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What else can we do to diagnose memory loss/personality changes?
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whatlight posted:
Hi, and sorry if this is too long.

So my dad is only 57. He has traveled for business most of his life and about 2 years ago, he was mailed a letter telling him that so-and-so was not pressing charges because he rear-ended her car. He had rear-ended someone while working up in Canada and completely forgot it by the next day. This lead to more of this memory loss showing up. Looong story short, over the past two years he went from being a successful business man to now being on disability. My mom lives with him, of course. Over the past 2 years he's gradually gotten worse: he has forgotten days at a time, movies he's watched, visits to grandkids, what he ate that morning, just short term things. He's also has had strange personality changes - he went from being a shy, quiet guy who is super-nice but doesn't like to be the center of attention to singing loudly in public and saying weird things that have nothing to do with present conversation. He can't drive because he's started swerving and having trouble stopping. He often stumbles and can't walk in a straight line. He sleeps all the time but claims he doesn't sleep well. Sometimes he slurs his speech (not often) and he also has trouble reading. Sometimes he mutters and talks to himself non-stop for the whole day. He talks with an accent (like Irish or a pirate) and very loudly. He has trouble with numbers... like measuring wood to build a bird cage. He gets very depressed... sometimes my mom will find him curled up in a ball on the floor crying. Anyway... it's breaking my heart. I feel like my dad is not old at all, he's my hero, my best friend, and suddenly (well, over a few years) he's this person I don't know. There will be times where we say "today is a good day" or "this week was a good week" because the symptoms almost go away and he seems like himself again, but they always come back. He's seen a psychiatrist, psychologist, and neurologist. The former two both say it HAS to be something neurological. He has been on tons of depression medication but it hasn't really done anything to alleviate any symptoms. The neurologist says the psychologist is just "passing the buck" to him and that in his opinion is is most likely a psychological problem and he thinks it's more likely caused by depression.

This past week my dad had been having double vision on and off, then on Friday he woke up and his left eye was very sore and was so blurry he couldn't see anything. We took him to the ER. He has had 2 cat scans, an MRI, and a bunch of other tests. He had a PET scan done a couple of months ago to check for Frontal Temporal Dementia. All tests came back negative. The neurologist doesn't think he's had a stroke. But he is going to give my mom a referral (because she insisted) to someone at the MAYO clinic or Barrows or UofA (all specialty places here in AZ) so we're just hoping that those doctors will be able to give us some idea of what is really wrong and how to treat it. This has been so ridiculously frustrating.

Maybe this is the wrong board/community to post on but I am just wondering if this sounds like Alzheimer's or what else it could possibly be? My heart is breaking for my sweet dad.

Thanks for reading and/or replying to this, I know it's very long...
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cjh1203 responded:
I'm so sorry for all that your father, is going through, and how devastating it is for the rest of you.

I'm not an expert by any means, but that doesn't sound like Alzheimer's to me. Has he been tested for Lyme Disease ?

It's good that your mom insisted on a referral, because it sounds like your father's doctors may not be pursuing this thoroughly enough. I would imagine that either of the places you mentioned will be much more comprehensive in their testing and evaluation. I hope he can be seen soon, so you all can get some answers.

Best wishes to all of you -- it does sound like an absolutely heartbreaking situation. I hope you'll let us know what you find out. In the meantime, feel free to vent here or ask questions.

Carol
 
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Byroney_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hello Whatlight and thank you for posting about your dad. You're clearly a very loving and supportive person to care so deeply for him and want to help.

I don't know what your father has, but you're doing the right thing to take him to the specialists. Hopefully they'll be able to give him a diagnosis and then some help.

Please keep us update on how you, your dad and mom are doing.

In support,

Byroney
Life isn't a matter of milestones but of moments. - Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
 
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Judith L London, PhD responded:
Dear Whatlight,

You are going through a scary and frustrating experience. I'm so glad you told us about it. Diagnosis can be so tricky.

More than one thing may be going one with your father, and taking him to more specialists is the right direction. In some ways, the stumbling and delusions you report also occur in Lewy body dementia although I suspect that should have been evident in the PET screens and the other tests he underwent.

This must be so frightening and confusing for him as well and any way that you and your Mom can reassure him that you are there for him may help him during this crisis.

Remember to take care of yourselves, too.

Keep us posted,
Judy
 
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Judith L London, PhD responded:
Hi Whatlight -

I had another thought. Has he had an fMRI? This is a funcional MRI that reveals details not apparent in a regular one.

Hope you find an answer soon,
Judy
 
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whatlight replied to Judith L London, PhD's response:
Thank you so much for responding everyone.

cjh1203, My mom talked to his doctor and he is being tested for Lyme disease.

Judy, I don't know if he has but I will call my mom and have her ask the doc about it. I don't remember hearing about that so maybe he hasn't had it.

Thank you again, all of you! We are praying things will go well once we get an appointment with the specialists.
 
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cjh1203 replied to whatlight's response:
Please keep us posted. I hope it turns out to be something that can be fairly easily treated, and is not permanent.

Carol


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