Chemo Brain is a term used to describe the cognitive impairment of the chemotherapy drugs and toxins in your body after treatment. Some argue whether or not this is a real thing. I argue EMPHATICALLY that it is!
It affects people in different ways and to different degrees and I am fortunate that my episodes of Chemo Brain have been more humorous than harmful.
For example, sometimes I walk into a room and forget why I went in there. I leave the house without my car keys or my wallet. I lose my place mid sentence. I used to absolutely HATE when Helene would make me lists of things to do. “I know, I know, I got it.” I would say to her. NOW? I depend on lists whether she makes them or I make them on my own to guide me through the day.
From a work standpoint I hold it together – pretty much. I have been a scheduling disaster lately often double booking appointments and meetings. Fortunately I have a boss – who at a moments notice – has hopped a plane to cover a meeting or two allowing me to get away with Chemo-braining my calendar. ACTUALLY – if you all could keep a secret – I purposely double book myself so he is forced to come cover a meeting or two creating leverage and allowing me to be in two places at once! I was never very good at taking it easy. The double booking myself was a problem before Cancer as well.
I find that sometimes I lose my place in presentations. When I speak in front of groups now I bring notes with me – something I never had to do before. Fortunately for me our fund is performing quite well. The strategy hasn’t changed and I make my living by giving the same presentation five times a day five days a week. It makes it easier. I rarely deviate. I may forget – but I rarely deviate.
But YESTERDAY? Yesterday takes the cake. Our Chief Investment Officer was in town traveling with me for a few days. I had booked a few large group events – lunch and dinner type things – and through a quirk that I overlooked – booked them wrong and limited the potential number of attendees. I used to have my partner take care of these things but since she went back to grad school I decided to take this on myself. Bad idea. We did manage to salvage the meetings and had a fairly good turnout with some great, great people attending but what ensued throughout the day was a comedy of errors.
I left my American Express card at Kinkos in Springfield, Nj early in the morning while copying materials for the meetings. I did not realize this until I got to my lunch meeting in King of Prussia, PA. Then as I was setting up for the dinner meeting that evening I realized that I left the power cord to my lap top projector in King of Prussia. I was already in Cherry Hill, NJ. The restaurant was kind enough to let me use their projector for free – something they normally charge $600 bucks for – and I didn’t even have to play the Cancer card for that.
I had a virtual “yard sale” – my belongings were strewn about all throughout my territory. BUT – you just got to power through it.
Chemo Brain can be very serious. It can cause depression, anxiety, fatigue among other things. In my case – I am fortunate the effects are minimal for now. Chemo Brain is one of the many different ways that Cancer is trying to beat me. I will fight this attack back with a good laugh and by not taking myself too seriously. #bringit
Back on the road with my CIO today. I will try to keep us in one piece.