Example MRI with lesions

MS Brain Fog

My Three Lesions

Not too long ago I had a follow-up appointment with my neurologist. I had been so caught up in the initial diagnosis, that I never thought to ask what areas the lesions are impacting my brain. One lesion, no surprise here, impacts my vision, specifically on my left side. The second lesion shows that I should feel numbness on the right side of my face. The third lesion impacts my cognitive function and what is often referred to as “brain fog”. 

All three of my lesions are small, so I may or may not notice the impact of them. But, I am sure you can imagine as soon as I got in my car I was touching the right side of my face like a crazy person, trying to find a numb spot. I never found one. But hey, maybe put me in a hot tub, crank up my body temperature and I can try again (heat impacts your MS symptoms, so I often notice my eyes get a little blurry if my body temperature gets too hot). 

The lesion impacting my cognitive function is one that is hard to decipher if I am truly seeing an impact or not. Or, maybe, I just don’t want to admit that I notice the disturbance. Usually, when I tell people that this is one of my lesions, they shake it off and give me an excuse, such as “well, you are a mom, moms get busy and forget things all the time”. Or, they shake it off and say, “just wait until you are my age and see how bad your brain fog is”. Mitchell is also convinced that it either isn’t that bad or is normal, based on how he thinks he experiences brain fog too. In a way, I appreciate that people don’t notice a difference in the way I am thinking or responding to conversations, but that doesn’t mean the problem isn’t in fact there. 

Brain Fog

Brain fog can be explained as losing your train of thought mid-sentence, struggling to remember details (friend’s name, specific dates, etc.), and forgetting why you entered a room. It is more than just the occasional forgetfulness that many people experience. It is a cognitive impairment that can affect short-term memory, concentration, and the ability to focus.

Brain fog is one of those tricky MS symptoms. It is invisible, so you would never know that someone is struggling to remember details or losing their train of thought unless they told you. Plus, it is so common for others to experience forgetfulness that it often gets downplayed or ignored.

My Brain Fog Experience

I don’t think that I would have realized that I might be impacted by brain fog unless my neurologist had told me. Ever since he mentioned that was an area of my brain that was impacted, I started wondering if some of these instances can in fact be explained by my MS.

I don’t feel like this happens every day, but it does happen at least once a week where I forget why I entered a room (or maybe why I opened the closet door – what was I looking for). I feel like far too often, I get up to go do something, I get to the room, and I stop in my tracks, “what was I coming here to do?”. Either, I retrace my steps and go back to the other room, or sit there and try to recall what I was thinking to help get me back to why I am in the room I am in. Also, every now and then I almost put the milk in the cupboard. But, everyone does that, right? This is one of those things that I always assumed happens to everyone, but maybe it doesn’t. 

More recently, I started picking up on the fact that sometimes I forget what I was talking about mid-sentence. I usually chalk it up to getting distracted, but who knows? This doesn’t happen too often, so maybe this isn’t related to my MS. Maybe I can use the excuse of “mom brain” here. 

However, the other day, I was at a wedding catching up with some friends. One of them was asking me about my recent 30th birthday trip I took in March. They asked me where I went and I COULD NOT remember. It was the weirdest thing. It felt like the information was right there, and I did sort of guess California, but I wasn’t sure where in California. Honestly, after a minute or two I gave up and looked it up on Facebook (I knew I posted an album about the trip). This instance kind of shocked me. This is not something I feel like I have experienced before, or if I have, it was before my knowledge of my brain fog. I know this is just one small instance and someone could easily say that I was tired or had other things on my mind, but it did scare me. The truth is because I can only remember this one instance, this one is also hard to decide if it is an occasional forgetfulness or a true MS symptom. 

Self-Fulfilling Vs Self-Defeating Prophecy

A self-fulfilling prophecy is when someone predicts or expects something to happen to them and the prediction comes true simply because they believe it will. 

On the other hand, a self-defeating prophecy is when you intend to see the prediction of your future fail or not be true. 

I feel like I fluctuate between these two prophecies. I might be WAY overthinking some of my MS symptoms and expectations. Part of me worries that if I accept that some of my symptoms are true then I am accepting the disease, I am weaker and giving in too early. Plus, I wonder if I am trying too hard to “see” how the disease is impacting my life. On the other hand, I am wondering by ignoring and denying the possibility that these things are impacting my life, maybe I am holding back from accepting the truth. If I don’t accept that these are due to my MS, then it can’t possibly be real, right?


Either way, whether it is my MS impacting my cognitive function, or just a normal “mom brain”, I should be thankful. I need to be thankful that there is even a slight hesitation in the certainty of whether or not this is my MS impacting me. I can be grateful that I only have a few small lesions so far and it is hard to notice the symptoms. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18







2 responses to “MS Brain Fog”

  1. Debbie Avatar

    At my age of 67, the brain fog is hard to tell. I don’t think i’m any different than my peers. All of us are forgetful. March on Warrior, we’ve got this. 🥰.

    1. Rachel Avatar

      Debbie, that makes me feel a bit better. I don’t want to discount the fact that I am sure there are many people with MS that in face notice and struggle with brain fog, but glad it hasn’t had a big impact on you either.