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I am stuck


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and I feel like I am in a swamp of molasses.

Here's the scoop - I am 47 years old, a single Mom of a 10 year old boy. I quit working after my first treatment - I knew there was no way I could keep up the with the mental demands of my job and take care of myself and my son. I am okay financially - SS disability will start in August and I can make it until then. My married daughter and her husband are planning on moving to FL in September so they can help me out. I knew that I wouldn't be able to stay in my home just with the the disability.

So basically, life is pretty good. My only "post chemo" issue is that I have the attention span of a flea. Really - I am not exaggerating. I have absolutely no focus and flit from project to project. My days are full of absolutely nothing much. I am not bored, nor am I apathetic, nor am I just existing. I am just being.

Of course, all of my thoughtful friends have ideas/suggestions on what I need/should/could be doing. Some have suggested volunteer work, another suggested part-time work....everybody has some idea about what they would do if they were in my shoes.

Well they are not in my shoes and quite honestly, until I put this pair of shoes on, I had all kinds of ideas of what I would be doing when my treatment was over. Boy, was I wrong!!

I am enjoying this period of "just being" and doing what I need and want to do. It's a very simple and peaceful time of my life. I have activities on my calendar that I am greatly anticipating and I am enjoying the times that I spend with my family and friends.

Whenever somebody pushes me too hard suggesting that I should be doing "something", I've stopped listing my accomplishments and say "Thanks for your suggestions, but I really am quite alright!" I know that I am frustrating a few of my friends - before my diagnosis I always juggled multiple things and was going at full speed 24/7. Some of them have stated "I wish your life was the way it used to be".

So is this common??? Is this inability to focus part of chemo brain or just the stress of coming off a very difficult part of my life? Is this depression? I don't feel that I am depressed - I took a couple of those online tests and they didn't indicate depression. Or is this just the "new normal"???

How did you feel during the period of time when your treatment ended? I am still a bit tired each day. I am exercising, gardening, swimming and taking care of my son and home. I feel good, physically and mentally too.

So maybe I am not stuck?? Maybe I am exactly where i need to be at this point in my life.

Pam in FL


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Hi Pam,

I can relate.

I think you answered your own question in your last sentence.

Sounds like you are living one day at a time.

When you need help changing what you are doing, let us (and your other friends know).

Yes, chemo does do something to the brain. I had lapses in ability to hold thoughts.

Enjoy your boy.

Cindi o'h

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I've had surgery followed by chemo twice (June-Nov 2003 and Nov - June 2004). Both times during chemo I had the brain of a flea. It got better after a while. By the time I had the 2nd surgery (18 mo. after the 1st), my attention span, etc. were almost normal. I finished chemo the 2nd time last June and my mind is pretty much ok again. I'm 67, so I attribute very minor memory problems to age. Now, as for being tired and often not wanting to do much, that's another story. I'm almost 3 years older than I was when this not-so-fun journey began. I have trouble getting to sleep at night and staying awake during the day. My best hours are about 8pm to 2 am. Really not in step with the rest of the world. I'm not depressed - I take something for that and it works wonderfully. I'm just tired all the time. I don't have the interest or energy to some of the things I enjoyed in my old life. I had the same problems with my friends - "Just do something" they said. Anything. One of those friends was diagnosed with colon cancer in July 2004. Following surgery and chemo, she apologized for not understanding how chemo made me feel.

Anyway, these problems probably won't last forever for you. You could talk to your doctor about it.


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There is nothing wrong with simply enjoying "being." Sounds like you've got important things like your personal financial security and support handled. The attention span thing is part of treatment, so is fatigue....but heck, I am tired most of the time and I am not even the patient!

I am running across friends pushing suggestions of what I should/shouldn't be doing too. Their pushing is getting to the point of where I am about to stop talking to them as our discussions are going nowhere -- that's actually also happening with my mom (the patient) in it's own right. I think we each know our needs -- let your personal enjoyment and satisfaction be your guide, no matter what anyone else figures you should be doing. I personally am not too satisfied at the moment (just a warning to take what I say with a grain of salt right now), but finding my enjoyment/peace is what I am locking onto right now.

Anymore, I find myself annoyed when people get pushy (like they know better how to handle my journey) -- suggestions are always welcome and appreciated, but give each person the grace to find what works best for them, whether you (as the outsider observer) like the particulars about it or not. Bottom line: I think the best thing we can do for each other is just love each other for who we are....faults and all....we're alive and loving it however we choose to do that: that's all that matters.


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You are ok and good. every breth is a blessing. Do what you feel like and enjoy yourself. Stress is not good ya know. Deb used to sit on the couch every day and paint pictures. we struggled bu twe did ok and got by. You are doig good. Relax and enjoy life right now. Got the Boo Hoos Saying prayers

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Thanks everybody - your kind words made me feel "normal" and helped me to decide that I am not going to worry myself about living up to everyone else's expectations of what they think I should be doing at this time of my life.

After reading your replies and thinking hard about all this, I have come to the realization that this is all part of the "new normal" of my life. I've accepted that life is different due to my diagnosis. Perhaps now is the time that those who love me accept and celebrate my "new normal" rather than mourn the change.

I feel much better, thanks to all of you.

With a hug,

Pam in FL

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