Chemo brain-is it real or is it all in our heads? 

Ladies and gents, today I bring you good news. I have turned a corner! I should be honest and tell you that since March I have been pretty inactive. Many a day has been spent on the sofa or in bed, interspersed with the odd day out with minimal walking. Yes overall I’ve been pretty much like a sloth. I’m not trying to justify myself but let’s remember I literally broke some of my spine, the op tired me out alone, then the cancer makes you tired plus the chemo-all combined it fucks you up! Yet I know ladies who run miles every day who’ve been through the same as I have, so I can only come to the embarrassing conclusion that I have been a little lazy.  Let’s put a positive spin on it though,I’ve taken a long old rest! 

Anyway I’m not quite sure what happened but I woke up on Thursday and I had all this energy! I made all 3 meals for myself and cooked for the whole  family. I went shopping, did some cleaning and took the dog for a long walk. Now I’m doing all that AND bloody baking! I can’t be certain but I think it might be because in my heart I know that no 7 was my last chemo and I realise instead of approaching another poisoning, I’m actually 3 weeks in to my recovery. My side effects were starting to affect my quality of life and whilst I was walking my dog on Thursday I remembered that 7 was my mums favourite number, and it’s considered lucky. I had a sort of epiphany I guess, it’s hard to explain, but whilst I know that I can have 8 treatments, I feel like I’ve had enough now and I’m totally comfortable with my decision. I can’t speak for everyone but this turning a corner is wonderful. In my mind, the more normal your life can be with stage 4, and the more active you are, the better you feel psychologically about everything. 

So I really wanted to talk about chemo brain and my recent discovery. The first time I had cancer and chemo you may recall that I heavily documented that chemo brain was very real. I really suffered with it. I found it so tough because I struggled so much trying to remember things in the work place, I was constantly in this fog but lots of people just did not understand the condition. Chemo brain affects so many of us, but you might be surprised to know that it also affects people with cancer who didn’t have chemo. To be honest at first I doubted that. After all they didn’t have the nasty drugs in their veins, why would they be affected? But here’s the thing. I was diagnosed with secondary cancer and had chemo for the 2nd time but I’ve not suffered with chemo brain this time. I’m actually sharper than ever. But then it clicked. Chemo brain probably isn’t caused by the drugs, in fact it shouldn’t be called chemo brain it should be called “cancer brain.” The fog and confusion is most likely from the shock of it all. The upset, the anger, all the emotions. Pretty similar to post traumatic stress, (PTSD) you’re brain is consumed with your diagnosis and you’re petrified. Obviously my stage 4 diagnosis was a shock but it wasn’t new anymore and I had chemo before so I knew what to expect. People who don’t have to have chemo still suffer the shock and still worry about their survival. Cancer is cancer, it’s hard for all of us regardless of mastectomies or the amount of treatment we have. 

Anyway I just wanted to share that with you-to recap: I had it the first time around but not the second. I think it’s very interesting!

So the baking…You have to give me marks for effort, I am the worlds worst baker, but that’s one thing I like about myself. I always give everything a go even if I’m rubbish at it because very occasionally things turn out better than we give ourselves credit for… X 

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