I spent 40 years with the United States Navy. Went from a Seaman Apprentice in Deck Force on the USS Mullinnix (DD 944) to Master Chief Gunner's Mate, a Command Master Chief and retired as the Force Master Chief, Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic fleet. What I did as Gunner's Mate could be described as stressful, dangerous, death defying, and crazy! Anyone who willingly goes into a gun mount, that is broke, and very likely will blow up, is certifiably crazy! From that career, I went to work for the Navy as a Civil Servant (GS) as a Tech Rep repairing Gun Mounts, Turrets, and anything else. I promoted into management and was the Branch head for the Programs Branch managing the material condition reviews of the combat systems on the ships in the Atlantic Fleet. I was transferred to the Search Radar Branch as their Branch Head and worked for the most hard headed, self-centered, Jack Ass, that I ever knew. He had vision, but he had the people skills of a cross between an horny, hungry Pit Bull and a rattle snake in heat! To top it off, the Union Vice President, (yes, government agencies are unionized,) worked for me, sometimes. So, any tine the command did not like what the Union VP did, they came down on me!!
Why do I tell you all of this? I spent 40 years in positions of increasing responsibility, danger, frustration, and STRESS!! It was during the time I was in my last position that I began to have issues. Memory issues, not knowing where I was, and agitation issues. Twice while driving home from work, while I was stopped in traffic, I forgot where I was, where I was going, and where I was coming from!! My GP, who I still think is the best Doctor I ever knew, sent me to a very respected Neurologist and after 3 months of testing, and after sending me to the University of Virginia for a second opinion, told me I had Lewy Body Dementia and put me on a number of drugs.
I did not get better, in fact, I got worse. So, after forgetting how to do the computer inputs to get one of my Techs orders to go overseas, I retired on a disability. I was not ready to retire, but I could not do my job anymore.
Each Neurologist put me on more drugs and I got worse. But, my condition did not progress like others with LBD have. Yes, I had very real hallucinations. Yes, my memory was bad. I had walking issues, dizziness, rigid legs and arms. My hands would involuntarily move! So, what I was experiencing looked like LBD. But doctors would tell me, especially Neurologist Psychologists, that they thought I did not have LBD. That always made me angry. And recently, my Wife loudly told the Psychologist; "OK,Then what does he have?" Of course, he had no answer.
Recently, about three months ago, just before we were locked down for Corvid-19, I stopped taking Effexor XR. I had been on Effexor in one form or another for at least 10 years! It never did me any good but the neurologists insisted I take it! And a so called neurologist here in Pensacola increased my dosage to 240 mg a day!!
It took a long time to get my dosage down from that level. The draw down was terrible. The side effects of being addicted to Effexor are really bad. But, I was down to 30 mg a day and the GP said I could quit Effexor with limited side effects at that time. But she wanted me to stay on Effexor for my own good. I said, NO, and stopped!
I still had brain ZAPPING at night and sexual dysfunction issues. But, over the last two months, things have changed. I think more clearly. I walk better. I am not as stiff, I am not as agitate, And though I have had no contact with my Wife for tea weeks, I know my ability to have sex has returned.
So, today, we emailed my present neurologist in Pensacola and asked for a referral to another doctor for a second opinion. I explained all the positive changed that have occurred since I stopped Effexor XR. She was miffed, to say the least. But, she is getting me that referral.
What will come of that? Will the new neurologist agree with me that stress and Effexor was my problem and not LBD? Or, do I really have a weird case of LBD that does nor progress normally. If there is a normal progression. I cannot answer any of those questions. But I do know I feel so much better, and more like ME than I have in 11 years!!!
Yes, there is the issues of those MRI's and Brain Scans that show holed, White and Black, in my brain. But, the most recent scans do not show brain shrinkage. So, what all they means in beyond me.
But, again, I do know, I feel better, function better, and feel more normal that I have in 10years of more! And if I can have it, I want my LIFE BACK!!!
We will see what we will see! But, I am taking a new direction!