Friday, January 20, 2012

Goodbye my brain

So things have been going pretty good for a while.  I'm getting stronger and stronger.  I am actually doing some running on the treadmill!  I haven't been able to do that since 2006 because of both my achilles and then the cancer.  I have my up days with energy, and my down days where I feel like I got hit by a mac truck and can barely get out of bed.  But it is improving.

What is not improving is my brain power.  When I was IN the chemo, I had the fog, the chemo brain, the chemo stupids.  I couldn't understand anything. It lifted pretty quickly after my last infusion.  But it feels like it stole something from me, and that hole is getting bigger and bigger.  My memory is getting worse and worse, and it doesn't feel like "getting older" kind of memory stuff.  I used to be able to retain information so much better.  I could teach myself things, store it away and be able to retrieve it later.  But I feel like I can barely keep up with my classes that I'm teaching because I can't remember what I'm supposed to do from one day to the next.  I can't remember the stuff I've already done, and I can't remember the stuff that I plan the night before to do.  I'm taking notes on anything and everything so that I can go back and remind myself.  But even that doesn't seem to be enough lately.  And it is starting to show at work.  I can't even remember some of the stuff that I was meaning to write down.  I'm working through the Chemistry, and it is so taxing.  My attention span is about a quarter of what it used to be.  I get saturated with information and have to take a million breaks.  I feel like the cancer is having it's last laugh.  It got the last word.  It is taken the only thing I've ever really had to rely on.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to rely on my brains forever, but I thought I could rely on them a little longer than this.  I learned that I couldn't  rely on super hard work and long hours when doing so put me in the hospital every semester in college because my body would give out.  I finally had to give up photography because I couldn't walk.  I had to give up editing because my hands are too painful.  Good luck with doing anything athletic.  But through it all, I was smart.  And I don't feel smart anymore.  Slowly that is being taken too.  I feel like my functionality as a person, my ability to take care of myself (were something to ever happen to John), and my usefulness in society in general are dwindling down, and I'm not sure where else to go from here.  I'm probably over exaggerating from having a hard day.  Maybe I'm not.  Maybe I am just being prophetic of the trajectory that I am on.  I feel like soon all that will be left will be my love for people and the ability to give good advice.  But even those I know are things that can be taken away.  (Well, the good advice part...) Being able to love people isn't worthless in this world.  But nobody will ever pay me to do it at the same time.  There are always other responsibilities that would go along with that, and I am feeling less and less competent.  I'm not quite sure what I'll do with myself.  All I'll be is another burden for someone to take care of.  But I'll sure as heck be a good friend while they are doing it.

I keep thinking about that verse that says "what right does the clay have to say to the potter 'why did you make me this way?'".  So far, in my limited experience, a removal of a skill or functionality has been for the purpose of steering me towards something else.  I thought that something else was teaching.  Now what?  I'm not completely horrid at it, but at the same time, I feel like I'll be that teacher that kids talk about secretly; the teacher that was sorta incompetent.  I remember talking about those teachers when I was in high school.  Apparently I didn't think about how they were real people too, just like my kids won't.

It's better to be pleasantly surprised than to be blindsided so I am preparing myself for this to continue to get worse. It's not going to be easy for me though. I'm sure it's not as bad as I feel like it is.  Maybe I'm just emotional. But that's how I've been feeling lately nonetheless.

UPDATE:  I wrote this about 15 minutes ago.  I just walked into my kitchen to find that the stove had been on for the last 2 hours.  Sigh...  Case. In. Point. At least I don't have a baby to accidentally leave on top of the car while I drive away thinking about how I just know that I've forgotten something...