My 82 year old mother is experiencing the phenomenon of growing older…much older. Every time I talk to her she is filled with the wonder at how her body and mind are changing. She tells me with some consternation about her failing memory and how upsetting it is to her. How she has a hard time remembering names, appointments, even what day it is. What is even more upsetting to me is that I am also experiencing all of this and more, and I am only 58. In fact, I have been experiencing these things for years and years. It’s called fibro-fog and it can make a younger person feel years older.
My mother and I chat all the time and we can relate to what each of us is going through, but it’s a little disconcerting to know that I can relate better to an 82 year old than someone closer to my own age. We laugh about words that just won’t come to us, “oh it’s right on the tip of my tongue, but I just can’t remember!!”….or friend’s names that we’ve known for years, restaurant’s names that we’ve gone to many times, all lost in the fog….
There is always the specter of the possibility of early-onset dementia, or Alzheimer’s, or any number of other potential memory-robbing diseases that it could be….but I know that mine is probably mostly related to the “fibromyalgia brain” and also the many medications I take on a daily basis to treat the myriad of other medical issues I am fighting. The medication can certainly add to the memory loss, as most of the drugs I take have the potential to “cause drowsiness”, aka “can’t remember shit”.
I just try to exercise my brain as much as possible by reading everything I can get my hands on, playing online poker, writing on my blog, socializing with people online and in real life, and trying not to fall into the isolation that sometimes befalls people with chronic pain and illness.
As for my mom, we still talk several times a week, keeping track of each other and marveling at the weirdness of aging, the strangeness of forgetting familiar things, and just life into the golden years. I’m glad I have her with me for now….because whether it’s fibro-fog or just old age, it really is weird and it helps to share it with someone so you don’t feel alone and scared.