CDC Symptom Diary Card

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Testing Day

Yesterday I completed another round of cognitive testing with an assistant to a neuropsychiatrist.  I was wiped out, and had to take a nap when I got home.  I was toast for the rest of the evening.

My examiner was friendly, I'll call him "B".  He was a really nice guy, young, hard working, and seemed to know what he was doing.

I had to drive to a new building in downtown Seattle, so of course I got a little lost but made my way.  I parked, walked around a bit not knowing the best entrance because the main doors were locked.  The parking attendant helped me along to the skybridge.  I had to call "B" twice to help me find the me there was no signage.  Anyway, I was nervous, probably a contributor to my rocky start.

The total test time really was about 4 hours.  We went into a "little room" and he asked me a zillion questions.  I was nauseous and had some abdominal pain, the usual.

He did try to make me feel comfortable and explained each section along the way.  He asked me to remember lists of items, meanings of words, to remember story content, re-draw things from memory, put blocks together, do math, and finish sequenced drawings on paper, amongst other things.

I remember from my last round of testing that I thought I did better than I actually did, so I dare not try to predict my outcomes.  I can only say that I know I did better on some parts versus others, but who knows.

I really had a hard time with remembering lists and it wasn't until this morning that I remembered who painted the Sistine Chapel.  I could see the fresco, visualize the other works of Michaelangelo, yet could not remember his name.  That's so darn frustrating.

For real I have a hard time reading.  I can play around on the computer for long bits of time, my eyes get tired.  Reading a book though is different, for some reason.  I get real tired, can't stay focused.

Anyway, "B" seemed proficient enough and let me take a break when I needed it.  He's probably given this test so many times, he's memorized it by now. 

I think I was given the WAIS-III, because I saw part of the cover of the testing manual off the side of his computer.

So what will this matter in the long run?  I think it's really important because maybe patients on chemo may need to be more proactive with mental exercises as part of their treatment, IF that's even possible.

I remember being so drugged out I couldn't concentrate on TV, now that's bad.  Feeling like an observer, like other people are talking, but I'm not really there.  "wa wa wa" kind of thing, all the time.  I had just no excitement.

The only emotion I remember while on chemo is fear.  Real true fear.  Fear of people breaking in the house, fear of other people dying, fear of the shower head, fear of everything.

Now that fear is gone, but I still worry about other people more than normal.

If the rest of my life consists of me as who I am with huge holes in my memory, then OK.  I am alive. 

How will I be able to work though if I have a really bad memory or can't process information correctly?  That's the rub.

I remember the other day for the first time in two years I drove around an extra 20 minutes to listen some CDs and sing in my car.  I LOVE music and am really just now starting to enjoy it again.  I want to have a little place of my own, blast music, sing along, dance in the kitchen, and just laugh. 

I have to believe that I will make it and earn enough to live my own life again, I just have to.

Sigh.  So there is a lot riding on this test.  I pray the outcome is that my defecits can be mended or at least compensated for somehow. 

If I have two years or five years, I want those years to be meaningful.  I feel engaged in life now.  I feel ready, even though I still need 12 hours of sleep per day, I'm more awake and more energized. 

I will post my results...........not sure when I'll get them.

Well, this is Easter week.  Always a trying time for me.  I feel the pain of Jesus so deeply and although the ultimate joy will be his resurrection, the week of Easter seems to always bring me a real challenge.  Always has, like a car accident or losign a job.  So I pray this year I am free of any additional pain.

I thank you God for my family, friends, doctors and the opportunities before me.  I pray that my mom has good news this week, that my niece regains her inner joy and that my family stays strong and healthy.  I pray each of you feel God's love each and every day.

God's Peace and Blessings to you all.


1 comment:

  1. Just want to encourage you that the chemo brain does get better. For awhile I was afraid to drive in the city...I knew I wanted to get from "here" to "there" but I couldn't remember exactly how to do it...I could think my way to the first turn...then I'd have to work my brain hard to think the next turn. Funny thing, tho, I never got lost. LOL

    I pray that you will grow stronger every day, physically and brain-wise.

    And two or five years? Well...goodness...I pray for Twenty-Five!


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