Chemo brain

chemo brain

One of my cancer-survivor friends used the expression “chemo brain” in conversation to me very casually a few months ago. “I came back to work one day,” she said, “and I sat through a meeting, but I had chemo brain something fierce, so I just went back to my office and addressed envelopes.”



Now I know what she was talking about.



Kids, it’s not so bad. It’s like a mild harmless form of dementia. It takes my current charming state of forgetfulness and turns it into a comedy routine.



Example: I take a pill and then stare into my hand, wondering if I took the pill or not.



Example: I go blank in the middle of stirring something, come to, and wonder how long I’ve been stirring.



Example: I bought some kosher salt the other day, used it, put it away, and then spent ten minutes looking for it again. It was adorable, like watching your dog (or your grandfather) spin around in the middle of the room, hopelessly confused. I searched the same shelf four times! I even took everything out of a cupboard and put it back together again! (The next morning I suddenly realized that the salt was in the pantry closet, right where it belonged. Smart mommy after all!)



Ah, the sweet bafflement of the elderly, and those of us under chemical control.



Enjoy our antics, kids.



Someday it’ll be you.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

4 Responses to Chemo brain

  1. I fully expect to be there someday. Seems inevitable. Sharing this with a friend who is undergoing chemo. I hope Partner can help you find things!

  2. starproms says:

    Aah that must be very trying, Loren. It will soon be over, really it will and then your thoughts will all come together.

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