My old and dear friend Lesley has been digging around on our behalf and if you have a hankering to understand more about Chemo Fog or Chemobrain, there are many sites out there to help. This general site discusses – Cognitive Effects of Cancer Treatment: Chemobrain and how to Treat It. And – Chemo Brain Cancer Treatment Side Effects. And this is a whole range of sites discussing – chemo brain fog. I have not personally explored them in any detail and, in fact, have no desire to as my interests lie elsewhere.
My interest is, specifically, the experience of Chemo Fog, a name I prefer and which best describes my personal experience. My approach is the same as my approach to any drug, if I have taken a drug or consented to take a drug, then my attitude is to accept the effects and surrender to them, or, more specifically, don’t fight them. If I am in it for the ride, I want to go with it. When the Fog came along I went in to meet it and embrace it, it is a real and discrete place and once I am in it, it is no longer a fog, it is entirely clear, but the world I inhabit day to day is a distant foggy place and my body out there is foggy to the clear me in the fog. In other words the roles are reversed.
I also realised that the Fog could teach me a great deal about bodily surviving it in the real world, but I had no way to take that knowledge with me when I returned to the real world, I would lose the memories as I lose dreams on waking. But, I had my phone with me in the Fog and I decided to send a series of texts to inform me once I returned home.
The most important of those messages was: “I have to be in here, I have to be in here to survive. I am safe here, I am not safe there. I must learn this, out there.” What this means is that I have to be in the Fog, it is a consequence of the Chemotherapy drugs which are killing the cancer and saving my life. I can accept the Fog or fight it, but either way, the Fog will have its inevitable affect on me. I can see clearly that fighting it would be utterly exhausting and I have fought too many pointless battles in my life against the inevitable. If something is going to happen, like it or not, the best way to deal with it, is to accept it. The second part of the message means, I am safe in the fog, I can relax and enjoy it, If my real world body is in a safe place, like my home. But, if I venture out into the real world it is a real and present danger to my survival. I am unable to fully engage with the real world, and any fogginess which will accompany me at all times, will prevent me from exercising the care and caution we all exercise in our day to day dealing in the real world, say, for example, in crossing a road. I can die as a consequence of the ever present dangers in the the real world. There’s a very good reason we don’t let young children drive cars and go travelling, they have yet to develop the skills to recognise the dangers. A fogged body is that child, which is why I have signs on both my outside doors saying: Keith mate. Don’t leave the house without a chaperone/companion. Home is safe, stay in, stay alive.
That is the first lesson the Fog wanted me to have, make my home safe, and if I had to go out, ensure I was accompanied at all times. When the medical expert dismissed the Fog as nonsense, he was putting my life in danger and I bloody well knew it, but he mocked me.
Returning to the Fog after my second round of Chemotherapy will, I hope, reveal much else that will be of use to me. Unrevealed secrets of staying alive, because that is the driving purpose I feel within the Fog, it is a vital part of the process to save my life, and I believe it, because all the evidence I have says its true and which is why they are bothering to pump the fucking chemotherapy drugs into to me at all. No matter what some small minded arsehole of an expert says.
Chemo fog is my friend. Geddit? It’s pretty simple really. And I see and hear it loud and clear.