I bet you’d be super-surprised to hear that I’m a list maker. There are post-its all over the place here covered with chicken scratches about raisins and plant sales and the broken Dustbuster (Maybe I should make that D*stbuster so the search engines don’t find it.) I make notes about blog posts and new stories and dried fruit. Then I transfer these little notes to the bigger corresponding lists – grocery, blog, household.
The other day I found a note that said ‘pockets.’ I have no idea what I meant. Did I mean pockets or maybe packets or pictures or printers or pintos and windows and leantos and tacos or maybe a pingback or a wingback and cheese, of course, I must have meant cheese. Doesn’t it always come back to cheese? I was supposed to fill my pockets with cheese.
Just like Paul believes that rubber chickens are inherently funny, I think anything that has to do with a block of cheese is funny. Try working a block of cheese into a story; it makes it funnier, doesn’t it? So when I saw this SNL skit about the closet organizer, I’m sure you can imagine my delight.
Anyway, my point is this: I have a hard time remembering things. Also: blocks of cheese are funny.
But you see I have a good excuse. Chemo brain. For reals.
The American Cancer Society classifies chemo brain as including memory lapses, trouble concentrating/focusing. Trouble remembering names and details, trouble multi-tasking, and trouble finishing a sentence. Brains of cancer patients have been monitored and studies found that certain parts of the brain that deal with memory, planning, putting thoughts to action, monitoring thought processes and behavior and inhibition (pretty much everything) show up as smaller after chemo. These changes are still seen on scans five to ten years after treatment.
They recommend making lists and keeping a wall calendar to help keep your memory strong but those things don’t always help. Sometimes I completely lose a word or thought. One of my friends described it as going to the file in your brain that holds that word, opening it and finding it empty. Saucer! That little dish that holds a cup is indeed a saucer.
My memory has not been the same since chemo, but now I have a hard time determining if my lapses are the result of chemo brain, sleep deprivation, or mommy brain. It’s impossible to untangle them. As a friend says, sleep deprivation is key to the mommy experience. Does the well-rested parent exist?
Web MD claims that pregnancy brain and mommy brain subside after the first few years. Is that because children usually start sleeping longer? Is it because pregnancy hormones have leveled out by then? Do adoptive mommies get mommy brain? Clearly, I have a lot of questions and a lot to say on this topic so I’m going to continue to explore these ideas, if I can remember them, in a memory mini-series. I recommend you read it while gnawing on a block of cheese.