I have wanted to write a post so many times in the last couple of weeks. I kept thinking that my brain cloudiness would go away and I would catch you up on everything. It didn’t go away and it actually got worse.
They call this side effect ‘chemo brain’. Here is a brief list of what patients experience
- Forgetting things that they usually have no trouble recalling (memory lapses)
- Trouble concentrating (they can’t focus on what they’re doing, have a short attention span, may “space out”)
- Trouble remembering details like names, dates, and sometimes larger events
- Trouble multi-tasking, like answering the phone while cooking, without losing track of one task (they are less able to do more than one thing at a time)
- Taking longer to finish things (disorganized, slower thinking and processing)
- Trouble remembering common words (unable to find the right words to finish a sentence)
I am not quite a grandma calling my friends by seven names before I get to theirs but I am fast approaching. I had to ask Lauren to get me the thing in the fridge on the top shelf, that is round and red. She looked at me with a surprised face and held up a tomato. That was when I knew that I wasn’t going to keep this brain fogginess to myself. Since then I have forgotten important peoples names, done half introductions, talked for 20 minutes on the phone to the a completely different person than I thought I was talking to and had to be reminded constantly during conversations of what had just been said, even with my more fascinating friends.
My oncologist said intelligent people have a much harder time with this side effect. I am going to take the compliment in there.
I haven’t written because I was embarrassed. There is so much I want to say, so much I think is important to say clearly and I wanted to do that to the best that I could, even when I was stressed, or overwhelmed or confused. Chemo brain added a whole new element that I wasn’t really ready for. These last couple of weeks I freaked out, usually at 3am, about not being able to write as coherently as I wanted. I was terrified that I was losing memories and details of events that I would never ever know that I lost.
I’ve always appreciated when others have written about their embarrassing, vulnerable and human moments, so I feel like I should karmically give back and share mine. So here it goes, chemo brain and all…..more posts to come.