Again, this post comes with a preface. I don’t want any pep talks, sympathy or “oh no, you’re not” messages. My blog, my rant, my choice.
I am seriously stupid. Cathy would say I’m forgetful, but no, I have become seriously stupid. Went to Target today, but scoured the sites for coupons and deals before the trip. Got them together with my list and headed to Target. Pulled out my coupons at the checkout. I LEFT THREE OF THEM IN THE ENVELOPE ON TOP OF THE STACK, meaning I gave Target $3 more than I should have. Now, that might not seem like a lot of money, but when you consider the $2 I left at Kroger, the $4 coupon I forgot to download for CVS and filling my tank without checking Gas Buddy first and I figure I’ve depleted my budget an extra $12 this week. Multiply that by 4 and that’s nearly $50 bucks I’m out this month, $600 months for the year (you may want to check my math. My mom will tell you it’s never been my strong suit). When I got home I found my mistake and did some serious head slapping on myself (literally) while repeating my new mantra, “Stupid, stupid, stupid!”
While at my oncologist this week, I had a heart to heart with him about this whole menopause thing. While he agreed that it’s a double whammy to go through instant menopause and chemo, he also said there’s not much he can do. Normally, he would prescribe a low dose of HRT to offset some of the symptoms, but since I was lucky enough to have an estrogen receptive tumor, that’s off the table. While my hot flashes are minimal, this whole forgetfulness thing is throwing me for a loop.
BC (Before Cancer), I had an incredible memory. I could keep an entire grocery list, Braeden’s soccer schedule, a partially written article and my computer passwords in my head at the same time and rattle off any one of them with ease. Now, I’m beyond stupid. The cat’s name escapes me most days (it’s Sierra), my children have learned to respond to the snapping of my fingers, then pointing and my saying, “You know who you are. Come here,” rather than their own name (which are Kyle and Braeden, in case you’re wondering). My mom has had the same phone number since I was in elementary school. I actually had to use the phone memory to dial the number the other day (we have it programmed in for those boys whose names escape me right now). Despite it being on my list for the last 3 weeks, I cannot seem to remember to buy graham crackers because my Kroger decided to move everything around in the store.
I used to be able to write articles with the TV on, no problem. Now, I have to have it nearly silent to write. It’s sad because I use music as inspiration. Now I just type the lyrics, which makes for an interesting aside in the articles. Writing was my escape. It’s the only thing I could do better than just about anyone else I knew. It was my parents’ bragging right: their published author. I would just whip stuff right off the top of my head. I was finally making some money at it. Not any more, it’s so difficult. The one thing I had a talent for is gone. It’s not fun any longer, it’s work and that is extremely frustrating and just reinforces the fact that I’ve become seriously stupid.
Seriously stupid is a side effect of chemo, I realize that. It’s like neuropathy, except you can’t ignore it. Unless I’m on my feet for an extensive period of time, I’m pretty used to the numbness. I’ve learned to type with numb fingers. You can’t get used to being seriously stupid. Forget it, yes. Get used to it, no.
On the OVCA (ovarian cancer) support board, I love to tell people to extend themselves grace when they feel overwhelmed or overly tired. Grace is not something we earn or deserve. Grace is God’s gift. I think I threw my package away. Either that or I put it someplace where I wouldn’t lose it. I can’t remember.
I remember reading that chemo fog or chemo brain is real (don’t ask me where) and that it can last for decades. Yes, you read that right – DECADES!!!!! So while I am thankful for the toxic cocktail that saved my life, I’d like to strangle the person who wrote the brochure. They did NOT include serious stupidity as a lingering side effect.
I used to be able to be my quick witted, sarcastic self. Now I just stare blankly, trying to remember what witty actually means. This is a disadvantage for me since humor is my defense. I really want this back when I tell someone that I’m in remission from ovarian cancer. I need to write another blog on that (guess I should write that down) because the looks I get are priceless.
While we’re on the subject of writing stuff down, I have resorted to leaving notebooks all over my house to write down what I need to do. I do this because I tried to keep a single notebook, but could never remember where it was. Seriously stupid! So the notebooks lie around and the short kid with the dark hair likes to draw and write on them, sometimes covering up the things I was trying to remember. While (bear with me here, I am drawing a major blank right now. Oh yeah, I remember. Let’s chalk that up to being seriously stupid.) I applaud the fact that my son is practicing his writing, I wish he’d find a more appropriate place to do it.
I HATE being seriously stupid. I am fed up. I am defeated, deflated and just plain worn out. I knew when I was diagnosed, my life was changed forever. I never expected this change. So many things that made me who I am are gone. I grieve this every day (yes, I do remember to do this). Unfortunately, there are so few people who understand which makes it that much more difficult.
I hate myself for getting cancer (remember, the title of this post is Seriously Stupid, so bear with me). When I have a really stupid moment, I try to figure out what gave me cancer despite the fact that my oncologist tells me that he’ll never know why for sure. I do what I can to ensure it doesn’t recur. I’m tired of the whole thing, but it will never go away. The me BC is gone. Now I have to learn to live with the me that’s AC (After Cancer). Hopefully, I won’t be too stupid about it.