The last time I visited my oncologist, nearly three weeks ago, she was going through the usual questions about how I am feeling, what side effects I am experiencing, etc, etc. I told her the most troublesome thing to me was the short term memory loss that I have experienced since my brain radiation. I forget things almost instantly if I don't write them down. If I do manage to write them down I don't remember to look at the calendar. I am busy working on using my iPhone for reminders of important things (like when to pick up the kids and what night Sam has scouts) because I can't even remember to go to choir when it's Thursday--and you all know how much I love going to choir!
My long term memory is fine. I can remember things that happened years ago and my times tables and all that. I can still diagram sentences (thank goodness as I am recently in need of this skill again to help the kids with homework) and know how to find anything I need on the internet. Its really just things in the present and recent past. I can't remember if I took my medicine (hence, the pillbox), I can't remember if I ate lunch, I can't remember the details of a conversation I had with someone a few hours earlier even if something important was discussed. If I had a dollar for every time I went into the garage to get something and then stood and stared for long minutes while I tried to recall what it was I was looking for (or even what I had been doing) I would be doing quite well for myself.
So, as I explained this to my doctor, she recommended that I see a colleague of hers who is a specialist in this type of "cognitive disfunction" due to damage to the brain from radiation or other injuries. He may be able to give me some exercises or Ginko Biloba or something to help restore some of the lost brain cells. She said his office would call me.
About a week later I received a call from the doctor's office. I brilliantly said, "I'm sorry, WHO?" with no immediate recollection of the conversation. She went on to explain that she had received a referral from my oncologist for help with cognitive disfunction. I said, again demonstrating my great intelligence, "Oh, yeah! I totally forgot!" A little giggle from her and then I added, "I suppose you hear that from tons of your patients." She didn't comment on that, but it must be so. They almost certainly have more missed appointments than your average doctor. I can't wait to see how often they remind me of this appointment over the next few days!
So to those of you who tell me things that I immediately forget, and to those to whom I place frantic calls asking where or when someone's game/track meet/etc. is, thank you for bearing with me and helping me along. And please know that if you tell me something and I don't remember it, it is not because I don't care. I DO care, I just can't overcome the sagging brain. Hopefully this new doctor (if I make it to my appointment, of course) can help me!
Clearly, I am in need of his services.