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Episodes of complete disorientation to day/date/month?

I have had at least 6 to 10 very scary incidents over the past few months, relating to not even know what month it is... I just got back from the hair salon where I argued with the poor receptionist.  I told her I needed to book an appointment for my daughter at the end of the month.  She handy me a card that said "February XX" and I said "NO, I meant this month, I'm sorry, did I say I wanted it in February? I meant to say this month..."  She looked at me like I was crazy and I had no idea why! Searching my brain for a few minutes, I finally realized, "IT IS FEBRUARY!" After apologizing profusely, I high-tailed it out of there.  I remember one of the first times this happened last summer, I was at new doctor's office filling out the paperwork.  After completely filling out the forms, I realized that I hadn't put a date on it.  A complete feeling of terror came over me...  I was completely blank! Dead air, nothing..., NO CLUE what month it was. I searched my brain for what seemed like 10 min, and thought, "Oh yea, I think it is March" (it was really AUGUST!!!) I have experienced several similar incidents at work.  Has anyone experienced anything similar to this? For me, it is a complete and totally blank feeling, not like "normal" forgetfulness, other times when this happens sometimes I can visualize objects but can't put a name to them... like the highway exit for my home, I know that the sign is significant, but can't remember why.
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338416 tn?1420045702
Hey, just wanted you to know you're not alone.  I've suffered from mild cognitive impairment since my flare in 07, and have only recently regained some of my normal thought processes.  Not being able to remember, or not being able to trust your memory, can be very disturbing.  Certain kinds of damage can cause different problems.  I had problems with memory and with speech for some time.
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Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your advice! I will definitely look up the brain plasticity concept.  I like the idea of mentally trying to regain control of the situation, instead of feeling helpless during those moments. A lot of my reaction in those moments not only is related to fear (of mentally losing it) but also to embarrassment. I think my cognitive problems are becoming more apparent to my co-workers.  In all seriousness, a dear friend who knows about all my recent problems asked me if there was a possibility I had early-onset Alzheimer's disease (all 3 neuros said NO because I already asked) so I know others are noticing my intermittent cog fog.
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987762 tn?1331027953
COMMUNITY LEADER
I so HEAR you!

Your obviously an intelligent women, who's use to carrying a mountain or two on your shoulders in your normal daily life so stress and the other common causes are probably unlikely, you ARE the best judge of that. Its still possible your reaction to the momentary brain fritz's are more scared and paniky than they need be, or whats helpful to you.

I strongly believe that any emotional reaction to them, simply makes them worse or at the least that much harder to get your self back onto your prior mental track. Since mine became more apparent in 09, i've noticed that any minimal activity is a precursor to loosing my communicational and mental tracking ability so they are not as confusing.

Fatigue is my biggest corruptor, physical and even mental fatigue seems to throw me into system overload and my brain really goes on the fritz. I've found the only way to handle it, in just about any situation, is to take an invisible but necessary pause. Effectively giving your brain enough time to reboot and get its self back on track, with practise its almost seemless.

Explaining how to do it is proving to be more difficult than i thought, but i'll try to make sense of it for you. There isn't much you can do to prevent brain fritz's but being aware of any precursors can be very  helpful in minimising them. As soon as i become aware i'm not on track, information, words or thoughts temperarily lost etc. I know i have to stop talking, if I try to push through it, I start slurring and or stuttering and that so doesnt help.

Outwardly there's hardly any signs that i'm in my head, but inwardly my thoughts are totally focused on finding clues to help me locate whats gone missing. Generally i'm rolling through anything thats connected, one piece of information leading to another. What i'm doing is triggering memories and once those memories are coming, it usually leads to my brain getting back on track.

I like to think i'm more in control, calmly redirecting whats gone missing back onto the right neuro pathway, and it works for me most of the time. Its all related to brain plasticity, which you might find interesting if you want to understand the concept more fully.

I've written a novel, lol i was a talker in my former life, cant you tell lol sorry i never mean to write so much but I always seem to anyway.

Cheers.............JJ    
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Avatar universal
Thank you very much for taking the time to give advice and suggestions.  Neuro #2 prescribed 50mg of nortriptylene  off-label for my ongoing headaches (not migraines--used to have those, but these are same intensity). I think that is also prescribed for anxiety too, so hopefully I would get some benefit from the med it in that area.  

Also, I want to mention the past year has been the least stressful for me out of the previous 5-10 years.  (past included being married to a narcissistic alcoholic, going through a divorce, attending law school, and getting a master's degree while raising 2 children) Hopefully to add to my "credibility", I recently received 2 promotions at work in a 14-month period.  I mention all of this only to illustrate that I think I have handled stress and anxiety pretty well up until this point in my life.  Previously, I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, and was used to getting the typical pat on the head from doctors when I complained of fatigue or other unexplained physical symptoms. I have heard the "you're too stressed out, tired, bored,etc." as an easy explanation for ailments about one too many times from some of these doctors and it absolutely infuriates me!!!  I really wonder whether men get the same treatment from their doctors...

Ok, I will get off my soapbox.  What I am trying to say is I feel like I have had my fair share of life stressors, and it hasn't ever caused these strange neurological symptoms or cognitive issues. I don't fear a diagnosis.  I just want one, not because I want to be sick, but so I can face the problem and deal with it.  I wasn't crazy before all this started happening, but think I may really lose it if these doctors don't come up with answers very soon.
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987762 tn?1331027953
COMMUNITY LEADER
I dont actually think what your describing is totally out side the possibilities of whats experienced during MS brain fritz's, though I think the emotional reaction might be corupting your ability to regain control over it. Momentary blanking out, unable to find the word or thought etc on its own isn't abnormal, it happens to perfectly normal functioning people but what makes it significant can be due to multiple causes, only some requiring medical attention whilst most others not eg. sleep apnea vs life not letting you get enough sleep.

Stress, anxiety, fatigue, depression and fear, are not only the most common causes but they also exaserbate or corrupt what could arguably be normal momentary mental lapses, and turn them into something much more. If any of those are even remotely possible, i'd say it wouldn't hurt talking to your dr about it, and even if those are totally out side possible causes, then i'd still say your dr needs to know.

Cheers...........JJ

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Avatar universal
PS- I forgot to add occasional facial tics mostly on the left side, muscle cramps, bladder issues, and essential tremors in hands.  My daughter's room is across the hall from mine, and she frequently tells me I scream or cry out in my sleep from pain, now almost every night.  This is in addition to waking up from leg cramps/spasms.
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Avatar universal
Hi,

I posted a probably overly-lengthy description of my symptoms on the board last weekend, it may have been too much to sift through because I didn't really get too many responses.  However, I will try to condense it down the best I can.

The majority of my symptoms started in early July 2011. I had a gradual onset of numbness and tingling in my hands, feet, arms and legs.  I am overweight and worried I was becoming diabetic, as it runs in my family.  However, my glucose levels have remained at around 80- to 90 every time I had blood work in the past 6 months which has been at least 8-10 times.  I didn't really start to worry until the numbness and tingling began on the left side of my face.  I also started having periods of severe fatigue again, which has been a recurring issue since I had mono in 2008. (usually worse in the afternoons and with a low grade fever) By this time, I was having regular weakness in my left leg, left arm, and hand. I saw a new internist who sent me for a brain MRI which had several spots showing demylenation (?) then was referred to a neuro.

These symptoms "escalated" until mid-August when my family took me to the ER after work one day because I came home slurring my words, and could barely hear out of my left ear or see out of my left eye.  (I forgot to mention I have had bouts of double/blurry vision for several years...) Had a consult with neuro at the hospital who told me I was stressed out and needed to take a week off work to "relax"???

The following week I had a LP that the lab messed up on which tests they were to run (no o band test), so I had to have repeat LP! (they were both neg. for MS) This made my ongoing headaches even worse. I was also referred to rheumatologist #1 because of ongoing joint pain & my GP thought I might have RA.  I saw Rheum #1 several times but she really didn't know what was going on and thought it might be Lupus, but kept telling me I "might be positive for MS in 5 years."  She put me on Plaquenil but never did any further testing because she also thought I had too much stress/anxiety/depression, etc.  At least 3 times I have had a positive ANA (1:1280) and positive SCL-70 (but no scleroderma symptoms), always high CRP and up and down SED rate.

Sorry this is so long but trying to condense: I then went to Rheum #2 to see what she thought of the possible Lupus dx. At my appt, she said it sounded more like MS to her, but sent me anyway for a bunch of tests that made me take a side detour to a hematologist/oncologist.  Rheum #2 sent me to an MS specialist.  MS specialist actually took the time to look at the spine and brain MRI and said at least one of the brain lesions was significant (Neuro #1 & #2 never even looked at the MRIs, and #2 told me I just worry too much and if I had anything bad, it would just keep getting worse...?)

I had another brain and spine MRI on 3T yesterday. Have nerve conduction tests and VEPs coming up in the next 2 weeks.  The neurological symptoms have also included vibrating sensations, raindrop sensation, and even felt like water was poured over my head and down the left side of my face.  The occasional cognitive problems have been the scariest for me.

Thanks for taking the time to listen and assess whether or not this sounds like MS.
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572651 tn?1530999357
Hi lizbeth and welcome to the MS forum.  What you are describing doesn't sound like MS to me, but I am absolutely no medical expert.  There are a lot of us, though, who have those missing words and gaps in memory.

Can you backup and give us the rest of your medical history?  Such as, do you have MS?  

welcome again and I hope we see you around,
Lulu
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