A 56-year-old woman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been diagnosed with Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) after a terrible headache apparently caused her to completely forget the last 38 years of her life.
One day in early October of last year, Kim Denicola was leaving a bible study at a local church when she called her husband to complain about an excruciating headache and blurry vision. He told her to go to the emergency room, but some friends found her passed out in the church parking lot and rushed her to the hospital. The first thing Denicola remembers from after that incident is lying in a hospital bed and a nurse asking her questions she apparently had all the wrong answers to.
“She said, ‘Do you know what today is, what year are you in?’ I said, ‘Yeah, 1980.’ And she said, ‘Can you tell me who the president is?’ I said, ‘Yes, Ronald Regan.’ And she stopped,” Kim told Fox8.
Things got even worse when a stranger walked into her room and grabbed her hand. When she saw tears in his eyes, she knew something was wrong. That man was David, her husband of 17 years, but she didn’t remember marrying anyone, let alone someone so much older than her. You see, the last thing Kim Denicola remembered from before her blackout was turning 18 in 1980. Everything from that point on, her marriage, giving birth to two children, basically the last 38 years of her life had been completely erased from her memory.
“It is mind boggling,” Kim said. “When I found out I was married, I had two biological children, I have two boys that I raised that are my nephews, and I have three stepchildren, so that’s seven kids that I impacted in some way over those 38 years that I have no clue about.”
Ever since that fateful day in October 2018, Kim Denicola has undergone several rounds of brain scans and medical exams, but doctors have been unable to come up with an explanation for her sever memory loss. She showed no signs of a stroke or brain damage, so she has been diagnosed with an extremely rare condition known as Transient Global Amnesia. But even as a TGA sufferer, Kim’s case stands out because of the long period of time she appears to have forgotten.
“The time period of memory loss is longer. She’s recalling back to where she doesn’t remember computers, so that was back in the 80s or 90s, so that’s really unusual that you have that type of memory loss associated,” Dr Tasha Shamlin told Fox8.
Sudden memory loss is usually temporary, but according to a recent report by Inside Edition, Kim Denicola’s strange amnesia has persisted for five months now. Her family, who she has gradually gotten reacquainted with, hoped that looking at old photos would help jog her memory, but so far that has not worked.
Kim Denicola is currently rediscovering all the things that she has forgotten from the past 38 years, including mundane things like smartphones, computers and flat-screen TVs, and coming to to terms with tragedies she has no recollection of, like the deaths of her parents and brother.
“They’re gone, but all these other ones I’m just going to learn what to do and how to, how to be their mom, at 18,” Denicola said.
Despite all the challenges of waking up in a whole new world, surrounded by people she doesn’t remember meeting before, Kim Denicola is determined to make the best of her new life.
“If the memories don’t come back, I can make new ones,” she said.