"It's labeled incurable and you end up being a vegetable. People think as soon as you're labeled that way, you are. A lot of us aren't," says Hayen, 74, a retired San Diego physician who joined about 30 other early-stage Alzheimer's patients last month for a lobbying blitz at the nation's capital.
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Don Hayen has a handy way of deflecting the instant pity that comes when he reveals his Alzheimer's disease: "But I haven't lost my keys all day," he quickly jokes.