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I Think I Lost My Thinking Cap

It’s been a while since my last blog about my cancer journey.  Several people have told me that they enjoy reading them, so I thought I would jot down some things while they are fresh in my memory.


To be honest, there hasn’t been much to write about.  I have a treatment, get really tired and lethargic for a few days and then bounce back to kinda normal before it starting all over.  Still no nausea (Praise the mighty name of Jesus!)  


The one thing I have noticed along with the lack of energy is the lack of brain power. I think I have lost my thinking cap. Maybe my hair was my thinking cap. I used to be pretty decent at juggling several thoughts, tasks, and ideas in my head at once.  That’s not the case at the moment.  Words are hard meaning they are hard to get out of my mouth.  Again, this is something that I typically have a problem with during busy and stressful times, but now it is one the daily when not much is going on.  That and loosing my Brooke Shields eyebrows are the two things that bother me the most.  Seriously, though, having trouble thinking and communicating well is troublesome because I hope it all comes back.  At the moment, I am relying on Andy to do the thinking on some of the things people would typically come to me for answers.  I tell them, “I can’t think about that.  Andy will need to decide.”  Truly, I just can’t think on the cuff any more like I use to.  Other chemo patients tell me it’s “brain fog.”  There are days when even wanting to communicate with Andy about the home’s necessities is a struggle.  On those days, I just can’t people.  Luckily, those are few.


I haven’t lost a stitch of weight.  Not even with loosing body parts and hair (from ALL over my body).  Today, I had my six week check-up with Dr. Tumati, the radiologist.  The nurse asked how my appetite has been.  I told her, “Too good”, which was evidenced in eating half of a Chipotle bowl and a Chocolate Crunch Strawberry Blizzard on the way home.  Oh, and Dr. Tumati said the skin and swelling from the radiation is healing nicely.  He actually said I was healing faster than a typical person heals while on chemo, so that was excellent news.


Now in full disclosure, on chemo weeks, I am not hungry, but I eat anyway

.  I eat to try getting the nasty chemo taste out of my mouth.  Some chemo folks say it reminds them of metal.  To me, it reminds me of ketosis breath you get when you do a 3+ day total fast with nothing but water.  I have done a couple of those in my life.  Worst taste and breath ever!  That’s what chemo “tastes” like to me, so I eat to try covering it up.  The good thing is that during that time in the treatment cycle, sugar is an aversion to me.  So, that’s a blessing.


Today was a chemo day.  We knocked out the Dr. Tumati and chemo treatment #5 of 6 all in one trip to Indy.  My chemo treatment takes 6.5 hours.  I get pre-chemo drugs in my IV port before they add in the chemo drugs.  I also get fluids to help keep me hydrated, which typically makes me take, no joke, 6 trips to the bathroom.


Typically, I take my computer with me to chemo to do some work.  Not today.  Last night, I woke up around 1:30am with a sore throat that made it hard to swallow.  I was afraid I was getting sick, which could potentially knock out the chance of getting chemo today.  I definitely didn’t want that because that would push back my ending dated into March and we have plans to take an actual vacation in March.  Not getting today’s scheduled chemo would just make all those plans go to pot.


I got up.  Took my temperature.  It was normal.  Took some Tylenol.  Drank 2 cups of hot tea with honey and watched 2 episodes of “Feud” on Hulu, which made me go back to bed at 4:30, with the alarm set for 6:00, and a potty break that just couldn’t wait at 5:30.  You know the drill.  The hot tea with honey made my throat feel incredibly better (Praise Jesus!)  So we were on like Donkey Kong for chemo.  However, I knew I would want to sleep during chemo since I didn’t sleep very much last night.


Now, here’s a little inside chemo dilemma- what to wear.  Yes, I know we all have that same dilemma every day, but chemo adds a little extra hitch to the get along.   My port where the nurses stick in the IV is above my right breast.  It’s under the skin and isn’t horribly noticeable.  They “installed” it above the typical bra line for easy access. 


Now I have two kinds of “bras”, sports bras and camis.  The sports bras are a no go for accessing the port because they come up too high.  (It’s for all the high impact aerobics I do!  Haha)  So, that means I need to wear a cami.  The shirt for the cami has to be open enough at the top to access the port, so no pull over shirts, t-shirts, or sweaters on chemo day.  The optimum shirt is a button or zip up shirt.  As a “curvy gal”, I only have a couple of button up shirts because nobody wants to see the gaping buttons at the belly.  I have a couple of sweatshirts that zip, but they look better with the sports bra than a cami, so they were out.  That left one shirt that is a half zipper shirt that can look dressed up or dressed down.  Perfect.  The nurse even commented that it was the perfect chemo shirt.  Bingo!


I was so overthinking the shirt situation when I dressed this morning that I didn’t realize until trip #5 to the bathroom during chemo that I had my pants on backwards.  Haha.  Now, I like to dress comfy from the waist down, so I wear leggings.  These particular leggings have back pockets that today ending up being front pockets.  It was typical Jodi fashion- haha.


Shoes are always something to plan for too.  Since most of the day is spent in the recliner under a blanket, I like to have my shoes off, but with frequent trips to the potty, I need to slip my shoes on, so the need for shoes that are slip on without being flip flops (due to winter weather) is another consideration while getting dressed of a morning.  Then, there’s the sock issue.  Michelle Cannava suggested I get cold press socks for chemo to help ward off neuropathy.  GAME CHANGER!!!  I wore them the first time at treatment #4 and it REALLY helped ward off the neuropathy in my feet.  However, I need to wear regular socks so my feet don’t get too cold with the cold press socks on.


The great thing about today was that Dr. Callahan came to the chemo center today and made rounds while we were there.  Andy & I chatted with him.  He is such an encourager.  Of course he asked how I was doing.  I told him thinking is hard for me, so I have given some of the thinking over to Andy.  Haha.  Dr. Callahan got a kick out of that and he and Andy ribbed on that for a bit.  Andy asked how long it will be before my energy and thinking go back to “normal”.  Dr. Callahan told him about 6 months. 


All in all, we are plugging along trying not to let this hiccup disrupt too much of our lives, but making adjustments as necessary.  I still sometimes think I have hair.  Typically before I lost my hair, I would adjust it on my pillow at night.  I find myself still going to do that.  Habits are hard to break. 


I am trying to develop more good habits like Bible reading on the daily and I am trying to start exercising on my good days because I have lost so much stamina.  Being more positive and less negative is always an area I am working on.  I tend to be a fixer.  Fixers see problems that they want to fix.  I’m trying to focus more on my own fences that need fixing instead of others’ fences that “probably need my help fixing” (not).  It’s not easy keeping my mouth shut.


All in all, like you, January was way too long.  At the same token, I am afraid February and March are going to go too fast.  I still have a lot to do on my “to-do” list during hiatus.  I better get to it…. it just might take a bit longer while I await my thinking cap to grow back.





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