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Monday, September 12, 2016

Chemo Concerts

The phenomenon of Chemo Brain is well known among cancer patients, at least to a lot of us. You can read about it here, as one point of data.

I have a raft of other things going on that can cause mental glitches, like anemia, tiredness, low blood counts, stress. It can make my work life difficult; being a software engineer requires constant problem solving, multi-tasking, and a lot of tasks not really related to software. However, after my chemo treatments, which come every other week, chemo brain definitely gets worse.

When I tell people about my inability to recall names or things that happened recently, some say, "well, you are almost 50, you know." Yeah, there is that too.

Whether you believe "chemo brain" is real or not, I'm asserting it is. It's simple to my mind: if you don't believe it, come with me some time and try it yourself. Whether it's caused by the chemo, I don't know, but it's correlated. What does that mean, am I not splitting hairs? No. It is important, and you can learn more here.

How do I know it's real? I've been doing chemo treatments for almost two years now, and I've settled into a routine. After every one these symptoms get worse for a few days, then dies down.

One of the weird things I often do after chemo is listen to loud music. The louder the better. My family just shakes their heads, closes my office door and leaves me alone for a while. I like a lot of different music (as I've said before), but during this time I want to hear load, driving, heavy-metal kind of music.

I don't think it's to drown out the depression, but I have a strange sensation to listen to my music all at once. Almost like one song going into my ears isn't enough. Strange, but true. This sensation lasts for hours then goes away, to the relief of my family I'm sure. I've since gotten a decent headphone setup to avoid blasting them out at night.

I don't always feel this way, sometimes I just feel ill. I don't understand this, because theoretically it's the same medicine given by the same people to the the same person every time, right? But sometimes it's party-on-Garth time. Crank it up to 11. This is your brain; this is your brain on chemo. And so on.

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