"His mind is completely gone. I don't like to use that term but there's no other way to describe it."
That was Jill Mikita talking about her husband, Stan, in a Chicago Tribune story from earlier this week.
While the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate another Stanley Cup championship, their legendary Hall of Fame player, Stan Mikita has no idea about this or any of his other Hockey achievements.
Mikita is suffering from Lewy Body Dementia. It was diagnosed in January and he has gone down hill fast.
Is there a connection between Lewy Body Disease and Parkinson's Disease? Absolutely. With Parkinson's, there are abnormal deposits in some brain cells. The deposits are called "Lewy bodies".
There are also two types of Dementia associated with Parkinson's...Parkinson's Dementia and Lewy Body Disease. There are many similarities including memory loss, slow thinking and hallucinations.
What's the difference between the two forms of dementia? If you have Parkinson's motor symptoms for at least a year before experiencing dementia, you have Parkinson's Dementia. With Lewy Body Disease, there's either no sign of PD symptoms or they appear at around the same time as the dementia.
To simplify this, I've had Parkinson's for about three years. I can't get LBD, it would be Parkinson's Dementia. Mikita shows no physical signs of PD as of yet, so that's why he's classified with LBD.
Either way it's devastating and to me, it's the scariest part of having Parkinson's. I honestly think about this almost every day.
If you're celebrating the Blackhawks Championship today...and I am...take a moment to think about Stan Mikita and his family. I'm doing that, too.
"The Stan we knew is gone. Completely gone."
Besides the two types of dementia I just wrote about, there's always Alzheimer's to be worried about. Here's a look at that.