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My Diagnosis 2 - First Test Results (MRI, Blood Work, EEG)

Diagnosis Roller Coaster - First Test Results (MRI, Blood Work, EEG)

A little over 2 weeks have passed. It is time for my follow-up visit to my Neurologist. I have had my MRI, EEG, and Blood Tests, and it is time to hear the results. I was completely convinced that all of these tests were normal, and it was just all in my imagination. I felt healthy, and after all everyone has difficulty remembering things now and then, or figuring stuff out. I figured I would be back to work juggling numbers and code in a few days.

I was two-thirds right.

My Neurologist flipped through my folder looking at the results. I was a little annoyed he hadn’t prepared better before coming into the examining room. I waited what seemed a long time. The blood work, which checks for vitamin deficiencies, infection, and chemical imbalances, was normal. My EEG, which checks for Epilepsy, and some liver and kidney problems, and random brain farts, sparks, and lightning, was also normal.

Then he said it. He looked at the report, and he looked at me. He looked back at the report, and avoided looking at me as he said the fateful words.

“Your MRI shows severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“Your MRI shows severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“Your MRI shows severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“Your MRI shows severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“Your MRI shows severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“Your MRI shows severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“Your MRI shows severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“Your MRI shows severe generalized brain atrophy.”

“...Severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“...Severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“...Severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“...Severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“...Severe generalized brain atrophy.”
“...Severe generalized brain atrophy.”

“...severe ...brain atrophy.”
“...severe ...brain atrophy.”
“...severe ...brain atrophy.”
“...severe ...brain atrophy.”
“...severe ...brain atrophy.”


I felt like I had been hit in the head by one of those awful aluminium baseball bats. I think I even heard the “Ting!”of a solid base hit. If you were sitting next to me you would have heard it too.

The doctor was still talking, but I was no longer listening.

As his voice droned on, thoughts raced through my mind. OK, that sounds really good, but a more accurate description would be that as he talked, thoughts stumbled clumsily through the Lime Jell-O that used to be my brain. Those thoughts finally resolved into the concept that I had dementia. There was hard physical proof that something drastic was wrong with my brain. Severe brain atrophy! Not mild. Not medium. SEVERE!

I am so screwed!


Diagnosis Roller Coaster - Visit to my PCP for test results and consultation


A dear friend went with me to my appointment to see my family doctor. After my last visit when I was having trouble keeping up with the speed of the information coming at me I knew I needed help. It was very difficult to ask someone, and I resisted it. Another friend of mine nagged me until I finally gave in. It was the right thing to do. I had made my usual list of questions, and my friend actually took notes. In short my blood tests for my diabetes were all in the normal range, which is good. My doctor still did not have a definitive diagnosis from my neurologist, so there was no progress to be made. His gut feeling was that I did not have Alzheimer’s, so considered something vascular or some other cause. He still did not have the blood test results for my Thyroid test from the neurologist, so nothing could be done with that. He confirmed the results of my MRI, and expressed surprise and concern at the severity of the atrophy. I have dementia, but the particular flavor is as yet unknown.

As a side note, the son of the great hockey legend Gordy Howe read my MRI. He has the reputation of being a really good radiologist. My doctor extended my FMLA leave another 4 weeks, which put my return to work date at the limit of the coverage. He had me make an appointment to return the week before my leave was over.

Next - My Diagnosis 3 - Psychoneurological Exam

4 comments:

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  3. Query:
    How did MDs distinguish bvFTD from CADASIL?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TIA, or some type of stroke was considered early on in the process, but quickly eliminated. My MRI did not show any abnormal lesions from stroke, and I did not have any symptoms from stroke. The severe atrophy is also differential. After all that, the neuropsychological testing was the confirmation.

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