Mike and Carmen Henle

The Mad Dog Blog/by Mike Henle

Date: Jan. 17, 2021

While walking down Fremont Street during the Mint 400 race week events in downtown Las Vegas in March of 2020, my wife noticed that I couldn’t find my car. I really didn’t think much of the situation for many reasons; thinking that my age at the time I was 69. I can forget things. I’m getting older.

We all make fun of ourselves when we start aging, so you know the routine ranging from being clumsy to simply making fun of one another.

However, my wife, Carmen of almost 49 years wasn’t taking this particular incident lightly. Something told her that this was no joke and the next thing I knew I was in the office of a neurologist for an EEG, MRI, MRA and other tests. After receiving those test results, a follow up visit with a neuropsychologist was ordered and I was in the middle of a memory test used to measure various neurological aspects.

Surely, this had to be a mistake, considering I stay very active.

Several hours later, I was somewhat peeved with the final results of the test that indicated that I was in the midst of health issue related to the brain.

Mild Cognitive Impairment was suspected. I also didn’t want to accept the diagnosis, so we decided to go to the Cleveland Clinic, Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health for a second opinion. And yes, after a PET scan the diagnosis was correct.

My brain issues began when I was a nine-month-old infant, I was rushed to a Woodland, California hospital where I was hospitalized and remained in a coma for a week.

I was released from the hospital and sent home with my mom and dad. According to doctors, I was fine, as far as my parents knew.

The coma was related to a mosquito that carried the encephalitis virus and infected me at my grandparents’ home in Woodland, Calif. As soon as local officials learned about the mosquitoes, a short news article was run in the Woodland Democrat to make others aware of the situation.

Everything seemed to be going well when we all moved to North Las Vegas seeking a new life. Everything was fine until I started have dizzy spells and a local doctor said I had petit mall epilepsy.

In Dec. 6, 1994, I underwent brain surgery to remove the damaged brain matter so that my brain could heal and the seizures could be eliminated.

The surgery was conducted at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, California in what was termed the perfect procedure. It was called a right temporal lobectomy.

When I was escorted to my bed on the gurney, Dr. Waltz apologized for the time it took to complete the surgery, which actually took as much as 30 percent of the right temporal lobe and eliminated my seizures. For several years, all was fine until it was determined that I would be challenged by news that the epilepsy surgery was still reacting well although new areas of the brain were suffering.

Here we go again. I had thought many years ago that I was done with the surgery and went home seizure free, only to hear now that I again had a new challenge dealing with Early Stage Alzheimer’s disease.

So, you all ask me what going to do now?

I’m going to get strong, and I’m not going to give up. In the words of Dr. Aaron Ritter at Cleveland Clinic, we don’t know how to give up.

Ritter told me earlier that I stood a chance in this battle, as long as I was aggressive and refused to give up in yet another battle, this time at the age of 70. He also said the most important thing I could do is to continue writing. Writing helps the memory and exercise the brain.

Medication is important as is support from family and friends is more important.

I’ll continue writing and giving updates on my journey and progress.

I don’t give up. Giving up is not in my character.

News at 11 will be watching.

NEXT UP: How do we deal with memory loss?

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