Adam Wohlstatter is a father and a husband. He’s always appeared healthy, and there was no sign that he was suffering from a disease.
But one day, he was putting on his sweatshirt, and his family noticed something was not quite right.
“Everyone could see the difference, but I didn’t really understand it,” said Adam. His family said it was taking him much longer than usual.
He went to the University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center. After several tests, they found that he was suffering from Prion disease. It’s a brain disorder, one that’s related to both Alzheimer’s and Mad Cow disease.
His diagnosis came with some bad news. His prognosis left him with six to ten years to live.
And even that wasn’t the end of the news. The hospital found files that documented his father and his two half-brothers had also died of the disease.
Dr. Michael Geschwind at UCSF said that Prion disease is difficult for both sufferers and her families.
“It’s very difficult to deal with somebody who is suffering from Prion disease. You watch your loved one slowly decline in front of you. Historically, everyone who has gotten the disease passed away from it.”
Now, Adam and Brinden have this journey ahead of them. Adam is already feeling the effects of the disease. He’s an assistant principal at a middle school right now, but he’s already finding it difficult to speak.
“With the talking, it’s very uncomfortable.”
His wife, Brinden, is struggling too.
“I’m kind of stuck in this awful place of wanting to push him to say, ‘I can,’ and understanding that he can’t. It’s just a hard place to be.”
Of course, the family still tries to have hope. Adam has left his job in order to spend time with his family. They await a cure, and in the meantime, all he can do is try to treat it.
“I don’t think either of us wants to let each other go,” Brinden said to KABC.