Friday, June 10, 2011

Head in the clouds

I am as tightly wound as they come. I am 10 minutes early for everything.
I remember appointments months ahead and my personal monthly schedule gets laminated.
Every month.
(ask anyone who knows me)

That's because I feel the need to be in control at all times, if not of the world around me, then of my actions in it.

I lived that way for 35 years and it suited me just fine.

Until chemo turned my brain to mush.

I have heard of 'chemobrain' - I've been warned by friends who've all had it while undergoing treatment, I've read it on the pamphlets at the hospital that they handed out as one of the side effects and I've ignored all warnings until... it happened to me.

At first, I didn't think I would get it, I thought it was an excuse people made up for being forgetful.

Then, last month it really hit full force. I cannot do the smallest thing, simplest task, if I don't have it written down. There are a million little things I forget or simply misplace, but I will tell you about two recent ones so you see just how far off the deep end I've gone.

Today, I was home alone after dropping off the kids to school.
(I thank my lucky stars I still am able to get this task right -although I've sent them to school once without snacks because I simply forgot to pack them - I've never ever done that before cancer!)

I proceeded to have some cereal for breakfast.
I put the dog outside and I went and grabbed the cereal bowl and the milk.
I poured the milk into the cereal and went to close the cap. Which was nowhere to be found.

I looked on the floor, I looked on the table (which was empty - except for the milk and my bowl) I even looked through the garbage - couldn't find it for the life of me. I had to makeshift a lid out of aluminum foil and some rubber bands and put it back in the fridge.

I'm still puzzled about where it went.
(I can't even blame the dog because he was outside.)

A few weeks ago, I took my dog Jet to the groomers. I dropped him off at 9am and I was supposed to pick him up at 3pm.
Like always.

At 3:50pm the grooming lady calls the house "Jet's waiting for you". Oh crap. I totally forgot. "I'll be right there" I say, and get into the car right away. I drive directly to Save On Foods (which is a grocery store chain where I live) I get out, and go inside.

Inside Save on Foods I wander the aisles aimlessly. I try to remember what I need to buy. Why I'm there. About 10 minutes later I leave empty handed because I can't remember what I need.

I drive back home.

About 20 minutes later, the groomer lady calls me again. "Are you coming to get Jet?"

Oh my god!
THAT'S where I was supposed to go!

"I'm on my way" - I yell into the phone.

I drive directly there and leave her a big tip.
I kiss my dog and apologize to him for forgetting him.

Then I wait two full weeks to tell Brad the story, because I'm just so darn embarrassed.


KittyDobson said...

OK so I had a giggle. But it was a good giggle, full of love and commiseration!! I have fibromyaglia and the 'fibro fog' hits me mighty strong some days!! I know how frustrating it can be, though thank God mine is not as strong. IT feels like I'm pulling through cotton wool in my brain. The worst? Sometimes I can't find words. I know what I want to say, but can't remember the word/phrase/name. So I'm left going "ahh ahh" randomly using American Sign Language because I can remember the sign for the word (interesting fact, aphasia, the loss or confusion of language skills, does not affect ASL understanding and communication. I don't have aphasia as you can tell but it's still interesting!) Once I wrote you a huge post, before signing in of course, and ended up loosing it. It was about pain and pain management, Some day I'll try to rewrite it! For now, stay strong sista!!!

Lots of love
Kitty (Amy. but from now on I'll use m y penname as it links to my blog if anyone ever wants me ;))

p.s your robe's open again!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, darlin you don't need to be embarrassed; I do that stuff too and it's not from chemo brain. I think it's the artificially-induced menopause that makes us crazy, too. I'm sure Jet still loves you!

Anonymous said...

Hahaha...Yah, wait until you hit 40! You'll need bi-focals as well.

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

Kitty - I don't mind you giggling, I had a good laugh at it myself - all while shaking my head ... I couldn't believe some of the things I was doing.
(I'll close the curtains soon enough so the robe won't show as much anymore, just waiting for 'my story' to be published so I can link up there - and that gets done on the 14th... so bear with me a bit longer okay?)

Pink - It may be menopause too, that's another big barrel of fun. Covers on, covers off, all night long. Not to mention, I am a big emotional mess. Things are not as they were, that's for sure.

Eileen - Bifocals would be the least of my worries I think. Something nice and not life threatening sounds pretty good just about now. (Although I can imagine they're probably a pain in the ars for you) LOL.

nancyspoint said...

I laughed a little here too I must admit. Like you, I never thought chemo brain was real until I experienced it for myself. I think my short term memory is still a bit off shall we say. Sometimes I think it's because my mind is so full of stuff related to cancer that my brain had to make room and move some stuff out of the way! Does that make sense? It amuses me to think of it that anyway. As with all this crap, you are not alone!

Conquering Cancer By Living Well said...

I'm sorry, I just love that story, I really do! ;-) I get a chuckle ;-) But, I do understand how aggravating it is to have this, and like someone else mentioned, it does sound like the menopause thing too. And you mentioned you are emotional - I am still emotional to a degree but was highly emotional when I was going through chemo - it's really weird how it does that! Take a deep breath, realize this is going on and it can't be helped, that it doesn't say anything about you personally, it's just the chemicals playing havoc with your brain! It WILL get better. Just give it time and make sure you're not hard on yourself! And in the meantime, it makes for some great stories! ;-)

VV said...

I had brain fog a couple of times when my thyroid was acting up, and I had a brief case of amnesia when I was pregnant. I was in the checkout at a grocery store when the cashier asked for ID and I suddenly realized I didn't know my name or who I was. It lasted just a few seconds, but it seemed like forever. I called my doctor all freaked out and she assured me it was the pregnancy hormones. I never had that happen again. So, relax, it happens to most of us at some point in our lives. At least you know the cause and hopefully it will be temporary.

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

Nancy - that does make sense. I have a lot of 'cancer stuff' on my mind, so I guess there's no room for everything, is there? I'm glad I could make you smile with my little escapades, lol.

Conquering - aren't you the one who said chemobrain can last for YEARS? Yikes...hehe. Oh well, at least I know why it's happening... and it is A LITTLE amusing to those around me who've come to know what's going on with me :)

VV - It is kind of like being in a fog...and somewhat like the pregnancy hormones I suppose. Feels weird though, I am very glad it will only be temporary. (even though they say 'temporary' can mean years - eegad.)

Genkicat said...


Too funny. I'm sure it will end soon for you though.

Sayre said...

I am laughing... it sounds like something I would do - and I'm not on chemo! I am, however, doing the menopause thing so that might explain it. I gave up on covers ages ago. My husband thinks I'm weird and we sleep in separate rooms because we are "thermally incompatible." We do visit, however. ;0)

ButDoctorIHatePink said...

I'm the opposite of you. I used to say "when I get Alzheimer's, nobody will be able to tell." Well, it was the same with chemo brain. :) I'm here to tell you that it does go away, and I'm back to my normal forgetful disorganized self, rather than seriously out of touch. :) It took one year for it to completely disappear but after only a few months, it started to get better. Paper and sticky notes are your friend.

I hope whatever chemo I get next time (assuming there is a next time) doesn't cause this dysfunction!

Beth L. Gainer said...

I'm sorry about your chemobrain. Just know that you are not alone. My brain is so scattered from cancer treatment. I can't tell you how many times a day I misplace something.

Hang in there.

Mandi said...

My classic moment was the other day when I went out to my car 5 times trying to leave. I got out to my car and went "oh crap my sunglasses" and spent a good amount of time looking for them while they were sitting on top my my head all of the time (searched the house, the car, back in the house). Next it was my cell phone... which was in my pocket..

Nicole said...

chemo brain...I still love ya for it my friend!!! hang in there and dont stress about it too much, you have alot on the go and before you know it you'll be back to just regular mommy brain days lol!!

nollyposh said...

Bin there done that! *GiGGle*

Embracing the Rain said...

Hope your chemo brain is getting better. That must be really hard. I love that you laminate your personal monthly schedule.