Monthly Archives: January 2018

3 AM … And I Can’t Sleep

Ugh. I woke up at about 2:30 this morning. Got up, went to the bathroom, plopped back down and expected to go right back to dreamland. Not happening tonight (this morning?).

It is probably my fault. I play an electronic game called Township. And, instead of actually plopping down and closing my eyes to sleep, i picked up the silly game. Just for a minute.

Well, that minute is now nearly an hour and here I am, working on a blog post instead of sleeping. It wouldn’t be so bad, but i have somewhere to go later this morning so i can’t just sleep in.

Where do i have to go, you ask. Well, unbelievable as it is … Yoga. If you had told me four months ago that I would finally be going to the gym and working out, i would have thought you were nuts. But, it is true!

And, boy! I am enjoying it!! I can go to the FitSteps program on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. FitSteps is a program developed by a retired oncologist for cancer patients. There is a personal trainer who helps us each with a program designed specifically for us. It is at FitSteps where I go to yoga, too.

I had never even tried yoga until three weeks ago. What we do is probably called chair yoga – we use chairs anyway. And, it is for beginners. It is really a lot of fun … And it is good exercise, too.

I look forward to yoga class. I even look forward to walking on the treadmill. And, i look forward to seeing the other cancer survivors who come to work out. We laugh a lot. And, if there is one thing I love to do, it is laugh.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my friend Linda and I have started going to the local Community Center. Ten dollars a year gains us access to a very well equipped gym and a variety of classes. As we were leaving the gym yesterday, a lady invited us to join their exercise class. I am surely going to think about doing just that. I may be the only person on earth who actually enjoyed gym class way back when i was a kid. I think i will enjoy an exercise class.

My motivation for going to the gym was to get my strength and stamina back after radiation treatments. Additionally, i have been complaining for years about gaining weight and my huge belly. I am finally doing something more than complain. It feels good. I hope it works.

Even if i stay oversized … How I hope not … the exercise is good for me. There are so many studies out there that tout the benefits of exercise, especially for cancer patients. Sadly, the research shows that only 10% of patients exercise while in treatment and only 30% do after finishing treatment. I hope i stay in the 10% that get out and get moving! It isn’t habit yet. I still have to make myself go, even though i like it when i get there.

4 AM. I am yawning but my mind isn’t feeling tired. My eyes do. Oh well. I think i will spend a little time doing my Bible reading. I never make New Year resolutions but i made two for 2018. One is to get fit and the other is to read my Bible from cover to cover.

I have never done that. I tried one other time and quit … I hope I am more successful with it this time. I don’t manage to get it done every day, I am sorry to say. So, i have some catch-up to do.

Did you make resolutions? Are you sticking with them? Are you on an exercise program? If not, consider it!!!

(Forgive the lowercase “i” … I do know better, but I typed this on my tablet and it doesn’t automatically capitalize. I am too lazy this early morning to go fix them all.)

Sing!! Bellow it Out! It’s Good For You!!!

Do you like to sing? Well, guess what? Science says it is good for you to sing.

Benefits of Singing

Prevention magazine lists six ways singing is good for you:

  1. Singing eases your stress and improves your quality of life
  2. It can help you bond
  3. This one is BIG!!! Singing improves immunity in cancer patients!!!
  4. Singing may be good for your heart (it is definitely good for your soul!)
  5. Really? Singing helps curb snoring! (Your significant other may like this!!)
  6. Singing may help people with asthma

Wow! Who knew?

Even though I love it, I am a terrible singer. I used to get such a kick out of my little family when we would be in church. All three of us were singing our hearts out. All on a different key. And none on the same key as the masses. I know our pewmates wished we would just mouth the words!

Usually, that’s just what I do if I am in a crowd. I mouth the words. Even when we are singing happy birthday to someone. I am just so embarrassed that I can’t carry a tune. But, get me alone!!! That’s when the stops come out! I love to belt out songs that mean something to me.

Let’s Share Favorites!

So, the purpose of this blog is not only to inform but to share. I have some favorite songs that I want you to have the opportunity to hear. I hope one or more of them will speak to you like they do to me.

Overcomer

One of the most meaningful songs to me is Mandisa’s “Overcomer.” That’s what we cancer survivors are, right? Overcomers? Take a listen! (And, if you aren’t a cancer patient, there is no doubt in my mind that you are not overcoming challenges of your own. This song works for all of us!)

 

Blessings

Laura Story’s Blessings speaks volumes to me. We don’t have to look far to see blessings in our lives. And, sometimes, what seems to be the worst thing to ever happen to us isn’t.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

Lots of people might call me crazy (no offense taken if you do), but I see so many blessings in my life as a result of my cancer diagnosis. I know you are thinking, “You must be kidding.” But, I’m not kidding at all. It isn’t that I wouldn’t rather not have cancer. But, since I do, I have to say, it has brought me many friends and experiences I would have never had otherwise. And, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

It is Well with my Soul

Yes! It IS well with my soul! No matter what happens to my earthly body, I know where my salvation lies! It is great comfort to know that when I take my last breath here, my next will be on Streets of Gold in Heaven.

Casting Crown’s Oh My Soul

The night Casting Crown’s singer Mark Hall was diagnosed with cancer, he sat down and wrote “Oh My Soul.” It is a powerful song. Mark describes the motivation behind the song,

I just sat down on the piano and was looking at the verse where David says, ‘Why so downcast, oh my soul. Put your hope in God.’ So the song is me just having a little argument with myself and giving it to Him.”

God has my cancer, too, Does He have yours?

End of the Beginning

Another favorite song of mine has nothing to do with encouragement or cancer or counting blessings, but I just love this David Phelps (he’s one of my favorite artists) song.

 

There are more songs that speak volumes to me and that I love to belt out, but I will stop here. We’ll do another blog at another time with more songs.

As you can see, the ones that mean the most to me also have a lot to do with my faith. I couldn’t go through this battle without my faith.

What about you? What songs are most meaningful to you? Why? Let me know!

Chemo Brain … Is it Real?

Haha! Chemo brain … is it real? Well, I thought of it as a topic while on another site. I only had to find the right tab to get to my blog site. By the time I clicked over here, I had already lost the idea I had… Oh yes! Chemo brain reigns here.

For many years, doctors didn’t believe chemo brain was real. (Easy for them to say – they didn’t have to suffer with it.) Now, however, it is widely accepted that chemo brain is a very real phenomenon.

Mayo Clinic includes information about it on their Website.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chemo-brain/symptoms-causes/syc-20351060

It frustrates me a bit to see that they do not believe chemo brain is caused solely from chemotherapy. More studies, they say, are being conducted. I suspect that they want to say that the stress of having cancer contributes to the “cognitive impairment.”

Here’s what I know from a personal stance. My mind worked quite well prior to being diagnosed with lung cancer. I reveled in doing long, involved research studies.  I loved reading books. I wrote state and federal grants for a living.

Today, as noted above, I often cannot remember a thought for even one minute. I do not enjoy reading because, again, I don’t retain what I have read for a long enough time for a book to make sense. Give me technical information to read and my mind shuts down completely.

Not so long ago, I made my living, in part, by reading and dissecting information in the Federal Register. There is no hope that I will understand what I read in that government document now.

Before chemo, I had a good vocabulary. Now, my mind goes blank. I know I know a particular word, but for the life of me, I can’t think of what that word is. It is so frustrating!! I can generally come up with an alternative word to use, but the alternative is often not as good as the one on the tip of my brain would have been.

I think one of the hardest things to adapt to regarding chemo brain is how I lose people’s names. Gone. Doesn’t matter how much I like a person. It doesn’t matter how often I am around them. Their name or the name of their dog or spouse or child is nowhere in my head. I draw a complete blank.

I have been known to get my phone out and scroll through the contacts until I finally come across the person’s name that my mind has lost. Thankfully, I do recognize it when I see it! This memory lapse is frustrating and embarrassing. I don’t know that anyone would understand that it truly has nothing at all to do with how much I like a person. Nothing.

So, after dealing with this memory fog for over five years, I’ve come up with a few ways to deal with it. I would love to hear what others do to combat chemo brain. Maybe we can come up with a viable resource for cancer patients!

Ways I Combat Chemo Brain

Calendar – my online calendar is my greatest tool. If an event or date does not make it to my calendar, it doesn’t exist for me. Sometimes, even if it does make it to my calendar, I forget it, but the calendar gives me a fighting chance! I set the calendar app to remind me several times about events that I really want to be sure to remember.

Lists and notes – I have them everywhere. I bought a Samsung Note phone so that I could easily make notes on there, but I have to say that I am most likely to still use a pen and paper. I’m old school. There are two major problems with my lists and notes – (1) if I am not near my pen and paper (or phone) when the thought occurs, the idea will leave before I can memorialize it and (2) I end up with lots of notes and lists in lots of places … and I am just as likely to lose them as not.

Honesty and humor – I warn people that my memory is no longer any good. There is not much I can do about it. The more I stress over it not being good, the worse it gets. So, I have found that, for me, just telling people upfront that it is not personal, but my memory is just not what it once was any longer. Hopefully, they will understand. If they don’t, there’s really nothing I can do about it.

I tell people I wake up in an all-new world every day. It is amazing how many events my family will discuss that leave me staring at a blank screen in my mind. I might remember parts of the event, but not specifics. It is weird.

I had memory lapses before I had chemo. But, trust me, they are not the same as chemo brain. And truthfully, even though I will usually just smile and shake my head “yes” when someone tells me they have chemo brain, too, even though they never had chemo, it really frustrates me for them to make light of my condition.

The fact is that they might indeed have issues with memory, but they do not have chemo brain. It is a phenomenon that is impossible to adequately describe, really. But, it is far more than just a simple memory lapse.

What about you? Do you have chemo brain? What ways have you devised to help you combat it? What do you think when people who have never had chemo say they, too, have chemo brain?

I’d love to hear from you!

 

If I Don’t Do It, Who Will?

Just this morning, I heard about a 29-year old man who has been diagnosed with lung cancer who wants to raise awareness about the disease by having his state offer specialized “beat lung cancer” license tags. Stephen Huff is among a growing number of young adults who are being diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. They never smoked. They were active. They were healthy. They’re young. And, yet, they are fighting the most deadly cancer there is.

It used to be that when you thought of lung cancer, your mind’s eye saw a wrinkled old man with a half-burned, long-ash cigarette hanging out of his mouth or an elderly woman holding a burning cigarette in her tobacco-stained fingers. You hear hacking and coughing and have a generally negative attitude about the whole person/disease/addiction.

The picture of what lung cancer looks and sounds like needs to change and it needs to change NOW. In today’s world, your mind would be just as accurate if it saw a virile, 20-something with a racing bib on. Or, a 40-year-old mom cheering on her son’s soccer team. Or, your next door neighbor who never smoked and was never around cigarette smoke. Or you.

Smoking is still the number one cause of lung cancer, but every year, more and more nonsmokers are being diagnosed with lung cancer. Especially for nonsmokers, the disease is usually not diagnosed until it is stage III or IV since no one, not the patient, not the doctor, suspects lung cancer as the cause of symptoms until every other possible option has been exhausted at least once.

And, as an aside, even IF the person diagnosed with cancer is or was addicted to tobacco, do they really deserve to die? In today’s world of acceptance (gays, transgenders, races, nationalities, religions, the list goes on and on), we do not, DO NOT, accept smokers. Whether conscious or not, we as a society are perfectly willing for those evil smokers to fight and die from lung cancer because somehow they deserve what they got. Individuals, companies, and government agencies all withhold their money from lung cancer research because, however wrong, they believe it is a cause that does not deserve support.

Stepping back off of that soapbox, I’ll climb onto another …

Mr. Huff, the young man recently diagnosed with stage IV nonsmall cell lung cancer, is asking his state legislators to offer lung cancer awareness license plates. The plates will cost taxpayers an additional $55. Half of those funds would be sent to his chosen charity to help pay for more research. At this point, he doesn’t think raising money will help save his own life, but he is adamant that more funding for research will save lives in the future.

I agree that it is crucial to get more funding in the hands of researchers. When I look at the tremendous progress that has been made already, despite every possible financial obstacle being thrown in the way, my mind can’t comprehend what scientists could accomplish with adequate funding. According to LUNGevity, only six percent of federal dollars devoted to cancer research goes to lung cancer research. How does this add up? The most deadly cancer gets the least amount of funding? Boy! Some stigmas die hard, do they not?

Let’s put the disparity in funding into hard, cold facts:

During his interview, Mr. Huff was asked why he was trying to get the state to issue license tags supporting lung cancer research. His response is one I hope we all will consider,

“If I don’t do it, who will?”

 

 

Who or What Inspires You?

I just finished watching the movie, Gleason. It is the story of Steve Gleason, a former New Orleans Saints professional football player and current ALS survivor. Steve was diagnosed with ALS when he was only 34 years old. ALS, aka amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s   disease, affects the function of nerves and muscles, ultimately rendering those with the disease unable to move or speak, though their minds remain strong.

Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55 at the time of diagnosis. About 6,000 people are diagnosed with the devastating neurological disease each year. The life expectancy for those with ALS is three to five years, though 20% live at least five years and ten percent will live more than ten years. Live, as many cancer patients also know, is a relative term.

The movie chronicles the journey Steve, his wife Michel, and son Rivers have traveled, mostly since Steve’s diagnosis. It is, without a doubt, inspirational. And frustrating. And maddening. And, incredibly sad. If you watch it, and I encourage you to do so, be sure to have a box of tissue nearby. I can’t imagine that you won’t need them.

Everyone handles adversity in their own way. Steve and Michel resolved to meet the disease headlong, especially after Michel learned she was pregnant with their first child just a short while after learning Steve was entering the battle, quite literally, for his life.

Steve has the money and the fame to do a lot more than a lot of us can do. And, to his credit, he is using both to bring great awareness to the disease that has robbed him of his vitality, but not of his spirit. There is even a law, the Steve Gleason Act, that ensures that Medicare or Medicaid will pay for speech generating devices so that ALS sufferers can continue to communicate even after the disease robs them of their ability to speak.

I am not an expert, to say the least, on the ALS disease. I’ve feared it since I saw a movie many years ago about the battle baseball great Lou Gehrig fought against it. It, like cancer, is not for sissies. That’s for sure. It is a mean, mean, mean disease.

What Inspires Me?

As soon as I finished watching the movie I felt compelled to come fire up the computer and write. I have to write while the ideas are fresh in my  mind or they leave me, often forever. Even when I am touched as deeply as I have been by the Gleason film and the life of Steve Gleason, my mind doesn’t always hang onto thoughts for very long. Chemo brain, anyone?

Steve Gleason inspires me. This man has allowed a film crew to follow him through some of the most embarrassing and harrowing times a person could endure. The purpose of the film is to leave a documentary behind for his son, but it also serves to bring great awareness about the disease and the needs of patients and for research. Steve knows that he likely will not live long enough for his son to really remember him in the flesh. The video journals will let Rivers know his daddy, hear his advice, and know his love, even if Steve is no longer physically here.

And, something else the film does is show just how indomitable the human spirit can be. Steve and his wife Michel, who is as heroic and inspirational as her husband, decided when he was diagnosed that he wasn’t going to die before the disease actually robs him of life. What this man has endured to keep living leaves me without words (and we all know I am rarely speechless). And, to the absolute extent possible, he is living.

Steve isn’t simply alive, he is living. He can’t walk. He can’t speak. But, the movie shows him pulling his young son on a sled across a field with his wheelchair. Making important memories. Enjoying life, despite circumstances.

Attitude

Since I have been diagnosed with lung cancer, I have met many others with a similar diagnosis. The majority of us were diagnosed with late stage cancer. I think most of my friends who have lung cancer never smoked. And, nearly all of the ones I feel closest to have not been stymied by their diagnosis.

Like Steve Gleason, they decided that lung cancer is not going to rob them of life any earlier than absolutely necessary. Most of them aren’t famous nor wealthy, but all are doing what they can to bring awareness to their disease.  And, they wake up each day with a passion for life, an appreciation for the fact that another day has been granted to them.

I am so fortunate that I have never felt angry about my diagnosis. I don’t know why. I am not a worrier. I don’t know if that is because of my deep faith and complete assurance that when I leave this earth, I will go somewhere better. I just know that, from the beginning, my husband and I decided that the disease will be something we deal with while we are living life.

None of us knows when we will take our final breath. I could walk outside today and be hit by a car or I could suffer a fatal heart attack. Just because I have lung cancer doesn’t mean that I will die from my disease in the next year or two or ten.

What my cancer has done for me is give me a new appreciation for life because it reminds me in a real way that life is terminal. None of us will leave here alive, right?

So, it is up to me, today and every day, to look at this day as a blessing, a gift. I can’t undo anything from the past. And, I don’t know that I will be here tomorrow. But, I know I am here right now. And, it is my job to appreciate that fact. Smile. Look around myself and enjoy the sunshine, the day, my family, friends, and pets.

What about you? Who or what inspires you?

Live Today

This morning I got up to the news that a 30-year-old, larger-than-life man passed away from his lung cancer. Thirty years old.

Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity of knowing him or his bride of four months. But, I’ve been reading his story on Facebook and looking at the pictures that have been posted of his smiling face, even in the face of a horrible disease ravaging his body. He loved life. He embraced life. And, now, he leaves behind a trail of mourning.

I am so saddened. Another young person lost to lung cancer. How many more will be lost before we realize that …

  1. lung cancer happens to people with lungs
  2. lung cancer is an epidemic far worse than any opioid epidemic is. Hello? Did you know that 433 people die each DAY from lung cancer? Four HUNDRED thirty-three A DAY.
  3. and, as evidenced by the death of John Cherol, it happens to young people, not just old ones. More and more and more, it is a young man or woman whose life is cut short by this insidious disease. Not smokers. Not your granny. No. Someone who has their whole life ahead of them.

And, when I went on Facebook just now to be sure I had John’s name right, I was dumbfounded to see that my friend Jennie Baumann, only 44 years old, has also passed away. One of the 433 a day. My heart is broken. Three girls, left without their mom.

Why does lung cancer happen to such nice people? To people with so much to give? With so many who love them? People who are so full of life and who have so much life ahead of them?

When is it going to stop? Where is the outrage?

The purpose of this post was going to be to live today. Tomorrow isn’t promised. That’s still true.

Today. Live today. Tomorrow is not promised.

But, really … it is going to be transformed into a post that asks, that demands to know …

WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE? WHERE?

Vent #1 – Authors Fabricating Information to Support Premises

I have a few vents, actually. One has to do with the stigma associated with lung cancer. And, I am going to address that one real soon. The stigma is killing people. Lots of people. It is frustrating, maddening, an outrage, and yes, again, deadly.

But, I have a vent for today that is fresh on my mind that I want to talk about. This one may affect people who have had lung cancer for a while and who have been quoted a bit all over the Web and in magazines, etc. Because it may have happened to you, too.

Today, I went in search of an article where I had been featured. In the search box, I typed my name and lung cancer.

That search brought up legitimate sources … and then it showed my name as being included in a book. This book was co-written by a Yale-educated MD (who also has an MBA from Wharton Business School) and a Ph.D. who has reported award-winning health and science segments for Dateline, Today Show and 48 Hours.

First of all, the authors never contacted me for permission to include my information in their book. Perhaps, since I put myself out there on the Web like I do, that is no problem. The problem is that they published completely false information to support their premise.

What was true in the book:

  1. My name
  2. My date of diagnosis
  3. A quote

What was false in the book:

  1. My diagnosis (supposedly adenocarcinoma (true) with BRAF mutation (false))
  2. My treatment (nivolumab (true) combined with chemotherapy (false) – in fact, they were not even trialing chemo plus nivolumab when I began my trial, I don’t think)
  3. The results of this treatment (tumors spread all over my body shrank (false); my tumors remained stable for 4.5 years while I was in the trial testing nivolumab. They did not shrink, they did not grow. They stayed stable. Furthermore, I don’t have tumors all over my body. I had tumors in both lungs and in lymph nodes in my neck. I don’t consider that all over my body and I doubt you do either.)

I am outraged. Absolutely furious. These people who wrote this book apparently have a lot of clout. And, yet, in at least this instance, they are using false information to support their premises.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t deal lightly with liars. Furthermore, when a person is caught in a very obvious, blatant lie, I tend to question every other word out of their mouths (or off of their pen on paper). Without fact-checking every single word in one of the many books published by this duo or in anything they would say in conferences, I would have to believe none of it.

And, here’s the saddest part of all. I have surpassed five years of survival with Stage IV lung cancer. I have lived the majority of that time to the absolute fullest. I have done very well on nivolumab. I have had over 100 infusions of the drug – how many others can say that I wonder?

Maybe I am biased since it is me we are talking about, but I think I have a pretty remarkable story without fabricating new facts. I would not mind being featured in a book without first being contacted IF … IF … IF … the book told the truth.

What’s next?

I see my oncologist on Monday. I already sent him a copy of what was written. I will be very interested to hear his take on it all. My first inclination is to find an attorney who might be willing to sue this duo on contingency. My goal isn’t money. My goal is to shed light on the fact that false information is being published to support premises. That’s dangerous.

 

Happy 2018

Did you watch the ball drop on 2017? If you were diagnosed or had a rough time of it in 2017, you are probably happy to see that year go by.

My 2017 could have been classified as tough, I guess. My cancer that hadn’t grown for 4 years decided to grow again.  That wasn’t good.

We have had some personal challenges totally unrelated to cancer. They have been very frustrating and maddening.

But, 2017, the challenges have been faced …

For the first time since my cancer was diagnosed, the tumor in my neck has been obliterated by radiation! That’s great news! Even better, a tumor in my lungs that hadn’t grown or shrunk over the last 4.5 years shrank! It is nearly half the size it was before I had radiation to the tumor in the lymph node in my neck.

I passed some milestones during 2017: I celebrated (?) my five-year cancerversary – I have lived with cancer for over five years now! That’s pretty awesome for someone with stage IV lung cancer. (But, I am never quite sure if I should “celebrate” the fact that I have cancer … even when it is celebrating that I have carried it around with me for five years … that I am still here five years later… You know? It’s a conundrum.)

That’s not all! I celebrated 100 infusions of Opdivo. I wish I knew how many other people in the world can say the same. I am guessing we are a very small club.

Despite the challenges presented to our family during 2017, we’re doing fine. I would say that 2017 was a good year.

Nevertheless, we are ready to welcome 2018! We look forward to seeing what it has in store for us.

Southern tradition for New Year’s Day – Black Eyed Peas

We are not actually superstitious, but it is a Southern tradition to eat Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. I made a huge pot of peas for my husband and me… We have lots of peas to eat later on this year! They were really good … let’s hope they bring us the promised luck!! 🙂 🙂

Wishing you the best there is for 2018! Good health and good fortune!

 

A Man Called Ove and Other Audio Books

I am a latecomer to many things technology. I was once on the cutting edge, but that was now many years ago, I hate to admit. I can usually click my way around to figure out enough to be dangerous, but I am definitely slow when it comes to technology these days.

I was once active on Facebook. In recent months, I have decided a complete hiatus from it is healthiest for me. I signed up years ago for Instagram. I think I used it once. I signed up for Twitter so that I could participate in regular Twitter chats about lung cancer. Unfortunately, I find them difficult to follow and because I don’t know Twitter, difficult to understand.

Snapchat, nope. Pinterest and Google+ … well, yeah, but I don’t actually do anything much with them. (I do save some dog treat recipes to my Pinterest account.) There are other apps that I had never even heard of until recently that obviously haven’t made it to my list of favorites!

What’s all this have to do with anything, you may be asking…

Well, I am also new to audiobooks.

Chemo treatments gave me chemo brain. Chemo brain is a phenomenon that is real and that is different than anything anyone else experiences. Most of us who have it … and way too many of those of us who have had chemo do … hear friends and acquaintances try to commiserate by saying, “Oh! I have chemo brain, too! But, I never have had chemo.” Well, maybe, but doubtful.

One of the gifts of chemo brain has been the robbery of my ability to read. I used to love to read. I was a voracious reader from the time I was a young girl. I well remember my mom dropping me off at the Midland library, where I would wander the aisles for hours. She would come pick me back up and I would have checked out a big stack of books, all of which I would read before time to return them.

After the advent of chemo, concentrating long enough to read a page, much less a book, became difficult. Remembering what I had read was just not happening.

So, I quit reading. In the last year, I have managed to read a few books, but they have to start off very engaging. And, many may start off engaging, but I just can’t read them. So, again, I usually just don’t try to read much.

In the last few weeks, I have discovered a new way of “reading.” Audiobooks. I have now listened to two. One, by Greta Van Susteren, Everything You Need to Know About Social Media (Without Having to Call a Kid), taught me all about the social media apps I need to learn more about. It was a book I enjoyed a lot. I want to see the hard copy now.

Today, I listened to A Man Called Ove. It is a nine-hour recording. I listened straight through. I admit that I may have slept through a couple of parts. Not because it was boring, but just because I laid my head down … and when I did, I fell asleep!

No, the book wasn’t boring at all. It was so entertaining. I never thought that a “book on tape” could hold my interest, but I was wrong. My only problem with them is that once I start them, I don’t want to stop. I want to listen all the way through. And, nine hours is a long time to invest all at once! Of course, because I am a slow reader under the best of circumstances, nine hours is less time than I would have likely invested if I was actually reading the book myself, especially now, with my chemo brain.

A Man Called Ove had me laughing out loud over and over again. I was so absorbed in the book that I really never thought about cancer or disease or anything other than the book.

So, the point of this post is to encourage my friends who, like me, suffer from chemo brain to consider listening to books on tape. You can get them from your library. That’s where I have been getting mine. I am getting mine online so that I don’t even have to worry about returning them. When my time is up, the program takes them back. They’re never late!

My library offers books and more using two different apps. One is called Libby and the other is Hoopla. It is likely that your library uses these apps or similar to provide books and other resources to you.

Libby allows library card holders whose libraries participate to borrow ebooks and audiobooks. If you have a library card, see if you can find your library among those that participate. You can use Libby’s built-in e-reader or send books to your Kindle. The Libby app, which is part of OverDrive, includes an audiobook player.

Hoopla’s Web site explains its service options:

hoopla is a groundbreaking digital media service offered by your local public library that allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows to enjoy on your computer, tablet, or phone – and even your TV! With no waiting, titles can be streamed immediately, or downloaded to phones or tablets for offline enjoyment later. We have hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from, with more being added daily. hoopla is like having your public library at your fingertips. Anytime. Anywhere.

Even if you can’t get out of the house, or out of bed, for that matter, a book on tape might be a really nice diversion for you. I stream mine on my cell phone and wear an inexpensive pair of earphones to listen (I did run the battery out of the first pair and had to change to the earpiece I bought to talk on the phone). No holding the book, no energy taken at all. But a nice way to forget your situation and lose yourself in a mystery or love story or comedy that makes you laugh out loud. (Try A Man Called Ove for laugh-out-loud fun.)