A Tennessee man has been diagnosed with a disease few have even heard of.
It’s Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, also known as the human form of mad cow disease.
One year ago, 32-year-old Tony Gibson was a happy and healthy new father.
Then his wife says he started acting strangely and became very forgetful.
Danielle Gibson says, “I had to start labeling the rooms in our home. He would get lost going to the grocery store, and someone would call me and say we have your husband.”
After his odd behavior continued, Danielle took Tony to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
After multiple tests, a neurologist made a shocking discovery.
Danielle Gibson says, “But he said the worst case scenario being CJD, I said what is that? He said it is the human form of mad cow disease.”
Dr. William Schaffner says, “CJD or Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, is a rare brain disorder.”
Infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt, Dr. William Schaffner, did not work on Tony’s case but says CJD typically impacts about 300 people a year in the US.
Patients can become anxious, depressed, confused, and the disease progresses quickly.
Dr. William Schaffner says, “This is a very tragic disease because there is no treatment, the patients sink into this withdrawal, semi-comatose state.”
There are different forms of CJD that can develop randomly, genetically, or after being exposed to infected human tissue during a medical procedure.
Danielle doesn’t know how Tony got CJD but says he now requires 24-hour care at a nursing home.
Danielle Gibson says, “This is the most devastating thing. I’ve seen ALS, I’ve seen a lot of terrible things, but this has to be the worst.”
Danielle hopes tony’s struggles can help educate others about the unusual disease and its symptoms.
And she will be by his side as he keeps fighting.
Danielle Gibson says, “It’s unreal, what I’ve seen this man go through.”
Danielle turned to the CJD Foundation to learn more about her husband’s disease.
The group also raises money for research.