I’ve lost my short term memory. Let me give an example of what this is like: the other day, I spent a half an hour looking for my warm coat, the one I get compliments on every time I wear it (thanks, ModCloth–secret of all my fashion success), and still couldn’t find it, so I gave up and went out with my raincoat instead and was cold all day. I’d hung my coat in the bathroom, not its usual place, and so I couldn’t find it. Could. Not. Find. It. The Boy spotted it that evening or I’d probably still be looking for it.

I now have to write everything down or I’ll forget about it. Thank goodness for technology–if I didn’t have a calendar I could check every morning to remember what my plans for the day are, I’d miss every doctor appointment, every phone call with a reporter, every lunch with a friend. If I don’t immediately respond to a text, I’ll forget I received it and never respond at all. I’ve had to warn everyone in my life that I’m not ignoring them on purpose, that it’s not a Seattle No, it’s just that I can’t remember anything.

I talked to #bestdocever about it, and he thinks it’s chemo brain from the carboplatin I was on this summer. I fucking hate carboplatin. It ate my whole summer. It’s left me still needing blood transfusions from time to time because it gutted out my bone marrow and I keep getting extreme fatigue from having low red blood counts. And then there’s the chemo brain. 

It’s scary not being able to remember anything that’s just happened. It’s not like going into a room and forgetting why you went in there–that happens to everyone as they age, and I can joke about it. No, this is something more insidious. It feels like it’s changing my personality. I used to be so on top of things, but now…in fact, I just told The Hubs something and he said, “Yeah, you told me that yesterday.” And I don’t remember telling him, at all. I’m probably that annoying person at parties who tells the same story over and over again, and I don’t even know it.

The good news is, #bestdocever thinks it’ll get better the further I get from the carboplatin. It takes 6-12 months for it to improve, if it’s going to improve. But that “if” is scary and I have plenty of friends for whom it never improved. The collateral damage of cancer treatment is lasting. It’s brutal and nasty and so incredibly unfair, especially for those of us who are going to die anyway, and the treatment is only buying us time, at a terrible cost.

Science: please help us. We’re suffering. Please find us better treatments, so we don’t have to live and die this way.

5 thoughts on “Memory

  1. Uggh. Sorry that you are dealing with frustrating memory loss. Did you start on Cap or Cap/Tem? My biggest side effect from Cap is hand/foot syndrome, which is not fun, but not awful either. If hand/foot comes up for you (it didn’t for me until three or four months in), don’t hesitate to be in touch. There are a few things one can to to alleviate it. Happy Thanksgiving, xoxo, Lesley

    1. I’m on capecitabine alone, but a pretty high dose of it. We find out if it’s working next week!

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