Thursday, 5 January 2012

Day after day, they take some brain away...

Every day and in every way, I'm getting thicker and thicker…

Well, OK, not every way. But since the radiation therapy I started today may affect short-term memory and some higher cognitive function, I suppose it's otherwise true.

It's a trade-off. I take the radiation therapy, and it stops the glioblastoma from growing a new head, ideally for years. And since the un-radiated tumour would have the same effect, with a side-order of death, taking it is a no-brainer. Or at least a reduced brainer.

It shouldn't affect my understanding of anything. I don't expect to be any less quick on the uptake. But there could be some loss of short-term memory, and people with jobs which involve a lot of complex organisation (so not me, then) can experience difficulty they didn't previously. And it can affect short-term memory. Did I mention that?

If there is an effect, apparently those close to me are more likely to notice than I am. Which reminds me of the part in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where the mice want to buy Arthur's brain and provide him with a simple electronic replacement.

"Who'd notice the difference?" asks Zaphod.
"I would!" Arthur responds, indignantly.
"No you wouldn't, you'd be programmed not to."

Of course, it may not happen at all, or it may not happen for months or even years. But since I've consoled myself through life thus far that whatever else goes awry, at least I'm smarter than the average bear, even the possibility is not encouraging news. It's perhaps the one thing that worries me more than anything else in this whole business.

Still, on the bright side, I have been told that, while there is no specific method for this, I can try exercising my brain as the organ has a certain plasticity which allows it to re-route functions it needs around areas which no longer work. Kind of a use-it-or-lose-it scenario.

This had occurred to me already, and I have spent idle moments in the last few days trying to mentally count the Fibonacci series (each number is the sum of its two predecessors, so 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13… and, yes, I do realise how geeky that is) but it seems that just doing the stuff I do anyway – reading rather than sitting watching the X Factor, for instance – will be sufficient. I think I'll start doing puzzles, too. Maybe even see if they've got these otherwise totally pointless brain trainer games in the Android market.

Ideally, of course, I would like to be counting the total on my JustGiving page, which I'm sure many of you will already be aware of thanks to the pretty blue puff to the left of this article and all the shameless spamming I did over the weekend.

It's to raise funds for the Beatson, where I am receiving all this wonderful if frightening treatment, and I'm delighted to say there was more than £100 donated on the first day.

New Year's Day wasn't so impressive, though, although the figure has crept up to just under £200 at time of writing, so if you haven't forked out yet, please do so.

All you need to do is click the puff, and you can make a donation on the JustGiving page by credit card or PayPal. If you're really lazy, you can even make your donation by mobile phone – just text MKBY91 plus the amount to 70070.

In fact, I think that would be the ideal – if everyone who comes to this blog donates just £1 by text each time they visit, the Beatson could get in excess of £100 per post from this blog ( I suspect this only works in the UK, though, so international readers will need to click the blue puff and use PayPal).

It would be nice if that happened. So if you like what you read, please show your appreciation by chipping in to an incredibly good cause. And keep me counting.

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