I Don’t Have to Like the “New Me?”: A Transient Global Amnesia Story

The day that changed who I am was a typical Saturday morning at the lake, mowing the lawn. May 4, 2013 was a day I just plain forgot. Well, I actually forgot several weeks before and the two days afterward. I can only relay to you what my family has told me about those three days in the hospital. I went instantly blank and my wife thought it was a stroke. After all, when you’re 57 and don’t remember anything but 1974 when you were in the Marine Corps.

I stumped them at the ER. MRI was clear. EKG was normal. Bloodwork was ordinary. No drugs. No alcohol. No head injury. Just blank memories from 1974 to 2013 in one moment. And then within three minutes, I’d forget everything they just told me about me. Day 2 on his second time around, the neurologist figured me out. Transient Global Amnesia (TGA). Never seen one, but I fit the description. Released to my families care. No meds. No driving. No being alone. Two weeks later at the follow-up, he told us what little he knew about TGA and set-up an appointment with a neuropsychologist and an Alzheimer’s Clinic.

Depressed and anxious that it would happen again, I stayed inside for weeks. We arranged a psychiatrist appointment. He called me unique. My wife and doctor suggested I find a new hobby. I couldn’t find much online about this “New Me.” I decided to create a website for folks like me. That was September 2017.

On February 28, 2019, we had a display booth at the Rare Disease Day conference at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC. We have grown to 515 community members in 18 countries. We joke about it being a clubhouse, but it’s more like a medical library and resource center.

We look forward to assisting the new “New Me’s” who find out they have TGA, but can’t remember it. The whole ordeal will scare the crap out of their family, but not the patient until months after. We call it a “Brain Fog” or “Trip up to the Mothership.” It’s that bizarre.

It’s not life-threatening, nope, not at all. However, TGA is very life-changing. Mild cognitive impairment, ADHD, depression, anxiety, memory loss, brain fog, strange new quirks, lost words, forgotten time periods, and new habits all wrapped up in one enigma. Did I mention we think my trigger was sexual intercourse? Others think theirs was stress. Others think cold water immersion. Some say migraines. and some say vascular valve issues in the neck.

“Damn aliens” is what I say, but my wife hushes me. I have no proof. However, I have no memory and it makes a better story.  She also hushes me if I say during sex. It’s either embarrassing or silly, enigma or bizarre, or “Bat Shit Crazy!”

Stop by our website at: www.tgaproject2019.wixsite.com/tga2019 to learn more about TGA.

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