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Cognitive losses--please help!

alondon
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2003

My mom (only 54 years old) has Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma. She has undergone various chemo treatments for over three years. Now, there is no sign of the tumor, but she is suffering great losses due to the treatment. In the last 6 months my mom's congnitive abilities have drastically declined. She has completely lost her short-term memory, she can no longer express herself verbally (inability to recall words), she is easily agitated, and very depressed. All of these symptoms/reactions are devastating to my mom and our family. Clearly, she can no longer live on her own or care for herself. Right now, we are looking into nursing/assisted living care facilities.

Has anyone else suffered such huge losses due to chemo treatment? What did you do? Does any form of detox help? Also, does anyone have recommendations for nursing/assisted living facilities (for cancer survivors or individuals with severe brain impairments) in the Los Angeles and/or San Diego area? Thanks for your help.

dickl
Posts: 39
Joined: Jan 2002

alondon,
My son had a bone marrow transplant for leukemia 7 yaers ago when he was 8 years old Soon after we noticed short-term memory problems . He had neuro-psych testing twice at Children's in Cicinnati where he received his cancer treatment. The tests showed he had lost 30-40 points in his i.q.,memory loss , cognitive problems in handling multi stage problems. He becomes easily agitated,angry,and even violent. We have learned many of these things are not unheard of in people that have had chemo and or radiation. We still see many specialists including a psychiatrist even though his problems originated from brain injury from a disease. It has helped some, we too have to manage much of our son's life. He has improved some very slowly over time and he's alive and cured of cancer.

dickl

flyer59
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2003

I don't have that problem but check into a drug called Protocel.

bullfrog13's picture
bullfrog13
Posts: 216
Joined: Apr 2002

Dear alondon
Hi, One can understand the depression that comes with not being able to remember things. I was on chemo for 18 months, and would forget the names of everyday things. I still have problems with spelling these days, but it is getting better.

I remember on incident with my son and I in the kitchen. The light bulb had burned out and I could not remember the word for light bulb. I was literally screamin at my son to get ''one of those things that makes the light shine'', while I was pointing at the light fixture and stomping my feet on the ground. He had this blank look on his face and very quitely asked me '' you mean a light bulb mom?'' I yelled back at him "Yes, get one of those!" He did and even put it in for me and left with out another word. I sat on the floor and cryed for the next 5 minutes. BUT the good news is that today ( a year later ) I can remember the word "light bulb".

Another incident: I was filing out some insurance papers and could not remember one of my daughters middle names. The irony here is that she and I have the SAME middle name! I knew that mine was KATE but could not make the connection that she was also.
I got lost driving to places I have been to 1000's of times. These things are agitating to say the least !!!

If you think of your brain, sort of like a file cabinet, and you usualy know which file to look under to find a word you need or what ever, and you look there, and the file is gone, it really TICKS ya off, so you have to flip thought all these other files in your head to find the one you need---its maddening!!

Mine got better, I am hoping that your mom's will too. BTW-not that it matters, but Im 45 years old and was only 43 when I was told I had breast cancer.

Much luck to you and your mom
and God Bless you both
Jerilyn
Jerilynfrog13@yahoo.com

jlstitch
Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2002

I'm so glad I found your writeup on this. I had chemo and radiation in 2001 and since then the memory is terrible. It is so awful to try and think of things you want to say. I've wondered if this went along with the treatment, but have never asked the doctors. I have no idea what would help this problem but do know next time I see the doctor I'm going to ask him. I hope your mother gets the help she needs because it is terrible trying to remember what you are trying to say and it just is not there. Thanks so much

sarahu
Posts: 8
Joined: Oct 2003

You originally posted your message about 5 months ago. Hopefully you have had some luck finding treatment. I would recommed getting a consult from a physician for your mom to see a speech- language pathologist and/or an occupational therapist. These professions provide retraining and compensation for cognitive deficits and for the decreased communication. Best of luck to you and your family.

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