Terry Pratchett: the battle is on

There is no need to say it again, but I will. I am an avid fan of Terry Pratchett novels.

Picture left: from The Times, January 30 2009

I still haven’t read all of them, but about 20 or more novels. I tend to go for the ones with the characters I like the most. Going Postal is still a favorite of mine (Faberadatch review-link), as is any novel with Nanny Ogg, Death, Susan (Death’s granddaughter) or Rincewind (the wizzard who can’t even spell that properly).

So when last Wednesday there was a programme with Terry called “Living with Alzheimer’s”, which he has been diagnosed with a year ago, I wanted very much to see that.

He is only in the early stages and it’s a specific kind of Alzheimer’s he has: posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) or Benson’s disease, a rare form that affects the part of the brain that has to do with your vision. Because it can be different to different people, not all symptoms are the same to anyone.

Pratchett sounded very eloquent and coherent. It’s not because you hear that he’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s necessarily the beginning of the end. Not at all. But it will be a difficult road ahead for him. And that’s why he wants to understand what is ahead and how it can be dealt with. As I can imagine anyone would.

During this first year, Pratchett let a BBC-camera crew follow him all year round. In the programme, he said that he used to be a fast typist and laughed at spelling checkers – yet now he finds it more difficult to type fluently and he has to rely more and more on his spelling checker when working.

He is now searching to find something to treat it or slow it down, and has donated money to find a treatment.

I understand him completely, when he says that this kind of throws a shadow over his already 25th year of the Discworld series. Almost 36 books later, and still writing, now people tend to talk about the Alzheimer’s instead of his new book.

If you wish to read more on this you can read an article on Telegraph.co.uk “Sir Terry Pratchett documents Alzheimer’s battle in BBC film“.

I do wish him well and hope that he will find what will ease it for him in the years to come. Keep fighting, Terry.


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