I went to the oncologist yesterday and was told I can see her every six weeks verses three weeks. I guess that’s progress.
A small victory is being overshadowed by a side-effect of being on oral chemotherapy. While I have less issues than someone going through IV chemo, there are still side effects to endure. No matter which chemo you are on, “chemo-brain” will invade your daily functioning; just like the cancer itself.
I recently said that I felt like a defective typewriter. Now, if you’ve seen the movie, “Grease”, you know that line and who said it. While I know I’m not pregnant (what it originally referred to), my mind does not work like it used to. I feel like I’ve been crossed with someone who’s had a stroke and someone who has dementia.
What I mean by that is, I forget a lot of stuff now. I originally was using the calendar and note features on my phone, however, it was a lot of data to keep typing in. When you have your fingers drying out and splitting open (another side effect), a simple act like entering text becomes challenging on an entirely other level.
I have purchased a planner that I can write everything into. It’s easier to make the entries (not as painful). In addition to tracking my chemo treatments, the never-ending doctor appointments and blood draws, it reminds me of simple things I would never enter; my daughter’s sleepovers, church, bible study, pay a bill, a reminder to speak to someone, etc.
Aside from being forgetful, what I am thinking, doesn’t reach my mouth to be said the way I thought it or I can’t figure out what I need to do to make it happen. Now, I’m guilty of saying things I shouldn’t. It’s hard to explain, as an example escapes me at the moment. I’ll make several attempts to do or say something. Sometimes, even writing something down, I use the wrong word. I know it’s wrong and I have to rewrite it; sometimes multiple attempts to get it right.
I’m a very organized, thought-out, planning, A-type personality person. While this chemo-brain can be amusing, to family and friends (esp. in the beginning), it’s extremely frustrating. It’s bad enough dealing with cancer, but now your brain isn’t responding the way it used to. It’s hard to be normal, when your mind won’t communicate with your body. Knowing, you can’t fix it. Knowing it’s going to stay with you while you’re being treated. Knowing it’s going to get worse. Praying it goes away when the medication consumption does.
I know change is a part of life. I know bad things happen to good people. I know this was my choice to consume this poison because Big Pharma is more interested in profits than a cure. I know all of this and still I question if this is my new normal. I’m not ready to accept that it is. In fact, I pray it isn’t.
“Chemo-brain” makes us work twice as hard to do what we used to with ease. It’s just one more way cancer robs us of independence and our former self.
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