Chemo Brain

O sent me this article just now from the NYTimes on Chemo Brain, which is the word doctors are using to describe the long term cognitive side effects that some chemo patients experience on a permanent/semi-permanent basis.

As more people with cancer survive and try to return to their former lives, a side effect of chemotherapy is getting more and more attention. Its name is apt, if unappealing: chemo brain.

Nearly every chemotherapy patient experiences short-term problems with memory and concentration. But about 15 percent suffer prolonged effects of what is known medically as chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment.

I have been struggling with these symptoms all year, and they are starting to go away. I still have problems with words and names. If interrupted while telling a story or doing some multi-step talks frequently can’t remember what I was doing or saying. And today while driving, I got lost, realized I was lost, reoriented myself, and then did the same thing going the other direction, and then did it again. 3 times! I kept getting off the freeway, turning around, and going the other way.

an update

almost down to 8 weeks.

i’m falling apart, but the end is so totally in sight. then i will come back together

my mouth is so raw that i can’t eat much of anything. even sucking on the straw of a smoothie hurts my tongue from the pressure. i’ve def lost a lot of weight. there is some symmetry, as i started the whole thing lying in bed eating trail mix and put on 15, so it makes sense that i would end the cycle dropping those 15 off.

i had to buy some fat pants this winter. size 35 and 36. right before i got sick i bough a whole new set of pants that were 31 and 32 (and still have their tags on them), as I had just shrunk enough that my regular 33-34s were falling off me. So i just tried on my 33s and 34s, and they are kinda baggy. but the 32s are still just a little too tight. a month ago, i couldn’t button the 32s – the gap was like a full inch from button to eyelet. now they button, but tightly. a little bit too much panty line from behind (LOL)

i’ve been riding my bike a bit. and O just formally moved in this month. she got a tenure track job, which is a *major* deal considering it is only 1hr outside of NYC, and the market this year was horrendous. Half the searches were canceled b/c of the Great Recession.

i’m taking 4 months off from the studio. and i’ll tack those four months on Oct-Jan. i need to rest

i’m going to portland july1-aug15 to do my last month of treatment, and then recouperate for a few weeks. last day of injections is july 23rd.

Jumping ahead

I got confused yesterday and injected a day early. I’m not sure if my confusion led to preinjection nausea symptoms, or if I was just feeling bad in the same way I do in the hours leading up to an injection. Either way my body knew/tricked itself into thinking that the way out of the nausea was injection. It is both logical and alarming at the same time. It is crazy how much my body has adjusted to this nasty regimen. AKA “this nasty habit”