Friday, January 13, 2017

Well it's confirmed, I'm not gifted

Honestly, I feel kind of cheated because had I taken this kind of brain test before my AFE I am pretty confident I totally could have wound up in the gifted category at least in a few areas.

But noooooo....

We'll never know because I'm impaired in four different areas.

Let us all take a moment to mourn what used to be. (It's OK, I've been doing this for months, take all of the time you need).

But on Wednesday I went back to Essentia to meet with the neurologist there that ordered me to go to brain testing. I really didn't know what to expect because the tests were all so strange, some were timed, some weren't, and a few were repeated, and honestly it was hard to know what the heck they were even looking for. As it turns out, they can tell a whole bunch from these random little tests. I'll give you the quick and dirty from my memory (ha!!) but I am supposed to be getting a more detailed record in the mail eventually. I do have to say that the neurologists that I have seen have been so thorough, really nice and thoughtful, and fairly optimistic. Which basically just means I feel pretty confident that even if I go for a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, I'm going to come out with the same information, essentially.

So I'm going to try to explain this as best as I can from my memory. I'll use the diagram Dr. Sharland kind of drew out for me because it kind of helps to see where I am now.
Results are essentially graded on a bell curve, so in the large box he drew, 85% of the population would fall into that category and that is considered "normal". Any result in that box is considered fine and you shouldn't worry. Gifted folks are all of the way to the right, and you'll see I'm not there. Now I'm testing in the normal region in a lot of areas, things like memory, non-timed essential functioning, etc. I'm considered impaired in three "main" areas: timed essential functioning, attention, and "PS" which I can't remember what it stands for, but it's basically... I can't remember. HA!

What it comes down to is that if I'm given information and I can take my time with reading it, trying to absorb it, and can do it at my own pace- I can recall the information pretty well. My working memory, the memory you use in order to complete a task, is good. I'm able to organize information in my head and pull it out in the order that I need to in order to do something.

What I can't do as well as I once could are things like timed essential functioning- basically being able to make a quick decision. I will likely be the last person you want with you in a crisis situation because my brain just isn't going to fire as quick as it would need to. My attention span is kind of a joke. It's like my brain flips through cards non stop and it's not necessarily able to focus on one thing as long as you could. And I forget what my other area that I'm impaired in but I think it has something to do with depression? I forget what he called that.

The test can't tell me things like, will I be like this forever? Will my brain improve? Things I have going for me is that I'm only five months out from my traumatic brain injury, which included lack of oxygen and multiple units of blood changing in and out of me. He said he is more optimistic that I will have some improvement over the course of the next year as my brain heals. How much? Nobody knows. Apparently the brain is a fickle creature and it's a slow healer and anything could happen.

So what do I do?

Apparently I scored terribly on emotional control and self regulation, which is the boss of your emotions and rational thoughts. He seemed concerned about my suicidal thoughts and depression, obviously, and feels confident that my brain could heal better as soon as I get my depression under control. Then obviously things like diet, exercise, staying on top of my medications. It does make me feel better with my Sheehan's Syndrome diagnosis, I hit all of the marks that would be expected of me to hit with my pituitary gland being shot. My results also indicate that I am my own worst critic and that my self impression is incredibly bad. Like I clearly think I am a worthless piece of poo and everybody honestly would be better off without me, I'm clearly a burden, and I'm not able to get around that. I test right down the middle of extrovert and introvert, so I like meeting and being around people but then when I'm done, I'm done, and I need to go into a hole and be all alone.

What's next?

Well my next step is to go to a psychiatrist (which I'm doing today) to get my anti-depressant medication figured out. It's expected to be a two hour appointment and I'm told this doctor is incredibly thorough, so I'm pretty optimistic about this. I'll report back on that when I have more information.

On Monday I am currently scheduled to see an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. I have to decide by the end of the day today if I'm going to keep this appointment or re-schedule it. I am kind of undecided. Everyone (doctors) are telling me to go to Mayo only if I want to, but go in with low to no expectations. If I go down there thinking I'm going to walk away with this huge revelation and aha! moment, I'm going to be disappointed. I tried to get in with neurology and basically, they aren't interested. Not because I'm not a unique case but because I'm too new of a unique case. Dr. Sharland said if I was a year out from my AFE, had my other medical conditions well under control and still experienced my brain issues, then absolutely, he'd help me fight tooth and nail to get there. So I feel like I haven't exhausted all of the avenues that I could here.

And if we're being honest? I'm kind of tired of it all. I'm tired of feeling like crap but I'm tired of doctors, tests, people not knowing, and still feeling like crap. It's exhausting. I try to keep it in perspective and tell myself at least I don't have cancer, stop being a freaking baby and be happy you're only dealing with this. You're being a whiner and nobody cares, if it's that bad, just kill yourself already. These are the things that are on a ticker through my head all day, every day.


So we'll know more soon. I guess. I'll keep trucking.


Shann Eva said...

I wish I had something insightful and magical to say, but I don't. I think you're doing remarkable. You're writing is still fantastic, and I think you're still a genius, so those tests can just suck it. I hope your meeting with your psychiatrist was helpful, and they find you the right ones. It took me forever (and still not completely right) to find one that helps more than it makes me feel numb. If you ever need to talk, I'm here. I know we don't even know each other in person, but I feel like I do through your writing, and reading all the beautiful things your friends write about you. Keep on trucking, and I will always be here.

Julie H said...

It is frustration to have testing done that is just testing and doesn't produce any ways of fixing things.