Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Chemo Brain

I have done my research and talked to other survivors, and the one thing that is consistent about chemo, is that you can't predict how it will affect you. Every one's experience is different. A few things Dr. Cancer has assured me of: I will loose my hair around week 3 or 4, and he will load me up with enough medicine that I should never be sick to my stomach or vomit. That is somewhat comforting. I have previously written that the hair loss does not bother me, although the loss of my eyelashes just seems beyond weird. I have been assured that gone are the days of experiences like in " Dying Young". What concerns me is "chemo brain".

What is chemo brain? Apparently, the drugs used for this phase of cancer treatment, causes "mild cognitive impairment". This can include the inability to multi-task, lack of focus, forgetting dates, names, and um...those things, yeah, words. This is supposed to be mostly temporary. Mostly. I have always prided myself on being fairly intelligent. It concerns me that this particular aspect of myself I might loose. I guess I can only hope that if it does become a permanent side effect I will have lost enough cognitive ability that I won't even notice it.

Now that we have an actual schedule for my chemo treatments, the reality is setting in. I feel like setting up a countdown clock, we are T-minus 5 days for massive amounts of poison being pumped into your body. I do not think that this is one of my more productive ideas. I have been thinking a lot about hair loss again. I haven't changed my mind, the thought of not having to shave is rather exciting, and I am not at all upset about loosing the hair on my head or my eyebrows. What still concerns me, is loosing my eyelashes. I really think that the only thing that was going to keep my from looking like a freckled bowling ball was my eyelashes. It was suggested, and I am not ashamed to admit that I did not think of it. It seems wrong for me to even consider it. I say this because it seems false, no pun intend, since I do not plan on wearing a wig to cover the baldness on my head. That, and it's just not me.

Now there are some good things that have happened. Since moving back in with my parents, I have spent more time with my nephew, The Boy. What a huge blessing this has been. Before all this started, he knew me, but we hadn't spent much time together. We have really bonded. Now, I am no MiMi and I never will be, but I am Auntie Sara and that's a pretty good thing. He frequently seeks me out for help with feeding Melvin, our Betta fish, and now, he associates me with fishing, or what he calls fishing. Since he is a 5 year old boy, you can't tell him he's not doing it right, because it's right for HIM, and ultimately that's what matters. His idea of fishing, is to take one of my many plastic worms, carefully place it on his hook, all by himself, then cast it out. He immediately reels it back in, declares "This one isn't working" and proceeds to get another one out. The Boy has no patience, and let's face it, that is about 90% of fishing, but he has fun and he is with Auntie Sara, and that is all that matters in my book.

The other good thing is my relationship with my Mom. We have spent more time together in the last 5 months than we have in the last 5 years, and I am loving it. Even just the little stuff like a trip to Wal-mart. We laugh and talk and laugh some more. The laughing is the most therapeutic part for me, and honestly my favorite. Growing up, mom always did fun stuff with us, but I don't remember her laughing with me. It was usually my dad and I, and our now infamous "Pun Wars" in the kitchen, but not not her. Now, we crack jokes and poke fun at each other. She has always been my mom, but for the first time in my life, I feel like she is my friend too. That is just an odd transition for me. I am not sure that this ever would have happened without the cancer.

So for all the unpleasantness that has come with the cancer, so much good has come from it too. I want you all to find the good in your shitty situations, It's there, you just have to find it. I know I did.

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