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vascular changes and memory issues
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vascular changes and memory issues

Hi all~First time visitor and poster.  I'm a 48 year old female who has been experiencing memory problems.  

I first noticed extremely slight memory problems about 5 years ago and nothing that any typical person wouldn't chalk up to being very busy at work, which I was; it felt more like feeling overwhelmed with tasks and having too much on my plate.  Around this time I noticed problems in retaining information when I read.  I chalked that up to just finished up an advanced degree and feeling burned out on the reading.  

Fast forward to last summer and I started noticing a few more memory problems, still rather slight, but that were uncharacteristic for me, such as not remembering my boss telling me to do something pretty significant (book a flight for myself) and when he reminded me, I couldn't recall that he had told me to do this.  In late summer of last year, I talked with my son and his girlfriend about going to a movie.  We discussed it, decided which one to go to, and I was excited because I had really been looking forward to seeing the movie once it came out and that it was supposed to be really funny.  I sat in the movie theater and within the first 5-10 minutes felt kinda scared when I realized that I had already seen the movie.  I realized that my daughter and I had gone to the movie previously. My son and I joked about it after the movie..."hahaha...mom's getting old" and left it at that.

Within the past six months, I've had a demanding and stressful job and the memory stuff started again, but more significant.  People at work have noticed.  

Examples include:
interviewing potential new staff and when the talent recruiter asked me how the interview went with "Joe," I couldn't recall Joe, what he looked like, what was said, or that I had interviewed him.  I double checked he was in my calendar thinking maybe I had cancelled the appointment or moved the appointment. The talent recruiter told me I had spoken with her after the interview and said that "Joe" was a great candidate;   I then pulled "Joe's" resume from my file box, re-read my notes, and that didn't job my memory either. I remember, vaguely, speaking with the talent recruiter, in passing and noting this candidate, but I still can't job this memory.  There was another candidate I interviewed where the same thing happened a day or so later.  

Our team meeting was falling on a holiday and I wanted to see if the team wanted to reschedule, so they could take the day off.  I emailed my boss regarding whether it was okay to reschedule.  My team was gathered in the meeting room a week or so before the holiday, and I started talking to them about whether they wanted to reschedule or not.  They all looked at me funny and one of my staff mentioned to me that we had already discussed this in our previous team and that I had given the okay to reschedule.  

In talking with staff and clients, I'm finding I lose my way in the conversation.  I'll be talking and then it's like "blank."  I lose the train of thought in a concrete way...it's hard to describe...but it's like an iron door slams shut.  I try to hide it by saying..."anyway..." and talking about something.

I've been out with my family and have great difficulty remembering when we went out and what we did. For example...we love the movies, so we go there often. Recently, I couldn't remember the movie we saw nor could I remember which movie theater we were at, as there are 3 we frequent.  I could take a good guess, based on my favorite theater, but it's really a guess. I also couldn't really pinpoint when we had gone;  I knew it was "probably" a week ago, but it felt like it could have been a week or a month ago.

I have this odd sensation with memories that they are "closing," if that makes any sense.  For example, when I try and think back to a management meeting I had about 2/3/4 weeks ago (I couldn't really remember when it was...I'd have to check my calendar), it's almost as if a gray curtain is over it or...for lack of a better description, as if doors on the left and right side of the memory are closing.  I can remember some things from the meeting, but nothing tangible.

I'm a person who typically THRIVES off busy and challenging tasks/jobs and I multitask incredibly.  Being busy energizes me and I typically love the challenge at work. More recently, I'm overwhelmed/daunted by tasks and having trouble organizing and prioritizing.  

Staff member called me to discuss a client.  He mentioned the client's name and I thought it was a different client.  I started giving advice on how to work with this client and he mentions, "no...it's not that person."  He restates the client name, and for the life of me I can't pull the visual of who the client is. I fumble through with my staff.  It's like the client they are describing didn't exist, even though I know every client well.  I had to call the office and have them scan the documents to me.  When I got the documents, I realized that I had given significantly wrong advice about this client which could cause us to lose the account, so I called back and made out like I had been thinking things over and rethought about what we should do.

Physical Symptoms:
Extreme fatigue (doctor has run blood work and there is Vitamin D deficiency...has put me on prescription Vit. D).

Have had lower back problems on and off for years;  had an x-ray 2/3 years ago and it showed a compressed disc.  I lost weight and my back hasn't "gone out" in about 9 months, but I'm noticing increased intermittent pain in my lower back that creeps abdominally, like menstrual cramps. With this, I've noticed pain/significant aching in the front of my legs/thighs that flairs up at times.  I have a high pain tolerance and had no insurance at the time these instances occurred so I pushed on and limped through it.  

Occasional left side facial tingling that last for 3-5 seconds then goes away.

Apathy/Depression:  Recently, I feel like I'm in my "own little world" at times...kind of like how autism is described.   I'm very content to sit quietly by myself and not seek others out.  This is particularly concerning to my husband, who knows I'm typically a social darn butterfly and ALWAYS want to hang out with my kids.  Some depression, but I've been prone to it on and off for years and have had it well under control for years  Currently, apathy is moderate and depression is mild.  Also have mild anxiety that has been treated with a very occasional Xanax for panic attacks (approx. .5mg every 2 weeks or so...a 60 day prescription lasts forever for me).  Was on Lexapro years ago for catastrophic thoughts and some OCD type of thinking, but resolved well and came off the meds.

I have a friend who is a psychologist and I expressed my concerns with memory.  Although we can't use the results definitively since she is my friend, she did some memory testing and noted that encoding problems/logical memory was off in a pretty significant way and suggested a neuropsychiatric evaluation.  I made an appointment with my primary care doctor who scheduled an open MRI brain scan. I'm assuming it was "without contrast" since I had no IV.   The medical assistant from my primary care office called me and said the MRI was "essentially normal," but there is "early vascular changes" and they are referring me for a neuropsychiatric eval.   I tried to get more information from her, but she was vague.  I tried to do my own research on the internet, and found that early vascular changes leads to 4 million google hits, can be a multitude of things, and has left me more confused than when I started.
At this point, I know that this could be a bunch of things, but if you have ideas of what this looks like based on my symptoms, I'd love to hear.  
Any advice on what to address with the neuro docs and/or primary care doc, for further testing I should have would be great as well.
Thanks~
      



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