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Three Years From Diagnosis

  [ 113 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Patty • • June 3, 2002

In Jan 2003, it will be 3 years since my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. One day I noticed that the words he spoke were not the ones he should have been using. I immediately made an appointment with a neurologist. She did and MRI and sent him for testing. They said he had dementia, possibly Alzheimer’s disease, and put him on Airecept. And so it began.

Last January we had the testing done again, a PET scan and Spectroscopy MRI. He had dropped from a score of 130 on his test to a 109. It showed a big decline. I knew it myself. He was literally losing his intellect.

The biggest problem was losing his vocabulary, which was very extensive before. Besides changing him to Excelon (he is now on the highest dose) his irritability increased so much the doctor put him on two other medicines to calm him down. He did not want to take it so I put it in his food. He is much better; however, just recently his short term memory has gotten worse. I feel that by getting help early on he is doing as well as he is, considering the length of time since we found out he had the disease. It is sad, frustrating, and sometimes I feel as though I will never make it, but I will.

We have done all our legal work, moved to a smaller simpler home (no stairs), and believe me when I tell you, move early if you have to because this move was horrendous for me. We waited too long. I go to two support groups, and I really need them.

I hope this may help someone. I am 64 and my husband is 74. His brother and father had this illness. He also has been knocked unconscious 6 times in his life. He knows he has it and accepts "what is on my plate”. There were 5 silent strokes and one of them is in the frontal lobe.

My advice to anyone would be to get an early diagnosis and take care of your legal work. We also got guardianship papers in case. I am going on an antidepressant because I have been crying a lot. Our faith helps both of us.

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