Memories lost

As time marches on, I remember less and less about what my boys did as babies. I guess this is natural. My mom says she has no memory of her girls ever misbehaving, fighting, or challenging her in any way. Surely, we did. It’s mildly comforting to know I’m not alone, but my mom has had more years than me to forget. She is 60, and I am 37, and I worry that chemotherapy has burned some of the paths connected to my past.

While I can’t recall the specifics of what happened six years ago, when Joey was born, and four years ago, when Danny was born, I do have record of it all, thanks to my scrapbooks and the detailed journaling that fills its pages. Writing is a gift in so many ways.

In August 2003, I wrote about Joey:

He talks a lot about the big guy. We are not sure who the big guy is but sometimes when we say “no”to one of Joey’s requests, he says, “The big guy says “Yes.'”

I barely remember this.

When Danny was a baby, I wrote that he cried every time we rode in the car. Once the car stopped, he smiled. He smiled all the time, I described. He was such a happy baby. This memory escapes me.

There are still moments that are fresh in my mind, like when my mom noticed Joey’s runny nose and asked him if he needed a tissue. “No,” he replied. “I have a long-sleeve shirt.”

I remember when Danny grabbed my hot curling iron with his nine-month-old baby hand, how he cried, how I took him for treatment every week for weeks and weeks, how guilty I felt for allowing the cord of this appliance to dangle off the bathroom counter, right where he could grab it.

I don’t remember Joey’s phrase, “OK, cowboy!” or how Danny bounced endlessly to music while his big brother danced his little heart out. Maybe chemo is slowly killing my brain. Maybe this is just what happens as time passes and experiences stack one on top of the other. Maybe it’s just not possible to store all that’s happened in the six years since I’ve been a mom. That’s what I prefer to think, anyway.

5 thoughts on “Memories lost

  1. There is definitely power in writing. I don’t have cancer, but I do have a problem with my memory and I’m thankful that I have my blogs and journals to remind me of those good times.

    I wish you all the best!

  2. I am also having a hard time remembering some things with my two kiddos who are 7 and 5. I also was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2005 at age 36. (At my first mammogram!) I have done the surgery, chemo and radiation and also the Herceptin, I too was HER2 pos. I do think that chemo has had an impact on my memory I just know I have not written down near as much as I should have! btw, I hope you are doing well, my oncologist says I am doing well even though I have a pain here and there at times. (I still get worried about IT coming back!) Have a great week!

  3. I am so glad to see you’re updating your blog again! I found you when I was newly diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and still in a fog. I was pregnant with my third child and the diagnosis was surreal. I had surgery and started chemo in January while pregnant. I delivered a healthy beautiful daughter at the end of April, the day after my husband’s 41st birthday. I have now finished 8 cycles of chemo and will begin radiation on Monday.

    Thank you for sharing your journey through breast cancer. I have found it very inspirational.

  4. Hello

    Just been doing a late night read of your blog – I’m in the UK – and have appreciated your story immensely. I’m at the end of a course of chemo following diagnosis in Mar earlier this year. Well, almost at the end. It is starting to feel interminable and I keep fantasising about them telling me I won’t need the last treatment. Somehow I doubt it! To add to it all, I blacked out earlier this week at work and fell down the stairs, injuring my ankle. How’s that for your body telling you to take it easy?

    Anyway, I digress. Thanks for your writing and it’s good, as always, to hear another’s story. I’ve my own blog, started for other purposes but hijacked by cancer, and the address is

    I find the writing has helped me a lot. And re-reading my posts from just a few months ago is often a great way to remind myself how much distance there is between then and now. What seemed like a very dark time has turned into the routine and drudgery of feeling bad on chemo, and hopefully, in a few months time again, I’ll look back on this summer’s posts with my new post treatment energy and remember just what it was like.

    Good luck with your writing – I’ll keep an eye on your blog and come back to it tomorrow to check out some of the links. In the meantime, insomnia beckons…

  5. I’ve been on chemotherapy on and off now for almost 8 years. I do believe that is robs you of some memories but those wonderful ones that are engraved in our hearts could never be erased. I try to take many pics and write things that were being said or done at that specific time… when you look back at the notes, you find yourself remembering all over again. You are a true warrior, stay stong and positive… much love, Sandee

Comments are closed.