LEWY BODY DAILY JOURNAL

This is the story of Pam and John; she in her early 50’s and John is 62. Pam is a college professor. John taught at a local community college until diagnosed with Parkinson’s in March 2008, then Lewy Body Dementia in April.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Doctor's appointments

Yesterday I went to my gynecologist for my annual checkup and John had a neurologist appointment. The gynecologist saw how stressed I am and wanted to put me on estrogen or an anti-depressant--she said menopause is a very vulnerable time for depression. I said let me try to handle it my way for a while longer. My A1c (a diabetes test) was up from 5.7 to 6.5--perhaps some from eating less carefully while traveling but I think mostly from stress. We agreed to schedule another appointment in three months. I fear that an antidepressant would tamp down my feeling so I wouldn't be able to work through them. But right now I can't imagine how to work through them, how I will get to deep acceptance of my situation. I am going to try a herbal supplement for stress.

We came away from John's neurologist appointment with prescriptions for three things I had decided to push for:

  • Aricept, an Alzheimer's medication that helps many people with LBD
  • A blood test of John's B12 level
  • An evaluation of his driving

John has an appointment with the Parkinson's specialist at the end of the month, but I didn't want to wait until then to start on an Alzheimer's medication. I've heard reports that at least for some people with LBD it doesn't just stabilize them but brings real improvement. It is going to take a while for me to have any sense of that, but the immediate good news is that it is not causing John stomach upset.

2 comments:

Spouse said...

I'm so glad that you are going with him to see his Dr.s Do all Lewy's tell their Dr.s that they feel fine, no problems? Mine always did!
When GW first went onto Aricept I did not notice any difference, however about a month later I realized that his mood improved and he wasn't having me repeat as much. Lots of little things did improve, mostly the things that a full time companion would notice. 2 years later we added Namenda, which gave him another plateau. Now he is sliding again- wish us luck as we see his neurologist next Monday.
I am also glad that you are being very cautious about estrogen replacement. My Dr.s kept insisting that I needed it- until a tumor developed 7 years ago. Now, after a recent double mastectomy I have to take medication to remove any estrogen from my body. But I am fine!!! I won the tennis match this morning !!!!!
Now I'm going to attend a BBQ at a neighbors, and watch our community fireworks display.
Happy Independence Day !!!
Di

Holly said...

Hi Pam,
My Dad is on Aricept and it seems to help to some degree. Dad had a memory test in which he scored in the low 60%. After a few months on Aricept, Dad went back to the doctor and he re-took the memory tests and scored in the low 80% range. Experts say starting LBDers on something like Aricept is often the first line of treatment of symptoms. However, each LBDer is different and responses vary. I hope Aricept works for you guys. Wishing you the best.
-Holly