Friday, 9 July 2010

Chemo Brain

I changed from Cancer Aint Gonna Beat Me to Sara's Fight Back because I wanted to move away from cancer, move my life forward. However, there are some aspects of cancer that aren't quite so easy to leave behind and I feel that I must talk about them in order to spread awareness and nurture understanding.

When I finished, what I call, the radical part of my treatment in October 2009, I really thought that I had cracked it. I had been operated on, poisened and burned and life would resume as normal.

How wrong I was.

My first realisation came early in the year of 2010 when I finally realised and accepted that I was not as physically strong as I had previously been. It was a shock I can tell you because I expected to pick up where I left off! I accepted the situation, grieved a little bit and moved on.

Today, my second realisation hit me. Chemo Brain! Yes, I am suffering with chemo brain or cognitive disfunction. It basically means that I have word retrieval difficulties, word/name memory difficulties, sequencing and feel confused alot. I can no longer multi task as I used to, my short term memory is shocking....

Today I hit meltdown. I had a good cry then went off for a run to clear my head and get rid of the negative energies in my body. After 15 minutes of a 45 minute run I realised that my chemo brain and subsequent melt down this morning has given me an understanding of what it is like to have autism, or cognitive difficulties. I then felt a bit guilty because I am in a situation that I can rest my brain but children with ASD are unable to do this. When my son has his next melt down, I will know exactly how he is feeling and I am better able to deal with him.

30 minutes into my 45 minute run, my brain started to work again and my thoughts became less random and by the end of the run I was laughing and picking the seeds off the long grass as I ran past.

My head is still fragile, it won't take much for me to hit melt down again but I can grow from today now that I have accepted my situation and put in place strategies for us all to cope as a cognitive disfunctional family.


  1. What a fabulous and insightful post.

    You might feel addled at times but don't overlook the gifts you give to us all out of your own confusion. xx

  2. Dear Sara, how amazing for you to go through these things, realize the lessons you are learning and be able to share. Having been an oncology nurse I have heard stories like that. That is how I feel sometimes, facing old age and when the realization of limitations hits home, it hurts like hell at first. You are such an inspiration to me, as I have said many times before. Blessings

  3. Sara, you just left a comment on my blog and that is how I found you. I am so taken by your cancer experience and how it has helped you make the connection to how your boys must feel (cognitively). I know it can't be fun to experience the things you have gone through, but on the other hand, you have been given a gift of understanding that many of us will never know. You are an inspiration!


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