Here are some of the signs of FTD. These are from the behavioral variant of FTD. Although Lydia has the language variant, at times she did show some of these signs, but we didn’t know it as FTD yet, because she’d been misdiagnosed.
She did have some spending issues–I’m not sure if she was buying multiples because she was going to give gifts, or if she was confused about where she’d put things and bought duplicates to replace them or what.
We saw signs of apathy, which we thought was depression due to the loss of her job at Wells Fargo in their Beverly Hills Wealth Management office in the banking fiasco of 2008, and then when she got another bank job working in a trust department of a bank, that bank was swallowed up by a bigger shark…I mean bank. I thought there was something wrong with Lydia when it took her FOREVER to finish the book, The Help, after the Trust Department job was eliminated.
Lydia, a lifelong coffee drinker, could no longer do the steps she needed to make coffee. She knew what the parts were, but couldn’t pour the hot water into the filter holder to make a single cup because her executive function was being affected. In the time after she was finally diagnosed, Lydia would tie…and retie…and retie…and retie her walking shoes. She also would take a decorative potholder to her room and clean dishtowels…over and over and over again. We’d never seen anything like that, but these were compulsive behaviors and hoarding. After her longer stay at ULCA Medical Center, she would take place mats to her room…over and over and over again. We at least knew she had FTD at this point.
Lydia did have periods of agitation, which started after one of her medications was tapered off too quickly after her grand-mal type seizure.
Lydia did a lot of pacing from her long stay at UCLA Medical Center in 2014 until around March of 2018 when she started showing signs of Parkinsonism which made her lean forward while walking like she was Usain Bolt taking off from the starting block at the Olympics. One of the medications she was on was eliminated, she is on a decreased dose of one anti-seizure med and is on a newer one to help manage the symptoms.
These screenshots are taken from https://www.theaftd.org/what-is-ftd/ftd-disorders/behavioral-variant-ftd-bvftd/
This March, when Lydia was in the hospital, she had a seizure and ended up in the ICU. Mom called me while I was finishing something up, so I came home to go with them to the hospital, an hour-plus drive away from them during Southern California rush hour. When we got there, inexplicably, they were taking in all the medical information again, even though she’d been on the same floor, a hallway and a half away. I was shocked and asked them if they wanted me to go get her file from around the corner. No. So, I said I wanted to talk with the ICU doctor who’d seen her. And I think the ICU staff was shocked that I insisted on speaking to the doctor. I admit I pretty much yelled at him because after about 2 hours of not knowing if she was going to live, I was a more than a little freaked out. And then he looked at her records while we were on the phone and said, “That’s not the way we’re supposed to treat people.” He took an active interest in learning about FTD, helped by connecting us to resources we would have no idea existed, forwarded information on the illness to me that when I sent it to my mom, she commented, “Wow, it’s like he’s treating us as through we’re peers.” Who is this hero? Dr. Tim Stacy
This hospital also had another hero, who met Lydia a few days before this ICU event: her current hospice doctor. When I asked the hospital for a hospice evaluation, they had this doctor evaluate her. When she called me, she said Lydia was a hospice patient. I said was it because of the FTD? She said “Yes, FTD is always a hospice diagnosis, because patients will not get better.” I asked her if she’d ever treated patients with FTD, and she had: 4 in her own medical practice, and 2 prior to Lydia who came to her as hospice patients. As far as I am concerned, she’s the doctor who has had, by far, the most experience dealing with patients in my sister’s situation of any doctor she’d seen before or since. Although she was finally diagnosed after 30 months of searching for what the problem was, AFTER she’d gotten on Social Security Disability (too late for the compassionate allowance), the diagnosing doctors said talk to the local neurologist, and her other doctors didn’t cross pollinate, so she fell through the cracks in a way, until June, when this doctor helped us get her out of a terrible situation and under her own care. Who is this hero? Dr. Alina Lopo
Thank you both, from all of us.