Things that aren’t there

I am itchy. I am itchy in a place that no longer exists. I can read all the reasons why it happens and be excited about nerves re-knitting and all that but the problem still remains. I have an itch which I cannot scratch and no-one else can scratch it for me. It actually feels itchy a few centimetres from my body which obviously doesn’t make sense to anyone except me. I know where the itch is in mid-air and I can scratch in mid-air but it still doesn’t do the trick. Scratching real bits of me doesn’t help, either. I am stuck with a phantom itch for the time being and bloody annoying it is, too.

I have also lost my glasses. Not the normal ones I wear everyday but the ones that darken in sunlight. OK, it’s not been sunny here for ages but they have still walked and I want them back. The impotence of such loss is amazing. I look and look but still can’t find them. I can picture the case they are in, picture the glasses but it still doesn’t help in my hunt. I check every handbag I have, which takes quite some time. I even check bags I haven’t used for ages, knowing I wore the glasses more recently. I pull things out from the side of the sofa. I picture the case on top of the fireplace where they lived until I thought they should be put somewhere better.

It’s chemo brain again. I used to have a great memory and could remember details and stuff that was in my diary for weeks at a time. Now I can’t remember what I did 10 minutes ago. I saw someone the other day who greeted me warmly, asking how I was and saying they hadn’t seen me for a while. I smiled and nodded, thinking ‘Who is this person?’ He did look a bit familiar but I couldn’t remember anything about his medical history (which is kind of de rigeur in the cancer field – it seems rude not to know which cancer someone has got and what stage they are at). He was stage 4 which is terminal and I should have remembered him because he was telling me (again) that he had felt absolutely no symptoms and still doesn’t feel ill. And, of course, with a rotten diagnosis like that he is quite young. Sometimes it’s OK to say ‘I don’t remember’ and blame it on chemo brain but at other times it feels callous and cruel not to remember details like his. Sigh. Yet another side-effect of the treatment. Studies are being undertaken to find out how long this side-effect lasts and on which drug it is worst. I keep hoping I’ll recover and stop forgetting things. At least I remembered the story to tell you.

Back to scratching and hunting the glasses.

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