Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thoughts about last year

I was intending to write a little post about running and rehab and cancer survivorship, but I think that will wait for another day because when I came here, I decided to go and see what I was doing this time last year. It turns out that I had been consolidated for the third time and was just sitting around waiting to get my second neutropenic fever. I have since learned that usually only one in six rounds of severe neutropenia results in neutropenic fever. I'm just an overachiever with two out of three providing me the experience.

It was interesting to read the blog for last year because there were a lot of things in it that I thought had happened at a different time, for instance, remember the french toast that Ellie announced we were bringing in Friday as she was going to bed Thursday night? That was early November. I would have guessed much later in the school year. I talk about a blood transfusion that got stopped because I had a fever. I really don't remember that at all. I was also surprised to read my detailed descriptions of the physical sensation of neutropenic fever, doing my Dartmouth benefits last year, turning the TV on at Dartmouth in my room to find out the election results, etc.. Gosh! I don't remember any of that.

I guess it makes sense because I was pretty sick and my brain probably had a hard time laying down memories when it was 102 degrees for days on end, to say nothing of being super stressed and having had a ton of toxins washed over and through it. I worry about what the longer term effects are to my cognition of what my brain went through with leukemia and, in particular, the chemo to get rid of it. People tell me they can't tell that I'm not as smart as before leukemia/chemo, but I can.

New baby bamboo growing in my office. May my brain be sprouting new neuronal connections too.

There is also a certain sense I have of being astonished that I went through all that. I know when I have said that I didn't really suffer very much during my leukemia treatment that observers often disagree. As I read my old blog entries, I don't feel that they are the writing of some one who was suffering, but I am surprised to read about all the stuff that went on. I had forgotten about the gram positive blood culture, how long it took my fever to go away, how long I felt cruddy for before the second neutropenic fever, etc.

May all of our brains improve with time. May our memories of the past improve as time passes.

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