I start chemotherapy on Thursday and I’m feeling rather restless in the meantime.

My partner Deejay and I went on a Costco/Fred Meyer run (disinfecting wipes, Purell, soap, more soap, blah blah sanitary blah my immune system is gonna be garbage) this weekend and spent a while cleaning up the apartment. And by that I mean that he vacuumed and I tidied like three things and wiped a cabinet clean (with assistance). I’ve been feeling worse and worse lately, getting fevers and dizzy spells and general…dumbness spells? I zone out in the middle of conversations, can’t finish sentences, and sometimes even forget what I’ve just said. They say people get “chemo brain,” a kind of brain fog that causes thinking and memory problems, but I don’t think that applies to pre-chemo…

Anyway, I have whatever this pre-chemo brain bullshit is and trying to blog during it was a terrible idea. But alas, here we find ourselves, and we must soldier on.

I keep thinking there’s more I need to do to prepare. More cleaning products to purchase. More literature to read (but I already read everything the oncology center gave me, and I’m not letting myself google random shit). More something…anything. I guess I’m just trying to prepare for something that no one really can be fully prepared for. This isn’t like packing for a trip to India. This is packing for a trip to Mars in 1847.

I don’t want to do this. There are moments when I think maybe I can’t do this. I’m pretty fucking pissed that I don’t get more choices here, but there are only two: treat the cancer the way the oncologist says we can or keep the cancer and get sicker and sicker until I die. My instinct is to say that that sounds dramatic, but…I think that’s the reality of it. So I can’t just sit here and wish things were easier, because they’re not, and there’s literally nothing I can do about that.

Understanding what I have to do and feeling really emotional about really do go hand in hand. I’m wounded (both emotionally and physically; as I write this, I have a few gorgeous, swollen bruises and incisions on my collarbone where they ripped out a lymph node and shoved in a chemo port) and I don’t know what it’s gonna take to heal. The next six months are going to be rough. Ripping open new wounds, sealing up old ones, over and over and over while my hair falls out. I’m trying to prepare, but I just can’t.

I can’t. Is it okay to say that? I can’t prepare. I’ve done my best, and we’ll see if that’s a good start. Like Deejay said, “I think you just gotta wing it…”


9 thoughts on “Pre-Chemo-Brain

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  1. It may be a cliche now, but you are much stronger than you know. You can’t process the next 6 months right now, but you can maybe process the next 6 minutes. Stay here in the present and deal with now. Easier said than done. Breathing exercises work for me. Sending love. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I definitely suggest trying yoga or meditation if you haven’t already…or some kind of hobby that you can lose yourself in, whether it be drawing or painting or learning an instrument.

    Your body is definitely freaked out and anxious about starting chemo and is reacting accordingly. Be kind to yourself and move at your own pace. You can’t control that you are sick or that you’re going to start chemo, but there are other things you can control–like how you treat yourself during this challenging time!

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