One thing that scared me about cancer is a common side effect for people undergoing chemotherapy. It’s called “chemo brain,” and it’s a lot like “pregnancy brain,” in that it is a general term indicating situational forgetfulness, lack of concentration, and the like. It’s not serious, but it is annoying. I thought I was coming down with it this summer, when I was on AC, but I’ve been very pleased with the Taxol in this respect in that I have NOT had any symptoms! I feel as sharp as I ever was, and twice as strong.
I’ve done two things to combat chemo brain. The first is writing. I’ve made a point of blogging throughout treatment, every day if I can, and especially the weekend after treatment. I’ve written blog posts, reviews, emails, letters to the editor — whatever I can do to keep my mind sharp and the words in the right order. Although it’s taken discipline and not always been productive, it HAS helped me achieve my goal of keeping my wits about me. (I think. If I’ve lost my mind, please don’t tell me!)
I’ve also started something else recently — don’t laugh — crossword puzzles. The chemo fairies brought me crossword puzzle books in the first couple bags, and then New York Times crossword puzzle books again recently, and I fell in with them all over again. I must have done 10 NYT crosswords this weekend (just Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in this book), and completed them all, with only a word or two incomplete. I feel awesome.
This week off from chemo has been good to me too. My legs are working again, right down to the stubborn pinky toe, and the pain is gone. I feel strong and in great shape and ready for anything — even chemotherapy again on Thursday!