Good morning! Sorry I am a week late with this post. This City Girl has been busier than usual! In fact, this post seems more timely now than it did last week. Some things that are getting in the way of my focus are: recent news that my father has been diagnosed with cancer. He is currently caring for my mother, who was diagnosed over a year and a half ago. Also, we are short handed at work. For the past couple of weeks I've been wearing several hats. There is not a lot of time for social media until we can hire some more help. Also, I've been shopping or fall after discovering last winter's long taper of prednisone means last fall's clothes are not as comfortable as they ought to be. Anyway, back to this week's subject!
If you have a chronic disease like Psoriatic Arthritis, you are no stranger to Cognitive Dysfunction, or brain fog. For this City Girl, experiencing this can provide for some hilarious stories, but is also scary. I am a smart girl. I always did well in school and am still a voracious reader. To have simple things escape me, not be able to remember the right word and regularly hunting for things that are already in my hand is not fun.
Studies show that there can be several reasons for brain fog in chronic disease patients. One can be medication side effects. Anyone else undergoing chemotherapy will understand this. Another can be protein spillage into our spinal fluid or our bodies' inability to remove toxins. As if being chronically ill was not enough. The regular stress of chronic pain and feeling disassociated from "normal" society are big factors, as well.
Photo courtesy of Wix.
This fog can be so thick on some days, usually coinciding with my menstrual cycle, that even my emotions become fogged and I feel fuzzy and unable to feel things. My concentration is off and because I feel so unlike myself, can bring on a weepiness that is totally out of character for me.
I sometimes leave my apartment and have to go back for my ferry pass, purse or even deoderant. I forget my lunch at home. I frequently have the feeling that I have forgotten something totally important, something I really concentrated on remembering. Sometimes, I never remember what it is. Other times, my husband reminds me that I forgot to run an errand, write a check or show up somewhere I promised. Of course, I have a smart phone and calendars, but forgetting to document a reminder or appointment is usually the problem.
It turns out that most autoimmune patients experience this and other psychiatric symptoms. I have mentioned before that, due to some of my meds, I experience phantosmia with the occurrence of my menstrual cycle, which means I am plagued with the strong smell of garlic, sometimes for days at a time! No one else can smell it. It is an olfactory hallucination. This sometimes leads to trouble with my husband, when I accuse him of horrible breath and can barely stand to kiss him. It sounds funny, but really isn't. Despite the medical community being well versed in these issues, the bottom line is they just happen to come with the territory when you are autoimmune. Cheers!
Photo courtesy of Wix.
Would love to hear about your experiences, funny or otherwise.