Surgery in three days . . .

4 Aug

Yesterday I had pre-op testing at Hoag and will be going back today for more (I am having a treadmill stress test to see how my heart is doing). Yesterday’s EKG was normal so hopefully today’s test will be normal as well.

I will be going to a support group as well. It has been helpful in the past. Today, however, I am bringing my Mom with me (or rather she is meeting me there – as I have the treadmill test before the support group meeting). I may have to be a bit late, depending upon when I get out of my test.

I hope it will be helpful to my Mom to go to the group today. There are women of all ages there (some going through treatment and some who have recovered and have made their way through cancer and some who have had recurrences). Hopefully it will be a positive experience for my Mom and for me as well. This whole experience has certainly taken its toll on my parents. That is probably the worst thing about this diagnosis for me . . . to see them have to suffer because of me.

I feel like each day is filled up with so much stuff and then the day passes and I have one less day to take care of things that I need to take care of before surgery. My dog needs a bath, my house needs to be cleaned, I still have to arrange care takers, I need to speak with my surgeons again (in particular about my release date from the hospital), I need to shop for food, I need to pay bills in advance so that I do not have to take care of that again until after I have recovered, I need to rest, I need to write thank you cards, I need to speak with someone at Hoag about my diet while I am in the hospital (I am on a pretty restricted diet – mostly self imposed – but encouraged by my primary care physician who is an MD who practices integrative medicine and to whom I give great credit for my pretty much normal blood counts – in spite of going through chemotherapy these past two and a half months), I need to pick up prescriptions, finish up paper work for hospital admission, get ready for not working for several weeks, if not a month or more (this means finishing up online course materials for my classes so that my assistant can enroll students in my absence and get them started on self study until I am back to work) and who knows what all else I need to do – this chemo brain is less and less reliable these days.

Oh, I know another thing I need to/want to do and that is to find something to work on, read or listen too that might help my brain function. Chemo brain is a real thing and can last for  some time. Studies have shown that exercises and learning new things (like studying a foreign language) can help rework those synapsis that are messed up with by the chemo.

I have trouble finding the correct words when I am speaking or writing. And, I have trouble spelling . . . something I really never had trouble with. It is very, very frustrating.

Every time I have trouble with speaking, coming up with the right word, it never fails that someone tells me that they know what I mean, that it happens to them all of the time. Well, I don’t think so. It is not the kind of thing where you just can’t remember the name of an actor or a movie or when you know something and it is “on the tip of your tongue”. Or, walking into a room and not remembering what you went into that room for.  We have all experienced those things. Chemo brain is different. It actually hurts my head when I am struggling to find a word or remember something that I was about to say. Words get jumbled, I can’t process more than one thing at a time. It is like an extreme overload on the brain. Examples, I say calendar instead of calculator (but, they are such similar words, right? Aaargh).

Fortunately my friends and family seem to speak chemo. Or, at least they are not letting on how much I don’t make sense some of the time. But, I know it is happening and I know that it will get better the further out I am from my last chemo. And, I know that as the stress of this disease lessens and I continue to improve and heal that my brain function will improve as well. Still, it is a very frustrating experience.

So, I think I need to get a hold of some foreign language CDs or MP3s. That might help. Maybe Italian would be good. I would love to go back to Italy. Of course Spanish would be far more practical.

Well, I am off soon for my stress test and then to meet my Mom at the support group and then home by the late afternoon to hopefully make some progress on my pre-surgery list.

Thank you to everyone who is saying prayers for me. A friend emailed me today to tell me that she was praying for me and that her sister had put me on a prayer chain at her church where over 800 people would be praying for my recovery. I so appreciate all of these prayers.

Say a prayer for my chemo brain too 🙂

Carmella, I am sorry I missed your call yesterday. I will try reaching you in the late afternoon today. Love to you and to everyone!

2 Responses to “Surgery in three days . . .”

  1. Carmella August 4, 2009 at 4:24 PM #

    Got cha!! I am off all day tomorrow… let me know what you need done…. I can do it!!

  2. cancerfree2b August 4, 2009 at 7:28 PM #

    Awe you are the best! Thank you! I am making a list. But, first a nap, I am exhausted. I passed my treadmill stress test, woo-hoo. So all is well with my heart. Yeah! I am going to get a little sleep right now and then get back to my list in an hour or two. I will have a better brain after a nap.

    Thank you so much!

    L.

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