A to Z Challenge Day 3, C is for Cognitive Dysfunction #atozchallenge

Once again, I am surprised to share a symptom with my dog.  I just wrote about canine cognitive dysfunction on my pet-mom blog.  Cognitive dysfunction in fibromyalgia (a.k.a. fibro-fog, just like the name of this blog!) is not the same as canine cognitive dysfunction.  The canine version is like Alzheimer's, but in dogs.  It hits elderly dogs.  Fibro-fog, or cognitive dysfunction, in fibromyalgia, hits anyone of any age and is not Alzheimer's.  There is little to no evidence that it turns into Alzheimer's or is related to Alzheimer's in any way, at this present time. Instead, it is thought that a central nervous system imbalance is the culprit.

Fibromytes with cognitive issues may become forgetful, may mix up words, letters or numbers, cannot recall words or substitute a different word for the one they're meaning to say, and (the biggie) have extreme difficulty concentrating.  Some people with fibromyalgia do have a severe set of cognitive symptoms that can greatly impact their life with an inability to work or go to school, or an inability to communicate effectively.

It's funny that I named this blog "The Fibro-Fog Chronicles", because, at the time, I did NOT have cognitive issues with my fibro!  In a self-fulfilling prophecy sort of way, I recently developed this symptom.... and it is driving me crazy.  I have always had "a mind like a steel trap".  I remember people's birthdays, addresses and phone numbers without having to look them up.  I specialized in zip codes!  At work, they jokingly refer to me as "The Savant" because I remember customers' names, addresses, phone numbers, database coding, etc. without ever having to look anything up.  But all of that has changed.  I now have trouble remembering things, I mix up words and substitute similar-syllabled words for the word I'm meaning to say.  I used to be able to type over 125 WPM, flawlessly. Now, I'm lucky if I can type anything without making error after error. The backspace key on my keyboard is very worn-looking!  And those same co-workers who lovingly looked up to me with admiration because of my elephant-like ability to forget nothing, now give me an incredulous stare and an almost imperceptible side-to-side head shake on an almost daily basis as I ask them (for the umpteenth time) about something I normally would have remembered.  People aren't very understanding when you're "not the same as you used to be," it turns out.

Super-huge THANKS to Fibromyalgia Support (Facebook) for this very timely photo!

Some studies indicate that a blood-flow problem may be to blame for cognitive issues in fibromyalgia; others blame abnormal levels of neurotransmitters; still others cite a neuroendocrine imbalance, yeast overgrowth, cell abnormalities, and even water retention!  As with every other fibromyalgia symptom or cause, "they" simply don't know.

Here are some links on cognitive dysfunction or "fibro-fog":






I'm participating in the Blogging A to Z Challenge this month. My theme is fibromyalgia symptoms. And here comes the disclaimer:  I'm not a medical professional -- not even close. I'll be sharing my own experiences with fibromyalgia, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Please consult a professional if you have a chronic illness, or suspect you do. My blog is purely my own opinion and experience. It is not intended to serve as medical advice.


  1. This is the second blog on the exact same topic. WOW! Never seen that happen. Good info.

  2. LOL! That is because I write both blogs. One about fibromyalgia, and the other about dogs & cats :) I thought I'd be clever and try to do the same topic during the A-Z Challenge. Hopefully I can come up with a couple more that affect both humans and pets.

  3. Although many of the Fibromyalgia symptoms can be very debilitating, I find cognitive dysfunction to be the most difficult one to accept and deal with. When my energy levels are very low, I often become very forgetful and find it extremely difficult to concentrate. At times, my thoughts are so unclear that I'm incapable of making simple decisions and the most mundaine things like drawing up the week's menu becomes a nightmare. I end up going back and forth from aisle to aisle in the supermarket, forgetting what I meant to get as I walk, writing e-mails and other types of messages take me ages (like it does right now), as I'm looking for my words, loosing my trail of thoughts, etc. After 2 years working in the same place, I even managed to get lost on my way to work! It sure made my colleagues laugh when I had to call in to ask for someone to cover for me, as I'd got lost on the way to work, didn't know where I was and how long it was therefore going to take me to get in! The worse that ever happened to me was when a year 9 class turned up for a lesson once. Despite having taught them for 2 and a half years, I could not for a few minutes remember who the students were, which year group they were in and whether they were my class or not! I was probably at my worse then but I remember experiences like this as very scary indeed!!! The other difficulty is that when you're 34 years old (the age I was when this all started) and look well enough although you're in pain and feel exhausted, people really don't understand what on earth is going on with you and at times doubt your honesty... I don't blame them though, as I find it totally incredible and very difficult to understand this whole condition and its neverending symptoms myself!! Thanks for your posts. They enable me to remember that I'm not alone in all of this... Stéphanie

  4. Stephanie, Thank you for your remarks. Sorry this symptom has affected you so terribly. I always forget things at the grocery store too. I just did it again today. There's always one item I forget. Sometimes, I'll go to the store ONLY to get that item, and I'll buy 6 other things and forget to buy the original item!! So frustrating! Today, I took a "shortcut" I have taken a million times while driving to an appointment. I was trying to avoid a specific intersection. Instead, I took a wrong turn and went through "the worst intersection in the city". I was horrified that I had made such a mistake -- I ended up going several miles out of my way, and backtracking on the highway, which I also didn't want to do. I used to be excellent at directions and finding my way. I totally get it. I am so glad I was able to help in some way, and that we are not alone in this daily struggle :)


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