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Is She Crazy, or is it Chemo Brain?

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If the old adage “a picture’s worth a thousand words” istrue, I have several photos that are worthy of a book.  One of my favorite photos my friend Linda took of me theday after my last chemotherapy.There I am in all my chemo splendor, bald and glassy-eyed with 25heart-shaped red foil balloons stuffed down the back of matching red foilpants.  If that isn’t strangeenough I am naked from the waist up except fora giant pair of red silk lips duct taped to my mastectomy scar.  Plus I am wearing silver lamé tennisshoes with orange stripes.  If youthink the photo is odd you should see the attached ‘Thank You’ card I made togo with it.  It’s atleast worth a referral to a good shrink.

On the front of each card I stamped red balloons then useda heat gun to emboss them with red glitter and wrote “Bubbles was the daughterof a famous circus clown.  ButBubbles didn’t want to join the circus…”When you opened the card there was the photo of “Bubbles” in her best chemo cheerleader pose, and at the bottom itsaid “Bubbles didn’t want to join the circus.  She wanted to be a Las Vegasshowgirl!”


At the time I thought the card was the highlight of mycreative endeavors.  Now I wonderwhat my friend Linda must have thought when I opened the door dressedas Bubbles.  She must have stifled the urge to scream, run down the driveway andholler for help.  If she thoughtI’d lost my mind, she didn’t let on a thing, acting as if this was acommonplace occurrence when you knocked on a sick friend’s door.  To make matters worse, I tried to explain…  But where does one start, especially when you have had eightrounds of chemotherapy under your belt–or lips?


As “Bubbles” babbled on,Linda may have pieced together balloons, an end of chemo party the nightbefore, shoes bought under the influence of chemobrain and “they’ll look great with the right outfit.” 


I have the most wonderful friends.  When faced with a crazy lady,they smiled and took me in stride, ignoring that I paid $500 for shoes that areso not me.  (If you assume that’s true you must be wondering how Ijust happened to have those red foil pants.Another story.)  My friendsdid not look at me askance when I found “the rightoutfit,” but instead, lovingly supported and cheered me on.  Chemo brain is frightening, annoying andfunny, all at the same time, and not just for those of us who have it, but foreveryone who loves us.