Did you know that MS can cause cognitive losses? Things like decision-making, memory, and reasoning are often impaired. I know this, but it’s not so easy to quantify or easily identify.

Years ago, shortly after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I remembered feeling as if something was off. I admit my vision wasn’t normal, but in addition to the vision issues, things weren’t coming to me as easily as before. Was it something I invented after receiving a diagnosis of an incurable chronically progressive debilitating disease? Maybe or maybe not, but as you know I didn’t let the news stop me.

I remember when I was still working and a colleague asked me about cognitive losses. I’m not sure why he asked. I never bothered to find out either. Had I missed something? Again, I don’t know, I do know his moral character was questionable at best. I dismissed him by responding that it exists, but it’s very taboo and not mentioned lightly. This amounted to my way of politely asking him to mind his own business. I figured we were competing for sales and he couldn’t have had my best interest in mind.

It’s been over a decade since my diagnosis and I know my intellectual acuity has to have been affected somehow. Thank goodness I’m surrounded by supportive family and friends. They may not even know they are witnessing my snail like cognitive decline. Sometimes I can hear my less than articulate speech. I can feel the aggravation of those I’m conversing with. I just take a deep breath and start over again.

These days I am aware of when I am overwhelmed. I’ll simply ask for more time to make decisions. If I feel safe, I’ll be direct and acknowledge that it’s too much information for me to process. Sometimes I have trouble recalling simple words. The other day I asked my husband to hand me that handheld thing on the countertop that sucks messes up. He said, “You mean the dust buster?”

When I got upset about not being able to remember the name he replied, “Don’t worry, we’ll make new memories.”