I took my first college exam yesterday, statistics. My goal is to get an A in the class…in part to prove to myself that maybe I haven’t lost it? My overall GPA for my first four years of college was an A-. But I haven’t been in school for 17 years…and a part of me wonders, can I still do it? And do I have chemobrain now? Will I still be “smart”? Especially if I pursue school at the graduate level, where classes will be more difficult than those I’ve taken in the past.

I wonder sometimes about “chemobrain”. I haven’t looked for studies to see if there is any evidence that it really exists, though I know while on chemo I was more scatter-brained and didn’t seem to have as great a memory. But I don’t know if it was the chemo or dealing with all of the emotions that go along with cancer diagnosis and treatment, dealing with my own potential demise. Our lives after diagnosis are in such an upheaval….I’m sure our minds are too. Dealing with cancer definitely distracts us, so I wonder if the distractions interfere with our normal intellect and thought processes while we are in treatment? Maybe it’s not just the chemo?

And in the sense of moving towards the future after cancer in spite of a lingering sense of uncertainty, I learned of a tragedy today. A distant relative of mine lost her child today. The nine year old girl was playing board games with her brothers, and they asked her to go upstairs to get something in her room. She didn’t come down right away, though they called and asked her to hurry up. When she still didn’t come down, her siblings went upstairs to see what was taking her so long…and found her dead in her room. No one knows what happenened, they will do an autopsy tomorrow.

Again, none of us is promised tomorrow, life is uncertain with or without cancer. I would have assumed a healthy nine year old had an unlimited future before her, a certain one full of potential. But she didn’t. I can’t even fathom her mother’s shock and grief, what it would be like to lose a child.

We need to move forward in spite of the uncertainty cancer brings to our life. Life is and will always be uncertain, but we can’t let that uncertainty dictate our passions and goals.