Friday, July 22, 2011


I am (correction, was) a multi tasker, problem solver, organization freak who works from home.  I work with my husband whose business is in commercial construction based in NYC.  Both of those things are challenging for so many reasons.  For now, I’ll just state the obvious.  Working from home requires a tremendous amount of discipline to actually remain in my office and WORK.  Working with a spouse is….. I may have to invent a word to truly capture just how THAT goes.  Until I invent a word, I’ll just call that: challenging to the 100th. power?

I am working with numbers.  I am submitting all sorts of official paperwork, most with deadlines.  I am constantly being interrupted because a fire is always erupting somewhere. There are three different companies.  Multi tasking is difficult enough, multi company-multi tasking just takes it to a new level.

Everything is NOW… or yesterday.  Just get it done.  Normal, everyday things are continually being put on the back burner.  It was fine BC.  It’s no longer fine.  I can’t work in those situations.  I get nothing done.  BC me would have juggled it all.  Fires extinguished within 30 minutes, everyone’s immediate crisis handled and I would be back to whatever routine work was up next.

I could handle a crisis (to whatever extent one has the audacity to use the word crisis when referring  to paperwork or finding out how an employee whose illegally parked and now towed car can be located and released), jump right back into whatever I WAS doing pre-crisis, all this while emails and faxes are flying.  Jeez, I'd even start working on some less immediate “thing” or two.  I am not trying to come off as superwoman because I most certainly am not even close, but these were my working conditions.  I thrived in the commotion of it all, took satisfaction in getting it all done and even greater satisfaction in the safeties I had built in to make sure everything was accurate. 

I knew the sheer chaos was fertile ground for errors.  When it’s money or government paperwork being submitted timely and accurately, I needed to make sure I was getting it right.  Every day was not nutty, but every day was busy and every day required dealing with interruptions and multi-tasking.  And I loved it and then, I began to notice things piling up a bit and then a bit more.

My husband noticed quite some time ago that I wasn’t the same and although I would admit a slight change, primarily that things were taking a bit longer, I fought him like hell when he pointed out an error or claims to have asked me to take care of something.  “That was not my fault and I don’t know WHO you asked, but it was NOT ME.”   My existence was in the Land of Overwhelmed and for a very long time I blamed it on a heavier work load.

I am four years post chemo and I really don’t get it.  I thought things would begin to get better.  They didn’t.  Instead,  I felt like things were getting worse and once the downward spiral began, it fueled itself to dive lower and lower.

And then I stood in the mirror and I looked the same, I could do most things like usual but the things that I can NOT do, I really can NOT do.  And I realized I need to change paths.  I can’t be in a high pressure situations, I can’t work in a chaotic space with phones ringing, cross talking, I can’t do what is expected of me.  Deadlines stress me out.  

I am on the other side. It's time for me to take action.  It's time to accept the new me.  This is my life: The New Normal. I'm on the AD side of the calendar.  Still can't come up with something that captures the true essence of AD. Think the "A" should be a form of the word acceptance. Accepting Defeat?  Sounds so negative........ unless........

Hmmmmmm, if take the defeat, learn the lessons that inevitably are present in any type of defeat......if I embrace defeat for its lessons rather than continue to mourn the loss of BC life......I CAN make this an opportunity.  Take the lemons and make lemonade today...... And tomorrow, take the lemons and say, "pass the tequila, please."  Evolve.  Go with the flow. Stop resisting change.  Work with whatcha got. 
It's official.  I have My Life In Three Chapters:
Before Cancer
Entering Fog
Accepting Defeat

Ironic that BC:EF:AD is a complete scrambling of the first letters of the alphabet?  Or, just an imitation of the scrambled mess in my brain…….


  1. Making my own comment here.... don't want anyone to think I see "accepting defeat" in any sort of negative light because I truly do NOT!! Defeat is only negative if you dwell on it and for now, it's a great way to capture the place in which I exist... the catalyst for the change. Plus, I DEFEATED cancer. It's all in the attitude!!

  2. Dear AnneMarie, finding you in a miraculous journey via Twitter has completely vindicated me! I can't remember where I spotted a Tweet posted by Sarah Brown (wife of former UK PM Gordon), but I looked to see who she follows and your username immediately chimed! I suffered from chemo-brain fog after chemo in 2002 and feel I am only just beginning to regain my mental capabilities. In the years since chemo, a lot of people thought I was making it up as a kind of excuse for personal failure. For some reason, no one else who'd had chemo seemed to have noticed a loss of mental capacity in the way I described it. So negative were the responses of people I spoke to that I never even thought to do an Internet search regarding my symptoms! That's how ridiculously fogged out I was and sometimes still am! Now, of course I am trawling the Web for every bit of info I can lay my hands on. But all power to you dear girl! You look and sound like a really special person and I wish you all the very best in your new journey! Love, light and laughter! Lynette

  3. Dear Lynette,
    Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. I am thrilled when I see the word "vindicated." I know what you mean about people and their reactions. Thankfully, there are researchers out there who know this is real and because the changes are so very subtle to the outsider, we are often dismissed. I LOVE that you shared this with me and I am going to find you on twitter. I set up a private Facebook page that at the moment has gone nowhere. Perhaps it's time to dust that off so we can commiserate together. Love to you! AnneMarie

  4. Hi Lynette, (Hi AnneMarie),
    Lynette, do you have a bloggy or a tweety? I have chemobrain since 2008, and it took me months to restart my blog, even though I had already been blogging during chemo. I just expected it to go away, like all my doctors said it would. but I never regained a proper sense of smell, either, and I have not read a book or magazine or newspaper for 3 years. I used to read about one novel each week, mostly contemporary fiction. I don't even listen to music anymore, it's irritating unless it's classical. And as far as my friends are concerned, forgettaboutit, they forgotabout me. They just cannot deal with me saying I'm not well, I'm tired, and I'm cognitive impaired. "Well retrain your brain", they suggest hopefully. "Learn a new language!" Well that's just it, if I could learn new things, I wouldn't be impaired. I've spent a year learning the language of disability, medicaid, and food stamp applications. Horrific. Abysmal. Hopeless. That's my life! Love, Evelyn
    P.S. there is more chemobrain stuff on my bloggy if you want to get more depressed.


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