The Survivor host suddenly couldn’t remember which day it was or where his kids were — his doctor told him he had global transient amnesia

By Julie Mazziotta
February 05, 2020 02:10 PM
Jeff Probst
Robert Voets/CBS via Getty

Jeff Probst recently dealt with an unnerving temporary memory loss problem that turned out to be a rare form of amnesia.

The Survivor host, 58, is doing well now, but as he told host Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest on Wednesday’s episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan, Probst suddenly lost his memory one day.

It all started, he explained, when he was booking a flight for himself and his wife, Lisa Ann Russell.

“It gets to your wife’s birthdate. And I went, ‘What is my wife’s birthdate?’ And I couldn’t figure it out, so I texted my wife and I said, ‘Could you call me?’ So she called me. She said, ‘What’s going on?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t really know what’s happening? I don’t know anything. Like, where are the kids?’ She said, ‘They’re at school.’ I said, ‘Where are you?’ She said, ‘I’m at work.’ I said, ‘Something’s wrong.’ ”

Probst said that over the next few hours, he had “zero recollection of anything that was happening to me.”

“I had no idea who I was, where I was,” he continued. “I even wrote a note on my laptop, I wrote a note that said, ‘For our records, I have no idea why I’m wearing these clothes, I have no idea where our kids are, I have no idea what day it is, I have no idea why I’m writing this.’ And then a little later I type, ‘I just read this. Have no memory of writing it.’ ”

The odd memory loss was confined to just three hours, but he couldn’t remember anything that happened during that time until the next morning, when Probst was on his way to see a neurosurgeon.

“Right before I did the MRI, my memory came back,” he said. “And it was that quickly. I was like, ‘Oh wow, I’m back.’ … When I could think, I hit the elevator belt to go up to get the MRI, and I had a moment of — cause I didn’t know what it was at this moment — ‘What if this is it? What if this is early dementia?’ ”

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But the neurosurgeon said it was a rare condition called global transient amnesia.

“[The neurosurgeon] figures out that — what I had for three hours, I had absolutely no memory, don’t know what I did during those three hours — he said it’s called, global transient amnesia. Or TGA. And it’s just what happens, you lose your memory,” Probst said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, TGA “isn’t serious, but it can still be frightening.” There is no known cause of the condition, but it is most common in people of middle or older age, and it will go away after a few hours. There are no long term effects of TGA.

Probst said that he’s now thankful for each week he has.

“Now, more than ever I think of Fridays. I think of the weekend and I’m like, ‘I got one more weekend, let’s go.’ [But I’m fine now], 100%.”

 

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