How’s That Chemo Brain Workin’ For Ya?

The honest truth is that it’s still not workin’ for me at all. I’m more frustrated by it than I was a couple of months ago. That’s pretty much all that’s different. Taxol isn’t making it any better. I’m not sure, or I just can’t tell, if Taxol is making it worse.

Just the other day, I told friends and family I had 2 chemo treatments left. The one I had yesterday and one next week. Well, that was wrong. Why? Because there is something about calendars and time and doing the math around dates that just breaks for me with chemo brain. I’ve never been this bad at figuring out or remembering dates. I’ve never been this bad at missing appointments because I forgot they existed. I wish I understood this better.

The doctors will say to try doing puzzles. I started doing crosswords while I was still on AC chemo. I finished the puzzle the same as if I didn’t have chemo brain. I sometimes do the New York Times crossword (print edition, not online), but mostly I do the one in The Globe. Yes, the tabloid Globe you find at the grocery store. No, I don’t read the other gossip. I go directly to the puzzle and work through it. Like I said, though, this didn’t seem to be any more of a challenge than it was before I started chemo and started noticing chemo brain.

What I did notice, though, was that watching Jeopardy challenges my memory and my time to respond. I think I’m getting better. There are certainly still moments where I know that chemo brain is still in play while I’m playing along at home. Last night, it seemed those moments were fewer than in previous nights this week. They have practice tests available on the website, and archives of Jeopardy tests. While there are still things I just don’t or won’t know, I feel less bad about not being able to answer those than I do the ones I do and chemo brain is holding me back. Another good measure of how well my brain is working on a given day (or hour) is how many of the answers I can remember and bring forward the next time I do the quiz.

So now I’m trying to think of other things like Jeopardy that could help. Sudoku, trivia games, and maybe brain teaser games. And while I’m doing this, I’m wondering why things that don’t really work other than just as a distraction are still being pushed to chemo patients as being helpful.


About Pink Ribbon Road

This blog is about receiving and living with a breast cancer diagnosis.
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