Rolando Villarreal Sosa Rolando Villarreal Sosa

First post: Oct 22, 2021 Latest post: Dec 7, 2022
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.  

Rolando was diagnosed with Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA) on May 8th of 2020.  PCA is a rare form of Alzheimer's.  Other diagnoses related to this are major neurocognitive disorder, and early onset Alzheimer's.  So you can call it a variety of things. He had displayed symptoms for several years before this but getting a diagnosis was challenging.  Rolando is a loving father (he got to be the fun parent - I was the mean parent), took Atzin to all his baseball games, was the morning parent, made sure Atzin's clothes matched when he was little (I was only concerned that he had clothes on - who cares if it matched or not?!), and got us started with our journey as chihuahua parents - saying yes to Atzin when he asked for a dog at age 5, and "making me" adopt our very first foster - that is a longer story for another day. 

Rolando and I met in 1992-93 in Texas.  We were both on Alternative Spring Breaks with our universities - he was at UW Madison and I was at UIUC.  When I first saw him I said to myself, "he is going to be my husband" even though I wasn't even in love with him yet - I didn't even know him yet - I had only seen him out in the fields talking with migrant workers int he valley in Texas. We got to know each other, kept in touch, maintained a long distance friendship for about two years.  Finally, and yes, I'm skipping lots of parts to our story here, we dove right in, started dating and about 2 months later we were engaged. The first family event he attended was actually my nephew Nathan's baptism. 

We were married in October of 1995.  I had just finished my Master's program and was starting the PhD at University of Chicago. We actually never took a honeymoon when we got married because I had just started my doctoral program and there was no time or money for that. We had planned to finally have our honeymoon when we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, but unfortunately both COVID19 and this damn disease prevented that - so we have never had a honeymoon at all. One thing I do know is that this man loves me intensely and that, I never doubted. Rolando is a sociologist and loves reading.  One of the things that PCA affects is vision, so this has impacted his ability to read. He can no longer drive, and he also cannot bike.  He was an avid cyclist - and he tells me stories about when he was a student at Berkeley - he would ride his bike for miles.  He continued cycling when he lived in Madison, WI as a graduate student, and later in Chicago when he moved here for love (me). This disease has taken so much from us.  It's unfair, it's devastating, it's infuriating, and there is a lot of grieving. 

We have an amazing son, Atzin Rolando, who is currently at Duke law school.  We are so very proud of him and so glad to support him in continuing his dreams and goals. Before going off to Duke, he spent lots of time here with us helping out during the pandemic as he was able to work remotely even though he lived in Buffalo, NY.  This help was essential in getting through the last year as I had little help otherwise.  He was here and cooked meals, took Rolando to therapy, and offered support. 

I understand that this could potentially be a very long journey - lasting anywhere between 3 to 7 years. So I may or may not post ways to help right away. With this disease things are so uneven. We can be doing fairly well one week, and then there is a sudden decline, and the next week things are intense and challenging. So please don't burn yourself out early on.  Visit us, read my posts, and help if you want, every now and then. I'm sure a time will come when I will need a lot more support. This is a lonely journey as I am the one here every day - taking care of and supporting my partner, navigating health care, forms for services, the household, etc. etc.

Thanks again for visiting this site and being willing to be a part of this very difficult and long goodbye. 

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