Thursday, July 12, 2007

MS and thinking clearly.

The other evening as we were sitting down to dinner, my wife asked me some questions (I don’t remember about what.) As I was trying to answer, she said, “You aren’t well, you can’t remember the name of anything lately.” I realized that she was right, I had been struggling all day trying to remember the name of different objects or the right word for a particular sentence. I haven’t had that problem before. I’m not a very garrulous person but I don’t have to stop in the middle of every other sentence to try to remember the name of something or because I can’t find the right word. Recently I’ve had a very mild relapse where my right side has been hurting and by thinking back over it, I realized that the problems I’ve had with words have coincided with the pains in the joints of my right hand and ankle. I’m scared to death that MS is affecting my ability to think clearly. I’m a scientist and I have to do that all day long every day. I’ve had it on my mind almost non-stop since my wife made that comment.
I’ve always felt that the physical problems that come with MS were just “the way it is.” Since I’ve never been very physically active (I’m the guy who reads a book rather than playing soccer with everyone else), the idea of having physical limitations hasn’t bothered me more than the feeling that I will miss playing games with my kids and building stuff with them. When I think about being intellectually weakened, however, I’m horrified. I wish I could make a deal with it – Take anything you want but I must keep the ability to think clearly.


Zee said...

I've noticed that happening in the last year or so too, and I mentioned it a couple times to my neurologist. Upon looking at my most recent MRI he didn't see any lesions in places that would be consistent with the cognitive issues I was experiencing, however, which I thought was interesting. I don't think that means that the issues finding the right words are definitely NOT related to my MS - just that they can't see anything on the MRI that would indicate that's the case.

And all that's my long way of saying, it could be your MS and it could just be that you're tired or overworked or something, or you're getting sick, or something else is going on. ;-)

When I was first diagnosed I called the nurse frequently to report this or that symptom that was showing up, thinking it was medication- or MS-related. Only about a 1/4 of them were.

I guess my point is - if you're generally doing fine and this is something that's just starting to crop up I wouldn't worry about it too much other than to keep an eye on it. :)

Linda said...

But if it is, you can learn to compensate, so don't worry.

I'm in limbo at the moment, so don't know if the reason for mine is MS or random other Neuro thing, but other than the fatigue, the cognitive problems have been the thing that bothers me the most as I too rely on thinking for my work and me-ness...

The typical comments of
"you don't seem to be having much problem",
and "don't worry I can understand you fine"
have been no ****** use at all, as I know how hard I'm working under the bonnet to find synonyms for the words I can't find and if only one word will do I'm stuffed!

And as for fogetting that you did something 2 seconds ago as you look in wonder at the hot cup of tea still on the worksurface in front of you!

But my reason for commenting is to say do not fear if it is happening to you... you can re-train other bits of your brain, and work around loads of it... I'm using e-flash cards so I can measure my minute progress and not get disheartened, but have been doing it for 2 months now and am definately beginning to see the benefits... hooray