Welcome to My New Home

I keep getting compliments on my hair. And people keeping saying, “It’s coming in curly!” Yes, that’s because I have naturally curly hair. Sometimes I think I must have been darn forgettable prior to chemo because no one seems to remember what I looked like. Not only are people incredulous that my hair is coming in curly, but they actually tell me, “I thought your hair used to be straight.” A couple of weeks ago I asked Angie, “Hey, did I exist before I was bald?” You know, chemo has really jacked up my short term memory (more on that later…unless I forget to write about it) but people, even *I* remember what my hair looked like!  Sheesh! Of course, this is at least partly rooted in the belief that when people do chemo their hair comes back in different. Personally, I think this is a bunch of baloney. When you hair is a half inch long, any amount of wave it has will make it seem curlier than when it was longer and stretched out by its own weight. And if you used to color your hair, then of course your new sprouts won’t be the same color. Sometimes people say it comes back I thicker, but really, how would you know? You just spent the last 6 months bald!   

Last week I had my stitches removed, and met with Dr Birhiray. The last time I saw him was after the Tribune Star interview, but prior to the article actually being published.  I’d told him about it, and he asked me to bring him a copy next time. So, I took a copy when I went for my check-up. Dr B insisted that I autograph it, as if I am really some sort of celebrity. He’s probably got it listed on eBay for 99 cents right now with 2 minutes to go and no takers.   

I also griped to Dr B about not losing any weight. After weeks of working out, I weighed in one measly pound lighter. Of course, it doesn’t really help that my appointments are always right after lunch. And since we were running behind, lunch consisted of Steak N Shake. So there I was, griping that he’s making me fat with all this Tamoxifen, while the smell of cheese fries still yet lingered around me like a deep friend aura. But the way I see it, I’d have had those cheese fries if I weren’t working out, so the fact that I have been working out consistently should definitely overcome one meal at Steak N Shake.  I should still be ahead of the game. And I should be ahead by more than one stinkin’ pound!  

About that memory loss thing…you’ll be amused to know that I did indeed forget to write about it. It was only when I went back and read through what I’d written that I said, “Oh yeah!  Memory loss!” Welcome to life with me, post-chemo version. While it can be frustrating, it’s actually kind of amusing to me because it’s just so ridiculous. My long-suffering hubby can attest to the resemblance I bear these days to Dory from Finding Nemo. The only thing that has kept him from losing his mind is that he knows me well enough to finish most sentences for me. Still, that doesn’t help when he asks me to do something and I say, “Okay” and then immediately forget.  I guess it’s a good thing he loves me. 

There are some folks who will say, “You can’t claim chemo brain anymore.” Oh yeah?  Come hang out with me for a couple of hours and see if you still feel the same way. Ask any of my friends how many times I say things like, “Did I already tell you this?” Sure, it’s not like the very slow mental processing I had going on while I was actually doing chemo, but neither is it normal brain function.  At least 70% percent of the time I can’t think of the words I need to complete an intelligent sentence. My conversations are peppered these days with thingamajigs, doojiggers, and watchacallits. The names of people either completely escape me, or are crossed up with someone else. For example, the other day I commented to Mini Me, “Man, Emeril’s trying to kill me!” She said, “Emeril’s trying to kill you?” I just busted out laughing. I was actually not talking about Emeril at all. Instead, I was talking about Gilad, the exercise guru, whose dvd I’d done the previous day.  How on Earth I crossed up those two, I’ll never know. Mini Me astutely observed that indeed Emeril is the very opposite of Gilad.   

Clearly the synapses are not firing correctly.