HONITON ADMIRAL NURSE CAMPAIGN 2017: Martin’s fight against Alzheimer’s

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 October 2017

Martin Wallis with his wife Christine.

Martin Wallis with his wife Christine.


When I was a child, a house was blown on top of me in the Second World War. This means throughout most of my life, I have suffered with post traumatic stress disorder.

Admiral Nurse Honiton logo. Midweek HeraldAdmiral Nurse Honiton logo. Midweek Herald

Martin Wallis, 80, from Honiton is currently living with Alzheimer’s. He sat down with the Herald to discuss his journey from diagnosis to fighting the illness head-on.

When I was a child, a house was blown on top of me in the Second World War. This means throughout most of my life, I have suffered with post traumatic stress disorder.

Before I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I suffered from night terrors, memory loss and a variety of stress-related conditions.

In March last year, I was told by a doctor I had dementia. It absolutely shattered me.

Me and my wife Christine stood outside Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital after the diagnosis and we did not know where to go. We were numb for weeks after the revelation.

I could not accept my condition and I knew there was something out there to help – but we could just not find it.

Three months later, I found the vital link to all the support I needed. I met Heather Penwarden, chair of Honiton Dementia Action Alliance, who was holding a dementia talk at Honiton Library.

Sitting there, I thought if only that help had been on offer at the hospital. I personally felt directionless after my diagnosis, and I needed to know the help that was on offer.

Meeting Heather brought me and Christine into a world where there was an understanding of my condition.

I was able to join Honiton Memory Café, and the moral support I received was invaluable.

Heather, Min and Win have been amazing in running the memory café, organising outings and supporting me in research I’m currently undertaking at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital to treat my condition.

The course, called the Daybreak, means I take investigational medication to treat mild Alzheimer’s disease.

I decided to take it because I was stunned after my diagnosis, and to be honest, I did not believe it.

Up to my diagnosis, I had no idea that verdict would be it what it was.

I started this medication, and the results have exceeded my expectations. I regained my memory, so clearly that I have recovered old childhood flashbacks that I could not even remember before being diagnosed.

I want my story to show people that there is hope – and if you take action, you can overcome any pitfalls.

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