Feb 18, 2020 Latest post:
Dec 24, 2020
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Jeff's story is a very complicated one. There have been things that have happened that appeared one way but have revealed themselves to be something quite different and very unusual. I will do my best to communicate this story to our friends and family in a brief summary. We have reached a point where it has become very difficult to let everyone know how things are going so we are choosing this route to make things easier.
Over the course of the summer of 2019 Jeff was having issues with anxiety and some depression that he mostly attributed to his job. Our family had a very difficult end to 2018 and the beginning of 2019 with the loss of Jeff's step-mother, Anne, Quinn's diagnosis of kidney cancer (resulting in successful total kidney removal and no other treatment necessary), my dad's illness and passing, and the unexpected loss of a very dear friend. Jeff was having a hard time dealing with all of this or at least it seemed that way. He didn't seem to be coping with things and was drinking more than usual. In May of 2019 something seemed to change and his drinking got even worse. Family and friends tried to intervene and talk to him about what we were all seeing but nothing seemed to get through to him. By September of 2019 he lost his job and he went to an alcohol/drug rehab. At the time it seemed to be what he needed. He spent 3 weeks in the treatment facility. His Counselor at the rehab was very concerned about his recovery and suggested that he go to another facility to continue his recovery and rehab as he needed more time. Jeff was accepted into that program in mid-October. Through all that time I was able to visit with him and be in contact with his counselors. Before rehab, I had taken Jeff to multiple therapists/counselors and our regular doctor to try and help him, trying to figure out why his drinking was so extreme and that he didn't seem to be the same person I had always known. Nothing seemed to work and even rehab didn't seem to be giving the response we had hoped for. In mid-to late November we finally started seeing some progress but something still wasn't right. The director of the rehab facility met with Jeff and I every week that he was there and was seeing the same things I was seeing. Jeff wasn't remembering things, wasn't processing things, and just didn't seem to be getting better. His self-care was suffering. He had lost 30+ pounds. He wasn't aware of any of this or concerned about any of it. He didn't show emotion. He was very apathetic. So when the director told me he thought something else might be wrong I got in touch with my doctor to order an MRI of his brain that we wanted to do when he got out of rehab. (Jeff had a CT of the brain in Sept that showed some possibility that he might have suffered a small stroke and our doctor had been in touch with a neurologist who wanted further testing.) I received those results just after Christmas. Unfortunately they were not good. Jeff's MRI showed chronic right frontal temporal lobe volume loss, unexplained. At the time we were directed to follow up with a neurologist. Before we could get to that appointment Jeff was hospitalized in January. At the rehab he had an incident where he was disoriented and confused so the doctor wanted him to be checked out. It resulted in a 4 day stay and lots of tests to rule things out. The neurologist that saw him in the hospital thought he had either Early Alzheimers or something called Frontal Temporal Degeneration (FTD orPicks Disease). I actually researched after getting the MRI results and came up with the FTD as everything I saw that was wrong with Jeff. It seemed it was consistent with the Behavorial variant of FTD. Things started making sense. All of the things he had trouble with are right brained and now we see his right brain has atrophied. After the hospitalization we saw a neurologist who diagnosed him with dementia of unspecified type. She ordered more tests to be done to see if this is truly FTD but that is what she was leaning towards based on the MRI, tests and the changes we have seen over the last 8 months. He was referred to a neurologist with a dementia specialty as well. Jeff was discharged from the rehab facility on 1/17/20 and came home. Before we could get to those tests and appointments Jeff decided to create a little more excitement. On Feb. 6th he was having some shortness of breath that was a little more than I had been seeing. (Since he came home I had not left him alone - either myself or someone was always with him) I called my doctor to help assess what I was seeing and I was told to take him to the ER to be checked out. He was able to walk, talk, his color was good but just the littlest thing seemed to tire him out and make him short of breath. Upon arrival his oxygen levels were in the 50's (not good) even though he didn't present that way. He was eventually admitted into ICU with a breathing tube and a diagnosis of pneumonia. Cultures were taken, a bronchoscopy was done to clean out his lungs and his breathing was stabilized. Over the course of the last 12 days we have found there to be no outside infection. Jeff has been diagnosed with Aspiration Pneumonia which means his own secretions/food/drink are going into his lungs and causing the infection. He has taken his breathing tube out 2x's but it has had to be put back in because he's still having secretions go into his lungs and it's making it hard to get the lungs to do the work they should be doing. We are also seeing a neurologist and hoping to get an official diagnosis of his dementia type very soon.
We are asking for your prayers that may help Jeff to improve and strengthen his lungs. We are asking for strength as a family as we navigate this very bumpy road. We will continue to update as things happen and want to thank you for your prayers, thoughts and offers of help. Love, Kim, Jeff, Travis, Quinn & Debbie Stasa