I Survived Chemo and All I Got Was This Lousy Neurosis

One of the most disappointing aspects of having an incurable form of cancer, in addition to pain and death, is that “treatment” really just means putting Pandora back in her box for a time.  How long?  No one really knows, but definitely not indefinitely.  So unlike many cancer sufferers who are able to claim victory over their disease, cancer patients like me do not know any such feeling of relief or triumph.  Instead, we are left in purgatory; hopefully the nausea, abused blood vessels and ever-present taste of aluminum bought me some more time.  But otherwise I am no closer to being cured than beforehand.  In fact, the chemo itself can cause blood cancer, which really just seems unnecessarily redundant. 

Read More

What the Hell Is Cancer Anyway?

It may seem too basic of a question for me to pose, but now that I have been diagnosed (repeatedly) with cancer, as well as undergone chemo for it, it occurred to me to wonder what exactly cancer is. 

I, like most people, have a general sense of what cancer is, and that general sense is not good.  There is not, after all, any “good” cancer.  They all seem to be awful, and there seems to be a heck of a lot of it going around.  But I really do not know much about it.  I could try and find out more about it.  Being of the generation of which I am a part, I could just Google it and see what I could glean about it.  (If I were a generation or so younger, I probably would just text or Instagram or something someone to ask about it; if I were much older, I would consult the World Book, being sure to check the most recent annual update for the latest information.)  Yet I have a hard and fast rule against looking up anything related to my cancer on the Internet.  And, like all hard and fast rules, I have broken it from time to time and then found myself in a state of panic for several days afterwards based on what I read, which if I understood it at all was hopefully taken out of context. 

Read More

Did I Mention I Have Chemo Brain? Did I Mention I Have Chemo Brain?

One of the strangest side-effects of chemotherapy has to be so-called “chemo brain.”  For the uninformed or for those, like me, who are suffering from it and therefore may need a reminder, chemo brain basically causes one to forget things.  Or at least that’s what I thought that it did.  It also manifests itself in effects ranging from deficits in concentration, executive functions, and multitasking, and a general feeling of cognitive fogginess.  Fortunately I am not executive material so I should not have to worry about that ramification at least. 

Read More