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New here, very scared
ebet
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 8:54 AM
Joined: 6/26/2019
Posts: 6


I'm a 50 year old woman, married, two kids ages 16 and 12 1/2, homeschoolers, work part-time in major retail grocery.  And I'm scared to death.

Over the last several weeks, I've had difficulties with distraction--two weeks ago I got distracted by something and totally forgot an entire section of markdowns at work, and which would've gotten totally missed if my coworkers didn't find my mistake, about 15 minutes before we were all ready to leave.   I've been substituting wrong words for the right ones--saying I'll have some ice cream in a 'jar' when I meant bowl; saying a friend brought over a 'gun' when I meant guitar.  I also forgot a schedule in another employee's car, and the next day forgot our kids' dental appointments.  The scariest thing was when I went to get a bowl from the cupboard, and found my bagged salad there instead of in the refrigerator; while I was able to retrace my steps and figure out how the salad got there, I don't believe I would have even noticed until I or someone else found it.

An MRI done last week showed a mild increase to the white matter hyperintensities in the frontal lobes, when compared to the previous MRI done three years ago.  Chronic ischemic small vessel disease was diagnosed then.  I have more neuropsych testing scheduled for the 12th, and a neurologist visit on the 24th.  (Neuropsych testing three years ago didn't show any evidence of dementia, at the time).

I'm scared to death.  Please help me, as the anxiety has been almost crippling.


Unforgiven
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 11:04 AM
Joined: 1/28/2013
Posts: 2633


I see no one has answered you yet, so let me try to calm your fears.  On this board you will meet people who have had a diagnosis for years who are still functioning and who are still themselves.  Yes, there are changes, but it isn't the end of everything.  And that is with a firm diagnosis.

There are many useful strategies you can learn to slow the chsnges down and live with the ones you have.  So much wisdom and love to be found here.

I forgot to say that lifestyle changes can be very effective in slowing down cognitive issues caused by vascular disease.


ebet
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 11:46 AM
Joined: 6/26/2019
Posts: 6


That's what confuses me the most, perhaps--I'm a non-drinker, non-smoker, eat fairly well (LOVE fresh spinach and kale; one of the reasons the salad incident referenced above was so infuriating was that I had to throw the whole bag out, because it had been in the cupboard for 12 hours), sauna and/or do low-to-moderate exercise almost daily.  I have had historically low blood pressure and cholesterol, and no family history of any neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Parkinson's, etc.

As yet, I have no official diagnosis of any dementia, MCI, etc.  I'm slightly suspect if peri-menopause is the culprit, in addition to psychological triggers/stress.  It sounds totally horrible, but I would rather have cancer than a dementia diagnosis.  I hope that doesn't make me an awful person.


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 2:50 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2755


I totally hear you about taking care of your self.  I was the same. Don't believe everything you read when it comes to dementia.  They are far from knowing what causes it. If your anxiety keeps up go to Dr and get meds. I am traveling in DC this week and will  return  next week. I Wil try t connect  with you privately If I can remember.  If you should want to talk I am here.
Unforgiven
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 3:42 PM
Joined: 1/28/2013
Posts: 2633


Many women report cognitive troubles with the lowering of estrogen.  This is not scientific by any means, merely anecdotal, but my own mother fell apart after two things.  The Women's Health Initiative put her on a low fat diet as part of a study.  In her ignorance, the low fat dirt also became low protein and high carb.  The second thing was a different study by the same Women's Health Initiative that found no benefits in  hormone replacement.  My mother, who had been on ERT since a radical hysterectomy in her late twenties, was taken off it.  The results were like a nosedive.  Her brain five years later showed much ischemic damage.

Ischemic damage means clots, which could come from hormone imbalances or a diet that is not right for you.  Some people do not do well at all on a diet that is high in even complex carbs and low in protein.  I am one of those people, and do, perhaps, was my mother.  Modern medicine still doesn't seem to understand that diet is not one size fits all, because genetics vary.

There are medications that can fight the tendency to clot and cut ofv blood flow.

You don't mention how your stress levels are.  You should know that I have NOT been diagnosed with dementia or MCI, but at almost age 70, I notice changes in my cognition.  During the five years I cared fof my PWD mother in my home, my stresx levrls were so high that I did irrational things on 'automatic' like putting my detergent in the fabric softener dispenser without thinking.  I stiil haven't found a set of car keys I must have misplaced after bringing my mother home from an appointment.  And I constantly had the 'hereafters' which is arriving in a room and not having a clue what I was here after.  All stresz plus natural aging, I hope.  Stress will cut your cognition by 50%.  Iris taught me that, and she was right.


Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 5:45 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16280


Welcome Ebet.  Yes, as Unforgiven says there are many causes of memory loss, including stress.  One of our emeritus members, Alan in Colorado, who was himself a psychologist, warned us that stress and anxiety reduce our cognition by HALF!  This was news to me!  It is imperative to reduce our stress load and to learn stress relief techniques.  Thorough medical evaluation searching for nutritional and hormonal deficiencies, along with other medical issues, is necessary.  All medications, prescription and over the counter meds, should be checked for memory loss side effects.  A history of old brain trauma is important, too. 


Years ago, I was told that I had non-specific changes in my white matter on MRI. Subsequent MRIs showed increase in non-specific changes.  Anything you can do to address cardiovascular pathology must be done.  Lifestyle changes now, along with work accommodations, can help you.  Do not panic!  Work with  knowledgeable doctors and keep posting and asking questions.  I have been on these boards for ten years, and I have learned so much from my fellow members!  

Iris L.


alz+
Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2019 12:54 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3551


Ebet -

I may be wrong as I am trying to hold your story in mind, but it sounds like this happened over a short period of time?

The fear of dementia is in all of us. You don't know yet that these lapses are from some other condition that could be helped right away. That is the point in testing for other things.

Please share more when you want. The panic can be overwhelming, in itself it lowers our abilities to think. The idea that I could lower my panic seemed  impossible when I was first diagnosed but the waves were going to kill me if I didn't find ways to calm myself down.

I had odd symptoms 25 years before I was diagnosed, was told I had MS, and since there was no treatment for that I just ate well, stayed busy at work, and avoided the social contact which set off more symptoms. I was later told I was bi-polar and treated for that which worsened everything until I finally was diagnosed in 2013!

Most people have complicated and weird time trying to figure out what is wrong.

Just my idea - not advice - but I would ask myself (if I were in your spot) what happened or changed in the 12 months before this began to happen. Did you have dental work? given an anesthetic? were you put on any medications? Was there an emotional devastation? make a list of anything and everything and see if a light bulb goes on.

What you seem to be most of need of right now is ideas on handling this fear and anxiety over a possible doomsday event of being told you have dementia.

Each of us finds a way to handle anxiety, I usually walk in a natural space. I used to live in woods and would walk through the trees, over hills with my dog.  Some people take anxiety meds - for me they made me wet my pants and stopped my intestines from working and made me prone to anger so I use cannabis. Finding a place or method to rest your mind, knowing you are doing all you can to determine the cause of these unsettling events you described.

You will have friends who understand here no matter what comes out of your search for answers. Feel free to vent or discuss your nightmare fears. You will be among people who know what you are talking about!

as it turned out for me, once I got the hang of managing life with a brain that is off somewhere else much of the time, it wasn't so bad. I have more good days than bad even after trying to survive a winter alone in extreme conditions, even after being moved from my home.

Believe it is possible - even if you can't right now - to alter your environment and how you go about life so that you can carry on with your life. Eventually you will have a success, and you will build on that.
For now I am hoping you find out it was from something that can be helped or managed.  You have friends on your side here.

love and courage



alz+
Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2019 12:58 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3551


Ebet -

that you are only 50 and have 2 kids makes any anxious reaction entirely understandable.

I am very concerned for you, worry while getting diagnosed makes life extremely difficult and then to have made a mistake at work...

Not minimizing your concerns. All kinds of things fall on your head when you are mother of 2 children and worried you may become incapacitated. We all understand this.


ebet
Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2019 10:40 PM
Joined: 6/26/2019
Posts: 6


Thank you all for your sweet and kind replies.  That there is no judgement here is very comforting.

To answer some questions, yes, there are possible triggers.  I come from an abusive and dysfunctional background; my mother is an undiagnosed borderline personality disorder, and not being her has been my driving force every day since I cut off contact with her over six years ago.  Father is a classic, non-confrontative enabler.  As a result, I'm diagnosed as OCD/pure-O subtype, so any anxiety-producing thing sends my OCD into orbit.  I've been in therapy several times over the last five years.  I have a HUGE HUGE issue with boundaries in all categories, from personal space to physical property that I own, to the land property on which I live.

A few weeks ago, my neighbor started installing a new hedge row close to our shared property line.  When I saw that, it was like I went nuts with the anxiety.  Thinking he was going to be trespassing onto my property in a permanent way, I went over to talk with him. . . only to realize he was well within our shared property line, and was doing everything not only according to law but also according to being just a good neighbor.  The internal discord of being "okay" with what was a perceived threat that turned out to not be a threat. . . I think that's a HUGE trigger for this.  Then, older daughter had a Sweet Sixteen birthday (and a golden birthday, to boot) and in the last month or so, acquired a boyfriend who by all accounts treats her like gold.  When I realize how much she's growing up, compared to me at that age and all the abuse and dysfunction--bam, another trigger.  So once I forgot that big section at work, then the appointments, then the salad, I just went into dementia catastrophising, even though there's no family history and no other physical preconditions (stroke, high bp, cholesterol, etc.).

Still, and this may be the OCD/anxiety talking, I think that not everyone has to have a history of dementia in the family in order to develop it.  It's like, there's always that possibility lurking, if that makes sense.  And just what if these things are really a harbinger of what will develop a few years down the road?  How do I know for sure that what's going on is really just stress and anxiety-induced, and NOT indeed dementia? 

I hope this made sense.


alz+
Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2019 10:04 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3551


Ebet -

I work with similar issues and I am now old.

You are young, so dementia is pretty rare in younger people but it SEEMS more young people are being diagnosed with it. Other people know a lot more about that stuff than me.

It is possible for someone suddenly making mistakes to assume they have a lack of a vitamin or a lingering infection or something but many of us go straight to thinking "catastrophe!"  

We are interested in your journey, how you finally find out what is going on. Feel welcome to come here to express your worries, a few people that I can remember found out they had something else. Every experience helps so what you discover is valuable no matter what.

You did good as a Mom to have a daughter doing so well. Have you told your husband or children about your lapses? They might remember something like ??? a pesticide, a change in medications, an event - think back for a year for a clue. Even if it isn't related it helps you get on road to making life easier. 

all the best to you


ebet
Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2019 2:11 PM
Joined: 6/26/2019
Posts: 6


Hi, Alz+...yes, my husband and kids know exactly what's going on.  Can we private message through the connections tab?
alz+
Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2019 4:23 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3551


ebet - if you can figure how...I think I can INVITE you and then you ACCEPT and then you can message me.

I do forget to come here sometimes for days but I will try to check in.

My dog refused her breakfast this morning and now won't stand up so thinking about emergency vet or what? On a leash on walks, nothing bad to eat in fenced yard.

OH maybe we get an email saying YOU have a message or something?


Iris L.
Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2019 9:08 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16280


In SoCal we have a lot of fireworks at this time of the year.   I know dogs are sensitive to sounds.  I hope your dog will recover soon, Alz+.

Iris


Jo C.
Posted: Monday, July 1, 2019 9:00 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 10405


Hi Alz+; if your dog continues to have the same symptoms today, it probably would be a good idea to have her seen as the holiday is looming on Thursday and vets offices are often closed for one or two days and even if there is an emergency vet clinic near you, such a visit over a holiday is far more expensive.

 Hope your little one will be well soon;

 J.


alz+
Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2019 6:05 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3551


Update about my dog:

took her to emergency veterinary hospital 30 miles away. It had a $20,000 coffee machine and 12 rooms.

was a parasite, getting meds now. should be good in a week. so whew!

Have not slept. CGvr wants to "be in charge of this" then asks me what to do over and over, my patience wears thin. I say, "I will give her the meds." Then he takes offence.

EEEE Gadddd. 

Meanwhile I see photos of my stuff being sold from my house as my daughter is cleaning it up. I am tense, staying in my room. 

Wish I could take bets on if Habib and I have another round of bickering. Odds look good!   

ps: hospital bill was more than my first car, more to come


alz+
Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2019 8:30 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3551


EBET - I sent you INVITE and it shows up in your email and here I think. If you click ACCEPT then you can message me here.

I am not always checking in - recently having need for LOTS of advice and wow - people here are so smart, L lee shocks me all the time with her ability to focus things, boundaries.

Hope today was ok and look forward to hearing from you. Think of you often.

love and courage