Danielle Gibson said she knew something was wrong with her husband Tony, 32, when he started acting strangely and became very forgetful. She said, “I had to label the rooms in our house. He would get lost going to the grocery store and someone would call me and say, ‘we have your husband.”1
Danielle ended up taking her husband to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where after almost a month of tests, a Neurologist diagnosed him with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) also known as the human version of Mad Cow Disease.
CJD is a rare brain disorder that typically impacts about 300 people in the U.S. each year. It can cause patients to become anxious, depressed, confused, withdrawn and unable to complete basic tasks. Sadly, there is no treatment available and eventually, people sink into a semi-comatose state.
“Danielle said initially doctors gave Tony one year to live. He is still alive, but requires 24 hour care at a Hendersonville nursing home.
‘This is the most devastating thing I’ve ever seen,’ said Danielle Gibson. ‘I’ve seen a lot of terrible things. I’ve seen ALS, but this has to be the worst.'”2
Although she doesn’t know how her husband got CJD, The Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation says there are different types of CJD and that can be contracted “sporadically, genetically or after being exposed to infected human tissue during a medical procedure.”3
However, the disease cannot be transmitted via coughing, sneezing, or through sexual contact.
Danielle hopes Tony’s story can educate others about symptoms to look for in their loved ones and even bring attention to the disease so that someday there might be a cure.
He is so young and our hearts go out to her and their family.