The New York Times' Well blog often highlights issues important to the survivor population and this week was no different. One of their "Living with Cancer" writers, Susan Gubar, shared her latest experience as it relates to the effects of chemotherapy on cognitive functioning. Often described as a thick mental fog, the American Cancer Society says that up to 30% of patients and survivors experience symptoms of chemo brain including, but certainly not limited to: memory lapses, difficulty remembering details or concentration, inability to multitask, problems recalling names or spelling common words, inability to think as fast you once did, or difficulty remembering the steps of tasks you once performed easily.
Not unlike the patients and survivors we connect with at events throughout the country, Gubar searched for ways to help manage chemo brain. She personalized certain apps and calendars on her iPhone and computer and made sure to have small notebooks available at home, at work and in the car. While we recommend to stop attempts at multitasking and keep one version of things like a notebook, Gubar did what worked best for her. The cancer journey, from diagnosis to survivorship, is unique and personal. It's important to do what feels most authentic during a time that can feel, as some say, completely out of control. Other at-work recommendations we offer, especially getting organized to accommodate the challenges that stem from chemo brain, can certainly be tailored to fit any individual's needs.