From now on..please attribute any of my typos, misspellings, extra lines, non-sensical statements and the like to my advancing Sjogren’s Brainfog; processing and memory issues. So what does this Sjogren’s phenomena look like? One example comes to mind. Have you ever watched ” Jaywalking ” on the Jay Leno Show? It is a sad, but funny segment where random people on the street are asked seemingly easy questions by Jay. These questions have answers that one would expect almost everyone to know. But they don’t. The viewer is left laughing at the crazy responses and wondering what happened to this poor person in which they clearly missed some basics about U.S. History, Geography or a general knowledge about our culture. I am now that person. And btw..I still laugh at those segments while secretly being grateful that I am not the woman on the street providing the entertainment.
Of course, many of us “Sjoggies” are at that middle-age period of our lives when a bit of cognitive decline is normal, but what I am describing with Sjogren’s Syndrome is different. They are changes or a mental decline that is inappropriate for our age. The Brain Fog that lives in my head includes: Forgetfulness; Spaciness; Confusion; Decreased ability to pay attention or focus and a healthy dose of extreme fatigue for good measure. Think Zombie.
At the Sjogren’s Syndrome Patient Conference I attended this past weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting another Sjogren’s Patient (Paula) and her mother, (Bonnie). While speaking to Paula’s Mom, I was mentioning that I was aware of her tremendous fund-raising efforts on behalf of the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation. As Bonnie shared some of the specific events and the funds raised, I nodded my head in approval and made the attempt to say, “Wow, that’s awesome”. What came out instead, was “Wow, that’s awful”. I did not even realize it until a moment or so after it left my mouth. If she caught it, she was of course, very gracious…but that my friends, is what Sjogren’s has done to my brain. It has given me a very well-defined “air-head” quality.
It’s not just a self-perception of Brain Fog or neurological changes that Sjogren’s Patient’s have. Sjogren’s lesions on the brain are often mis-identified and mis-diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis. In addition to the Brain Fog, Memory Issues, Processing and Attention Issues, there are many other types of neurological symptoms that can manifest as neuropathy, balance problems, etc. Many Rheumatologists feel that these changes are autoimmune-mediated.
So if you are the recipient of one of my poorly worded or mispelled emails, blog-posts, strange comments or air-headisms, just ignore it and don’t bother mentioning it to me…I won’t remember it anyway.