Mud Puddle Brain


It is an interesting combination when you take ‘chemo brain’ and add ‘mental pause’. To me, this results in ‘mud puddle brain‘. This would adequately describe my brain over the past couple of months.

When I first returned to Panama and tried to get back into the swing of things, I found my brain (and myself) ‘spinning’. It was like I was overwhelmed and did not have a clue where to start. I felt like a kid who had to be told each step in a logical fashion – over and over. Very frustrating and exasperating to say the least. The experience reminds me very much of when I used to be a psychometrist and test people’s head injuries and learning disabilities. The clients would often break down in frustration, as they were typically very aware of what they ‘used to be able to do’ better, or of things they find very difficult to do. This is where I find myself.

I ask the same questions, over and over as if they are new questions. Those around me patiently give me the same answer they did the first, second and third time I asked. I constantly worry about forgetting things, so I write as much down in my little red book – which travels with me everywhere I go. Most of the notes in it are legible, but some seem to just blend in with others and seem to disappear. As a result, I’ve begun to highlight and colour code, etc. so that the important ones will stand out. The most challenging at this point is remembering data while I’m showing properties to clients. Rhyming off property sizes, etc. off the top of my head is just not there. I must come fully prepared at all times with my little red book! I thought my memory was weak before, but wowzee, this one has knocked my self-confidence for a loop!

As with each step of this C adventure, mud puddle brain has brought upon self-reflection and the need for me to be more patient with myself. The girl inside me wants and expects everything to be just the way it was before C was realized, but I understand that is just not possible. My promise to myself is to set aside more time for me. Being back in Panama cannot just be about working, it must be about taking the time to relax, work on taking deep breaths and inhaling life. While I miss all the social events I used to attend, I find them very energetically draining now. I love people and love being around others, yet I know it is important to spend quiet time.

Thus, the journey continues, one lesson at a time. Mud puddle brain appears to be clearing, but I clearly have a long way to go towards ‘normality’. My goal is to learn more about yoga and utilize this knowledge to enhance my health as well as my brain. Each day now ends with deep breaths, guided meditation and some time without a screen in front of my face :-).

About denisemacdonald

I am a Canadian entrepreneur who has been spending the majority of my time between Canada and Panama, Central America. Living oceanfront, I am an 'investment consultant', predominantly in the area of real estate in the beaches areas. Photography is my hobby. In April, 2014 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I will be sharing my journey here on these 'pages'. If you would like to learn more about "Triple Negative" breast cancer, please click onto
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3 Responses to Mud Puddle Brain

  1. John July says:

    After being “out-of-work” for a number of months, this is normal. Remember coming back from vacation? First day back to work … geez.
    The little red book is fine. Whatever you need. There is really no need to spout all the specs off the top of your head. The only important thing is that you HAVE the data! You are the expert, book or no book. If you need a crutch of any kind, do your clients a service by using it.
    You’re doing great. And you are an inspiration to many of us.

  2. Suzi Jensen says:

    Denise, not everyone has the amazing ability to recognize the need for quiet time and the gift of being patient with ones self. I applaud your self understanding and patience. You are one amazing woman. Keep sharing your photography, it’s awesome.
    Suzi Jensen

  3. Dagmar Leuenberger-Swift says:

    Thinking about you, we are in the same country again!

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