My brain is a very fickle creature.
Today I went to City of Hope for my fourth of five "chemo brain" tests. I'm part of a clinical study that's tracking my cognitive functioning from pre-stem-cell transplant to three years post-transplant. And, not to brag, but in some areas, I'm as sharp as a tack. "Wow! Noone has ever gotten that far before," gushed the test administrator. Or, "You're the first person to complete that entire section." Just don't ask me for directions to the restroom.
And I have an uncanny ability to hear a list of up to nine scrambled digits and letters and repeat them back in numerical and alphabetical order. I even amaze myself. But don't dare ask me for my office phone number.
I guess we're all like this. We have our strengths and we have our weaknesses. And how much of the weaknesses can be pinned on chemo or aging or peri-menopause or post-menopause or just the way we're wired is anyone's guess.
That's why the City of Hope is looking for a non-chemo control group to enroll in the same cognitive study.
If you're between the ages of 18 and 75, the series of 90-minute tests could be an excellent way to test your memory, focus and mental agility. The administrators do not share the results of the tests, but it's easy to gauge how you're doing. And, if you're really concerned about your performance on a particular test, the neuropsychiatrist who is the principal investigator will talk with you. (As she did with me last year when I cried out, "I've gotten stupid." She assured me that I had not.)
As a little token of appreciation City of Hope will give you a $20 Target gift card for each of the five tests.
Email me at susancarrier AT sbcglobal.net if you'd like more information or if you'd like to participate.
After all, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Recommended Reading: Your Brain After Chemo: A Practical Guide to Lifting the Fog and Getting Back Your Focus by Dan Silverman, MD, PhD and Idelle Davidson