herald

Monday 22 October 2018

Will scientists ever make their minds up?

AFTER undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer last year, I'm still having severe bouts of 'chemo brain'. This is a side effect of chemotherapy which can cause the patient to forget their own name and, in my case, my mother's 75th birthday, which went down as well as Pat Cox at a Fine Gael Presidential ballot.

A couple of weeks ago I left my handbag hanging on the back of a toilet door in Gatwick airport and every so often I find myself staring blankly into the fridge with toe-nail clippers in one hand and a tin of sardines in the other, wondering why I opened it in the first place.

Researchers initially said that 'chemo brain' didn't exist. Then they changed their minds and said it did exist and could last up to a year. Now they say that 'chemo brain' can last up to five years.



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Now, why was I telling you all this? I've forgotten already. Oh yes. You see the problem with researchers changing their minds every five minutes is that it leaves the rest of us not knowing whether we are coming or going.

My health is very important to me and a tip I picked up from the Irish Cancer Society was that I should stay as lean as possible without going underweight. I try my best but it is hard.

Occasionally, I go a bit bonkers and drive the six miles to Macari's for a single of chips and a couple of batter burgers. Then I sneak around the back of the chipper and furtively push the food into my gob as fast as my greasy little fingers will allow.

After that, it's back home for a glass of spinach and celery juice, followed by a cup of green tea and four hours of yoga.

But now, new research shows that being thin can bring on other health problems such as a risk of diabetes, heart problems and lung disease. I mentioned this to the girls, bemoaning the fact that not being fat can bring its own problems. I expected some sympathy. I should have known better.

"So you may not die of cancer but you will probably keel over from a heart attack, whilst gasping for breath as your insulin levels go off the radar," said Patsy. "I knew all that good food was bad for you."

"So how's the diet going for the wedding?" I pointedly asked her. She couldn't answer me because she had stuffed a whole slice of pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, into her mouth. When she eventually came up for air she said, "I'm not worried because research shows that a bride always loses weight before her wedding due to stress."

She better start stressing out soon.

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