Wednesday, December 11, 2013

No longer suffering from chemo brain

I went to a neurological oncologist to get a "new baseline" for my cognitive abilities.  I wanted to make sure that I had survived chemo brain.  Frankly, I went through a period in my job where I wasn't thinking as adroitly as I was accustomed to and lacked a lot of energy.  It impacted my performance and career prospects, and frankly was something that I had heard existed but didn't really understand.  I'll say this -- it's difficult to self-diagnose when you have it.

Essentially, high dose chemo of any kind bathes your brain in chemicals and there's an impact on executive function -- attention, memory, focus, energy, decision-making, etc.  These are the types of things that executives (duh) rely upon in their jobs.  It usually takes around four years, it turns out, for these effects to subside.  The amount of chemo I received would indicate that I should have this worse than most, but my age and general mental acuity before all of it would indicate that I would fare better than most.

Anyhow, I'm relieved to report that I scored off the charts on most of the stuff including the areas that were once impacted.  My IQ is 98-99th percentile (140+) and executive function is intact, as are memory and attention.  I'm under a tremendous amount of emotional stress right now due to everything from the overall cancer situation, the M protein signature that has appeared, the car, my job (stressful on the best day), and other things and that's depleting energy so I've got to find a way to deal with that, but the core intellect and processing power is back.  So onward!