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I’ve been thinking lately about the symptom of fibro fog (or dyscognition) after perusing a few of the fibro blogs I follow and reading other peoples’ experiences. I had thought it didn’t bother me very much. Since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I’ve felt that the pain and the fatigue were the biggest problems. I thought that the only fog I experienced was when I was really freakin’ tired and felt numb and mute and like someone was stepping on the part of my brain that thinks things. But I thought that if I had gotten decent sleep (or at least enough sleep), I wouldn’t experience any fibro fog.

But I figured out two things from my reading: a). I’ve been thinking incorrectly about what fibro fog is, and b). what I interpret as my usual way may be my fibro way. Now, my usual way has always been air-headed. I’ve always attributed this to living too much in my head–too much daydreaming and reading and trying to think of things to say and not enough paying attention to what is going on around me. My twin sister and my eldest sister are pretty much the same, so I figured it is just the way I am. But then reading through the symptoms of fibro fog, I realized that some of the things that I attribute to my natural air-headedness can be related to fibro fog. For example, word use and recall is one issue that can crop up with fibro fog. The other day in class I used the word “vitrol” when I mean “vitriol.” This is extra embarrassing because I’m an English teacher. As I was saying it, something bothered me, but it wasn’t until after class that I realized the mistake. And I’ve noticed that in every class since then I’ve forgotten a word (on Thursday I couldn’t recall the word “browser”). Short-term memory problems are another feature of fibro fog. On Friday I called my husband to see if he wanted to go to lunch and he was already at lunch with one of his friends; he said he’d told me a few days before, and I didn’t believe him. But then later on Friday I remembered that he had told me. And three times over the past ten days I’ve left on a burner on the stove when I was done using it.

So now I’m thinking the fog is really impacting me. The problem is I can’t find any advice of what to do about it other than trying to fix sleeping issues, as that’s what is thought to be the root of the foggy symptoms. Oh, I have seen suggestions of supplements and “brain food,” but there’s not a lot of evidence that these work.

So instead I’m trying to laugh it off in class and trying to turn it into a vocabulary lesson (“Yesterday I said “vitrol;” what word should I have said instead?”) and asking for patience from my husband. I also try to write stuff down in a calendar. So far that’s working okay, and it’s not like forgetting words is that big of a deal, but I don’t like feeling foolish in front of my students. In the past I’ve told classes about the pain symptoms just so they know why I might grimace or sigh in class (instead of thinking it’s about the quality of their essays) or roll around on a chair instead of walk around, so I guess I could say something about my word issues. The stove issue is more serious, though. I guess I’ll have to consciously take the step to double-check that everything is turned off.

Just a few more changes to make. What’s a few more in light of all of the other changes I’ve had to make?

What do others do to cope with the fog?