Thursday, April 12, 2012


I had EVERY intention of sticking with the WEGO Health Challenge.  I received the list of daily "prompts" to write 30 posts in 30 days.  I "signed up" early enough to get a list of ten bonus prompts in case one of the assignments was too far out of my creativity zone.

I'm starting to feel a bit like I'm working my way toward "the dog ate my homework."  Except I don't have a dog.  I do have two kids.  Both of whom have been out of the house for a long time.  For the past ten days, both of them are back. When you are accustomed to being alone and two kids (two adult kids) are back in the house, everything goes haywire.

Hell.  The one thing you DO NOT EVER DO to a ChemoBrain person is mess with their rhythm and their routine.  Really, I have no routine, no rhythm and mostly, I forget more than I actually get done.  What little I did "have" is out the window......  I expect things will be returning to some sort of normal by the weekend.  But..... The Writing Challenge.  No WAY.  I can't write PERIOD.  Forget following some rather ingenious prompts.  I'm keeping the list.  Some of them will be fun.  When my head is clear.

Did you miss me yesterday?  Why was there no blog??  I was out a tad later than expected on Tuesday evening.  I left the "kids" and went to meet someone for dinner.  I left at 4PM expecting to be home no later than 9 or 10.  My driving privileges have been suspended by my son who informed me earlier, "We need to have a serious conversation about your driving."  Deadpan.  I thought he was going to accuse me of driving under the influence.  I didn't, but I did have a couple of glasses of wine and there was no dinner. The bar was too nice.  We ate bar food.  And I didn't get home until much later than expected.  My phone was in my bag.  My bag was at my feet.  At 11PM he began calling and texting and I didn't answer.  I didn't hear the phone, didn't feel the vibration.

LAST night, I got a lecture.  "Ya know, mom, you didn't answer the phone, it was way late and damn it, I had to get up at 5:30.  I started checking the news feeds to see if there were any car accidents.  I was ready to start calling the hospitals." OK OK OK.... Wise ass son made his point.  Apparently, I'm not allowed to have my car for a week.  "Seriously, coming in at 1:30??  You left at 4PM!"  Ummm, yeah, I'm well aware of all of this......Witty wise ass.  Good thing he got the all clear surgical follow up and he will be going back to his place so he can stop worrying about me.  What he doesn't see, won't worry him.  Yes, the whole thing was very friggen funny.

Which brings me to something I do want to share.  It is on the American Cancer Society website.  It's precisely WHY I need to be alone again.  With my own rhythm and routine.  The article?

Chemo Brain: It is Real

Personally, I would have made chemobrain one word and "is" would have been "IS" in giant CAPITAL letters.  But that's just me.

Read the article.  It's very good......  My highlight reel:

Just one comment because I always have to say SOMETHING......if multi-tasking is "answering the phone while cooking" I am getting in line to collect my employee of the century award for beating myself up for over TWO YEARS as I watched work pile up, drove myself crazy to get it done and finally gave up.


Patients report the following symptoms:
  • Short-term memory lapse -- forgetting things that they usually have no trouble recalling
  • Trouble concentrating -- can't focus on what they're doing, have a short attention span, may "space out"
  • Trouble with word-finding, such as remembering names, not completing sentences, or not being able to think of a word
  • Trouble multi-tasking, like answering the phone while cooking, without losing track of one task
  • Taking longer to finish things-- slower thinking and processing


The following are steps that some patients have found helpful in managing their day-to-day living:
  • Write things down. Keep track of appointments and schedules, to-do lists, important dates, phone numbers and addresses.
  • Exercise your brain. Take a class, do word puzzles, or learn to do something new.
  • Exercise your body. Regular physical activity is good for your body; it improves your mood, makes you feel more alert, and helps you feel less tired.
  • Get enough rest and sleep.
  • Eat your veggies. Studies have shown that eating more vegetables can help you keep up your brain power.
  • Set up and follow routines. Put the things you often lose in the same place each time you're done with them. Try to keep the same daily schedule.
  • Give yourself permission to focus on one thing at a time.
  • Choose only those activities that are important to you and allow yourself plenty of time to complete tasks.
  • Consider use of relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.
  • Track your memory problems. Keep a diary of when you notice problems and the events that are going on at the time. Medicines taken, time of day, and where you are may help you figure out what affects your memory. Don't plan important tasks or events when your memory problems are worse.
  • Do not criticize yourself for not being able to remember. Accepting the problem will help you deal with it. Patients say that being able to laugh about things you can't control can help you cope. And remember, you probably notice your problems much more than others do.

Also, be sure to tell your family and friends what is going on with you. They will be relieved and will worry less.

THAT LAST LINE MAY OR MAY NOT HELP (Relieved? maybe... Pissed off? possibly)


You are not crazy and you are not losing your mind. Chemo brain is real.

Interestingly enough, when I wanted to blog about chemobrain and the volunteers at the writing program at MSK helped me STAY ON TASK to get the blog up and running, none of them knew what the hell I was talking about.  My sweetie mentor asked me if I thought there was an audience.....  Now she just shakes her head and we laugh about that first conversation. Me dreaming, Anna rolling her eyes and on Monday, at the annual reception for Visible Ink, we will laugh together as one of my sillier pieces is read by a member of the professional troupe of actors who make this event so special for all.  (And yes, just a tad more special for me)

I am honored.  I am humbled.  Anna was humored by my silly little dream...... validate one person.  Just. One. Person. Monday, that one person will be me.  Sticking with the loose version of adjective alliteration to describe my feelings,
I am happy, too! 


  1. Hi AnneMarie,

    Don't feel so bad about not posting every day. I signed up for the challenge, and I had no business doing so, as I just can't write every day. I'm lucky if I get a post out every two weeks! I was laughing about your son's being worried about his mom. You raised him right! And I'm glad you had a great time. And I'm hoping your son is on the mend from his surgery.

    1. He's back in his own place and the truth? I miss him! If I am to be totally honest, I didn't get a damn thing done today either!

  2. Oh, and my chemobrain forgot to add that everything you said about chemobrain is true and very helpful.

  3. He sure does know how to give that lecture...wonder who he learned it from :)

    1. Kathleen!!! You made me laugh with that.... Yep.... he has it down pat..... I guess I must have said it more than enough times...... some of those phrases came at me verbatim.... :)


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