Neurocognitive Testing

I got the results from my cognitive testing I did last week. My neurologist had sent me for a neurocognitive/psychological assessment. I had talked with him about having a hard time focusing, getting lost in conversations and memory issues.

The testing was all day and the tests are designed to stress and push your brain. Aside from the testing though, I also had to go over my whole medical history with the neuro therapist, which was just as exhausting as the testing. They also dug into my psyche because there is always that shadow of the first neurologist I saw, SEVEN YEARS AGO, who said all my symptoms are caused by anxiety. That has been a source of confusion for many doctors I have seen since then.

The results from the test show that there are some areas cognitively that I am struggling with. In the picture you can see the solid black line is where the average is for my age group. The neurocognitive therapist said I scored “exceptionally high” in verbal processing, decision making, problem solving, and abstract thinking.

That is my strength and the part of me that people see. I present really well in that area, so talking with me you wouldn’t see the other areas in my cognitive ability that has been impacted and that is a struggle for me. The neurocognitive therapist said that can lead people, doctors and specialists to not understand the greater struggle.

I scored lower in visual processing and working memory. So, it’s not my memory that’s impacted, but my working memory. That means it is harder for something to become a memory, but if it forms and becomes a memory then I can remember it. It can just get jumbled and frayed in the process.

The test also can put to rest that my symptoms are somehow caused by anxiety. I definitely feel anxiety related to this medical journey and all of its layers, but that is born of my physical symptoms and the impact they have had on my daily life. That is a huge relief. Now I can feel free to say to doctors that anxiety can sometimes make my symptoms worse (like insomnia), but please help me figure out what is going on in my body.

How do you not go through brain surgery without experiencing increased stress?

The neuro therapist wants the writing sample I shared with my neurologist and he wants to see my huge symptom tracker. He said he is going to look for a pattern and then send the results of the test and a write up of his assessment to my neurologist.

The next steps will be the neurologist trying to determine what’s caused from Chiari Malformation or if any of it was caused from surgery.

I also had an EEG done yesterday. I thought that it would be passive and I’d just lay there. I did just lay there, but I also had to lay under a strobe light for part of it…no what I was expecting. Those results will be sent to my neurologist in about a week.

I have entered another round of information gathering.

Although the results did show that there are some areas where I am struggling cognitively, I am glad to have a better understanding of what areas have been impacted. It’s also reassuring to know that after so many years of being medically gaslighted, I can trust myself in what I feel. I had the words of every neurologist and doctor who told me it was all in my head, spinning in my mind while I was waiting for these results.

This week has been full of answered prayers. 💜

God bless,

Shae

One thought on “Neurocognitive Testing

  1. Craig Ferderer December 7, 2022 / 5:18 pm

    This is encouraging news, Shae. My daughter has had some of those same comments from doctors as she continues to deal with POTS. I feel for the docs as they try to connect dots but it’s such poor judgement to ever say it’s just in one’s head. So confusing at that point. So… glad you’re getting some clarity, a team approach to treatment, and are being taken seriously. Praying for healing and for peace as you continue with the testing. Man we miss you around here!

    Like

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