Life with Mom
—-This is a story of a shared life with Mom after her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.—
For a while now, my mother has had an inkling that she may have Parkinson’s. She thought her father had it (undiagnosed), and knew for sure that his sister had it. Looking at her at the time she brought it up, I couldn’t tell, but something had her concerned.
We saw the Neurology Nurse Practitioner in December and requested that Mom be assessed for this. Alice, the NP, put her through a battery of movement tests and thought that there wasn’t enough evidence for this diagnosis. We let it go and forgot about it.
In March, I did a double take one day when I saw my mother’s left arm shaking quite significantly while she was holding her pocketbook. I asked her if she knew she had developed a tremor. She said she did. Her next appointment with Neurology wasn’t until June, so we decided to wait until then to request further testing. She was scheduled to see the MD this time. She hadn’t seen the Doctor since the original diagnosis of Alzheimer’s two and a half years ago.
We went through the routine cognitive testing where my mother answered questions and did some simple paper and movement exercises, while I answered several questions from a care-givers perspective about how I think she’s doing. We then mentioned our concern for the newly developed tremors and requested the Doctor’s opinion.
She shared with us that my mother did better on the cognitive testing than she did two and a half years ago, and after some more testing and questioning, agreed that she either has Parkinson’s or Lewy Body Dementia, which are both movement disorders, and both can have a dementia component . She added that these diagnoses are more treatable than Alzheimer’s, and the best ones to have as far as the many neurological problems people can have. Both the Parkinson’s and the Lewy Body are progressive, but manageable with medication and the old stand-bys of healthy living, which includes healthy diet, rest, and staying physically active.
I recall the doctor telling us two and a half years ago that they have a record of being 97% correct with their Alzheimer’s diagnoses. I’m glad to say that we…my mother, are in the minority this time.
The three-percenters are an elite and unique group, and we’re looking for more members.