Pierre Gervais’ Story
Early in the morning of October 3, 2016, my husband Pierre lost his courageous battle against a devastating neurodegenerative disease; he was just 66 years old. As many have experienced, his condition was misdiagnosed – first as Parkinson’s disease, then as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). In autopsy, it was determined that Pierre’s affliction was actually corticobasal degeneration (CBD), a disease closely related to PSP and often confused with it during clinical evaluation.
As the disease progressed, Pierre suffered debilitating physical symptoms like falls, gaze palsy (inability to move the eyes up and down), slow speech and the near constant, uncontrollable humming and moaning that tortured him. Even more disheartening and disturbing, he became a stranger to me, with his blank stares and seeming not to care anymore how I felt, what I was going through. It was terrible, and often brought me to tears. Even though he was still physically with me, I had lost the Pierre I had known and loved.
In spite if this horrific illness, Pierre always maintained his dignity, respect and appreciation for those of us privileged enough to have cared and supported him on this journey. He left an amazing legacy that few can claim. We married after being high school sweethearts and together raised three healthy, happy, successful children who chose perfect life partners. They have given us eight wonderful grandchildren that he adored, and they in turn cherished their Grandpa Pierre. Our eighth grandchild, Cate, blessed us 24 hours after Pierre departed. We believe that their souls touched for a brief moment as he went out and she entered the world. Pierre was kind and admired by many, true to self and others, one to depend on always – a wonderful husband, great father, best friend and loving grandfather.