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chemobrain

wstexgirl's picture
wstexgirl
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2009

I hate that term but thats what they called it at the hospital...anyone know if its permanent or will it go away?

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

The bad news is that it does indeed exist. The good news is that it is now, finally recognized as a legitimate issue and one worthy of more study. When I first heard of it, on the Chat Room in here, in fact, I thought it was a joke. I had to go online and look it up to discover that it was very real, a very real concern.

Even over the last few years, while research is still inadequate, the professional are beginning to recognize not just the existence of the problem, but also some longevity.

When I first started reading about it (and this was all within the last three or four years), everything I was reading stated that it was something caused inexplicably by chemotherapy and that it would go away within six months. More recently, I have read that it may last as long as two years, and some notions are that it may last way beyond that.

I would advise, personally, that the problem, if there is one, is not just chemobrain, but also stress. I am firmly entrenched in the belief that cancer can cause post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and it seems that more and more people are coming around to that view.

Stress can certainly be a major factor in terms of memory, decision-making, and so forth. Do not rule it out.

If you are troubled by this, to the point that you are writing to this site about it, I would advise that you consider counseling. It does not mean that you are messed up. It means that you might need someone to talk to on a regular basis about the disease, that you might ENJOY having someone to talk to about this experience.

This applies whether you are the survivor or the caregiver.

I've lived in Texas. Both of my kids were born in Texas and most of my family still lives in Texas. I know that in most parts of the state there are more cows than people. I know that there are certainly more cows than therapists :).

I also know that Texans are can-do. And if that means seeking a litle bit of help, try as we might to avoid it, then that is what we do.

Take care,

Joe

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

I think anyone that has delt with this problem hates the name. But as soccerfreaks says they are still learning about it. I have been through it and and worked hard to get by it. It seems the brain does not want to connect things in a regular pattern. Sometimes locking things we know behind doors that will open later or not at all. I started doing crossword puzzles and forcing myself to think about the answers for hours. Multi tasking was a hard issue for me and it took months to get back. But I believe we can beat some of the issues by making our brains think and not giving up. I guess the worse part for me is the memory issues. Putting something on the stove and forgetting it. And the wife says she tells me things I don't remember but I think its a normal part of marriage as T.V. is far more important than taking a minute to listen to my wife. After 33 years I figure I have heard enough of her. If your frustrated talk to your oncologist. I used some anxiety drugs for a short time as I had returned to work and was totally lost. Keep pushing yourself and making your brain think. There is no silver bullet cure for this and everyone reacts different to the drugs. Best of luck. Slickwilly

green50
Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

I have been off and on chemo for seven years MOstly on. I have "chemo Brain when taking it." And yes I believe in anyone stress can make you forget or be slow about finally remembering something. Chemo does make me have to stop and think what I am going to say or I forget even names that I have known. I go thru the alphabet to remember sometimes especially names. But when I do get breaks from chemo, a couple months, then I can remember better. A woman told me she couldnt believe i talk so well for all the chemo I have been thru because her motherin law stops more often to remember before she speaks I think it has a lot to do with the person plus the stress. I fight hard with this disease and try to put it in back of my mind and be positive,believe I have my bad days. But I joke and say when I forget I am chemo brain whats your excuse and go on. Chemo brain is a reality but I believe it can wear off some but remember as we get older and have more knowledge and stress we will forget more. I had chemo today so hope I made sense. LOL
Prayers and Hugs to all as always
Sandy

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