My Experience With...What's It Called? Topamax!

I’m always forgetting my…um…wait…words.

It’s a mad dash in the morning to get ready for school. Like an auctioneer, I’m calling out the next article of clothing my kindergartener needs. I pause. I’m stuck on the name. I see those things that go on his feet sitting there. I know that I know the name. I simply cannot make my mouth say…“Shoes!” My son calls out, rescuing me. Topamax has foiled me again.

How did I arrive at Topamax?

When I was diagnosed with migraines, my neurologist and I tried several preventive medicines. Some of the more common choices hadn’t worked, so our next step was to try the anti-seizure medication Topamax.

What were the potential side effects?

My doctor was careful to discuss the side effects and asked me to look for more specific reactions such as weight loss, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, speech/language problems, slowed thinking, and memory problems. I figured if this pill made me forget about my migraines, then we might be on the right track!

Did Topamax work for my migraine attacks?

Topamax wasn’t able to get rid of my daily migraines, but it did lessen their frequency. Since I didn’t experience any of the more concerning Topamax side effects, it was decided my doctor would monitor me as I continued the medication. I was happy to crawl out of my dark bedroom and attend more tea parties with my son and dress-up parties with my husband. We’d found a workable solution, but suddenly I couldn’t find a workable word.

When else have I been at a loss for words?

Of course, there’ve been other times in my life I’ve forgotten words — like during my 6th-grade roller skating party when my major crush asked me to couples skate. Not only did I forget my words, I forgot my name. I was so embarrassed. After the skate was over, I hid in the arcade. As an adult, I still feel that same awkward feeling when I’m lost for words, but there’s no Frogger to hide behind.

While talking with girlfriends, I stumble and stammer like a toddler meeting Elmo for the first time.

I’m having an intense discussion with my husband, and I can’t express myself fully.

I’m trying to explain to my son why roasting his Legos is a bad choice, and my phrases elude me.

How does the side effect make me feel?

It’s frustrating. Forgetting my words may not affect my intelligence, but it sure makes me feel like an alien has taken over my brain. I feel more stupid with each word I miss. It’s like I’m doing a connect-the-dots while watching the dots disappear.

It’s embarrassing to search for the simplest of words in front of friends and especially my 5-year-old—who continues to complete my sentences for me. Still, I’ll take this smaller side-effect of Topamax over painful migraines any time. Most days, my mind works pretty well: I mean, I still remember where my son put his shoes (in the refrigerator, on the second shelf, behind the sour cream) even if I can’t remember what they’re called.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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