The Turtles singer Mark Volman is getting ready to release his new memoir, Happy Together, on June 20. He reveals in the book that back in 2020 he was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, the same disease comedian Robin Williams had.
“I remember slurring, and I wasn’t sure what was going on,” Volman tells People of the first symptoms he experienced. “My brain wandered. I’d go off track. It made no sense.”
People who live with LBD can experience hallucinations, and Volman says his included seeing Civil War soldiers outside his house, and faces in the furniture and appliances. He also experiences tremors.
While the life expectancy is typically about eight years following diagnosis, Volman isn’t letting it slow him down and is even taking part in The Turtles’ annual Happy Together music fest. He says he’ll travel by bus for the tour, noting, “it’s the safest place for me to be. I can’t get lost or hurt.”
LBD can be debilitating, and even led Williams to take his own life in 2014, but Volman, who manages his condition with medications and exercise, isn’t ready to give up.
“I got hit by the knowledge that this was going to create a whole new part of my life. And I said, ‘Okay, whatever’s going to happen will happen, but I’ll go as far as I can,’” he says. “The challenges of this world affect everybody, and it’s been kind of fun being on the other side of a challenge like this and saying, ‘I feel good.’”
He adds, “My friends are here. I’m still here. And I want people to connect with me.”
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