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Re: Brain Fog?
Jan 9, 2004
Hi bothrops and all,

My symptoms... There are so many of them that I'm not sure if they're all one condition or a combination of them. Also the progression of symptoms has been hazy and confusing to the point where I'm not sure if I have a problem with my brain (lyme disease, cyst, or infection causing lack of coordination, disruption to learning, memory, attention span, and abstract thought.), with my sinuses/eustachian tubes (pressure in my forehead, terrible smell from my noise, absolutely no mucus discharge for the past year, even when I've felt sick and air filling up my ears when I hold my nose and blow.), acid reflux, which may cause sinusitis symptoms and body/breath odor problems (which I think I have, but most people insist that I don't when I ask.), a simple panic disorder or tmj (very early on, in august of 2002, I had this searing pain in my thyroid glands and jaw joints which I guess could either point to TMJ or something to do with my thyroid. I'm not sure, I don't fit too many of the other symptoms of thyroid disorders except for the cognitive stuff.).

The funny thing is that what I perceive as the worsening of the symptoms were preceded by completely different occurances that would point toward different possibilities. I'm a little fuzzy on when all of these things happened in relation to each other, but I guess the latex painting was done in early summer.

First, I got a sore throat and all sorts of respiratory problems which I'm almost certain were caused by the latex paint I was using to paint my room (the paint I used on the cieling was all flakey, so that's not good.). The sore throat eventually subsided, and I forgot about it. If I have a sinus infection or allergy problem I'm very sure that this is the cause. The fact that I'm in close contact with my cat while I'm sleeping might've pushed my allergies over the edge, even though I've never been allergic to cats.

The following september I had this weird pain that radiated throughout my legs and groin. This led to panic attacks, which led to symptoms that made me think of heart conditions. Eventually I went to the doctor for an ultrasound to rule out anything wrong down there, which it did. I've heard that testicular pain could be a symptom of early lyme disease, so this contributes to that possibility.

In October I'm feeling less and less motivated and lucid. I could still write as well as I ever could, so I'm not having any significant cognitive problems at that point. I'm not sure if this is a cause of just being out of work and under emotional stress thereof, or what. I developed this post-nasal drip around then, which made me think of a CSF leak (hehe, i'm starting to lose it by then), but could point to any number of things. I don't know. I'm not a doctor. I think that's about when I started having this weird headaches. It felt like a burning sensation around certain parts of my head, near the base of the neck and on the sides, above the ears and behind my temples. I felt nausea and vertigo during these headaches and couldn't force myself to do anything when I felt like that. Eventually the headaches stopped, and, gloomily, I figured that the part of my brain which was burning was dead, and/or it was lyme-born meningitis that passed on its own. I've heard that meningitis caused by lyme disease can go away without treatment, so that's been a strong possibility through all of this. I went to the doctor for a checkup in relation to these headaches and, because I had no insurance, she couldn't do any of the standard tests, like an MRI. So she just told me I had cluster headaches, and gave me extra strength advil or something.

In November this rash or spider bite appeared on my upper right thigh. I've had spider bites before, but nothing that looked like this. It was swollen and warm on the site of the rash, with a dark, red circle in the center and a pinkish outer layer. I estimate that it was about four or five centimeters in diameter. It went away in a week or two. Thats about when my cognitive symptoms began worsening, to the point where it became unenjoyable to write or read anymore. I trudged through novels in OCtober, but by now it was becoming impractical to even try. The funny thing is that I could write perfectly fine, better than I could read.

I can remember the exact moment that I took the greatest blow to my cognition. It was on christmas eve. Maybe it was the stress of the holidays weakening my immune system, or advancing lyme disease or infection, but I began to notice that lost my ability to learn. I tried learning this photo editing program. Before all of this, the learning process for new programs was intuitive for me. I would learn all the basic functions in moments and then move on the the advanced stuff without missing a step. But now it was as though my brain was marinated in mud. I had to sort of force myself to think, it wasn't automatic. I found that I could only focus on one thing at a time, which made it even harder, since it seemed my memory was suffering too. All in all, it was just very difficult to put things into perspective like I used to. Once I learned one function, the next one would make no sense because I'd forget how it related to what I learned. It's hard to explain, especially in my muddy state, so I'll stop trying. Also, my social adaptability suffered... I couldn't adlib in conversations worth a dime, so I became a bore on top of everything else.

Up until last october (when I began taking medication for mental problems that I don't even believe i have.) things sorta stayed the same. Then, I began to fluctuate between foggy and more foggy. There's nothing of much note to mention in that time, other than the fact that I was still unemployed. Just a few days ago, I felt as though I'd completely lost my mind. My mind was like a room that's too small for my body. I remember waking with that sensation. It helps to try and limit what I try to do with my mind, but I hate that feeling, like I'm dumber than I used to be. The scariest thing is not knowing whether I'll ever be the same. That's why lyme disease appeals to me, because I've heard of almost complete remissions.

Here's a recap of symptoms:

Aug/sept of 2002: Jaw pain, groin pain, panic problems.
October of 2002: Headaches, localised near the base of my neck and along certian patches on my cranium. Developed a post-nasal drip. Increased floaters in vision and aura. They went away within a few months.
November of 2002: Circular rash, smaller reddish circle within a pink ring. Increased cognitive impairment. I had some flu-like symptoms as well, and would receive headshocks as I was falling asleep.
December of 2002: Dramatic decrease in cognitive function (by my standards at the time). Personality change. Keyboard dyslexia
October of 2003: Sinus cracking, terrible smell in nose when I blow out.

I'm afraid that that list may not be as comprehensive or give you an idea of what I've been going through as I would like. I think it outlines all of the major symptoms that have been kicking my butt through all of this.

I'm not sure if, through all of this, I had fullness in my ears. I do know that I haven't had significant mucus discharge except in cases where I cried (in which the discharge was minimal. I otherwise feel very congested up there, near the top of my forehead. I'm not sure if sinuses are located that high, so lemme know.

I don't think it (whatever it is) has affected my eyes very much. At least not the same way you seem affected. Or I haven't really noticed.

EDIT: Also, I've had these muscle/cerebral spasms for a while and they've been getting worse. They're not jerking motions... not really motions at all, they're just like nerves. Also in january of 2003 I had shortness of breath accompanied by lightheadedness. I'm not sure if I still have that... I think I do, but I've adjusted to it, sorta, so I don't notice it now as much as I did then.

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