June 2015, we arrived for our first appointment with Dr. Murman that ended up being almost 2 hours. We decided ahead of time that we needed to be completely open with all of the symptoms that I was experiencing regardless of what the outcome might be. I was very concerned about the decisions I was making at work, the stress and particularly the memory and cognitive issues were extremely worrisome. This appointment was very important, and also very traumatic on both Debra and I. We were really wanting an answer to what was going on, but were we really ready for what the answer might be. Debra will be addressing this from her perspective in a future post.
Dr. Murman had already reviewed my medical records. In addition, he did an exam that included some of the elements of the January Exam. We spent a lot time discussing my work day, my frustrations, stressors and concerns. He also asked for Debra’s perspective, he wanted to know what Debra was noticing that was different or concerning.
He ruled out Parkinson’s by the symptomatology. His suspicion was Alzheimer’s but we needed lab work and also a spinal tap to test for Alzheimer’s Biomarkers. He also needed to rule out chronic infection, inflammation, or some type of cancer. By the time we left the appointment, the spinal tap was scheduled for July 2015 and we had information about Alzheimer’s Disease and the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association .
We were back to see Dr. Murman in August. He once again did memory and cognitive tests similar to previous tests and thought my condition unchanged. We now had a benchmark that started in January with additional information from June and August to map the progression of, presumably, Alzheimer’s. I already posted the results of the Cerebrospinal Fluid Test.
Our goal when we started down this path with Dr. Murman was to get answers which we accomplished. The news wasn’t good, however, at least we know what we are dealing with. We have a name for it. So what happens next? I am on Aricept which I continue to take. We scheduled another Neuropsychological Exam with Dr. Pare for December 2015 and I see Dr. Murman again in February 2016. Until then, I live a life with as minimal amount of stress as possible. I am off of Xanax completely, I still take Ambien at night to sleep which continues to be problematic.
In future posts I will talk about Early Onset dynamics faced by individuals with new diagnosis. We are typically not retired yet (under 65), may have children at home, may be dealing with disability insurance, FMLA, health insurance, social security, etc.