This is dementia. It's not just a memory problem.
What you read in this blog is purely my own personal experience in dealing with Lewy Body Dementia every day.

This is not meant to offer any medical or legal advise.
I have no professional training in care giving or experiences in formal writing.
I'm just a woman that loves her husband deeply and wants to provide him with the best quality of life he can and chooses to have.
My prayer though this is "Lord, What am I learning from this; how can I use it help someone else and to glorify You?"
If just one person finds comfort in this public blog. I will feel like it was a success.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Where to start?

A couple of months before  Hubby received his Diagnosis of Lewy Body he was given 2 possible diagnosis'
I wanted to know as much as I could about them. What did we have to look forward to, how do we fight it, Ideas for a better quality of life, how much time did we have left. He on the other hand didn't want to know anything. He was told by his Neurologist both of them had to do with a thinking disorder.

We talked about it only once. He told people that he has a thinking problem and he seems satisfied with that.
On some occasions he has looked at me and said "I'm just crazy, right?" And I have assured him that he was not crazy "so don't think you can get away with just anything." We laughed about that.

I on the other hand dove head first into wanting to know everything I could.
I even joined an on line spousal support group and read years of back posts. What a treasure trove of information and support from those been there doing that or done that!! A blessing for certain!
I think knowing a little bit before the official dx came allowed me to absorb some of the shock and say, "OK, I know where to start." I just seem to be starting over and over again. With Lewy it's 1 step forward and 2 back or 2 forward and 1 back. Just when I get used to one thing something else changes. We never know.

Friday, December 4, 2009

For Better or Worse, in Sickness and in Health

Bobby and I have been married for 28 yrs.

We have a large age difference. He is 26 yrs older than I am.

At age 16 his parents signed for him to join the US Navy where he learned to be a gunners mate during the Korean War. Sadly that experience took it's toll on his mind and he has suffered with the effects of PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for very many years. I focused mainly on his anger issues although he had other problems too.

As a result emotional problems have been a regular part of his life. These problems have have taken their toll on many relationships he has had, relationships with spouses (I'm wife #4) children whom have a very detached with him, friends who are actually only acquaintances, jobs he couldn't keep working for others and then he found his nitch in life. CARS. A man with the gift for gab, an endearing personality and charm. He found that he was good, very good at selling used cars. He opened his own business and did this for many many years until his emotional problems caused him to be unable to continue. He closed his business. Such a sad sad day for him.

During our marriage he had been seen by a neuro about a shaking disorder. Nobody ever said definitely what it was.First they thought Parkinsons, then decided it was just an essential tremor then they weren't sure. So he lived with the shaking.

As I said we have dealt with his emotional problems our entire married life but over the last few years things started to take a turn for the worse. He separated from me Sept, 2005. 

 After our separation I had heard these very odd and out of character comments about him. He was thought to have started drinking (he doesn't drink) He was thought to have gotten into a fight due to his bruised and cut face and arms and broken glasses. (with his anger issue anyway it was possible)

After 17 mos we reconciled and he returned home March of 2007.

When we reunited and he returned 2 yrs ago we had such plans to honeymoon and travel. I quit the job
I had and it was going to be our time. The kids were all gone so with no ties we
were free. Oh I was so happy with the prospect of our lives together!

Then just a couple short months later, Lewy obviously crashed down like a hailstorm and there was no where for us to seek shelter.

I had noticed that he shaking was worse and he was having trouble walking and stumbling quite a bit. His speech and train of thought were 'off'. Substituting words, slow response. (Perhaps why he was thought to have been drinking).

He wrecked his truck twice, both times in our own yard.

We saw a neurologist in mid April and started on CARBIDOPA-LEVODOPA. It made him so sick he couldn't even get out of bed some days. He said would rather live with the shaking and I agreed.

Things didn't get better, if anything they got worse. He was "beating me up" at night (Dreaming and acting out) more than usual when he finally did sleep.  He started falling down for no reason. Around that time I took over the driving anytime we went someplace together.

A late Neurology appt  brought a different med for the shaking, CLONAZAPAM.

It was at this exact time my mother was diagnosed with Cancer and died less than 2 weeks later. Everything happened so fast. We had a house full of people coming and going and my attention was totally directed to my mother at that time so sadly I cast Bobby to the wayside. He appeared stable and stayed in his room all the time so that was to my advantage taking care of my mother.

Because of all the hurried activity I didn't tune in to Bobby. Always asking about the people in the house and when they were leaving. What day it was, what time it was etc etc

But after it was over and done and everybody and everything was gone within a few days it got crazy. Falling, forgetting, confused, time and space had no meaning, walking about 'lost', looking for people that weren't there...
I called the neuro and said HELP!

We weaned him off the Clonazepam and saw the Neurologist in August. The Dr said he was thinking one of 2 things. Multi System Atrophy OR Lewy body. At the appointment they did a resting /standing BP check and it was normal. After my research and taking that test into consideration I believed they would say LB.

They started him on GALANTAMINE to help with his confusion and thinking.
I was SOOO happy with this med I could kiss the makers. What a difference it made in his cognition at the time.

Then in Oct 2007 they gave him a diagnosis, Probable Diffuse Lewy Body.
I knew in my heart that would be what they said and yet it was like
someone stole all the breath from me when they did.

I don't know how he felt he has a stone face and he doesn't like to
talk about things. But it must be terrifying.

It felt like the end of the world as we knew it.

WAKE UP!! I think you fell asleep ;-)

He has What?

Oct 18,2007. The day that changed the course of our lives forever.

My name is Kathy and this is my attempt to blog about my husband's diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia and how it relates to our lives.
If you are here then more than likely you have heard about Lewy.

If you are new to the Lewy life I'm sorry you needed to find the information. I'll let the LBDA link supply you with all the "technical" stuff about it. It's a very comprehensive and informative site. They are doing a great work in getting the word out and educating people about Lewy Body.

My purpose here is to journal the life of one couple, me and Bobby, loving referred to as Hubby with our struggles and joys (yes we have some joys) with Lewy.

Hang on, it's going to be a bumpy ride :)