Many people with lupus deal with cognitive deficits. Us lupies call it the "fog". We're not crazy, we're not losing our minds, and we're not old and senile! Please, I'm not even 25 yet.
Lupus can attack any organ, and sometimes that's our brain. We have moments, especially during a flare of symptoms, where we can't remember things, can't follow a thought, or become very confused. It's extremely frustrating, but we learn to laugh about it.
Personally, I have forgotten anything from my name to appointments to how to drive to school. These are things I do every day yet my mind goes blank. It is also hard for me to follow a train of thought. I might stop mid-sentence with no idea what I just said or where I was going with it. It also makes listening to a conversation difficult because details get jumbled in my brain. When it first started happening, I thought it was because I was stressed, but it turned out to be a cognitive symptom of lupus.
The good news is, there are ways to cope with this "fog". Making lists and keeping date books/calendars handy have been a great help. I have to write everything down. If it isn't written, it isn't remembered. Often times I find myself talking through the steps of certain tasks or my to-do list. When quilting, I have to lay out each piece and keep a picture and template next to me so I can remember what I'm making... even if I've already sewn 12 of the same block ten minutes ago. I have to take frequent breaks during any task, otherwise information will collide together and I'll forget everything.
With this being said, nursing school has been a bit of a struggle. Studying takes an extra effort, as does paying attention in lecture. Lectures can last 3-8 hours! With few breaks, the material blends together and I have to go home and re-teach myself the information at a slower pace with more breaks. Clinicals are a whole different story, but they still require an extra few minutes to re-group and I have to jot down everything I need to remember or know about a patient. My classmates and professors don't know about this "fog," or that I even struggle with it as not everyone is affected. However, I have made a huge accomplishment!
I am half-way through nursing school and I have maintained a 4.0 GPA!!!
Celebratory drinks! (I'm in the brown/beige).
I battle with the fog every day and I will not let it beat me! So for anyone out there who struggles with a mental haze of any sort, if you learn what you need to help keep you on track, you really can do anything.