My last chemo treatment was May 12, 2015; over 2 years ago.
I have come to the conclusion that chemo brain is not only a real thing but it's a permanent thing. I think it's also something that can be triggered.
I got into a very minor traffic accident last week. At the moment of impact (which is an exaggeration, I was slowing from 25mph and the woman who hit me had come from a dead stop) my brain started to spin. I was acutely aware as I pulled onto the gas station driveway of 47592756291 thoughts in my head all at once fighting to get out, or stay in, or combine with other thoughts. I cannot imagine what a hot mess I would have been if this had been a serious accident.
At the police station while completing the police report, I was asked if the air bags had deployed. Dear lord!! It had never occurred to me that the air bags could have deployed; again the thoughts whirled in my brain.
I have locked myself out of the house with a set of keys that opened a different door to the house but it took me 10 minutes to realize that!!
I HATE THIS. IT MAKES ME ANGRY, YES I AM YELLING!
I have to be much more cognizant of getting enough sleep because lack of sleep makes the chemo brain flare. Sometimes the fact that it is Tuesday makes it flare. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful to be healthy and in remission but I would give anything to have all the thoughts I used to have in my head, up there where they belong and in order; not twirling around waiting to disappear when I need them most.
If I am not trying to remember something I have forgotten, it's the struggling to pay attention for long periods of time. I can empathize with people who suffer from ADD. I will often tell myself to focus and 30 seconds later am distracted.
So, when I tell you something for the 2nd time or 8th time, don't get impatient, I don't remember everything anymore. Somedays, I am lucky I remember anything, or I will remember the most random things.
When I don't tell you something...don't be angry. I forgot you needed to know or I forgot what it was I was supposed to tell you or BOTH.
When I haul my black binder to the latest music recital...I know the words to the song but sometimes my brain tosses the music right before I begin singing.
When I look at you blankly and I should know you...I do know you, it's just the rolodex in my head is jammed.
I write myself notes, and carry notes to remind myself to read the notes!
Other days, everything is crystal clear and things run smoothly; but I know it's a matter of time before everything scrambles again.
By far, the chemo brain has been the most frustrating part of my journey.