The Day That Never Happened

Sunday was an interesting day to say the least. It started at church and ended at the hospital after an afternoon trip to the emergency room – so I’ve heard. The funny thing about Sunday is that I have only a vague recollection of a half dozen hazy moments from the entire day and no ability to associate them with that particular Sunday. The few fuzzy memories I can muster occur sporadically and appear along a time line of disconnected events that is out of whack.

The bottom line, according to my husband’s report, was that I instantly and completely lost all memory of events and experiences of the past two to three years without warning (I didn’t even remember I wrote a blog). Apparently, my ability to record and retain any memories of the present as it unfolded completely disappeared as well.

For most of the afternoon, I apparently asked the same question over and over every one to three minutes. After an hour or two, I moved on to repeat a new question over and over again (my poor husband). At first I was aware that I could not remember things and upset by it. After the first few hours, I seemed to be unaware of my inability to remember things.

Following are two of my husband’s favorite examples of what the entire day was like (chosen from dozens). The first one occurred in the car after church less than five minutes after a great conversation about the worship service that morning and the moving testimony I had given from the pulpit. (I have no memory of the service or the testimony). The second one occurred in the emergency room.

Example #1:
• Cassie: Where are we going?
• Curt: (tentatively) Unless you’ve changed your mind, we’re going grocery shopping at Whole Foods after church like you planned.
• Cassie: Church? We were at church? Where do we go to church?
• Curt: (not getting it) Funny. So what do we need when we get there?
• Cassie: I don’t know what we need. Where are we going?

Apparently, I asked where we were going two or three dozen times during the fifteen minute drive to the store.

Example #2
• Doctor: Repeat these 3 words... rainbow, goulashes, yellow.
• Cassie: Rainbow... goulashes... yellow.
• Doctor: Good job! It sounds like you had to work pretty hard to remember them.
• Cassie: Remember what?
• Doctor: The three words.
• Cassie: What three words?

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, isn’t it? Through it all, my self identity and self-awareness were intact (who I am, what I believe), my memory of people and relationships was unaffected (“Do you remember John/Mary/Bill/Susan?” and “What are your children's/parent's/sibling's names?”), and my cognitive abilities and knowledge base were unchanged (letters, colors, spelling, math, places, directions, etc.). And there were no physiological symptoms.

Thankfully, it was not a stroke or anything along those lines. The diagnosis was Transient Global Amnesia. A brief definition and overview of symptoms, causes, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment can be found at

It is a very rare condition and the medical profession doesn’t really know what causes it or how to treat it. It usually lasts for six to twenty four hours and then memory gradually returns. My memory is pretty much back to normal with the exception of twelve to thirteen hours during and immediately preceding the episode.

I don’t mind forgetting the pain of the spinal tap (lumbar puncture) or the stress and anxiety of the visit to ER. I wish I remembered the church service and the moving testimony of what God is doing in my life. Apparently the service was a meaningful one filled with encouragement, laughter, tears, and friendship.

At the same time, I am choosing to trust God. His timing and purposes are never accidental - even for this bizarre experience. I am also rejoicing that this appears to be such an isolated event and not a long term condition. God is good.

As Christians, we walk by faith and don’t always know what lies ahead or up around the bend. On Sunday, I didn’t even know what was happening in the moment. Much like my twenty four hour bout with TGA, God ultimately will bring us safely through the dark places and out of the misty fog in our lives. One day we will see everything clearly.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. ~ 1 Corinthians 13: 12


Paul Succo January 15, 2010  

God is good all the time! Kelli and I are so thankful to God that you are doing better. We appreciate you sharing your life journey on this "New Beginnings Blog". It has been a great blessing to all of us. Also, thank you for being such a wonderful person. May God bless you and my dear friend Curt abundantly!

Grace and Peace,


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