Chemotherapy Ramblings and Shenanigans…

Todays blog may contain non sensical rambling, unfinished sentences, pointless points of view and in general a huge blob of words on a page. All this is brought to you by a strange and little studied phenomenon called “Chemo Brain”  if you understand how chemotherapy works, then you will easily understand chemo brain. If, like me, you had no prior understanding of how it works, let me help you…Chemotherapy works by killing  rapidly dividing cells. Unfortunately it doesn’t know the difference between a good cell and a bad cell. So, while it’s busy killing cancer cells, it also kills hair cells ( why you lose your hair). Stomach and intestinal cells (nausea).  Bone marrow ( which its constantly producing blood cells). Skin (excessively dry skin) And the mother of all cells: Brain cells (chemo brain)…If you tend to be on the ditzy side of the road you probably will not notice, but if your pride yourself on getting a high score on Facebook Genius tests, beating the crap out out of your friends at Words With Friends and are on level 155 at Candy Crush your probably Mensa material and this sudden inability to finish a sentence or remember what an egg ( the thing that falls out of a chicken) is called can be unsettling or even frightening. There’s no way around theses side effects..You endure them the best you can and hope your family, friends and your local barista understands. Me at Starbucks: Can I have a large ice tea,hot, with half lemonade and half mocha frappe in a small cup with two pumps of any flavor except the flower ones)…Flower ones??

My platelets have come up a bit so i’m back at chemo this week. Had Thanksgiving week off which was nice. My older kiddies came home for a few days. The sudden increase in noise in the house was really nice and the dogs got a ton of attention which they crave.

I’m sitting in The Chemo Cafe today getting fluids for dehydration and nausea meds for obvious reasons I wont bore you with. listening to the various conversations always fascinates me.  lots of chatter about The Eagles which I can’t follow..There seems to be a battle of the “side effects” going on as well. Who has it worse, who has more, who needs more meds. All I hear is I need I need I need I want…I don’t engage when I’m here. I find a corner chair and press the button on the chair that makes a sign comes down from the ceiling that says, ” Don’t bother her or you’ll be sorry”. I’m here to save myself and thats all…

Please excuse the brevity of todays blog..I’m still hot and heavy with neuropathy so using my hands is a challenge. I’m not savvy enough to use the voice thingy…..


Today starts #14 of fulfirinox and the 5FU 48 hour pump ( Mr. Pumpy)  I wear.  I thought by now I’d be cured, running marathons, fixing up an old home, rewriting the Articles of Confederation and a few other small projects I’ve been putting off. A common thread among many chemotherapy patients is you stop planning and “live in the now”. A hard concept to grasp for the chronically antsy.  Living in the now means no long-range  vacation planning or extended family dinners or picking up a few things on sale for next summer. You live today and you enjoy it the best you can. Your life revolves around what day and hour a particular side effect will hit you and believe me, they never forget to make their presence known . A fellow cancer warrior of mine keeps an extremely detailed diary of their side effects and the day and hour they hit. I thought this was a little OCD but soon learned they plan life this way. They manage to get in trips and get togethers and lunches with friends this way.. Brilliant!!!

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. For a vegetarian family its not about the turkey but about all the side dishes which become your main dish. A Thanksgiving at my table had a minimum of 8 dishes. When my kids were little and bombarded with turkey pictures, turkey commercials and the endless handprint turkey pictures (4 plastic bins worth in storage) sent home from school, I had to be creative in my answers to why we didn’t have a giant bird on our table. I could have explained that the Pilgrims didn’t have turkey either but mostly vegetables and fish but when your 2, 8 and 10 who gives a rats ass what the Pilgrims ate. They wanted Pocahontas to walk through the door with a Butterball turkey!! PRONTO!!!!  The hubs and I wanted them to appreciate the real meaning of Thanksgiving and not associate it with a bird bred to be abnormally humongous and flightless.  I channeled my inner PETA as best I could and we all agreed (mostly) to be thankful for that day. For all of us sitting at a table together and pretending tofu was turkey with carrot wings and cranberry eyes. We lived those days to its fullest. Something I lost along the way but now working on with the help of some good friends and knishes from a very friendly jeweler and a nurse who became my mom…



A classical ballet term meaning “separated, thrown apart.” It is one of the eight directions of the body.  “Ay-kar-TAY“.  Chemo can throw you in a million different directions in a single day.                                                                                                                    Happy Sad Mad Devastated Hopeless Confused Forgetful Angry Depressed