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Old 03-30-2007, 04:38 PM   #1
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Question Alzheimers, not Alzheimers?

Hi all,

I have a friend who was dx'd with Alzheimers last year, and now they say it's "nothing" (this from her husband -- I'm not supposed to know anything about it).

The husband is a bit lame when it comes to diseases (like, really), and I wonder how she can go from a dx of Alzheimers to having nothing. Absent any collusion (that is, I'm taking the whole thing seriously and not assuming the husband just doesn't want her to be demented), how can this be? It went from her daughter being so concerned about her that the husband had her tested "secretly" to, now, nothing.

She was dx'd in Norway, then they came to LA on his sabbatical and that's where she got the "nothing" dx.

Can this be so? Or is her husband misunderstanding?

jb

Sorry for the vagueness -- I had to swear complete anonymity to all parties.
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Last edited by jinglebts; 03-31-2007 at 12:19 PM. Reason: Sentence meaning

 
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Old 03-30-2007, 06:41 PM   #2
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Re: Alzheimers, not Alzheimers?

Two ideas come to mind ...

1. the Norway diagnosis was wrong and he was now told his wife is fine.

2. he is in denial and does not accept the diagnosis - head in sand method - hoping it will now go away.

Or even - possibly

3. It is Alzheimer's but he doesn't want anyone to know because he mistakenly believes it is some kind of character defect and not a disease like any other. Sadly, you can't keep this one hidden - the person's behavior becomes so bizarre eventually (very slowly) that dementia is the obvious cause.

Anyhow, I hope the 'she is fine' proves to be correct!

Martha

 
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Old 03-30-2007, 08:41 PM   #3
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Re: Alzheimers, not Alzheimers?

Hi JB!

If I were your friend, I'd get a third opinion on this one. Obviously, one of the doctors is wrong. Since there are many types of dementia and many other diseases/conditions that cause many of the symptoms commonly associated with AD, it is possible that the first diagnosis was incorrect. But there must have been something wrong with your friend that lead her to the doctor in the first place. At this time, AD cannot be diagnosed with 100% certainty. The only time it can be correctly diagnosed with 100% certainty is in an autopsy. The diagnosis is basically made after all other diseases and conditions are ruled out.

The best type of doctor I found for my dad was a geriatric neurologist. She specialized in AD/dementia. If your friend hasn't been to someone who specializes in that field, I would suggest she make an appt.

Let me add one more possibility:

The first doctor evaluated your friend on one of her "off" days and the second doctor evaluated your friend on one of her "good" days.

There are still times, in my dad's advanced stages, where he can fool the best of the best physicians. If her doctor is not well informed by her husband of what is happening at home, it is very easy for a doctor to misdiagnose. On a good day, your friend might pass a memory test with near flying colors. On an "off" day, your friend might not do so well. So it could be that the two doctors were coming to such different conclusions based on how well (or how bad) she scored on the memory test on those particular days.

Take care and best of luck to your friend and her family! She is very lucky to have a friend like you.

Love, Barb
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:13 PM   #4
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Talking Re: Alzheimers, not Alzheimers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvMyLilDoggie View Post
Hi JB!
...

Let me add one more possibility:

The first doctor evaluated your friend on one of her "off" days and the second doctor evaluated your friend on one of her "good" days.

There are still times, in my dad's advanced stages, where he can fool the best of the best physicians. If her doctor is not well informed by her husband of what is happening at home, it is very easy for a doctor to misdiagnose. On a good day, your friend might pass a memory test with near flying colors. On an "off" day, your friend might not do so well. So it could be that the two doctors were coming to such different conclusions based on how well (or how bad) she scored on the memory test on those particular days.
...
Love, Barb
Thanks Barb, that hadn't occurred to me. And given the fact that her husband would gave to translate every little thing for her and given his really lame understanding of doctor-speak AND given that he's the only one who goes with her to these appts (I dunno what her daughter does or whether she's even willing) ... well, given the givens!

Another thing: this is a guy who is terribly self-centred and can't bear to think of HIS life being taken away from him, never mind hers. So I think he'd think just about anything he liked. I just can't see how all those people in Norway were wrong. Maybe not AD, but some other type of dementia.

Hope your trip to your sister's is productive, Barb, and there is hope: my cousin from Australia is a lung cancer survivor. Had surgery four years ago I think (or more). Everyone used to think lung cancer was the death knell -- not any more.

XOXO
JB
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Last edited by jinglebts; 03-31-2007 at 12:36 PM. Reason: Add sentence.

 
Old 03-31-2007, 12:26 PM   #5
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Re: Alzheimers, not Alzheimers?

Thanks for your thoughts, MarthaH. Sadly, I don't think there is a possibility except for, sort of, the 2nd one; he may have got some sort of good news (see Barb's answer) and now assumes Norway dx is wrong b/c he wants to. I just don't see how a person could go from having AD (or some other form of dementia) to "just fine, thanks!"

Another thing: this is a guy who is terribly self-centred and can't bear to think of HIS life being taken away from him, never mind hers.

JB
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Last edited by jinglebts; 03-31-2007 at 12:31 PM. Reason: Add to reasons ...

 
Old 03-31-2007, 12:55 PM   #6
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Re: Alzheimers, not Alzheimers?

Hi again all,

Can real Alzheimers itself be diagnosed without autopsy? Does Alzheimers mean brain shrinkage that CAN be seen on scans?

This is a confusing disease!

jb
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:59 PM   #7
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Re: Alzheimers, not Alzheimers?

My understanding is that the only absolute diagnosis is AFTER death when the brain is studied......p

 
Old 03-31-2007, 01:46 PM   #8
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Re: Alzheimers, not Alzheimers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by petal*pusher View Post
My understanding is that the only absolute diagnosis is AFTER death when the brain is studied......p
That's what I thought too, but another poster said that AD is the only dementia that can be dx'd -- by FINDING brain shrinkage. See the thread "It's not Alz, it's lewy body dementia!!", angel_bear's response.

jb
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Old 03-31-2007, 02:09 PM   #9
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Re: Alzheimers, not Alzheimers?

Hate to be a pessimist but I vote the husband. It just doesn't sound right at all. It is hard for some people to face facts and they just can't deal with something as bizarre as Alzheimer's. For some reason it is almost as though they feel embarrassment or shame.

Whatever the reason, it will surely be clear to everyone soon enough if it is in fact Alzheimer's. Hope to God it isn't for her sake.

Fingers crossed

 
Old 04-01-2007, 01:43 PM   #10
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Re: Alzheimers, not Alzheimers?

Thanks for your reply -- I'm inclined to agree with you. And it occurs to me that although one symptom of AD may be brain shrinkage, not all instances of brain shrinkage are AD (by no means -- the brain just shrinks after you're 50).

jb
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Last edited by jinglebts; 04-01-2007 at 01:47 PM.

 
Old 04-01-2007, 02:19 PM   #11
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Re: Alzheimers, not Alzheimers?

I had a very nice visit with my sister. I did, however, bend over and a disc slipped in my lower back again.

I made it home (13 hour drive!) and I'm on the mend. Read my post under "Glad you're back". I'll give you the details soon.

AD is very confusing. And if your friend's husband is not specific and very detailed with the doctors about what is going on at home, it makes things all the worse.

As you know from our years of "talking", I too live with a man who is self centered. But when it comes to this disease, I think he has an even more difficult time accepting it than me and my sister did. Denial, denial, denial..... He keeps talking as though dad is the same person he was when they first met 20+ years ago.

Do you think your friend's husband thinks of this disease as a nuisance, something that's going to complicate his life further?

I truely hope that your friend doesn't have AD, but rather something that's treatable. I'm assuming you've said something about being tested for thyroid problems since we both know how that affects us.

Love, Barb
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Last edited by LuvMyLilDoggie; 04-01-2007 at 02:21 PM.

 
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