Forget About it

And I do. I am worried, which strikes me as a new experience. I am not a worrier. I do not fear the worst with every new sensation or lack thereof. This feels different, though, and is coming at me with alarming speed. I forget when it started. Of course. In recent months I have become hyper-aware of all that is falling out of my head. I doubt there is anything I can do about it.
Meredith must tell me over and over what she has to do on a given day. It is gone long before she is, in fact, soon after it registers. If that happens at all. Phone messages have little chance of delivery, and the everyday, this is what I did today does not stand a chance.
I meant to tell you something…
Is this MS? Age? Too many good times in the sixties? Your guess is as good as anything I can come up with. But cognitive issues are biting my butt, and I want to do anything I can to change direction. I understand there is a use it or lose it component to brain function. I read newspapers and books. I engage in many conversations about news and current events. And I am writing my fourth book. Don’t those count as brain pushups? I am not sitting around drinking cooking sherry, tempting though it is.
Maybe I simply am joining the aging masses, but I do not think it is that simple. Cognitive testing is not in the cards. Why would I go through that? I am not handling millions or flying airplanes. And if there is nothing I can do, what is the point? Is there nothing I can do?
After 135 blogs, I just forgot the password for posting this. I rest my case.

16 Responses to Forget About it

  1. michael May 6, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    The Brains Way of Healing by Norman Doidge, MD will give you hope and comfort. I read it out loud to Cheryl while she does e-stim. We’re half way through, have learned a lot, hope you give it a try if you haven’t already, his other book about neuroplaticity is next.

    • Jan May 7, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

      Hi Michael, I know you’re talking to Richard here, but I just called my library… they said they just got it and, once processed, it’s mine to read.

      I’m always up for a good read, so thanks for mentioning that.

      • michael May 8, 2015 at 8:46 am #

        You are very welcome Jan, it’s a little dry but fascinating. Might I suggest Mr Wilson Makes it Home? It’s a book about a middle aged couple battling their demons and doing their best to lead fulfilling lives together with MS and the problems that develop when the distance between partners grows. Oh, and their dog that they rescued who kind of brought them together. I wrote it last year after leaving my job as a Captain with the Providence fire department.

    • Richard M. Cohen May 8, 2015 at 7:38 am #

      Will get it. Thanks.

      R.

  2. Elizabeth May 6, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    What you are talking about is exactly the reason that my hope and emotional stability is so hard to find. It is frightening to say the least. This started for me 10 years ago at 37. My PCP told me I was getting older and since there was no evidence of any medical cause, I was told to just forget about it. Within two years I was having more “episodes” of complete loss of short term memory. This was my first MS symptom. The physical stuff came later.

    I had the cognitive testing done at my MS neurologist’s office and all it did was discourage me. In fact, the administrator of the test told me that I may even cry out of frustration. I didn’t cry but I felt defeated.

    What I have found is that I still have the ability to think and do the things that I did for years as part of my career. I do have trouble with my speech being fluid. I get very frustrated with stressful things, taxes, paperwork, complex correspondence, and the piling on of things that can’t be resolved in one step. I have avoidance complex. (I just made that up, I don’t think it’s a real thing). I used to call my son my Thesaurus because I would stutter and try to come up with a word and he would fill in the blank for me. Everything in our house is a “thing”

    I keep a notebook going with a list of items I need to do or address. Lots of stuff gets lost. Keep doing the things that seem to come more easily, like your writing, and learn a system to keep the rest organized so you aren’t stressing yourself out over passwords and stuff like that. It’s not worth it. You’ve told me before not to be so hard on myself, I’m not minimizing your fear, but I’m going to give it right back to you. Try to give yourself a break. By the way I thought of you while watching Bob Simon’s story about the Single Malts. What a great way to give him a send off. Did you approve?

    • Richard M. Cohen May 8, 2015 at 7:41 am #

      Absolutely. I told his daughter he woulds have loved it.

      R.

  3. Jeff May 6, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

    This is not a recommendation, nor do I have much experience with it, but after a fair amount of research, I am starting to take MitoQ (http://www.mitoq.com) – a supplement that is similar to CoQ10. It costs around $2/day and is made and sold by a company in New Zealand. I am on day two and have nothing to report so far, but I am hoping it helps with my increasing fatigue issues. I have read many comments regarding its help with “cog fog” and memory issues, but again, have no experience with those symptoms (yet…).

    Hope this helps you Richard and any others looking for help. BTW, this article provides some good insight to what mitoQ is – http://www.science20.com/science_20/the_most_promising_antioxidant_you_never_heard_of-136215

    P.S. I am a believer that there are no “magic pills” that will make everything better, just trying to line up as many things that I can that may help – diet, exercise, stress reduction…

  4. Jan May 6, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

    Have to say that I’m firsthand relating to many recent perspectives lately (more than I care to admit. Try walking–ahem, or driving—with… I’ll take the 5th on that right now. A major back-side headache and nausea I can admit to). And a “walk” to the mailbox has been huge for some time. Are my legs atrophying, yikes?

    Agree with Elizabeth, Richard… amidst being bothered by it all (very normal, I think, and tell myself so): do what you can. You found that password, I see. (I often have to look them up). I still remember work and ESL stuff. But can I readily recall what my husband just told me? (Often not). Yep, it’s rather annoying, to say the least. I do what I can do. For what I can’t, let it work to create empathy in me, something to provide understanding to another in some way.

    No cognitive testing for me, either. Really, I know the score empirically.

    Yeah, maybe you need to chill and cut yourself some slack. And then get right back doing that which you can. MS is currently rearing rather sharp teeth for you, and for me… for many others here. I sometimes have to chew softer food (figuratively speaking), but it can still nourish.

    And if I’m one of those continually positive people, so be it. I hurt. It can be scary. It’s still about choices I choose to make.

    • Richard M. Cohen May 8, 2015 at 7:46 am #

      I ride with it. Chill? Not sure I can do that while I am ion combat with my body.

      R.

  5. Louise May 6, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

    Try.not to worry because stress is so bad for cognition and memory. I have friends who could not remember anything or do simple math when they were going through divorces, I’m talking about highly educated women who work in finance. If it is coming on quickly, look to recent changes – diet, medicine, Lastly, check out your heart. Decreased cardiac function can cause memory loss.

  6. Jan May 7, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    After reading a morning article about a mountain climber whose Everest quest was thwarted (yet thankful to be alive after the avalanche), I was struck by his ending quote:

    “It’s not about climbing Everest; it’s about digging deep inside yourself and finding something you’re passionate about.”

    So while climbing Everest may seem like child’s play of sorts (though extremely challenging) in comparison to the non-choice of trudging through a chronic disease, I liked that quote. We here have our own Everest climbs: every day. For me, I just have to keep digging deeper and deeper because finding something I’m passionate about, something I can do, is important to me.

    • Richard M. Cohen May 8, 2015 at 7:48 am #

      Good thought.

      R.

  7. MB May 7, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    Engaging in conversations about world events, or writing a book are in your control. You have opinions based on facts or beliefs regarding topics in the news and you’re the one driving the bus when it comes to the content and structure of your book. The first thing I thought after reading your brain pushup statements was, “Are those things really brain pushups?”

    I think engaging in problem solving activities is the best workout you can give your brain. The more cognitively taxing the better. Einstein is quoted as saying that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution. It’s the process not the outcome that makes smoke shoot from your ears!

    This might sound trite but instead of reading the paper cover to cover, take 30 minutes to solve the crossword puzzle. Your brain will thank you. 🙂

    • Richard M. Cohen May 8, 2015 at 7:50 am #

      That makes sense.

      R.

  8. Mary May 24, 2015 at 1:31 am #

    Richard,
    Maybe all the things you are not remembering aren’t important enough to register.
    Passwords are the thing I forget the most, second only to what day of the week it is.
    Love your blog

  9. dee/oh July 18, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

    Hey Richard,

    Just wanted to say………There’s always a time and place for a little sitting around and drinking a little cooking sherry (or whatever you’d like)

    I’d like to say “It does a body good” – in moderation.

    Fellow ms’er diag. 1981.

    God Bless,

    dee/oh