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As long as my brain still brains...


Monday March 10 2014 11:00 AM

I have known that something was up in the old noggin department for a few years. That sinking feeling when I forget a word I KNOW I know. When the check-out at Aldi is too much for me to keep up with. When I can’t help a nine year old with her Maths….. The best way I can describe it is to say that things aren’t working as smoothly as they used to.

One of my scariest pre-diagnosis moments was when I was given a task to do in work and I realised that I couldn’t figure it out - even though I should have been well able for it. A silent panic attack followed, accompanied by copious amounts of self-loathing and fear. Because I didn’t know how to express what was happening to my brain, it was a lonely, dark and scary time. A bottomless pit of woe I never want to visit again.

Because it’s not a physical issue, it’s hard to describe a cognitive problem. About half of people with MS experience some kind of dysfunction — trouble concentrating or remembering, attention, depression, forgetting words, brain fog, fatigue. That is the science bit but defining the emotional part of having a problem with your brain (that used to work perfectly fine) is another kettle of fish entirely.

So, what can I do about it? I can be kind to myself and accept my disability. I can shop in Dunnes Stores where they help me pack my shopping bags. I can admit that I can’t remember a person’s name and then get over it. I can make time to exercise and train my brain. I can share brain issues with my friends at my support group. I can use mindfulness and yoga to help me relax and not worry so much about things that haven’t even happened yet.

Terry Pratchett described his early-onset Alzheimer’s as an “embuggerance”. Brain Awareness Week 2014 (10-15th March) is an opportunity for me to stop and think about how I can help my grey matter through it’s “embuggerance”.

“As long as my heart still beats and my brain still brains (Homer J. Simpson),” I will!!!

Author: Joan Jordan

Tags: brainawarenessweek, brain, multiplesclerosis, ms



Monday March 10 2014 18:43

Nice honest article. Acceptance is not throwing in the towel, it is realism. Acceptance of ones limitations can make life easier. At least it did in my own case.

Anne McGahon

Monday March 10 2014 19:44

v realistic and insightful view of ms joan and v honest account of your dealing with it - inspirational as usual - love the quotes - not sure which i like best - homer simpson vs terry pratchett- wicked!!


Monday March 10 2014 19:50

Quotes from Terry Pratchett and Homer, awesome.
With regards to acceptance I'm reading The Happiness Trap at the moment which is well with a read. Take care.

Yvonne kelleher

Tuesday March 11 2014 08:42

Very moving Joan.
Yvonne xxx


Tuesday March 11 2014 09:20

Lovely, clever article, as always...despite your embuggerance!
Keep the articles flowing, we love to see and read them.
Love you, NJ

Ann M

Tuesday March 11 2014 15:44

Thank you Joan for explaining so well what I am going through. Now for Mindfulness and Yoga...


Tuesday March 11 2014 15:51

Joan, love it and it's so recognisable. It's awful when you're in places where you feel like everyone's staring at you but never let it get you down. Brain training indeed helps, even silly games like card games etc. (my favourite is Mahjong). One day I'll tell you about me having to introduce colleagues to a new one... ouch... that was painful! Keep up the great work!

Karen O Shea

Thursday March 13 2014 15:46

I can relate to everything you say especially the Maths thing. The way to get around not remembering someones name is the classic 'Hi girl'. We use that a lot in Cork anyway! For a guy ask 'Have you been working out' or you could always give them a sandwich. Flattery or food. You cant go wrong (;


Thursday March 13 2014 19:11

That was beautiful Joan, I could identify with everything....

Paula Sheerin

Thursday March 20 2014 19:20

I just hand the cashier my change and mutter something about having a bad day. I don't have MS, I have CRPS and we have problems with brain connections. From Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Ireland on Facebook.

Anne Marie Hesselden

Wednesday March 26 2014 10:14

That's exactly what happened to me!!! Along with the debilitating headaches and my legs slowing down.....diagnosed positive for Ms after lumbar puncture.No treatment offered. Had to step down from position as manager in my job. Sad and demoralising but safer for the company!!!

Joan Jordan

Saturday March 29 2014 12:43

"Hey Girl!" (for the women) and "Have you lost weight?" for the men. Thanks for the rockin' comments. I have great advice, books to read, classes to sign up for and pages to like- most of all, I am loving the blogging! X Joan

Rebecca Lowe

Wednesday April 02 2014 00:52

Thanks so much for this! Newly diagnosed, this is one of the hardest parts of the whole process for me. Thanks for putting it into words for me

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