Wednesday, August 31, 2011



I began this blog little more than a month ago.  I know the exact date and time, but while important to me and other close family members, it’s just a date.  Knowing very little about the world of blogging, I relied upon the upon the guidance of two very special people.

Alphabetically, Anna and Carmen.  In order of appearance?  Carmen suggested I begin blogging and when I, in typical New York fashion damn near bit her head off with a snappy, “ABOUT  W-H-A-T??” she came right back at me with “Chemo Brain.”

I began to write.  I didn’t know if I could sustain ANY sort of project but it certainly helped me realize my brain didn’t completely evaporate inside my skull!  I had no idea how to take the writing and turn it into anything other than a mess of Word docs.

Anna volunteers her time to a survivorship program called Visible Ink that is offered by Sloan.  I contacted the program director and within two days, Anna and I were conversing.  Technically, she is my coach.  Personally, she quickly became a friend and a mentor.

I sent her my “mess of Word docs” so we could have an intelligent conversation.  She has the intelligent part of all of the conversations and writes intelligent emails.  Me?  I basically just ramble.  It’s who I am.

Anna read some of my “Dear Diary” things and helped guide me along.  SHE broke the enormity of the project into those “work around” unsolutions by keeping my focus on ONE THING AT THE TIME.  Titles were kicked around (which happens to be today’s particularly disturbing crisis).  We discussed “What is chemo-brain?” and “Is there an audience?”

Define audience.  I am CERTAIN there are enough women (and probably plenty of men, too) who struggle in the same ways that I do.  But audience?  That implies an ability to actually sustain reading ANYTHING?  I know I can’t.  I do read many blogs and I try to keep a list of them on this page but I’m still very much in “get organized” mode.

That's a joke and it's time for me to man up and realize I will never be organized again.  Ever.  Irene helped me reach The Epiphany Moment.  Acceptance.  If, for example, I want to clean the clutter in my office, I just have to start tossing shit.  Literally.  Into bins or boxes based upon where, in any given moment, my brain decides I should toss whatever happens to be in my hands.

Irene taught me that I can’t function if I’m staring at a deadline.  The End. I already had a pretty good idea that was an issue.  Being in the eye of the storm was proof positive.  Deadlines create stress and stress, in the brain of EF/AD, creates chaos.   Chaos would be a mild way to describe the current condition of my office.  To Do Lists.  Very Important Lists.  Piles of papers all over the place.  Since this chaos creates stress, I am nothing more than a dog on drugs, chasing my own tail, running around in circles.

Running in circles, one would think I would have some sort of self-preservation instinct to stop the madness.  Focus on the task at hand.  Instead, I add to the chaos?  How I came up with this brilliant idea to start using my twitter account...... had to be a classic, “this is your brain on drugs” moment.  There is no other logical explanation.

My social networking skills didn’t go beyond Facebook for Dummies.  I barely used the FB account until recently.  I just learned how to post to a feed.  Never realized I was just writing posts on my own wall.  I lucked into a google + invitation.  It was the hunt.  A quest.  And now I have the account and No One To Play With.  If I am honest with myself, playmate or not, I still wouldn't know what I was doing so does this all really make a difference?

And now I have the audacity to tweet??  This is a whole other universe and it’s speaking a language I do NOT understand.  What is with the @ in front of everyone’s name?  Another question.  How is it that the tic tac toe board has an ever changing name?  First it was the number sign.  Then, the touch tone phone took over for the rotary dial and the tic tac toe board became the pound sign.   (Yes, I do remember rotary dial and no one does a better rotary dial than Lily Tomlin). 

Twitter?  In addition to not really getting the @ thing or the tweet, retweet, RT (apparently NOT retweet, but reply to?) that tic tac toe board is now called a hash tag??  Would that be one word or two?  I give up.

Defeated.  Deflated. Discombobulated.

I have two things I wanted to tweak.  Tweak?  Or tweet?  No, TWEAK and that is how and why I felt the need to go into the history of the blog.  Every background detail needs to be clearly explained with all the essential detours so I may finally get to the point. 

AD needs to be redefined.  The acronym stays but the words Accepting Defeat?  Gotta Go.  (Objection, AM, asked and answered-see prior post. Same, Exact, Words.)  And, BC:EF:AD…… are they chapters, eras, periods?  Can anyone explain why I only seem to have questions?  Damn, I’d love some answers.

If you have any great ideas.  Or not so great ideas.  Or ANY ideas at all.  Here’s a really great idea.  Tweet your ideas to @chemobrainfog.  Or, you might want to join the party on Facebook at Chemobrain.  Apparently, I set up a page while I was trying to post something.

And, I can guarantee if I can’t clear the piles of unnecessary paper from my office, no shot I will delete the FB page or suspend the twitter account. 

Tweet on…..

PS-To mom, Happy Four Year Operation Anniversary. Primary cancer number three..... Gone.  Maybe be a secondary but equally upsetting reason why I am not fond of August 31.  Love you....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Yesterday was a great day (in the land of chemo brain).  It was the undoing of the Irene preparations.  The preparation that took three days was unprepared in a matter of hours.  These are the days when the fight in my head is over whether I should be feeling good or feeling bad.  And, I feel both, in the same instant.  How is it that I can get so much done today and not every (or mostly ANY other) day? (bad feeling) and Look at how much you accomplished today! (GREAT feeling).

I put the yard back together; stowed all of the flashlights, lanterns and candles IN THE SAME closet where I found them; located a new home for the extra chargers I picked up in the insanity of “get ready for Irene,”; drained the three inches of water on the newly installed basement floor (a “charger” for the sump pump would have been a great thought, but I think I need to invent that).

I drained the excess pool water and even though I overdrained it, I got it to its proper level without overfilling it for the first time this entire summer.  Every other time there was an issue with the water level, I screwed the damn thing up.  It became like groundhog day or an episode of candid camera.  Drain the water.  Oops, too low.  Throw the hose in the pool.  Oops, too high.  Repeat.  Ooops, repeat again.  And again…. Today was a victory.  I set the automatic pool vac to clean all the leaves and remembered to empty the bag several times.

I even did laundry and it’s not still sitting in one of the machines or in a laundry basket somewhere.  WHAT IS UP WITH THAT???  I have no idea why the day was so damn productive.  I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth.  I’m just thankful and I hope I can string together a second consecutive day!  Maybe it’s the fact that there was no deadline staring me down.

“Better get the water or you will die of dehydration.  Better get the batteries or.....”   

OR WHAT?  I’ll be stuck in darkness.  BIG deal.

The only thing I do know is that I am in a clean, comfortable and cool house.  Television works, internet works, laptop is charged.  The power was restored before the any food defrosted or any milk turned sour.  I am lucky.

Come to think of it, I did get a bit pissed off when I powered up my desktop computer.  Immediately, I see all of this simultaneous activity.  ARE you joking?  I am watching a multi-tasking computer screen??  Backing up to my off site storage, syncing my dropbox files, running a virus scan AND archiving emails.

THAT’s why my day was so productive!  It started at my desk where I watched this commotion.  The computer taunted me and I must have done a silent, “Oh yeah, I’ll show YOU!”

The day started at my desk with "I'll show you!" and it ended on the sofa with a very different, "OH yeah?!"

I was annoyed to no end by the hum of the generators when I was plunged into darkness.  I always forget that my home is at the very end of a “power grid.”  As I was glancing into the nighttime darkness, I realized it seemed a bit darker than normal.  And a bit noisier than usual, too.

My power went back on about 30 hours ago.  The generator people?  The ones who live right behind me?  The ones who can see my illuminated home?  Still plunged in darkness… Perhaps I will go bang on everyone's doors and invite them over for a post storm party?  That's the neighborly thing to do.

Oh how the mighty have fallen! 

(I really do feel badly. Even as I poke good natured fun, I was born with that "feel bad gene." In fact, I'm marching around the corner right now!!!)

Monday, August 29, 2011


It started with an earthquake and ended with a storm that is still wreaking havoc where I live.  As of 8PM last evening the wind was still whistling through the trees.  My neighbor’s monster tree is huge and scary when it starts to sway. 

The earthquake rattled my brain and it is still the EF/AD tag team brain.  Preparing for Irene kicked in the distraction and amp’d up the ADD…. too much to do, lists all over the place (which I am still finding buried underneath other stuff) AND a deadline.  There is no way to figure out and then, actually IMPLEMENT a “work around” unsolution for something only happens (in my life) every twenty years. 

Waiting and watching and having my ipad sound a notification “alert for severe weather” every twenty minutes?  Enter OCD and the need to set the map in motion so I can watch the bands of green, yellow and red moving across the screen over a pin that marks the exact geographic coordinates of the precise location not only of my home but also the room in which I am seated.

The first time I set the map in motion, I thought my brain was messing with me AGAIN.  Wait….. the weather in New York moves from west to east.  That would be left to right on the screen.  I’m already having this left right, north south, map reading “thing” so my head was spinning.

Irene was spinning and she was spinning  my head.  What the hell????  The weather was moving across the screen the wrong way….  What is going on?  Stupid iPad.  Does this thing have to be turned the right way to display the map properly??  It took my damn brain far longer than it should have to realize a hurricane moves THE WRONG WAY.  And That Is A Massive Understatement.

Irene put me into this “Hurry Up and Wait” mode.  And wait and wait and wait some more.   Too many people, all reporting the same thing.  Indulge me while I share some of the silly, some of the stupid and some of the annoying. 

First of all, to the two morons who thought it would be a great idea to kayak in the water as the storm was approaching: Did it occur to you the NYPD Harbor Patrol was unnecessarily in harm’s way thanks to your stupidity.  IF I had a loved one in that unit, I’d be hunting these two down to give them a piece of my mind.

The word “hunker” was spoken about a million times more than necessary and it’s a stupid word.  It just sounds like something dumb.

The first few times it didn’t have any affect on me, but as Irene got closer to New York, every time I heard a reporter ask, “What’s the situation at the Jersey Shore?” I began to laugh.  Thank you, MTV.

I’m smarter than I think.  For whatever reason, I decided to turn the fridge and freezer dials to their coldest settings.  About five minutes later, that “tip” was being shared on TV by a reporter.  Maybe I’m really not so smart and perhaps I heard this mentioned during my preparation commotion…. CB makes me question everything.  When I finish putting away all the flashlights and candles and paper goods, I will probably find a post it note about the fridge dials.

Food in a packed freezer will remain frozen for two days.  If the freezer is only half full, it will only remain frozen for a day.  Wonder if that was propaganda put out by the power companies trying to avoid having to listen to everyone bitchin about the amount of food that had to be tossed?  It’s the cynic in me….

The satellite TV picture pixelates and freezes about five minutes before the lightning arrives.  It’s my own personal NOAA radio.

Speaking of these radios, it's IM-f'ing-POSSIBLE to sleep knowing there was a tornado warning until 5AM.  Want proof.  Too many people were posting on Facebook at 2AM.  Too many OLD people.  And, while I'm at it, I must remember to differentiate from a watch and a warning where the weather is concerned.

The ONLY piece of information that wasn’t something being repeated ad nauseum was buried in a news crawl:  “More people are being affected by this storm than any other hurricane to hit the US. EVER.”  She’s still going strong somewhere in Vermont and that little nugget was on the screen over 24 hours ago.

When the power finally went out, why did l continue flipping switches Every Single Time I walked into a room…. Sometimes, I used the flashlight to flip the switch.  Duh?  That's got nothing to do with CB... I know. It's just the way it goes.   

Nothing more annoying than listening to my neighbors’ generators once plunged into darkness. It’s fun and funny for about 15 minutes.  The generator hum sounds very haughty when you are sitting in darkened silence. Give me back those idiots telling me about the situation and to hunker down.

Wait, I take that back.  Equally annoying as the generators?  Watching the trucks from the power company drive right by your home toward someone else’s situation.

Watching a big, fat RAT walk across the patio was pretty disgusting......

When I went outside this morning, it was downright frightening.  Surrounding my home are no less than eight downed trees accompanied by swinging power lines.  I could throw a rock and hit each one of these trees.  They are all huge.  Two or three blocks away, even more trees and downed wires.

As we drove out of the neighborhood to go check on family, I could not believe the mess.  In a 15 minute drive, I think I saw a minimum of 50 or 75 toppled trees.  We were on heavily wooded roads and we were driving through, around or backtracking because of the damage.  Every so often the wind would kick up.

Maybe we should have just stayed put?  Were we still supposed to be hunkering???  No, I believe the correct terminology is “hunkered down.”   In hindsight, driving around was probably not the greatest idea.  I may have been just a notch or two below the kayaking idiots.  Best line of the 200 hours of television?  And, I guess the guy was talking to me…..

“You can always tell a New Yorker, you just can’t tell ‘em anything.”

Friday, August 26, 2011


I am officially adding a few new letters to the list of things that have an impact on my life.  PTSD.  I think there should be a subset category that is simply PSD.  Bet many are wondering why isn’t she adding PMS or PMDD, but I haven’t been “pre” anything since post chemo.  I’ve been bouncing between AD and EF and I have just come to that realization.  The only thing I can be certain of is that I no longer bounce into BC.  Not in my dreams, Not in a tequila induced state, Not at all, Not ever.  BC is gone forever.

“You have cancer” was the precise moment that era ended.  The ending was abrupt and the severance was immediate.  The C Word creates a chasm in life with guillotine-like swiftness and the precision of a band of marching Marines.   Unlike Dorothy, I can click my heels for the rest of my life, but the clicking is not taking my brain home to its former life.

The New Normal.  It’s a phrase used over and over again by cancer patients.  I have lots to sort out right now.  What can I call these periods into which I have divided my life BC:EF:AD?  Parts?  Eras?  Periods? (OK, that’s out because it could be confused with the whole PMS thing.)  I don’t like any of those.  They aren’t sassy enough.  First batch of suggestions?  No answer. 

Hey!  How about trimesters??  Nope.  There is a problem with that, too.  I am right back to references of reproduction and do I really want a constant reminder of ALL of my missing parts?  Isn’t showering and the act of dressing and undressing enough of a daily reminder?  I see the foobs and I see the little marks on my abdomen from the other surgeries.  I’ll pass on trimesters.  Out with suggestion number whatever, I am not counting anymore.

Chapters might work.  On the other hand, this isn’t such a great idea either.  That will quickly become a reminder of my inability to read novels.  On it goes to the pile of “You Suck Suggestions.”  I have to work on this.  And whatever I decide upon MUST provide me with a metaphoric path in which to race between AD and EF.  Unlike BC which was clearly cut and sent out to sea, there is no definitive break between with these two, no head rolling guillotine action.  In fact, I am like that stupid, bouncing, help me keep my place so I can sing along, ball. 

I zig zag, technically my BRAIN zig zags, or I bounce.  Sometimes slightly.  Sometimes quickly.  Sometimes very high or very low.  But, I BOUNCE.  A ball?  How about innings?  First Base, Second Base, Third Base would work.  How many times have I watched a baseball game where a runner got “stuck” between bases, scrambling back and forth to avoid being tagged out?  That situation, in baseball jargon, is referred to as a rundown.  I think.  (No wiki detour, feel free to wiki detour on your own.)

Then, there is “the pitchout” which involves the guy on first running to second and either the pitcher spins to start this “rundown” situation, or if the pitcher is cocky enough to believe, “He won’t try stealing against ME,” it becomes the catcher’s problem to fire the ball to second base.  The catcher is the most important guy on the field.  He gets to see everything, except I can’t understand how that is possible behind all of the equipment and from a crouched position.  He’s got lots of jobs, he is the multi-tasker on the team.  I can explain and defend my thought, but now is not the time.

If you have no knowledge of baseball, I already lost you.  My apologies.  I think I may have just turned this into an old and famous skit …..Abbot and Costello??  Who’s on first, what’s on second?  If I am doing my own silly AM version of a very funny Abbot and Costello piece, NO ONE is on second.

Which brings me back to the reasons for passing on yet another of my own suggestions.  It’s just another reminder that I no longer have a second base.  They look great but once the boobs became foobs, I ceased having any attachment to the things.  They are not a part of me.  I like them and all….. but….

I don’t know how to explain this concept.  The best I can come up with is that the foobs are like a pair of earrings I might never remove.  They are attached to my body.  But they aren’t part of my body.  It doesn’t help that I can’t feel the things either.  Unless, of course, they are itchy.  The foobs are very strange and confuse the hell out of me.   No feeling, no sensation unless it’s an annoying sensation.  That seems un-friggen-fair.  WHAT – E –V- E- R  …..

They are a nice adornment, much like a pretty nice looking pair of earrings.  Go ahead.  If you are wearing a pair of earrings, preferably a pair that dangles off of your lobes, touch them.  Get the picture?  Depending upon your outfit or the way you are wearing your hair on a particular day, those earrings may look REALLY great.  That is how I can explain the foobs in various items of clothing. 

Holy jeez.  WHAT in the hell am I talking about?  This is going to be “one of those entries.”  Correction.  THIS already IS one of those entries.  All over the place AM.  Since I can’t come up with anything that I find suitably funny enough to describe the periods of my life, perhaps I'll throw in the towel and switch gears.

I decided a few weeks back I am not lovin’ on AD=Accepting Defeat.  I’m back at the drawing board and I don’t know if I’m in EF or AD or if I’m in the process of zigging or zagging (auto correct wanted to make that sagging and FOOBS DON’T SAG, so take THAT MS Word).  AD=NG.  I'm working on it.

I’m tabling the entire discussion for another day.  It’s time to go check on Irene.  I can’t think straight.  Irene is bouncing my brain all over the damn place:  batteries, water, fill the car, do I HAVE a radio (why this would be important, who knows).  I’m bouncing and I’m zigging and I’m sagging (you win MS Word, you are annoying me already)… 

.....and, AS IF I need just one more thing to throw my train of thoughts into a tizzy.

Irene, Where Are You?
Another   Distraction

Kidding aside, stay safe if this is headed in your direction….
Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Yesterday, it was Carole King.  The day before it was Ashford and Simpson.  I’m doing a mental sing along even as I write.  And, for these sing alongs, no need for the silly bouncing ball.

I feel the earth    MOVE   under my feet      I feel the sky tumblin’ down……  I feel my heart start to tremblin’    whenever you’re around…..

Q:  The moving earth? 
A:  The VA quake? 

Q:  The tumbling sky?
A:   Irene. 

Q:  The trembling heart?? 
A:  Tough one, I think it’s more like my nerves trembling.  My heart is beating just fine and is in tact, too.

Q:  whenever WHO is around???
A:  (this line intentionally left blank) 

And a day before Carol?  Nick and Valerie:  Found …. FOUND a cureLove will fix it….

Q:  CURE? 
A:  WHERE is the cure??  (It’s taking too long…..  )

Q:  Love WILL fix it?
A:  Dr. Susan Love! 

Oh, I like this already!!!

Don’t Take Away My MUSIC, it’s the only thing I got, it’s my piece of….   (my sanity?)

On a couple of occasions I think I referred to “my iGoogle page” and all of the content that comes up every time I go online.  It’s my home page and I customized all of the boxes so I can see, for example, the freakin phase of the moon because that is VITAL information for me to have in order to function.  The beach of the day box always manages to calm me down for about 12 seconds.  The weather widget (allow me to direct your attention to yesterday’s entry and my OCD over the weather) and a widget from the US Postal Service so I can track packages. (I’m picking up on a theme worthy of further exploration in this need to track things-storms and boxes in the US Postal system.) 

The rest of the page is filled with widget boxes containing various types of information.  I must say it’s very organized.  Tech news from a few trusted sites in one box (Sprint and iPhone 5 in October, fyi-and just as I was ready to post, the news that Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO which makes me sad to see) and all the news that’s fit to print in a few other boxes.  Then, I have the medical boxes and the health boxes.  Rounding out the page are the various news organizations, NONE of whom, I might add had anything posted at 2PM Tuesday when My Communication Compass sent me the “Earthquake!” text.

I have the widget for the NEJM prominently displayed at the top but it may be swapped with a different medical site.  Medical News Today is a GREAT source of information as it publishes studies on all sorts of things and the studies are coming from labs all over the world.  It’s a widget of its own and it contains the titles of newly published articles. 

Is it necessary for me to mention the number of times I have bounced from this document to that iGoogle page to be certain I am providing an accurate and thorough description?  Let’s just say, I’ve already been diverted TWICE.  How can you NOT click something with a title like THIS:
Man Whose Penis was Cut Off Loses Lawsuit.
The title elicits an immediate chuckle but the article quickly put a stop to the chuckle.  Cancer.
Or, thank you NPR for THIS:
When Forgetfulness Needs Medical Attention.

Over the past couple of days I have been singing very old songs.  Not REALLY singing, but singing in my head singing.  (the word “singing” … very difficult….  ing followed by another ing… ummm, yeah, not happenin’  had to untranspose “sign” to “sing” about five times and then really look closely at the words).  I don’t do A Cappella solos.  Not even if I am alone.  I am more of a sing along kinda girl (that would be to distinguish my sex….  the days of “girl” are gone… “mature woman” is more accurate but there’s no SNAP to that and it’s too long).

When I saw the iGoogle news about Nick Ashford, I IMMEDIATELY began to sing “Found A Cure” even though that was not their most famous song.  I remembered the melody, the lyrics and his partner’s name.  When the earth moved and the jokes were flying, not only was I singing “I feel the earth move under my feet,” but I started to go through a few verses of Tapestry, It’s Too Late, You’ve Got a Friend, Where You Lead.  I could see Carol King’s image in my mind and I could describe the jacket for the Tapestry album. 

I am flabbergasted.  Not a few bars of a long forgotten song, the WHOLE song.  And with Carol King, ALL of those songs just emerged from who knows where, playing on the record player in my head.  I was my own personal juke box.  Walking around or sitting down while my head moved from side to side to keep the tempo in MY BRAIN.  Actually, my head became that bouncing ball. 

I’m multi-tasking away (which in reality means, I just jumped from one paper to the next and absolutely nothing was accomplished, AT ALL) and for whatever reason, I have to get online for something.  And it wasn’t FB or Twitter.  (Yes, I am my own worst enemy, jump into another distraction.  I’m tweeting.)  It was to get information or look up something WORK related.  And I am certain, I did none of that either.  The Medical News Today box (which is kinda crappy today) contained an article with the title:

“Where We Store Well Know Tunes In the Brain Located – Right Anterior Temporal Lobe.”

Stopped me dead in my tracks and who could blame me??  Even if I wasn’t siNGing, I would have immediately clicked that link.  Anything to do with “brain” and my fingers are flying solo and on auto pilot, too!  As I’m getting the link, all I am thinking is that I want to start using this “right anterior temporal lobe” IMMEDIATELY.

This is the solution to CB!  How do I sign up to have that anterior lobe thing redirected to take over for the slacker part of my brain that is turning everything into utter chaos?  That "right thingee" in MY brain is ON FIRE.  Musically, I’m definitely MENSA material.

The study is from neuroscientists in an Australian research lab.  These scientists, along with scientists all over the world are “mapping the brain” and they believe as they build a more detailed map, they may be able to understand how to repair the damage that occurs in dementia.

How is it that THE organ the scientists understand least, is the one that controls the most?  It’s very simple.  The brain is one very complicated organ.

Right now, I’m fighting that NPR piece.  The tagline that FORCED me to detour earlier?  I have all the symptoms that fit into that “require medical attention” category.  There goes the OCD…..

Another day, Another distraction……..

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The final week of August in the year 2011 in the Northeast section of the United States will forever be known as the week of The Earthicane.  It’s a compound word.  Surely this is something (a good example, too!) we all learned in elementary school?  (And can anyone please tell me HOW Microsoft Word is so damn smart, it flagged that sentence until I punctuated it with a question mark.)

Earthicane, the sister word to Hurricado are MY compound words.  I think I better run to the trademark office right now so Komen can’t steal them and sue me.  My compound words are combinations of natural events.  Things over which we have no control.  Maybe I’m feeling a sense of oneness with these natural events because I can relate to the “having no control.”

My brain has a mind of its own.  If you missed that entry or forgot that little tidbit, scroll to the bottom of the page.  This time I’m not holding your place.  You are on your own.  There is no way anyone could have prevented the earthquake and there is no way anyone is stopping Irene from roaring up the East Coast.  And there is no way I can fix my (chemo)brain, at least Not Yet.  It’s things in three’s again!  The more things change, the more… And, it’s clichés again, too!!

Right now, all of this is very funny.  No one has been hurt and there are no reports of substantial damage.  Therefore, Funny.  In other words, No One Lost An Eye.  This is post earthquake.  And it’s pre hurricane.  Since no one knows where that hurricane eye will hit and with what intensity, it may not be quite so amusing in five days or so.

Personally, I’m going with my normal assessment of the weather forecasters.  It’s the greatest job on the planet.  They are always wrong.  Not always, but it sure seems more often than not?  I know I'm not the only one with that opinion.  Here’s my prediction.  Irene will stay off shore and she will be the one losing the eye when the cold water deconstructs her.

Magic Eight Ball says:  Forecasters will clear Long Island from the danger zone and continue to make their predictions which I WILL monitor on the Weather Channel, the app on my iPad, the Hurricane Center in Coral Gables AND The National Weather Service.  I can’t help myself.

When they are ALL wrong and I am here on Sunday night with torrential rain, no power, no internet and not enough battery life in my laptop, I’ll be sure to go into descriptive detail of the Irene Story.  This is great fodder for the OCD portion of My Chemobrain.  Stormtracking, I mean.  The only questions:  Do I go stock up on water, batteries, cash and fill my gas tank and do I go outside to move all potential projectiles?  The hurricane portion of the program is now concluded.  I will decide how to handle that about 4 hours prior to projected landfall.

The earthquake?  Bizarre.  I remember the last time I felt an earthquake.  I was in New York and it was October of 1985.  It was in the very early hours of the morning.  My kids were sleeping in their cribs and their dad already left for work.  It was a Saturday morning.  He started a new company and this was the first job.  I thought someone was firebombing the house when everything in my bedroom began to rumble.

Here comes the eye rolling.  And she has chemobrain??  Yes folks, I do.  I can still SEE myself sitting up in bed watching the lamps skip across the night stands and I can feel the bed moving.  It was The Exorcist.  Not sure the year the movie was released but I have such a clear recollection of the feeling, I can liken it to the Exorcist.  (And, I did have to do my wiki thing.  It was Oct 19,1985 and the wee hours of the morning were actually 10AM… when you have a 2 year old and a 4 month old, clock time doesn’t exist, OKAY???)

And today?  I was sitting on the sofa in my quiet room.  It’s a “basement” but it’s only four steps below ground level and it’s only a “half basement" so it’s a nice size, yet it’s still a cozy room.  It’s also the only “common area” in the house that has a door.  Why this should matter when there is no one else here, who the hell knows, but it’s where I like to practice yoga.  When I was done, I was sitting quietly on the sofa, NOT in state of meditation but enjoying the calm that washed over my body and was taking my time about leaving the solace of that room.

I knew what was waiting and I can’t stay on task (CB).  Upstairs was a pile of unfolded laundry (from Sunday), a dishwasher that had to be emptied (also Sunday or maybe even Saturday) so I could clear the sink of the cups and glasses that were beginning to accumulate.  Two days worth of mail had to be sorted so I could bring the bills upstairs (so much for the admonishing note about opening and sorting mail every day) and I had to go make the bed so I would be prepared because one never knows when those awful bed police are going to break down the door demanding to do a bed check.

Obsession with the unmade bed?  BC.  Definitely, BC.  That is just an ingrained “thing” and when I actually try to think about it, I no longer comprehend this necessity to have a perfectly made bed.  The inability to comprehend?  ADD due to CB, for sure.  Clearly, none of this is motivating me to get my ass in gear.  Not the laundry, not the dishes, not the mail or, for that matter the bed.  The bed police can drag me off in handcuffs.  I just stayed quietly on the sofa looking around the room.

In an instant, the sofa moved a good two feet, with ME on it.  It took a couple of seconds for it to register and I quickly looked over my shoulder to see that the couch was damn far from the wall.  I jumped off the sofa, ran to the stairs and just sat on the top step far enough from the sofa to feel safe.  My brain completely disengaged.

What went through my head?  As OCD and as illogical (and now hysterically humorous) as this was, I swore there was a raccoon under the sofa.  There are two windows in the room, both locked and there is an air conditioning unit through which any critter entry attempt would be met by the its demise inside the A/C.

What seemed like a great deal of time, I now know was truly only a few moments.  My logical brain regained control and I realized there is NO raccoon anywhere.  The good ol’ Chemo OCD brain was still trying to hang on…. Damn OCD.  Worse than a rabid dog (or raccoon?)

OCD:  SOMETHING is under that couch

Logical: You are a MORON….

OCD:  Am NOT, and besides, a raccoon would want the dark and the only dark place is under the couch....

Logical: Take a good look around the room and tell me exactly HOW this f’ing raccoon got under the sofa?

OCD:  I don’t know but it could have happened.  Anything is possible.

Logical:  OMG… must we descend into cliché hell again???

Logic won out and I walked back to the sofa because now I was convinced I dreamed the entire thing.  The sofa didn’t move and I was quite simply, losing whatever tiny shred of my mind I still controlled.  I walked down the stairs and took the twelve steps toward the sofa.  With trepidation.

OCD was still shouting in my head but logic was winning control over my body.  I can now see a very big gap between the back of the sofa and the wall.  There wasn’t enough space to fit anything between the wall and the sofa when I sat down.  Why I remember this, I do not know, but I had a vivid memory of the sofa flush against the wall. 

So what happens in Minute Number Three of this commotion?  I “Re-Live” what I felt when I was sitting on the sofa.  While the sofa moved, I did have a sensation of being bounced around.  Not a big bounce but I remember thinking, “Did this sofa just slide and lift at the same time?”  I could feel the cushion sort of pushing me up.  My logical brain retreated completed and OCD brain went completely haywire.

OCD:  Holy shit.  What were you meditating about when you were finishing your yoga, you idiot.  You pissed someone off.  That was a sign from some pagan god.  The bouncing was an Exorcist kind of thing.  YOU are a MORON.  You must have tempted fate with whatever evil, unpure thoughts you allowed to flow through you during your dumb ass meditation.


Logic:  How about THIS?  Lets go back upstairs into the office so we can get some word done.  (Arm twisting required)

OCD:  That’s a really great idea.  LET’S GO.

I think OCD was being sarcastic and condescending but I walked past the clothes, the dishes, the mail and straight into my office.  The quake began at 1:51PM.  Everything that happened to me occurred in the time between 1:51 and 1:59.  How would one know this information?  “Would you like me to explain?”  This is where I need you to play Joe Pesci’s part in the movie, My Cousin Vinny.  I need to hear a resounding, “I would love to hear this!”

In eight minutes time, the quake hit in VA, began moving the earth, moved my sofa, I freaked over a raccoon, realized I was being a moron, freaked over some exorcism type episode, calmed down  when I was being even MORE stupid about that and returned to my office.  At precisely 1:59, I see the following on my “it never works” iPhone.  “Earthquake!”

I have often heard people say things about their “moral compass.”  I don’t think I have one of those but I do have my own “Communication Compass.”  His name is Jim and he is my son.  And the word “Earthquake!” on my phone was a text to me from him.  Considering cell service was out all over the place, it’s a tad funny that text got through, don’t you think???

AND Yes, that question is to you, AT&T

My immediate reaction was to hit my trusty iGoogle page which has blurbs of every bit of breaking news.  I don’t limit myself to the medical news, I’m an equal opportunity news whore.  I have feeds for all kinds of news sources from all over the world.  I scanned the page.  Earthquake?  Nowhere to be found.  Not Reuters, not the AP or for that matter, CNN, Fox, the NY Times, or Bloomberg either.

The funniest thing in all of this?  When the internet didn’t have the information, my first reaction?  Text Jim.  Something along the lines of “what are you talking about” with many curses inserted.  It took me another FIVE full minutes to realize, “Idiot, go turn on a television.”

I am spellbound.  And the thing with this Chemobrain ADD is the fact that my mind just races.  I can’t slow it down.  So, I now have televisions on in two different rooms tuned to different stations.  As I’m walking from one room to the other to monitor this breaking news, I can’t get the image of Linda Blair spinning, levitating or spitting pea soup  out of my head UNLESS it’s being replaced by a scary, yet cute raccoon.

Then, I was distracted by the news crawl warning the entire east coast to watch for the Irene situation which, in the best “let’s sensationalize this” fashion had it at a Category 4 hurricane.  And here comes the images again.  Strobe like.  Linda Blair, Rocky Raccoon, Pea Soup….  Hurricane Irene?  They are up to “I” already??

Where was I for the first eight storms?

Raccoons, exorcisms, NO! It was Carole King.  I can hear the song clearly.  Her voice.  The tempo and I’m singing along, I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet, I feel the sky tumblin’ down.  

Chemobrain in its finest hour.  Literally, an hour.  SIXTY minutes before I was able to rid my brain of animals and the anti-Christ.

If my math is right, (check it for me?) it took me three thousand six hundred seconds before I realized:  “Holy crap, sista, you just bounced your way through an earthquake!”