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Help! I'm tired & I can't think

ladybug626's picture
ladybug626
Posts: 32
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi,

I finished 5 rounds of chemo (Taxol + Carboplatin) 5 weeks ago. I still feel tired all of the time. I think I may be depressed. I am very anxious about a possible recurrence. There is also a constant burning in my stomach not present before the treatment. It is difficult to think. Sometimes it is hard to complete a sentence without forgetting the words mid-sentence. The oncologist is running a test on my thyroid. Has chemo effected anyone else's thyroid? How long does it take for the side effects of chemo to wear off? I am in remission and hope to feel better soon. Your advice & support is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

God Bless,

JAshe2350

mopar
Posts: 1954
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi! Sorry to hear what you're going through. I've been there. 'Forgetfullness'and inability to 'think' are definitely side effects of the Taxol/Carbo. It should pass in time. The fatigue is probably due to a low blood count, also a side effect of chemo. When you lack in red blood cells (which carry oxygen to your body), you will naturally feel tired. I felt short of breath. That should also pass. I never did ask for Procrit shots or anything like that. I just tried to keep up eating good sources of protein, lots of water, fruits and veges - no sugars, etc. Well, if you want more info, feel free to write back. Let us know what stage you were, surgery? etc. Stomach issue may just be a result of everything you're going through. Can't really be sure, though. Would love to hear from you again. My thoughts and prayers are with you!
Monika

BonnieR's picture
BonnieR
Posts: 1549
Joined: Jan 2004

I remember the chemo too good yet. Yes the memory and tiredness are from the chemo, surgery, and your body fighting to get well. It has been 6 months since my last chemo and I am feeling better. Still is hard getting use to not having the energy I once had but just keep on keeping on. It does get better! My sister also had ovarian cancer and has lots of thyroid problems. It is very common to have thyroid problems after chemo. Keep us posted and rest in all the prayers being said for you. Bonnie

Airwayqueen
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2003

Hello. I had the same symptoms you are experiencing. Yes, my thyroid was waaaayyy off. I am currently taking synthroid to get my thyroid functioning properly. I also was tired all of the time. It took me about six months after I was finished with the chemo to regain my short term memory. It takes time. Hang in there! You are not alone.
I am now cancer free and my brain has returned to normal.

Gayla

JanQ's picture
JanQ
Posts: 238
Joined: Jan 2004

Gayla how did you know you're thyroid was out of wack? I just finished my 5th chemo memory is shot I've had neuropothy so they just changed my treatment. now I have to have shots. wish I could have made it without that. God Bless You All, Jan

ellmey
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2003

Ah Yes, The memory loss drove me crazy. It took about 10 months before my memory felt managable.
I'm 43 years old, Stage 2. Its been exactly one year since my last chemo treatment (alsways sounds like something you would say at an AA meeting).
It is so reassuring to hear others are experiencing the same thing. I always felt like my MD was brushing me off whenever I expressed my frustration with memory.
I had a hard time with word recall. Even finishing sentences was hard. And it wasn't like the words were at the tip of my tongue either.
I am a teacher. I finished my chemo in spring and the following fall returned to work full time. It was two months into the school year and we just had a four day weekend. As the students began entering my room I quickly realized not only did I not remember their name but I had no idea who else to anticapate coming through the door!!!! No idea as to what faces or names! Thank goodness they had assigned seats and I could check my seating chart.
Hang in there. It took time for my mind and memory to feel agile again.
Be honest with yourself and honest with others. Don't fight it. Find ways to adapt. I drastically simplified my life (a blessing in disguise). I told my students, coworkers, and family what was going on and how they can help.
I started to watch how often others had memory loss moments rather than focusing on how often I was at a loss for words (watch any women approaching menopause---their memory is a mess!!!). I also started doing more crossword puzzles, word games, scrabble, and watching game shows with word games (Pyramid) to challenge my brain to think again.
The memory loss was frustrating, frightening and made me feel old. I felt very depressed at times.
Hang-in there. You will again feel in control of your mind.

ladybug6
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Everyone,

I am JAshe2350's daughter Melissa. I helped my Mom compose the message she posted. I wanted to write you to tell you how much your replies meant to us.

Her oncologist told her the fatigue and memory problems were not normal. Her thyroid and blood tests came back fine so he just dismissed her complaints.

I am writing this reply because her word recall and sentence completion difficulties worsened over the last week. Maybe she tried to return to work (2-3 hrs/day) too soon. Thankfully, she keeps a good sense of humor about it. It helps to know others went through or are going through similar experiences. It is a relief to know it will get better and it is not abnormal. Reading your replies really eased our minds and lifted our spirits.

Thank you for all of your support, encouragement, and prayer. Hope you have a beautiful Spring, blessed with good health & happiness.

Melissa

ladybug6
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Everyone,

I am JAshe2350's daughter Melissa. I helped my Mom compose the message she posted. I wanted to write you to tell you how much your replies meant to us.

Her oncologist told her the fatigue and memory problems were not normal. Her thyroid and blood tests came back fine so he just dismissed her complaints.

I am writing this reply because her word recall and sentence completion difficulties worsened over the last week. Maybe she tried to return to work (2-3 hrs/day) too soon. Thankfully, she keeps a good sense of humor about it. It helps to know others went through or are going through similar experiences. It is a relief to know it will get better and it is not abnormal. Reading your replies really eased our minds and lifted our spirits.

Thank you for all of your support, encouragement, and prayer. Hope you have a beautiful Spring, blessed with good health & happiness.

Melissa

groundeffect
Posts: 651
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Jashe2350, I saw your posting on the uterine cancer board, and know you are really reaching for an answer. The "chemo brain" (or "chemonesia", another term I've heard it called) is a very confusing phenomena, but I'm convinced it exists. My chemo ended in Jan. '03, and I feel that I started getting my memory pretty much back to where it should have been in May or June '03. I'm going by what I can remember from those months-planting a garden, taking a business trip (and how exhausting it was), and what I remember from both. I have better memory now of a little trip my husband and I made a couple of weeks after my first treatment, too. I really had to did for it, but I did recover it, and was able to show him where we parked and walked in the small city that was very crowded with cars and visitors when we were there.

My friend who was dx with OVCA just after I was done with chemo seems to be doing better with her memory now, too. Her husband (who is literally a big-shoe, rubber-nose type of clown) and her family had a lot of fun with her very apparent memory problems, and ther light-hearted banter about it was reassuring to me.

I started thinking I may have had a small stroke because of my inability to put words to things I was thinking about (I had a pulmonary embolism in Aug. '03, and I could have had a stroke as well), but I'm glad to report that it was probably just the chemo. This is a good reason to write everything down when you're at the doctor's office-I always had a list of things to ask about when I went in for a visit (and still do). My sister had given me a book of "variety" crossword puzzles when I was in the hospital, and I think working with it may have helped my concentration. I believe it is possible to improve (or at least help) your memory by using your mind by playing simple games that need some mental input, like Scrabble or Boggle, or Yahtzee.

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