Finally the warmth arrived! Well, not warmth like you’d expect, but warm for us after a long stretch in the minus forties!

When we warmed up to -38C, I couldn’t take waiting any longer, and I jumped in the hot tub. It took Jeff a few minutes to even get it open for me. The lid is extremely heavy and stiff when it is that frozen, and it doesn’t fit easily under the rafters of the lean to roof above it! Jeff had to get a step ladder to wrestle with it.

Once I was in the water, it really is no different from tubbing on any other day, except for the dull vague ache in my eyebrows from them trying to freeze.

We’ve been able to have a couple good walks in the past week – it feels so good to be outside for a longer walk without having some survival back-up plan in mind!

Here are a few photos from last week:

And another one from the deep cold spell. That is a lot of ice on my eye lashes.

The sun also returned to our house! Just for a few minutes in the two o’clock hour, when it isn’t snowing (like it is now), we get light streaming into the kitchen!

Yesterday we got the wagon load of trees we cut last fall bucked up to make sure we have enough firewood until spring.

It’s been snowing more lately, now that it is a bit warmer! I’m SO eager for my Dad to arrive this weekend, so he can experience a taste of Dawson’s winters!

Hank doesn’t even have to jump to get over the fence now. Which is why he’s always on a leash!

Brains

It is fascinating to experience my brain healing after cancer treatment.

So I knew there would be “chemo brain” and of course I hurried back to work as fast as I could regardless.

I went through periods where I couldn’t multi-task at all. Sometimes everything was a distraction. I had times when I’d have to turn off all music or radio. I’d have to turn off all my screens and just use one. I’d also need to type out a list of “to-do’s” to get anything done. I wouldn’t even describe it as a lack of focus, it was something else. Just basic brain trouble!

In the last year I also became treasurer of one of our non-profits in town. I prepare a spreadsheet every month of our financials. Most of this involves finding numbers and formatting them into a new spreadsheet to share with the board.

Most of these numbers are 3-4 digits, with 2 digit decimal places – you know, expenses and assets and income type of numbers.

I use my two monitors, side by side. Look at a number on one screen, find the number I need, enter it onto the other.

Until very recently, I struggled so hard with this.

It seems easy! Look at one screen, see $397.38, type it on the other screen. Looking at that number and then by the time my eyes hit the other screen, a microsecond later, nope, can’t recall the numbers.

(Yes I know about cut and paste, but it is a finicky formatted .pdf I’m copying numbers from and it’s easier to just find and retype.)

I’d have to go back and forth and you wouldn’t believe how draining this is on the brain, stretching my memory’s abilities. I’d try to say the number out loud, I’d try to just memorize it, I’d try just to see and remember it, nope. Nothing worked. As soon as I looked away, the number was gone. I’d have to limit myself to just 2 digits at a time, and not even look at the rest of the number.

Then after a couple months of that, I noticed I could retain 3 digits.

Then I could do all the digits up to the decimal point, and then I’d have to come back for the trailing ones.

Now that I’m healing, making these spreadsheets takes half as long as before! And it is so much less exhausting! Why does chemo wreck your brain so bad? Or was it the impact of not using much of my brain for that year of treatment? Whatever it is, I’m happy to say it is getting better!

Lisa

Lisa (Verkley) Schuyler is a blogger reporting live from her new home in Canada's Yukon Territory. Often found wearing a hoodie, covered in pet hair, Lisa is a mis-placed forester who now spends her days engineering happiness for WordPress users. Lisa loves nature, animals, and most importantly, her handsome husband Jeff.

4 Replies to “Brains, and -20 never felt so warm!

  1. I’m shivering after seeing your pictures! Glad to hear your chemo brain is getting better. I’m a lot older than you and whenever I have trouble remembering something I’m still blaming it on chemo brain 8 years later!

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