Thursday, 31 May 2012

Foggy Memories.

Chemo Brain.

I know, I know - I have mentioned this often but its really no laughing matter.

For years people didn't believe in "Chemo Brain" or "Brain fog" that patients expressed they were experiencing. It is so real.

Its Frustrating. Its upsetting.

While its something that I laugh off, it is something that really bothers me and at times makes me quite upset. I cannot describe how I feel inside, except by saying that I feel that I have lost a part of myself. Holding a conversation takes a lot more work and I am so used to having something on the tip of my tongue. You know - that feeling where you can almost visualise and taste the word you are so desperately searching for but you just cant quite find the brain power to say it. Yeah that happens a lot.

I started blogging about my Cancer Journey November of last year. 6 months ago. I have noticed such a difference in my ability to actually sit down and write a blog post. It takes so much more time. My ability to remember whats happened is one thing but then finding the words is another can of worms.

I have looked into Chemo Brain and other peoples experience's and it is so good to know that I am not the only one who feels the way I do. I read of people who had finished treatment 3+ years and were still having difficulties with their memory. I hope I get my spark back. I know that it is missing at the moment.

I just want people to know that if I forget something you have told me, stare at you blankly when you talk to me or appear vague when explaining something - I am trying. I am not disinterested. Just a little slow haha

Last week is literally a blur. I have a week of my life that I have barely any recollection of and like after a hard night boozing (whats that??), I have flash backs to certain points and am slowly piecing it back together.

Lets just say the drugs did the trick this week! I floated and even SLEPT my way through my treatment. I have had help from my Mum, Dad and Cam, who were all present and they have informed me of what went on. Like I was instructed, I took one pill the night before chemo and then the morning of when I woke up. I didn't last long after taking the pill the night before. Hit the hay maybe 45 minutes after taking it. When I woke up in the morning, I didn't feel different and thought that maybe taking another pill wouldn't work. How wrong was I.......I dont remember the drive to hospital, arriving and going up to the chemo room. Nothing. Nobody home.

When I arrived my LOVELY nurse who I do adore said to me that she was only going to try to get the needle in once and if she didn't manage to get it, she had the ultrasound people on standby and I would have had a Picc line inserted under ultra sound. Google it. If I had been normal, drug free Andrea, I would have freaked the beep out. But no. I did not have a problem with this at all and floated to the toilets to heat up my arms. As I waltzed to the toilet, my nurse said to Mum "I can see we are going to have to make decisions for Andrea today." Haha she could tell that I was out of it. Needle in first go. BOOM! I still squeezed my Mums hand and still made funny faces as the needle went it but I didn't feel anxious like I had previously been. I did try some breathing techniques also that I learnt at the Cancer group that we go to and I definitely feel that it helped.

One thing I do remember is these beautiful pink fluffy blankets that had been kindly donated to the Oncology department by the Nelson Regional Breast Cancer Trust. I want to take the opportunity to thank them. They are so beautiful and snuggly. I eyed them up when we arrived apparently and it wasn't long before I had one wrapped around me. Snug as a bug. So soothing and comfortable. I loved it. Memory blank. Memory comes back and I have a bowl of Ice Cream. How did I get a bowl of ice cream I ask myself. When I asked Cam he said "You asked for it!" I cringe a little on the inside. The other cancer fighters probably thought who is this madam who swans in here looking larger than life, gets a fluffy pink blanket, gets a popsicle and now has a bowl of ice cream!!!?? I hope I was polite when I asked for ice cream. Who knows. I dont trust myself when I am in that state. Especially when I hear from my Dad and Cam that I got a little moody nearing the end of my treatment......

^^ Look at my slim neck!!! Woo hoo!

It was over before I knew it. I dont remember leaving. I do remember being in the car with Cam and saying "Lets go to a cafe and have something to eat and drink." I am never up for anything after chemo so this was a bonus....not that I remember much. I have banned myself from Instagram, Facebook and emailing the day of chemo and a few days following. I logged onto Facebook and saw that I had made a status update while in my 'Sedated" state about how laughter is so important or something along those lines and while I agree with my sedated self, I fear that I may reveal some secrets or something for all to see. I dont have secrets really but you get where I am coming from. The fact that I dont remember making that status update does scare me a little. I could have said anything. Thanks for the likes and comments though. Nice to know you all agree that laughter is important. I felt that I interacted with my fellow Cancer Fighters last week. Maybe it was the new found confidence I had in my sedated state. Like after you have a few wines. Anyway I did laugh a lot. And to any Cancer fighter who may read this, make sure you do laugh often. If you dont for a while, you forget how to. Laugh and laugh often. I standby this statement.

2 more to go.

Since my diagnosis in November I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of my friends and family who have given me flowers, baking, cards, gifts etc and recently I received some generous donations of money from some dear, beautiful friends who wanted to contribute in some way to my 'cancer journey' - although it initially felt uncomfortable to take money from anyone - I have decided to put the money towards a holiday for Cam and I once my treatment is over. I just cant say enough how everyones kindness has totally overwhelmed me, thank you all so much - I feel very blessed to have such amazing friends and family.

I want to just take a moment to acknowledge the death of the beautiful Weekes Triplets. They were wonderful blessings taken far too soon. I truly feel for the Family and Friends. My love, thoughts and healing vibes are going straight to them at this tough time.



  1. You do have a beautiful neck :) along with a beautiful spirit! so glad you're getting better xxxooo take care <3

    1. Thank you Anon :) I do love my new neck! Yes - I am getting there. I hope you have a lovely long weekend! A.x

  2. I hear you. I found it even physically difficult to type out a blog post, let alone THINK about a blog post. Everything seems such a blur even now. Two more to go. You are doing AMAZING. xx