A breast cancer survivor shares her experiences with the BRCA gene.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Memories...Of the Way I Was

In Gabrielle Garcia Marquez's book "100 Years of Solitude," he writes about a town in which all the citizens catch a disease in which the side-effect is memory loss. He must have been writing about menopause.

My memory has vanished due to the abrupt loss of estrogen resulting from my hysterectomy. A friend commisserated with me: "Instead of getting a hysterectomy, I think I got a lobotomy." She went on to say that her sister is so frustrated by her lack of memory that she's rethinking taking a vacation anywhere. She figures, why bother spending all that money when she'd forget it all six months later?

I know how she feels. I can't remember from one moment to the next. I have to write every thing down, or the thought will evaporate. I mix up the names of close friends. I misread emails and recipes. My cooking has become suspect...

Yesterday, I washed my face, applied makeup, brushed my teeth and began getting dressed for work...when I realized that I hadn't showered. All of this would be funny, except that on the drive to work, blue flashing lights caught my eye on the expressway. In a split second, the car in front of me slammed on their brakes and I had to swerve -- barely avoiding an accident -- all because I had gotten distracted.

So, now my scattered brain has gone from being mildly amusing and somewhat irritating to very scary. Friends have offered their advice -- supplements, websites, books. So much to read, so much to retain mentally.

I ask my staff to be patient with me. This group of twenty-somethings does their best to tolerate my forgetfulness, but their estrogen-filled bodies can't relate. I remember when I used to have a quick mind like they have now. This must be one of the passages in life I must adapt to. At least I can trade experience, maturity and wisdom of age for detail, multi-tasking and clarity of youth.
I guess it's time for me to switch from my natural brunette color and dye my hair blond since that typifies my state of mind from now on.