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Do You Remember?

Do You Remember?

For me, it’s sometimes yes, and often no. I wish I could find a pattern to what it is that sticks in my memory for longer than a fleeting moment. I know there are things about having multiple sclerosis that really worry me, and the cognitive function is perhaps the scariest one of all.

There was a saying I saw years ago on a refrigerator magnet – of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most – and I can now  only half smile about that thought. The other half of me is sobered by the possibility that my brain power could be slipping away thanks to MS.

I’ve tried the memory games and training programs on line and none of them seem to aid in my short term memory. I went to therapy a while back and had a few weeks of tips and tricks taught, but they didn’t stick. Give me a list of five items to remember – let’s say the words  are: apple, truck, cucumber, key and notebook – and just a few minutes after hearing them and even if I repeat them aloud, they are gone from my memory. Even as I am typing this I am trying to visualize the list of words and make it as far as truck before my memory hits a roadblock. Nope – the rest of the list is gone.


Even more frustrating to me – because honestly, how many times at my age will I need to recite a list of five unrelated items? – is how brilliant thoughts come and go without warning. I will be driving along and an idea for a new article or blog comes to me. I might be in the shower and thinking  about whether the shampoo is rinsed out of my hair when up pops a great  topic that you might want to read. You get the picture, right? And I imagine you also know the punch line … by the time I can get to a piece of paper or my computer to record my idea it is gone. I can’t begin to tell you how many absolutely brilliant pieces of writing you have missed because the idea went AWOL from my memory. At least I would like to believe they would have been brilliant but we will never know.

The exact cause of this problem may never be explained because there are several possibilities. It could be my age – I’m old enough and have learned so much that perhaps there is no room to retain anything else in there. Perhaps being post-menopausal makes a different. I know lots of women think the hot-flashes fry their memory.

And of course there is the main suspect – MS! There are certainly enough holes in my brain thanks to the lesions and they show no signs of going away on my annual MRI. Maybe they have short circuited the wiring in just the right places to pick away at the memory process, or the holes are like drains and short term memories disappear into those black holes.

What ever the cause, I do worry about my memory. Now here’s the test …. Apple, truck…. Damn. I’m stuck again. How about you? Can you name my list of five objects? I hope at least one of us can.

Wishing you well,

Laura

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • cw
    4 years ago

    Couldn’t name any of them.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    4 years ago

    cw – your grandson will love you no matter what you call him. I wrote about the loss of ability to retrieve names a while back – you can find it at
    http://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/the-name-game/

    It might help you understand there is nothing to be ashamed about – it isn’t your fault and it also might not be something under your control. best, Laura

  • cw
    4 years ago

    I had forgotten my grandchild’s name. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. They were only two years old and I couldn’t remember his name.

  • KarenMc
    4 years ago

    Jan’s words resonate with me. When I was diagnosed 11 yrs ago i had few cognitive deficits. I had a psych evaluation for baseline. The results showed that I should not be working as a nurse practitioner I didn’t have any problems at work until 10 years later NownPeople think that I have an average IQ. What they don’t know is that I had a high IQ before MS. I grieve the loss of my cognitive skills. Now I’m ok being “average”

  • Matt Allen G
    4 years ago

    I keep lists on topic ideas, I write things down on my phone or a sticky note but even with all that I STILL forget my ideas before I can write them down.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    4 years ago

    Matt, that’s me at times. I know I had an important task or brilliant thought to capture but it’s gone before I can get it written on paper or onto my phone. ~Laura

  • jekt074
    4 years ago

    I can sooo relate to this. I actually went to a seminar on Alzheimer’s at the local senior center. I asked the presenter if there was a way to distinguish Alz. from MS Cog Fog. She reiterated that Alz. and other dementias include far more than faulty memory, such as suddenly having an inability to do simple life skills like writing a check or maybe using the washing machine. Also common to dementias is driving and realizing you don’t know where you’re going or where you are. It was a helpful seminar. By the way, my neurologist and primary physician both brush off my concerns about memory! I stick with them, because they’re the Top Docs in my tiny rural area.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    4 years ago

    jet, those are good points to make. There is a huge difference between our memory problems and what someone with Alzheimers experiences. I’m sorry your doctors are dismissive of your concerns – can you ask for a referral for an evaluation anyway?

  • Storyteller45
    4 years ago

    I also worry about memory and cognitive impairment. My mother passed from Alzheimer’s, so I’m pretty paranoid about the whole thing….

  • MSPocahontas
    4 years ago

    !?!?!?! Be too….

  • MSPocahontas
    4 years ago

    I meant me too

  • Jan Adair
    4 years ago

    This has got to be the most memorable writing that I’ve read in almost 37 years of living with MS! Last week after having a neuro/psych exam I was told I could no longer work. I have been a nurse since 2000 and have enjoyed taking care of my patients! I was hoping to work at least another six years but now know it won’t happen. It is a very, very scarey thing to start noticing your memory which was once very sharp starting to slip. I knew that after people started telling me that I was repeating myself and I couldn’t remember if the day of the month was supposed to be followed by a comma or a period when writing out a check. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m just not myself anymore. Another loss. I’m trying to keep my spirits up but I think I will always be plagued with dysthymia. (Constant low level depression). I need to learn how to adjust…..that is if I can remember how!!!

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    4 years ago

    Thanks for the comments and sharing your experiences, Jan. It’s so helpful to know that others have forms of the same problem. I’m sorry the memory problems have been so significant that you have had your career halted. You might talk to your doctor about trying a round or two of therapy to help with learning tips and tricks to assist the failing memory.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    4 years ago

    The postscript to this article is I really did have to follow the link and reread it to jog my memory of what I wrote. Sadly true. – Laura

  • Kim Dolce moderator
    4 years ago

    I’m down with what’s up with that, Laura. It’s why I walk around my apartment all day long talking out loud to myself, rehearsing and rehashing before it all drains away. At least we haven’t forgotten our own names–yet, lol.

    Kim

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