps readers find encouragement and hope.

The Alzheimer’s Association chose Nancy as one of twelve nationwide participants, all diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in its varying stages and types. They partook in the 2015 Early Stage Advisory Group tasked with answering questions and sharing their own experiences to advance first-hand knowledge and solutions to living a positive and better life for longer. Whether it was speaking in front of hundreds of people or to elected officials, they shared their personal challenges. Nancy volunteers at the Las Vegas Desert Southwest Chapter by facilitating caregiver and early-stage support groups, and she speaks out about the importance of early detection and how Alzheimer’s and hope may be used in the same sentence.

Nancy volunteers for Alzheimer’s Nevada, an all-volunteer, non-profit that assists Nevadans with education and support for “normal people with an abnormal condition” and Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health by sitting on its Voices for Patient Advocacy Council, advocates for the Healthy Brain Initiative, the Dementia Friendly program and is pleased when she can say “yes” to serving others and helping.

Nancy was inducted into the Nevada Women’s Hall of Fame and received Nevada’s Senior Citizen of the Year Award in 2018.

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