The Follow-Up Neuropsychological Exam

Anticipation about an upcoming event can be worrisome. You have the good anticipation looking forward to Christmas or your birthday as a child. Anticipation of an upcoming medical appointment can be both stressful and also can bring a feeling of hope that the outcome will be good.

The second Neuropsychological exam was December 30, 2015. I was a little nervous going into the exam. I honestly didn’t remember much about the first exam other that generalities. I went to the same clinic as I did a year ago. The Geriatric Evaluation & Management Clinic at Methodist Hospital in Omaha. I was also fortunate to have Dr. Pare again this time. In my long 4 year journey through the stokes, TIA’s, and the eventual diagnosis in August of this year, I have to say that the turning point for me was the Neuropsychological exam I had in January of 2015. My wife might not have been ready for the conclusions as indicated in her post, but what I remember were the words “A neurodegenerative process would need to be ruled out”. That is what I hung onto through the following months leading up to the diagnosis.

The results of this test were what we anticipated. I knew that my memory, reasoning, and problem solving were probably not improved. It was also noted that the May 2015 MRI indicated parietal and hippocampal atrophy greater than that expected at someone of my age which is a trademark of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The test results as compared to the prior evaluation. “A decline is observed on multiple areas of cognitive functioning, including most tests measuring speed of processing, attention span, working memory, and multiple aspects of memory functions. Results are showing multiple areas of impairment, though there is not impairment across all tests of one domain (memory is not entirely impaired at this point). Yet, noticeable cognitive decline is measured when comparing to the results of the last evaluation. Technically, results continue to be indicative of multidomains mild cognitive impairment, and etiology is now known to be Alzheimer’s disease.”

So now that we have the test results, what next? To be honest, I am not sure. We were waiting for this appointment before we decided next steps. I have an appointment with Dr. Murman on February 15. We will decide then what our plan will be for this year.

I am excited that we have a new Early Stage Support Group that will be starting on January 19, and will go through April. This will give us a chance to visit with others that are recently diagnosed, some Younger Onset such as myself which will help us process this new information. I already have several speaking engagements coming up and planning more. Along with the Alzheimer’s Association, we are working on setting up other support groups in surrounding communities as well as an additional Early Stage Group in Omaha. The Nebraska Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is committed and passionate about helping those diagnosed and their caregivers. I am privileged  to work with such wonderful people, they are making a difference. I will talk in a later post about the support groups and other activities that are ongoing.

I want to thank Dr. Pare for her compassion, honesty and willingness to discuss these results at length with us. Her wisdom, advice, and counsel is greatly appreciated.


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