Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Ativan Induced Amnesia

Ativan, or lorazepam, apparently has a rare side effect I wasn’t completely aware of.
It causes amnesia.
Yes, amnesia.
I think some of my providers have assumed this is a good excuse for my attitude (I call it my “bronxitis”).
It is for real.
I’ll tell you how it feels.
It is eerily similar to the “Samantha Who?” trailer.
All the sudden, you’re back and aware, and people are telling YOU about YOUR LIFE.
What was specifically the most scary were the stories of me outwardly ranting and lining people out.
I always thought I was a happy little patient.
I thought I was safe from my misbehavior while drugged.
Apparently not. Black-out Drinkers, imagine your black-outs extending for 6 weeks or more.
It’s scary enough to wake up and wonder, “Oops, how did I get home and what did I do before I got there?”
Then, you talk about it with your friends, they remind you of events, and everybody has a good laugh.
Not everybody was having a good laugh about me.
I stole my bro-in-laws contacts, but couldn’t talk straight to answer his questions. He was some kind of pissed. I returned them when H1 (Heather) retold me the story. I was wondering why my eyes had suddenly gotten so bad.
I also dragged her to Sears and The Container Store to design for the house I was working on when I started my treatment. Don’t remember that at all.
My husband and my mother informed me I lined out my specialist, Alyea, at Dana Farber. He said one of my trigger phrases, “Just trust me.”
No, sorry. You’ve got the wrong girl. TRUST is not really in my vocab.
I told him absolutely not. I don’t remember what we were talking about. I assume my trial drugs, because I remember running the AIDs Vaccine trials over in my head.
There is a reason you don’t hear about the AIDs Vaccine anymore. It’s because all the trial recipients got a new, genetically mutated and resistant strand of HIV.
Then they died.
This happened in Africa. In the US there is an oversight board called the “IRB.” This has so much red tape most innovative ideas don’t get off the ground.
The IRB rejected a research request to question imprisoned “would be” suicide bombers because it may retraumatize them.
Are you serious? I may have approved lobotomies, ECT, or open heart surgeries to see if they have them.
Anyway, trials in America are SAFE. In the future, I may just TRUST my doctor.
Anyway, whatever I did, it scared him.
I requested to see him to “say hi” and get a good look at who this man was when I got my mind right. I wanted to apologize.
He came, and was it my imagination or did he hide behind his nurse?
I wouldn’t be surprised if I scared him. Watch out for hurricane hill when I get mad. It’s not often, so I must have a lot of aggression pent up.
I have been wanting to ask my specialists if patients do yell at them all day.
On more than one occasion, I’ve had doctors look downright scared to give me information. The defensive body language does not help.
I really need to ask someone about this. I have another example. Maybe I’ll tell it later.
Alyea is a rockstar doctor. Don’t get what I’m saying twisted. He’s smart, he’s charming, and he’s got me taken care of.
Lucky me, I know how to deal with strangers running up and thinking they know me.
Usually, they think I’m Heather or they think Heather is me.
I think it’s hysterical to watch people run up to my sister and start talking only to realize that the woman who looks like me, talks like me, and dresses like me is not me.
This has startled even the most stone face doctors.
Anyway, amnesia during treatment is real, and during this period, it is best to leave EVERYTHING up to someone, anyone, else.


Anonymous said...

Hillary, I was originally hesitant to leave a comment because I am so intimidated by your ability to write...but just had to comment on this article.... It is oh so true, and I don't understand why the doctor's don't tell you that you are going to forget things while you are taking Ativan....what happens to the decisions that you made while you were taking it and then they are a surprise to you later on?? Well, thank you for sharing what you are feeling and your experiences....You amaze me.........keep hanging in there.

buy ativan said...

I love Lorazepam. I just take half a milligram when I feel the anxiety coming on and it puts me at ease. Albeit, it does make me REALLY sleepy.