How’s the weather? Foggy?

Orig. May 9th, 2011

Everyone has experienced forgetfulness at one point or another.  I am so tired of hearing – oh it’s just part of getting older.. or wait till you hit menopause.  I wish it were that simple.  I have spent many conversations trying to get people to understand what it is like to have Fibro-Fog. Fibrofog is a term given to the variety of cognitive problems that many fibromyalgia sufferers face during their illness. It includes memory loss, difficulties using language, and difficulties with learning. The ”fog”  tends to be at the most severe during flare ups in pain.   Many people have had to quit jobs due to the combination of severe flares and fibrofog. It is one of the least recognized and most serious symptoms of fibromyalgia.

  • short-term memory loss
  • difficulty remembering where you put things, plans
  • difficulty with language, including trouble holding conversations, understanding conversations, and expressing thoughts
  • difficulty finding the “right” word to use in conversation, remembering numbers, trouble concentrating and focusing.
  • trouble remembering simple numbers and names
  • transposing letters and numbers

About 2 months ago my temporary loss of memory showed up at the gym. I had been in the middle of a very painful emotional flare up. I finished my swimming classes and had gone back into the locker room to change into my clothes.  That is when the problem arrived. I stood at the lockers – concentrating. I remember that I chose a certain locker because I would remember the number – yet here I stood blank. I had no idea where I had put my clothes. For most people this would not be a dilemma. They would simply open each locker until they found the one that had their clothes. I stood there – completely helpless – beginning to sob. The fog and the fibro pain had taken over my body and my brain.  I just stood – staring at the lockers – crying.  It was so overwhelming that I could not even think of what to do next.  A lady next to me asked if I was okay. I just sobbed.. I don’t know where I put my clothes – It was so embarrassing – and worse yet.. I got the same comment  – not a big deal – just look for them.. or .. I forget where I park my car or put my keys.   IT IS NOT THE SAME!!!  Unless you are a fibromite or an Alzheimer patient – I don’t think you truly understand the feeling that overcomes you.  Your brain spins out of control – literally covered by a fog. Your chest tightens as you being to have panic overcome. I have learned through counseling to not let this affect me as much as I did.  I have learned to write everything down even if it is something I am sure I know.  I use my calming techniques. I take long breathes in and longer out.  I use cold compacts to slow the brain – to  stop the spinning.  I try to view it cognitively and not emotionally. (A VERY HARD THING TO DO). Even with all of the above techniques – I find some days at work just staring ahead ~ wondering how long will I be able to keep this up.  Will the fog last longer the next time?  Can I continue to work as if I am still mentally capable of doing my job.  Can I fool these people into believing that I am still the person they can go to with the answers?

My first thoughts to title this entry were ~

  • A trip down memory lane.
  • Thanks for the memories.
  • A mind is a beautiful thing.

Then I looked up some quotes about Memory – the following 3 were my favorites.

    • Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.  ~From the television show The Wonder Years\
    • The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche
    • Forgetfulness is a form of freedom.     – Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

I settled on the title ~ “How’s the weather? Foggy!”  It’s a joke between my Daughter and I that I have shared with my bff.  I was having a conversation with my daughter and my fog had taken over.  I was telling her how when I talk to my Fibro Friends – we just say if we are in a fog – etc.  I had asked her a question – and – apparently had asked her the same questions three times in a very short time. Her reply;  she just gave me the answer and asked “Foggy in Wisconsin – Mom?”.   So now, she will occasionally ask me – “How’s the weather in Wisconsin?” or I will just say “It sure is foggy today”  I have an amazingly  understanding 11-year-old. But if you are wondering how the weather is today – it is sunny and clear in Wisconsin.

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2 comments

  1. The Fibro Fog is certainly scary. Just the other day I was trying to say a word (from a sentence I was thinking in my head), and wrongly said completely unrelated words – not once, not twice, but three times before I said the right word. It was surreal. Thank God I was alone and only talking to myself. 😉

    I can certainly relate to your work related concerns. I just recently stopped working because of my menagerie of maladies – talk about fear. This will be an adventure, for sure.

    Thank you for sharing. ((((( HUGS )))))

  2. I can relate all too well. If the truth be told I find my combo of “fibro fog”, fatigue and visual maladies to be much more debilitating than the pain for which I fortunately seem to have a higher threshold.

    I’ve had many “blank-out” experiences but one of the worst occurred a few years ago before my diagnosis. I was taking a skills upgrade course that was located on the second floor of a near-by apartment complex. Due to the design of the building it was only accessible by elevator to and from the main entrance so the same route had to be taken several times a day (lunch, breaks, etc). One day I got into the elevator to head to the main level and when the door opened I had no idea where I was or how I got there. This didn’t just last for a second, it lasted for several minutes and felt like an eternity. I held the elevator open until I finally understood where I was. Once I had that figured out I had to figure out why I’d come down in the first place! As luck would have it no one had come along so I’d saved myself some humiliation but it was one of many frightening moments where I knew something was seriously wrong with me.

    Thanks for sharing. Love the quotes! 🙂

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