Then and now: Macon family's emotional journey through Alzheimer's

    Arthena and Virous Caston/Images courtesy: Caston family

    MACON, Ga. -- Macon woman Arthena Caston has been living with Alzheimer’s for over two years since she was first diagnosed on March 23, 2016. Her struggle continues as she battles with this disease each and every day.

    She first told her story to WGXA in 2018. The disease has continued to progress, but Arthena’s family remains right by her side.

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    Arthena’s husband Virous has been by her side since the first day she was diagnosed with this un-curable disease.

    “He called me and my husband in and on March 23 we went to his office and he gave us the diagnosis,” Arthena said.

    Arthena was diagnosis at 51-years-old with Alzheimer’s. Now that the stages are starting to worsen, her husband said she’s not the only person who feels the impact.

    “When it really gets into the stages, it isn’t going to be her that has a hard time," Virous said. "It’s going to be the caregiver, it’s going to be me. So I’m preparing myself, or prepping myself so that I can do this. It’s no problem because I know what she would do for me."

    Arthena said the disease has not only changed her life but it has affected her income.

    “When you were working so long and the next thing they tell you is you’ve got to retire for medical reason," Virous said. "Not only does that change your daily activities, but your income. We took a hit on that."

    It was a change that has caused the family to live every day to the fullest sooner, rather than later.

    “They're going to stop talking one day, they're not going to be able to travel one day," Virous said. "So while they still can communicate, you can get on the phone, you can see them before those final stages come -- because it’s going to happen."

    Arthena has watched her own family fade away from this disease.

    “I’ve watched my father and five of his brothers and sisters go through this,” she said. “I mean this is the reality. The hardest thing for me to realize is it is."

    Virous says he notices the changes in his wife each and every day. But the hardest part for her is the thought of not knowing her family one day.

    “The hurtful thing for her, is to know, 'I’m not going to be able to hold my grandson or who my kids are,'” Virous. “Even my kids, they're like, 'Momma's not going to know who I am'."

    Virous is facing the fact that the woman he married over 30 years ago won’t know him one day.

    “It takes a strong person to say, 'One day my wife won’t be able to talk',” he said.

    This disease has the power to test the strength of love -- but the Caston's said they will prevail.

    “Are you going to stick by that person?" Virous said. "When they say, 'For better or for worse,' that’s what you’re signing up for. So we're going to be all right. Yeah, we're going to be alright."

    The Caston's are participating in the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer's Central Georgia. Click here to donate to Arthena's Angels (just enter the name in the search bar). The walk is set for Sept. 28 at Middle Georgia State.

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