The Many Rants, Raves, and Rambles of Catherine
THE STRUGGLE WITH CANCER FOG
There are many side effects of the drugs they give you to fight cancer. They cause nausea, hair loss, light headedness, detox sores, dry mouth, dehydration, and so much more. But there's a side effect that most people don't tell you about: "cancer brain."
You know when you're in the middle of going to grab something and all the sudden you can't remember what you were going to get? You retrace your steps and you get frustrated because YOU KNOW you were doing something, but you can't remember what. Cancer brain is like having these moments all day, every day. You're in the middle of a sentence, and all the sudden you can't even remember what you were talking about. You are about to type a word and for the life of you, you can't even dream of what that word was. You write down every single little thing, because if you don't, there's no way you will remember.
The most frustrating thing is you can feel the fog. You know that things aren't right. For me, attention span and concentration has been one of the hardest things for me. I was a 4.0 student in high school, I loved to read, and I loved to learn. I'm not saying that to brag, but to say how frustrating it is when all the sudden, things you used to be good at and things that used to be easy are now almost impossible. I sit, and I try to read, and I can't do it. I can't push through the fog. I get angry and frustrated because I know what reading should be like.
I've continued to do my classes during my cancer journey, and it's been extremely challenging to say the least. An assignment that would've taken me an hour before, now takes 3-4 hours, and is mediocre to the work I could've have completed before. I wish I couldn't feel the fog. I wish I knew it wasn't there, but you know. And its so hard to have part of your mind taken by this terrible disease as well.
I'm not saying this for pity, but to explain why I am the way I am. Sometimes, I sincerely forget that I have plans with someone if I didn't write it down. You could tell me something yesterday, and there's a pretty large chance that I most likely won't remember minuscule details. I can start to text someone back, get distracted, and I might not even remember to ever reply, assuming that I finished the text that I started.
Please, be patient with me and those of us dealing with the side effects of our medications. We hate the side effects just as much as you do, and we get even more frustrated with ourselves than you could ever even imagine.
Losing control of your body is hard enough, but losing control of your mind is terrifying.