Saturday, September 1, 2012

Forget Me Not

I have always been absent minded.  It runs in my family.  For as long as I can remember, my Grandmother would always put post it notes on her refrigerator and mirrors throughout her house and near her phone.  Thanks to those post it notes, she hardly forgets anything as long as she puts it on a post it.  Now remembering to do that part is another story.

Instead of post its, I put everything on my cell phone.  Audio reminders are a must.  It makes life for me and everyone else in my circle so much easier.  MS impacts my short term memory because of the lesions in certain parts of my brain.  It's not only difficult for me, but it affects my friends and family when I can't remember a recent conversation or I forget something within such a short amount of time.  I really wish I could control my memory.  I work very hard to train my brain by keeping it active.  Puzzles, playing piano and even my job help tremendously.  Blogging is another great way to keep my brain active because I do a lot of research when I post a blog.   Bible study or anything that increases my ability to learn and requires a lot of thought also makes a difference.

My friends and family sometimes get frustrated with me.  They "forget" that my memory is heavily impacted by MS.  I had a conversation with a friend who expressed her frustration with my forgetfulness. She couldn't understand how I could remember specific details about the past so well but I forget details of recent conversations.  I tried to educate her about short term memory and what takes place in my brain.  Every time you receive information, you have a small frame of time to retain new information w/o losing it.  Most of the time you will only retain bits and pieces.   That goes for everyone.  Some people are gifted with the ability to retain information as it comes.  There are exercises we can all do to train our brain when it comes to memory.

MS affects your brain and spinal cord aka Central Nervous System.  Your immune system attacks the myelin (protective covering) that insulates the nerves in your CNS.  This causes scar tissue that can block nerve signals to your brain.  When the lesions are actually in your brain, this causes a whole different set of issues.  Combine the lesions in your brain and spinal cord and you have a very tough situation on your hands.  Think about it, every aspect of your body is regulated by your central nervous system.  Anything that impacts your central nervous system can wreak havoc on you from head to toe.  Cognitive functions, mental emotions, physical disability, and yes (you guessed it), MEMORY.

Having MS has brought me closer to God in so many ways.  I have been convinced that I was so right about something only to find out that I was so wrong.  That was very painful at times.  Not only for me but for my friends and family.  God taught me how to realize that I am not always right and it's OK.  Learning to put on mercy, humility and grace was a must.  Not only that but keeping an open mind.  I put all my trust in Him and seek His guidance and counsel now more than ever. I wouldn't have it any other way.   I couldn't imagine traveling this unpredictable road called life without God.