I’m participating in this clinical trial that’s supposed to measure whether chemotherapy affects cognitive function. Of course, this study follows rigorous scientific protocols.
I should email the researchers and let them know that my “observational study” of one, myself, has conclusive results: Yes, chemo messes with your brain, or rather, with my brain. I would tell the researchers all about it, if I could find the binder where I put all the details about the study. What was I writing about now?
Oh yeah, my brain: Sometimes, I think I’m really OK, really I am. Then I fire up my computer and realize that I have completely forgotten about an appointment for an echocardiogram. This is a test to make sure that the Herceptin, the monoclonal antibody I’m taking, doesn’t damage my heart. You’d think I’d remember something important like that. But I don’t.
I have an appointment to have lunch with a friend, then forget to confirm.
I tell myself several times that I’m going to return an empty dish that used to have lovely lasagne in it. Friends have been fabulous about the casserole delivery. Then I walk out the door and drive to the friend’s house, without the dish.
I can’t really focus. So I wander around thinking things like, “Where am I going?” “Why am I holding this pencil?” “What was I going to do today?” “Where do these towels go?”
I make a commitment to do a VERY modest task for a charity blanket drive at my daughter’s school, then keep forgetting and forgetting, and end up doing it at the very last minute and delivering the fliers just moments before they’re supposed to be distributed at Monday drop-off. (Full disclosure: Journalists often do things at the very last minute—very little would ever get written without a deadline—but we scribblers usually do it consciously, not unconsciously.)
I start to tell stories, then forget the point halfway through.
Luckily, I’ve had these kinds of symptoms before, when I had Lyme Disease for a few months in the late 90s. I’m reasonably sure this will pass, since it did once before.
But I can hardly wait to do all those clinical trial cognitive tests post-chemo: trying to remember random words and numbers that have just been recited by the clinical coordinator, exciting stuff like that. I’m sure I’m going to ACE the test. Not.
At least I won’t remember to be embarrassed.