The incident that made us face our biggest fear and The appointment that changed our lives forever
My daughters and I could no longer accept that my wife’s memory issues were being caused from excessive stress and anxiety. I had just had my fifth and sixth surgeries and was recovering at home, but my wife’s condition seemed to be getting worse instead of better despite taking the anti-anxiety medicine prescribed by her doctor. One evening she left our house to drive down the street to a local eatery to pick up a take-out order and returned twenty five minutes later empty handed. She stormed through the door, looked at us and yelled; “Where the hell is Nicks, I forgot?” We all said in unison; “Its right down the street, you’ve been there like a hundred times!” With that she raced out of the house and luckily came back seven minutes later with our food. Apparently, she had been driving around the city during all that lost time looking for Nicks. Enough was enough, here she was a 52 year old college educated woman who was repeatedly asking the same questions over and over again, unable to follow simple directions, forgetting common words and now this . . . the next day I made an appointment for her with a Cognitive Neurologist.
Testing for early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
On the day of her testing we were all extremely nervous, but it was far worse for my wife who was also riding an emotional roller coaster. The series of tests would take four hours and although not physically painful, it was mentally grueling and tiring for my poor wife. According to http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/alzheimers-disease-diagnosis-tests.html there isn’t one specific test that can prove with certainty or one hundred percent accuracy that a person has any type of Alzheimer’s disease until after death when an autopsy of the brain is performed. Diagnosing early-onset may take some time as it includes a multitude of tests including;
- · Questions about current health and medical history
- · Questions about daily routines and behavioral changes
- · Mental exam to test your memory, problem solving, attention and language abilities
- · Perform medical tests such as blood or urine
- · Perform brain scans to look for problems, such as stroke, that may be causing your symptoms
When all the testing for that day was completed, we were told it would take the doctor’s about 4 weeks to review the tests and give us some answers. In the meantime, my wife would have to undergo both an MRI and SPEC scan of the brain to be included as part of the testing and diagnosing.
Four weeks felt like an eternity to us and even though we tried to live our daily lives as normally as possible, individually, we couldn’t escape thinking about my wife’s next appointment with the Neurologist. The day had finally arrived and if nothing else, we were going to find out some answers. After all was said and done, the doctor had the very unpleasant task of informing my wife and I that she had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Neither of us knew how to react to what he just told us, but we both began to cry. My wife buried her head between my neck and shoulder and sobbed. So many questions ran through both our heads and yet, we couldn’t verbalize a single one. After a couple of minutes, a box of tissues and a glass of water, we were ready to talk and find out my wife’s options and form a game plan. The first thing the doctor said to my wife was; “This is not a death sentence, great strides have been made in both the treatment and medication for Alzheimer’s and even better ones are on their way very soon, you have to keep the faith!” And so our journey began . . .
Please be sure to look for part 3; Treatment, experiences and surviving early-onset Alzheimer’s