My favourite Disney character of all time is Dory, the blue fish from Finding Nemo. I love her because she's hilariously funny and I feel I can associate with her. Don't get me wrong - I don't suffer from short-term memory loss (I do speak Whale though), but the past few years I've noticed that my memory is completely shot. I've blamed it on my two epidurals, but apparently now I can even blame chemotherapy. Sadly, the concept of 'chemo brain' is not an urban myth: studies have been done and it's been proven that both radiotherapy and chemotherapy mess with your memory and cognitive thinking and its effects may last up to five years.
This is really bad news: even before chemotherapy I found myself indulging in many forms of James Joyce 'streams of consciousness' dialogues with myself, and even more worryingly, with others. I have not recognised half the people who ask me to be their friend on Facebook. Most of them turn out to be classmates from high school or university and apparently, I even snogged one of them. (Oops.) And when I do remember something, it's a bit skewed: I was convinced that my father tried to drown me when I was a wee babe, whilst my mother and godfather watched gleefully. (I even remember my swimsuit: a red and white stripy number with an anchor design in front.) When I confronted my parents about this attempted infanticide, I was told that yes, my father had held me over a boat and let my feet dangle over the water when I was two. But apparently we were on a boat one lovely summer holiday and my father certainly was not going to let go - they just wanted me to enjoy the water - or so they say... (My parents found this memory very funny by the way. All I can say is a word to the wise: be careful what you do to your children as you may scar them for life.)
If this is what my memory was before chemotherapy, I cannot even begin to imagine what it will be like when this whole episode is over. Currently, not enough research has been done on chemo brain to prevent it. So again I'm having to rely on my instincts. Although I will not turn my back on trashy magazines, it now seems imperative that I go back to hours spent doing killer sudoku. I was so addicted to this puzzle at one point that I would spend a couple of hours each day solving them. I had to eventually wean myself off as I was not getting anything done. Well, now I can do them with impunity. It's for the sake of my mental health after all. So forget the pile of laundry or ironing: it's puzzle time for me.