Something strange has happened over the last 6 weeks or so. Have you ever realised you’ve been functioning differently, but you only see it when you’re back to normal? I’ve been feeling and behaving very differently and not in a great way. I liken the encounter to driving a car and not being sure on where you are going. You drive aimlessly and it’s made worse by dense fog, therefore you have limited vision and a very disorientating journey. I’ve recently learned that although I didn’t have chemotherapy, it is possible because of my operation and having had cancer, that I’ve suffered from chemo-brain also known as cancer-related cognitive impairment.
Cancer Research UK describes chemo brain as “…changes in memory, concentration and the way a person is able to think.”
That is exactly what I have been enduring over the last two years or so. I’ve found it very difficult for instance to: read long reports for work, decide on little tasks like what to cook for dinner and sometimes I would even struggle to spell simple words. It wasn’t very nice as I began to feel that I just wasn’t as smart as I once was. I thought my brain function was in decline.
In the last few weeks, it’s as if that fog has been lifted. It’s almost as if I have been sleep walking all that time and now finally, I have awoken. I have clarity of mind, my thinking is sharper and I am beginning to get really pumped up about opportunities that are arising.
This new awakening has caused me to really open my eyes. Now I’m seeing all sorts I’ve never seen and I am getting quite adventurous. For instance, I’ve never really been into fashion. However, after recently working with stylist Miss LMRX (from Instagram), I am open to a world of styling options. The other night, I went out in a leopard print dress! I’ve never worn animal print before!
Now I have this insatiable thirst for knowledge again; I can’t get enough! I was introduced to the book ‘The Birth Order Book’ by Dr Kevin Leman. Fantastic! I now understand why I operate the way I do, it’s because I have typical first-born traits. Hans Rosling’s book Factfulness is so refreshing. I’m learning that the state of the world is actually getting better (albeit not perfect) and not worse like the media would have us believe. It’s all backed up by robust data.
Yesterday (Sunday morning), I woke up at silly o’clock to try out for BBC New Voices. The local BBC radio station Radio WM is looking for new presenters. I almost didn’t go as I’d had a tough week, but my inner No Excuses Coach kicked me out of bed and straight to Birmingham Mailbox at 8:15am for a 10 o’clock audition. I had a delightful time speaking with fellow auditionees in the queue. Then we were required to tell a story in 60 seconds. I told the one about when I met America’s Most Wanted Criminal (true story). I got four votes from the judges and I’m thrilled to say I am through to Round Two! I have no idea what it will entail. I will keep you all posted.
It feels like, for the first time since my early twenties (when I was carefree and before all the life dramas), I am permitting myself to truly indulge in what makes me happy. I’m not overthinking the outcomes but jumping in the middle of the experience and dancing wildly and freely because I can! The fog has cleared and there is a big wide road leading to wonderful, exciting new destinations. I have a tank full of petrol, a revved-up engine and I’m off!
Let me know your thoughts. Have you ever experienced something like this (it doesn’t have to be cancer-related)? What did you do as a result?