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Advice RE Chemo Treatment and Patients with Dementia?

Anne1978
Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2009

Hello. My aunt was recently diagnosed with Uterine cancer, stage 3a. The Dr. says chemo is the next step in treatment, but as my aunt also has Lewy Body or AD dementia, I’m concerned about her getting the right treatment from a holistic approach. Any advice or information about chemo and dementia would be much appreciated! Thank you.

beckyracn's picture
beckyracn
Posts: 323
Joined: May 2009

I experienced 'chemo fog' with Cisplatin. Would get lost driving myself to treatments, which was a route that I had driven daily for many years. I still suffer from short term memory loss. It's gotten better over time.

shortmarge's picture
shortmarge
Posts: 295
Joined: Nov 2008

Great question to ask the doctor!!! Chemo does effect the brain, can be for a short term or a life long thing. If you go back and read some of our post after we have had a treatment you can tell by our spelling and wording that it had effected us. I still have to proofread....

Hugs...

Anne1978
Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2009

beckyracn- I'll make note of the memory issues associated with Cisplatin. Thank you for sharing. Sending good vibes for memory rejuvenation.

shortmarge- Thank you. Good point about short- vs. long-term side effects. I'll look for that. Hugs to you too.

deanna14
Posts: 733
Joined: Oct 2008

I'm glad to see this discussion, it makes me feel better. I have noticed that when I am overwhelmed, stressed or in a situation with a lot of activity or people I have a lot of trouble concentrating. I went to lunch today with a large group of people that I used to work with and I felt very overwhelmed. I had a hard recalling names of people I have worked with for years! Kinda freaked me out a little. Sure hope that it gets better soon. I hope and pray that it is a short term side effect. It was a little bit embarrasing. I also had a hard time keeping my train of thought when having a conversation with someone. We were in a busy resturant and there were about 20 or so of us.

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Deanna, I bet your friends were just so happy that you were out with them and am sure they didn't notice or didn't care if you were a tad "forgetful". I know exactly what you are talking about. I too hope it is shortlived. I really did not notice it much until I finished chemo and was getting back out into the world again! I had never had trouble making decisions, etc...but last month when I was planning a trip for my husband and I, I was overwhelmed and suggested we call if off. Just making the plans and sequencing events, etc. was overwhelming. My dear husand sat down with me and we worked through it and had a wonderful trip. I also found the thought of being away from home for 2 weeks to be a bit unnerving and anxiety provoking...again, NOT like me at all! Multi-tasking is also challenging. I have always loved to cook and have company but now find it more challenging as things take me much longer. If I am having guests, I tend to write out the sequencing of getting the dinner ready as I fear screwing it up!

I have read some about chemobrain and it a very real phenomena. I am going to chat with my gyn/onc about this next week when I see him. Will be interesting to learn what others have experienced!

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

Words and effective communication have always been my livelihood, and now sometimes, mid-sentence, I find myself searching without success for the word I need to articulate my thought. And then, when I settle for another word that means ALMOST the same thing as the perfect word that just won't come to me, I sometimes get embarrassed and lose my train of thought. I've always found that if I can't immediately find the perfect words to describe a new idea, the illusive thought can slip away from me and be lost. I always believed that having a large vocabulary really allows you to think BETTER. It scares me when I can't pull a word that I need out of the air. No one else has remarked on it and I think I fudge my way through. But I know I'm not as sharp as I was pre-chemo. I hope that clarity returns soon.

shortmarge's picture
shortmarge
Posts: 295
Joined: Nov 2008

I know exactly what you mean Linda. My family thinks I'm crazy when I point to my head and say, "the word... it's right there but I can't get it out". It gets me so angry sometimes!

Here's a scary story for you: My husband gave me his check to deposit in the bank. He has a separate savings account that we squirrel some money away. Well, I went to the bank and had his bank account number on a sticky note in my hand and was really concentrating to make sure I wrote his account # and to put it in the savings account. I swore up and down that I did but I guess I didn't. When I got the deposit slip back I had put it into our regular checking account. I just sat in the car in such disbelief, I wanted to ask the teller if I could see that deposit slip, but how embarrassing that would be to explain. I was just wanting to believe it was her mistake. I told my husband and just cried, he told me it was okay but to me it's not, it's damn scary.

Now this new medicine I'm on for the heart can cause mental confusion. Like I really need anymore!!!!

You're all in my prayers!

MIND, BODY AND SOUL!!!

Hugs.

beckyracn's picture
beckyracn
Posts: 323
Joined: May 2009

Embarrassment, confusion, frustration...I am so glad that I am not alone out here experiencing this strange phenomenon. It's been very scary for me. I use to be a great speller, but now carry around a spelling ace for work. And I remember one time my husband left the grocery store ahead of me with the cart while I paid and I totally freaked out when I came out of the store and was lost. Could not find the vehicle or see the hubby anywhere. Once I got into the vehicle I totally collapsed in tears. My husband had no idea what to do with me because he had never seen me like this. I have to chuckle now thinking about it, but it wasn't so funny then.

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