Finding Help for My Brain Fog
There is help for those suffering from brain fog (known in medical terms as hepatic encephalopathy). Experiencing brain fog can be very scary for an individual who does not understand what is happening to them. I know that the first time I really noticed I was sluggish and slurring my words, it terrified me. It was as if I was in a drunken stupor. The only problem, I am not a drinker. I never have been, and I can count on 1 finger the times I have been buzzed by drinking. So, this feeling was extremely scary to me.
It began as just another day...
I was sitting at my desk at work, and I was trying to enter figures into my computer for an invoice. I sat starring at my computer screen for what seemed like minutes. I didn’t remember what, exactly, I was doing, although I had been entering the same stuff over and over all morning. My fingers on the keyboard felt fat and heavy, and my arms felt like lead. The harder I tried to focus, the dizzier and out-of-body I felt. I began to feel very sleepy and my eyes were so heavy. My mind felt it was in a cloud, I couldn’t think of anything.
When I tell people this, many look at me like, “Ok, Kim, you are out there”. But, in actuality, I WAS out there.
I tried to tell my daughter (then only 16) about how I was feeling, and my tongue felt huge. It was as if the thing grew 4 times the normal size! All these feelings were scaring me. I was getting alarmed. My daughter had me lie down, and that helped some, but then laying horizontally, the room felt like it was beginning to spin around and around. I knew it was time to call my liver doctor... Something was going on. I got in immediately, my daughter driving me, because in that state, I shouldn't be driving.
Once in the office, my doctor had me hold my hands straight out in front of me with my fingers pointing to the ceiling. He said, “Kim, do you see this?”. I looked at my hands. and there was an ever so slight waving up and down motion of my hands. Only problem? I was not intentionally moving them. My hands began what they call a “flapping” motion. To doctors, this is an indicator of brain fog.
We went over my other symptoms and he confirmed that I had what I know more now to be hepatic encephalopathy (HE, for short). He said that I will now have to be on medications for this (known as Lactulose and Xifaxan) that provide my system the support that my liver no longer can do: Filtering the toxins out of my body. He said it will take a few doses until I notice clarity in my head. He instructed that this is a very serious medical condition, and I need to treat it as such.
Managing my brain fog
I have been taking this medication ever since, and besides the one time I stopped taking it (because I thought being cured of hep C warranted me to stop taking this), I have continued regularly. I must note: This medication is prescribed because a patient has a very damaged liver... It is NOT because of hep C. So, if you are taking this medication (like with any medication), seek out your doctor's advice before altering it or stopping all together. If not taken as directed, this can be life threatening and cause serious issues.
Where are you in your treatment journey?