Saturday, September 5, 2009

I Can't Remember What I Forgot

What was I saying?

What were we talking about?

I'm sorry, would you say that again? I didn't understand.

Remember when we were talking the other day about the thingy in the whatchamacallit? What did we say about that? I can't remember.

The MRI I had last year because of the severe migraines I was experiencing showed no brain tumors or evidence of MS. There is nothing obviously wrong with my brain, yet my brain is the constant location of some ongoing battles: brain fog and memory problems.

Brain fog and memory problems are two nebulous symptoms of CFIDS that manifest themselves in varying degrees of severity. The combination of the two make communicating intelligently a much bigger challenge than before I got sick. Since getting sick about ten years ago, I feel as though every year I lose a few more IQ points.

When I am experiencing brain fog, I feel as if my brain is trying to wade through thought processes in a thick muck. It takes longer for me to comprehend what is being said or what I am trying to read. When my brain fog is really acting up, everything might as well be spoken or written in Martian.

Everyone forgets things from time to time, but I have found that my forgetfulness has become a problem. If I don't write important (or even unimportant) tasks down, I will not remember to do them. I have to take copious notes during meetings, or I will most likely forget most of what was said. Ironically, it is difficult for me to take notes during meetings because of my brain fog.

The worst part about my memory problem is that I sometimes forget conversations or occurrences completely. That is, I will have no residual memory of the event whatsoever. It's somewhat alarming when this happens.

Fortunately, I have come up with various techniques to compensate for some of my brain fog and memory problems -- mostly asking questions and taking notes. Still, I would really like to have my brain back to normal. I can't wait until I'm healthy again!

Today's Activities: home. Today's Most Annoying Symptoms: exhaustion, brain fog, intense intestinal discomfort.

Mood (10 is best): 6
Energy (10 is best): 4 (after sleeping all day)
Physical Discomfort (10 is worst): 5

P.S. Happy 42nd Birthday to my brother!


Jo said...

I know what you mean. The cry in my house is 'who put that there?'. Oh, I did, but I completely forgot. I can never find anything either.

Bit of a nightmare as my other half has a terrible short term memory. He's just gone in search of his list of things to do - which he has put down somewhere.

It's like I think in short chains these days. I find it hard to put more than one sentence together at a time. Writing is still relatively ok though.

Don't worry, it will come back when you recover.

Sue Jackson said...

Sorry to hear you're struggling so with brain fog. I am very, very fortunate to have only mild cognitive problems, mainly with word finding (there's a term for that but I can't remember what it is...), though that's a challenge for a writer!

From what I've read, cognitive problems seems to be worse when there are infections present. Have you been tested for common CFS infections (viruses, Lyme, etc.)? It might help.

I couldn't survive without LISTS! I have lists all over the house for all sorts of things - if I don't write it down, I'll forget it.


upnorth said...

I'm so sorry you have to deal with this symptom.

I had some brain fog the first few years being sick, and it was terrible. I can't imagine still struggling with it. Luckily, it was one of the first symptoms to go for me....I occationally get very minor brain fog now.

Sometimes I wonder if I even really have M.E. due to that fact that brain fog is not one of my main symptoms and yet for many people with M.E. it seems to be one of the most debilitating ones....

Does it come and go or is it always there for you?

perpetualspiral said...

Oh, I can totally relate! I can't count how many times my friends have said "Remember that time when we...." and went on to describe some elaborate event that I have absolutely no memory of! It makes me sad, that I can't remember so much of my life and our friendships. I'm not sure how much of this is due to brainfog and how much is due to being on antidepressants for so long - they are necessary to me, but I forget so much.

I'm lucky I am pretty good with remembering facts, but when I get overhwelmed by noise, heat, light etc I just shut down and I can barely speak.

I hope things get better for you!

alyson said...

Hi Jo - Thank you for your comment. Here's hoping for a swift and full recovery for all of us!

Hi Sue - Word finding is a problem for me, too. I've been tested for all sorts of things. Turns out that EBV is my albatross.

Hi upnorth - The brain fog and memory problems fluctuate in their severity. They also come and go altogether. I wouldn't consider them my most troublesome symptoms because I'm still able to compensate for the most part. It's the post exertional malaise that gets me every time.

perpetualspiral - I know what you mean. Loud noises, bright lights, hot temperatures, and big crowds will shut me down, too. Combine all of them together, and I'm toast.