CSN Login
Members Online: 10

Is there help for chemo brain/

Hippiechick58's picture
Hippiechick58
Posts: 320
Joined: Feb 2011

I am nearing the end of my taxo./neulasta cocktail. Last dose is 3/2. I am excited about finishing chemo, but one think i never counted on was "Chemo Brain.' in fact, I thought it was kind of like a running joke, like you forgot where u put your keys,. BOY WAS I EVER WRONG!!It had taken me a half hour or more to type these words. And that from someone who was a whiz on the keyboards. I also mix up the order of words, or just plain write silly silly text making myself look stunada. Does anyone have any advice for me. Is this just somethin g that goes away on its own? Or should i contact my doctor/ I have always prided myself on my ability to write and write me. Now i'm reduced to tears when i see what I have wwritten, Please help, ladies, i really need itl

tgf's picture
tgf
Posts: 955
Joined: Mar 2009

Yep ... those of us who have had chemo certainly know that chemo brain is REAL. I think the only REAL medicine for it is laughter. You really have to learn to laugh through the worry and frustration. I remember a year or so ago someone wrote about chemo brain and the "sisters" wrote about all of the crazy things they'd said and done. Of course I can't remember any of them. I know my most traumatic experience was while I was at work. I work full time ... and on the computer all the time ... and I don't remember what I was supposed to be typing ... but it needed a question mark ... and for the life of me I could not find "?" on my keyboard. After many minutes of looking ... my eyes started to tear up and I knew I was losing it so went to the restroom to pull myself together. Pitful ... isn't it? But we've all known the frustration of not being able to remember people's names, what you call certain items, using the wrong words for something ... forgetting what you were saying in the middle of sentence etc. etc. etc. I think it would make a terrific "humor book" if someone could pull all of the stories and experiences together in one spot. The only problem is ... most of us would forget what we were doing and end up off in the twilight zone somewhere. All you can do is laugh ... and share your stories with us. We promise to laugh WITH you ... not AT you. :-)

hugs.
Teena

Hippiechick58's picture
Hippiechick58
Posts: 320
Joined: Feb 2011

Thanks Teena, I appreciate your input. I like the laughter part of it, because really the only alternative is to cry. AnD God knows I've done enough of that! I can't even play scrabble on pogo now. I have to go back to the rank of beginner instead of master!Maybe it will make me more humble.

Thanks for chiming in.
Be Well,
Dianne

Hippiechick58's picture
Hippiechick58
Posts: 320
Joined: Feb 2011

Thanks Teena, I appreciate your input. I like the laughter part of it, because really the only alternative is to cry. AnD God knows I've done enough of that! I can't even play scrabble on pogo now. I have to go back to the rank of beginner instead of master!Maybe it will make me more humble.

Thanks for chiming in.
Be Well,
Dianne

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4527
Joined: Aug 2009

I think adaptation and time will help. writing things down and making things more routine. I still forget names and words especially when I am tired or stressed, but it has gotten so much better a million times better. I think doing puzzles, etc... can help. making sure you rest, decreasing stress.

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

I don't have chemo brain, but, I blame anything I do wrong on Cancer Brain! It kind of works. LOL

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5490
Joined: Oct 2010

My oldest if dyslexic and has those issues... just a silly, goofy comment but sounded like her days!

I HOPE it gets better-I had radiation...no chemo so can't relate!

Denise W

missrenee's picture
missrenee
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

I agree with Teena--when chemo brain kicked in, I would just laugh--and it got people around me to laugh too. I would be talking and completely lose my train of thought mid-sentence. I'm also a big puzzle doer--crosswords, sudoku, word jumbles--well, during chemo--not happenin'! I put them away--too frustrating.

The good news is--mine did go away for the most part. There are still a few instances when I can't remember the word for something--I'll say to my husband--can you stop at the cleaners and pick up--um, um, um, you know--those things you put on the lower half of your body and put a belt on! He'll say--you mean pants? Yes, pants! It's far and in between but I still find it funny.

Don't stress over it--this too shall pass. Good luck to you.

Hugs, Renee

missrenee's picture
missrenee
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

I agree with Teena--when chemo brain kicked in, I would just laugh--and it got people around me to laugh too. I would be talking and completely lose my train of thought mid-sentence. I'm also a big puzzle doer--crosswords, sudoku, word jumbles--well, during chemo--not happenin'! I put them away--too frustrating.

The good news is--mine did go away for the most part. There are still a few instances when I can't remember the word for something--I'll say to my husband--can you stop at the cleaners and pick up--um, um, um, you know--those things you put on the lower half of your body and put a belt on! He'll say--you mean pants? Yes, pants! It's far and in between but I still find it funny.

Don't stress over it--this too shall pass. Good luck to you.

Hugs, Renee

camul's picture
camul
Posts: 2122
Joined: Dec 2010

I can relate. This is my second go round with chemo. It took some time but did get better after the first time. This time, I am finding myself making numerous trips upstairs or to the store for the same thing, only to keep forgetting it. I will talk to my sisters and try to explain something and by the time I come up with the right word, I have forgotten what it was I was trying to tell them.

We just laugh and I am known again in the family as Al's wife (as in alsheimer). But it is all in fun. Frustrating, but in the whole of the situation, sometimes the laughter that follows is a great stress reliever!

mom62
Posts: 601
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi,

I found with time (the first time I had cancer) about 6 months after chemo my brain came back to almost full capacity. The second time I had cancer I wasn't working and it hasn't gone away. I do stupid things all the time. I try to put the milk in the cupboard, go into a room and forget why I went, or my favorite, not being able to think of the word I want to say. I think lack of stimultion doesn't help either although I read a lot.

Terry

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5490
Joined: Oct 2010

not post chemo? Just curious...never heard of it...

didn't know if slighter version with tamoxifen!

tgf's picture
tgf
Posts: 955
Joined: Mar 2009

I don't know about tamoxifen brain ... but ... I'm almost 67 ... and a little over a year out of treatment ... and I still use chemo brain as an excuse for forgetting things ... or using the wrong word ... etc. etc. I work full time ... and we all take it very lightly. I tell them I'm OLD ... and I had CHEMO ... they should just be thankful I'm here! And ... besides ... I'd rather thing it's chemo brain ... and not alzheimers ...

But ... I truly do know how frustrating it can be. For me the worst is not being able to "find" a word ... and you end up describing it ... like someone mentioned about "pants."

I just keep laughing at myself ... it sure beats crying!

Hang in there.

hugs.
teena

Lighthouse_7's picture
Lighthouse_7
Posts: 1566
Joined: Jan 2010

Well hippieChick if there is a cure for chemo brain than Bring it on! I must admit that part I never knew ( just like you) and there are days that I can laugh it off, but I do have those dark days when it scares the hell out of me.
Here's one way of looking at it, we're all in the same boat! I know, that's not helping..sorry, today is one of my good days. :)
Hey, it cracked me up when you said stunada! I am Italian also and my mom says it all the time.
Thanks for making my day.
Hugs and hugs,
Wanda

natly15's picture
natly15
Posts: 1934
Joined: Sep 2009

Hey Hippichick and Lizzie, I too am Italian and I cracked up when I saw the word "stunada". Call it chemo brain, stunada, old age coupled with chemo brain, or call it whatever you want but that still doesnt change the fact that we get it and have it. It will be a year on March 30 that I had my last chemo. I can tell you that words are coming easier than they did, but I'm still forgetful and even tho the words are coming easier, sometimes it still takes time to come up with the word. I turned 68 last month and yes the age thing is also frightening. I forget so much of what people tell me. Is it that I'm not interested, perhaps some of the time, but not all of the time. I find that I have to write things down, dates, events and so on or I truly and unintentionally forget. Its difficult for me to get my thoughts all together sometimes. I can tell you that I NEVER had a problem thinking and expressing ideas. Chemo brain is a fact and we handle it with laughter most of the time. Welcome to the Pink Sisters Club of memory loss, boob loss, hair loss and the beat goes on. :o)

lafera12
Posts: 63
Joined: May 2009

Thanks to the other Italians..sometimes I still feel Stunada.
I went through treatment in 2008--just chemo meds and chemo med.with
Herceptin..there were days I couldn't even remember what day it was, I
would have to call a friend and ask her, we always laughed about it.
At least then I had an excuse to forget, now I don't and blame it on my
age (62) and sometimes still blame chemo-brain. A cousin once told me
it never goes away..

Just keep laughing about it, it's all we can do....

natly15's picture
natly15
Posts: 1934
Joined: Sep 2009

OMG talk about chemo brain, I meant to address my first post to Lighthouse (Wanda) and Hippichick not Lizzie==what can I say????????????????

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4527
Joined: Aug 2009

I definately do the pants thing too.

Chickadee1955's picture
Chickadee1955
Posts: 333
Joined: Apr 2010

Most of the time the chemo brain thing is laughable. Right now, not so much. I've been back to work for several weeks now and have found that concentrating on documents is becoming harder, not easier. My eyes want to jump around the page as I am trying to read, and I have to read contracts, medical records and other documents that require concentration as part of my daily job. This week I have made some novice-level errors, and I have over 30 years in this industry. I'm getting scared I won't be able to keep up the quality of my work to keep my job. Oh, and I NEED my job!

I finished chemo 8/30, started Femara 9/15 or so; onc took me off the Femara last week due to some severe pain issues that cropped up after I weaned myself off Cymbalta. She says there are too many moving parts to tell what's causing what, so for now I am just taking supplements.

Sorry to whine; perhaps I should WINE!

Chickadee

Lighthouse_7's picture
Lighthouse_7
Posts: 1566
Joined: Jan 2010

Natly, That was precious! You couldn't have done it on a better post!
Wanda :)

cahjah75's picture
cahjah75
Posts: 2623
Joined: Jun 2010

don't be too concerned. It does go away eventually. I finished chemo in early December and just finished rads and feeling fine other than fatigue.
{{hugs}} Char

sea60's picture
sea60
Posts: 2601
Joined: May 2010

Menopause colliding together!

It's been 5 years and I still struggle with this. Sometimes the words in a verbal conversation get jumbled or I can't remember the word I was going to say.

So, I have to say POST-IT's are something I never leave home without!

I'm just used to it now.

But I've talked to some folks that don't suffer from foggy brain so every one is different.

I think it did get a little better once you're finished with the Chemo.

lizzie17
Posts: 533
Joined: Nov 2009

When I get tired, like tonight at work, I asked for a banana when I wanted a brownie.
There were no bananas there and everyone laughed.

jendrey's picture
jendrey
Posts: 377
Joined: Sep 2009

Before chemo only when I got really tired I'd lapse into writing backwards. Now, it's really difficult sometimes to write normal. I've had a 12.1 reading grade average since the first grade. And yep, I'm left-handed! Also, I seem to forget entire chunks of recent memory sometimes. Like already put the laundry into dryer but forgot that I did.

You are so not alone! =)

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network