Who coped with Studies (MBA in my case), Short Term Memory Loss and Cognitive Disability?

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Sangiro
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/2/2009 8:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all

I am a 38 year old Caucasian male from South Africa. I have been diagnosed in October 2007 with Fibromyalgia and all though I am using all the medice described all over the net such as Lyrica and also do warm water therapy at biokenetics trainer my Cognitive Functions are starting to become more and more impaired. I need discussion and help ASAP around this topic and possible strategies I could utilise.

I hope that I will be able to find some people on this forum which did complete Masters Degree Level Studies.

I want to know what strategies they used I.e. Study methods, asking to double time for studies etc.?

What if any accommodations were made by the institution you studied at?.

If you did it distance learning it would also be very helpful.

Dirk du Plooy

Chutz
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Date Joined Jan 2005
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   Posted 2/2/2009 10:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sangrio and welcome!

I agree that cognitive issues can be one of the most difficult parts of fibro. I first noticed this long before I was diagnosed and was in my last semester of study for my bachelor's degree. I would read a paragraph or two and then had no idea what I just read. It was driving me crazy! I was in a program where we went to school every other weekend and had enough homework piled on to last 2 weeks so we didn't have much interaction with the professors. It just got harder and harder but I did succeed. HOW???

Since I had no idea why I couldn't remember things I just chalked it up to getting older, although I wasn't that old...early 40's. I reverted to old study habits of note taking and writing everything by hand. I would read a small amount, then write down what I interpreted it to mean, then read some more. Still, most often, it didn't stick in my head unless I was able to practice what I had learned. Also, repetition! Read it over and over and out loud helped at times. Discussing it with others helped also.

I'm not sure any of this will help you but it's the best I have to offer. Good luck and keep in touch.

Chutz
Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
~~~
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, PTSD, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteoarthritis and a few other side dishes.
***************
Happiness is something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for."

Post Edited (Chutz) : 2/2/2009 1:23:13 PM (GMT-7)


Sangiro
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/2/2009 10:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Every bit helps Chutz thanks!

SleepyBug
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Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 1097
   Posted 2/2/2009 12:46 PM (GMT -7)   
hi sangiro!

welcome to the forum! i agree that one of the most frustrating parts of this dd is the problem with cognitive functions. i am currently working towards my bachelor's in accounting and have definitely seen a decline in my ability to remember information. i have had to fall back on notes, notes, notes! i have notes in a couple of different places regarding when everything is due-in my planner, on my dry erase board, sticky notes on my computer-and that seems to really have helped me get things done on time. with regards to remembering important information, i've started relating information i need to know to other things..little tips or jingles or small poems or whatever that contains the information i need to remember and that has really helped, too. also, i take all of my classes online (which is very helpful!) and NEVER do homework or take a test if i'm in a lot of pain or overly tired or hungry. if you're taking "in person" classes then you obviously don't have the freedom of flexibility that online classes can afford you, but i would suggest that you take gentle care and make sure to get plenty of rest the night before tests, before you write a paper, things like that. easier said then done sometimes, though...:-)

i wish i had more concrete tips for you-these are just general things that i do to get through. i know there are a couple of people here who have gotten their phd's while struggling with fibro, so hopefully one of them will be along to give you some more definitive tips!

welcome again!
love and hugs
~danielle


fibromyalgia, ibs, gerd, anxiety

We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.~Carlos Castaneda

I wish you all the joy that you can wish.~William Shakespeare

Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.~Erma Bombeck


Sangiro
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/2/2009 4:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Danielle,

Much appreciated. I also hope the powers who be or are will answer;-)

Statgeek
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Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1495
   Posted 2/2/2009 7:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sangrio, I am on target to finish my Master's degree in May. I don't know about other programs, but mine requires me to be on research teams and work as a teaching assistant each semester. I have about 7 or 8 research projects in the works right now. Plus I am interning for two different offices for my units this semester. At this point, the electronic planner is working wonders for me. I have it synced up with microsoft office and office automatically puts reminders and alarms on for you. I have trouble remembering what time I should teach lab on which day and when I am supposed to be at meetings, etc. Last week I was supposed to train undergrads in data entry and they were waiting in the hallway for me. I kept walking by them wondering what they were doing! I finally remembered and said, "I will be right with you, almost ready." They didn't know I forgot them! But the planner with alarms helps me avoid many of these mishaps. I also check it every morning and night and publish it on the web with restricted access so my husband can look at it and know what I am doing, too.

On top of that, notes, notes, notes. I cannot remember without notes. Acronyms, singsongs, colorful pictures drawn on the computer, all help me remember for classes. Studying with another student is really a big benefit because discussing with someone adds to your memory more than just reading it by yourself.

Oh, one more thing: rest during the day. You MUST stop and close your eyes and do some deep breathing for a few minutes every day. And get out and go for a short walk if your body will allow it.

Good luck. I will think of you and other students when things get hard and hopefully you will think of us and say a little prayer or send happy thoughts our way as we will for you.
Best,
Sue

Sangiro
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/3/2009 7:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Statgeek. It is nice to hear that I am at least not mad and alone in my experiences with the syndrome:-) I was laughing reading about the student situation. Similar things happen more frequently with me and it feels I am going nuts sometimes. I am thinking of all of you and it is quite in my face as my brother is in a wheelchair because of FMS. But hey I am still going and I will do anything possible to stay that way more or less. I have learned it is best to enjoy the ride as far as possible and laugh at yourself if I feel like it. Thanks again for responding it is much appreciated. cool

Orlo
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 139
   Posted 2/3/2009 12:50 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm currently working on my bachelors as well. If I am tired of on medication, I just don't do any studying. I can do more mudane work, like assignments, papers, etc. I study durring the times of the day when I feel my best. It's diffrent for everyone. Mine's usually early evening. It seems to be when I have all my energy. Also pace your work over a couple days. Make a schedual and set goals. It will help. The best of luck to you!
Fibromyalgia: 2008

Effexor 150 mg, Flexril 5 mg, Gabapentin 600 mg


colabear2890
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 103
   Posted 2/3/2009 1:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey. sorry in advance it this is a repeat of what someone else wrote, but i don't feel so well, and i didn't feel like reading what everyone wrote.
im a freshman in college, but getting my masters (it's a 5 year program). anyway, so im not sure if in south africa they have something like this, but i have a 504 plan. It's basically a plan, from the government maybe?, for people with medical disabilities that lists all of the accommodations that they should have.

i get extra time on tests and for assignments and papers if I need. I get to type everything, and if I can't write something in class, I get to finish it later, or whenever im able to. Also, I get a copy of the teacher's notes, so i don't have to take any. i can't really remember what else i get.

you should see if at your college, they have an office for people with disabilities. they are usually very helpful.

hope this helped a little

-Aliza
"never regret something that made you smile"


Dagger
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Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 2/3/2009 7:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow, I like this topic. I've been thinking about going back to school but the cognitive stuff scares me away. I'll still be working full time so I would only be taking one class at a time. Before Lyme and fibro, I had an almost perfect memory and everything came so easily. I never had to study so I never learned how. I've never quite figured out how to learn and remember well with the brain I have now. I don't have enough confidence in my abilities to take the risk. I can still help my son with his AP trigonometry homework and I haven't taken a math class in over 20 years so I should be more confident.

I think statgeek's idea of the electronic planner would work really well for me. I already use my cell phone calendar as my memory.

My only suggestion is to break every assignment into small pieces and give yourself deadlines for each section. Also keeping lists of all your tasks makes it easier to match what needs to be done with how you feel. This way you can usually still get something done when you feel terrible.

donnaeil
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Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 1156
   Posted 2/3/2009 8:48 PM (GMT -7)   
I just acquired my master's in business management. What helped was to attend graduate school part time. However, this was mainly because I cared for three children and my daughter became seriously ill while I was in school. Right now I am working on a graduate certificate in strategic communications, part time.

In America, our school's have to provide assistance for people with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and other illnesses. In my case I was able to turn in work late, take exams at different times and complete coursework later, if needed.

I rarely did this because getting behind in grad school is nerve wracking.

I took pain meds while at school because I had 8 hour classes during 1 weekend per month. I was so tired after these residencies I spent the next two weeks recovering.

I am also permitted to tape lectures. There are great digital recorders that are only a little larger than a man's thumb that will record entire classes. When you get home they plug right into the USB port in your computer and play them back. It is also a good way to keep up with scheduling.

Since you mentioned your race and Nationality I guess I will do so also, I am Black and American. In addition I am 54 years of age.

Good luck, Donnaeil

Statgeek
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Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1495
   Posted 2/3/2009 10:27 PM (GMT -7)   

I just recently dropped the ball on an important project and disappointed my advisor and am now scurrying to catch up and get it done by Friday morning at 11.  I had completely forgoten what she asked me to do (or that I was supposed to do anything)!!!  On top of that, I am doing an internship at county courts and mental hospitals and cannot get a schedule finalized.  So, I set aside several hours they could use and scheduled the rest of my thesis data collection times and . . . that was the wrong thing to do because the times I set aside are not the times they want me.  The other intern I am supposed to be working with is avail only two days two hours each day and I am not avail either.    I am feeling exhausted and frustrated and worried.  My advisors at work know about my physical difficulties, but they do not know about the cognitive deficits that frequently come with fibro.   My advisor told the person I am interning with that after me, they would not want anyone else because I am so great.  And I am thinking they are considering her daft because I cannot get the schedule straight. 

Sue


Sangiro
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/4/2009 3:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Sue and Donnaeil, thank you for your replies and also practical suggstions. Sue I once had a wise man in my life who said to me when I phoned him crying about the fact that I had an emotional breakdown the day before who said sad to me do you think the give a s@$$$#@@. I thought how could he be so rude. But I ended up at work that morning and nothing happened to me. So take things in its stride and enjoy everything you do, do well. Nobody is perfect with or without FMS.

Donnaeil,

Thank you for your reply. The race and nationality was mentioned not to offend but in the context that many people around the world have in mind that only black people grew up and live in Africa. Fact of the matter is I am the 9th Generation of Dutch dependency in South Africa. It is in that context that I referred to the matter. Have a good one with the strategic communications. And my hat of to you finishing your MBA. The school I am with are in the UK and I am doing a distance learning executive MBA which is part classes each semester and part on-line and off-line studying. Lots of reading as you may know and lots of argumentation, think reasoning and reflection taking place. If the said institution do accommodate me I will however only be left with the semester classes and on-line forum and not form part of a syndicate and being very auditory myself it could turn out to be a challenge. But I did face worse in my life and I am sure like I cork being pushed under water I will again prevail and pop up to the top. wink

Both of you have a great evening and thanks once again for your replies.

Sangiro
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/4/2009 3:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Correction according to Wikipedia a generation is 25 years on average so I am the 11th generation of Dutch Decent

acscr9
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 2/4/2009 1:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Sangiro,

hello and welcome! I am not sure I can offer other advice than what has been mentioned other than...it is DO-ABLE! :-D I am doing a distance education program to receive my second Bachelor's Degree. I was a traditional student for the first. I have to say that taking notes, notes, notes helped me. Also, if test scores were heavy in the grading, I made sure that my teachers knew my cognitive difficulties and PROVED on my homework/other grades that I was serious about learning this topic/graduating. Also, people have mentioned their planners. This was KEY for me. I write everything down! I have a pocket calendar for personal stuff, but when i was going to school everyday, i had an actual school planner and wrote all assignments, test, meetings, and projects in it. If you need to, color coat the items. Oh, and back to notes...if repetition helps, write your notes over and over. Take your time. Don't push things off to the last minute to where you have a million things to do and are cramming for a test. Spread it all out and tackle it over time.

Also, don't stress out. that will just make things so much worse. You'll feel worse physically and who knows what effects that will have on the deadlines for work stuff. you know? Make sure you are sleeping enough and eating right.

WE CAN DO IT!! GOOD LUCK!!

Aimee
24. Diagnosed with Fibro in Aug. 08 and Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder in December 08. Gluten free since Nov. 08.
 
Surgeries: Compartment Syndrome/Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome Dec. 05; Lap Nissen Fundoplacation Aug 06; Exploratory Lap Feb. 08.
 
Played college soccer. Going back to school to be a Registered Dietitian.
 
"I control the disease, it does not control me."


lost in philly
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 243
   Posted 2/23/2009 11:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sangiro,
I just graduated and it was sooooooooo much harder than when I gave birth or single handedly raised my only daughter! You can do it. Take it day by day, moment by moment and dont let the stress get to you. All the advice about taking deep breathes and long walks is very good.
Remember to be upfront with your school/ professors about your dd because it will do you no good in hindsight! It is a hard thing to get used to telling ppl about your dd but you need to protect yourself and the investment you made in your future.
I recently went to an interview for a job (thanks to my new degree) and I thought I wouldnt mention my dd because a) I was embarrassed b) didnt want to be discriminated against and c) thought that I would perform ok during the interview. Well the interview involved a timed writing sample and a lengthy oral exam. I failed by 3 points. I was so upset and practically begged for the job and it was then that I disclosed my dd, but it was far too late at that point. Lesson learned.
Next time I will be upfront.

Best of luck to you! Keep in touch.
lost in philly
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fibro, Endo, Migraines, Asthma, CFS

Topimax, Fentenyl Patch, Effexor, Crestor, Resoril, Loestrin

B6, B12, Magnesium, Melatonin, Omega3


Sangiro
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/23/2009 12:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Philly thanks for the reply. It really encourage me to understand and know others did complete studies. I am busy with a motivation for accommodations and I will submit this page as motivation. Once again thank you to you all.

alim0nkey
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 2/24/2009 6:27 AM (GMT -7)   
I finished an MSc last year and I got a distinction so just wanted to add my encouragement.

It is incredibly hard, but you just have to plan your time, be aware of your trigger points and how to avoid them, know what your limitations are and draw upon your support networks (in my case my great partner who cooked and cleaned for months so I didn't have any housework to do).

Hope that helps and good luck.

Sangiro
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/24/2009 7:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks alim0nkey for giving me more hope and encouragement. I am overwhelmed.
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