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Talking or mumbling to self

Em11
Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 2010

My husband just started chemo about three weeks ago for stage IV oral and throat cancer. From the very first week of chemo, he started a new habit of mumbling or talking to himself. At first I didn't think anything about it, because he said it was a song that popped into his mind or something. But now, three weeks later and starting round 2 of chemo, it's getting worse. He whispers things to himself, such as reading a sign along the road, or verbiage from a TV commercial. I'm constantly saying to him, "What? I can't hear you," because I don't know if he's meaning to be speaking to me or not. Sometimes even when he really is speaking to me, he mumbles. I'm wondering if the chemo has affected his hearing or something.

This isn't something he's ever done before, at least not that I ever noticed. Another thing that made me think it might be the chemo is that I noticed another patient at the clinic doing the same thing. He mumbles to himself about the mathematical work he is doing while taking his chemo treatment.

Have any of you ever heard of this before?

Noellesmom
Posts: 1315
Joined: Aug 2010

Em, I wonder if it is the pain medication your husband might be taking. My husband had hypopharyngeal cancer and completed treatment two months ago. Because he is still in pain, he takes some serious medication to handle it. I often catch him talking when he is really asleep or almost. It seems to be part of a dream fragment he is having when he starts talking out loud or just barely whispering.

I would not think mumbling to oneself when faced with the stresses of H&N cancer would be that unusual, either.

What does your husband respond when you ask him about this?

Em11
Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 2010

I bet you're right about the pain medication, and then he's also taking nausea meds sometimes, so that might be it too.

He says he's just talking to himself or mumbling a song that popped into his head. I do think his hearing has become a bit muffled or something, because he says that he wasn't aware he was really speaking where anyone could hear him, and he has trouble fully hearing me if the TV is on or anything.

Lately, we're both so stressed that I wouldn't be surprised if I started mumbling to myself either.

Thank you for replying, Noellesmom. This hit us so suddenly and unexpectedly, and everything in our life has been put on holding pattern in order to take care of him. I've been lurking in this forum a lot, and I've really gotten some helpful information, especially coping skills.

Noellesmom
Posts: 1315
Joined: Aug 2010

But I'm not sure why you are posting to the "late effects of treatment" board. If I understand correctly you are in the midst of treatments for Phase IV throat cancer. If you post to the Head and Neck Discussion board you will get people who are very knowledgeable about what your husband is experiencing.

I understand about the suddenness and I know how difficult this can be, Em.

Make sure you check out the other Caregiver boards for help for yourself, too.

Hugs.

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