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aphasia

fandm
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2011

Last September, my mother began to show symptoms of aphasia. It was from this that the doctors discovered that she had brain cancer, which was later found to be GBM 4. The aphasia first manifested itself in loss of vocabulary and saying the wrong words sometimes. But it has gotten worse, to the point that she seems to be having some cognitive difficulties as well. At times she seems to do ok, but right now she cannot write anything that makes sense. We were told it would get better once the swelling went down after her surgery, but that has not been the case.

Has anyone else dealt with aphasia as a part of the brain cancer experience? What has it been like? Were you or your loved one able to recover from the aphasia?

Thanks.

DistancerunnerXC's picture
DistancerunnerXC
Posts: 44
Joined: Mar 2011

Alot depends upon where your loved one is in treatment.
My wife began to display cognitive problems about a year after radiation therapy.
I really don't know what the cause was, but it was atributed to radiation necrosis.
They gave her 4 infusions of avastin and everything in a mobility way cleared up, but the cognitive difficulties did not.
They asked her at MD Anderson to take a pen and paper and write a sentence about me.
All you could understand was my name. Eveything else was nonsense.
She has all the classic symptoms of dementia, yet it seems different.
I can tell that she knows things and tries to get the words out, but the wrong words or no words or partial sentenses are all that come out.
She gets frustrated and growls...grrrr...
These symptoms are slowly, painfully slowly improving.
The Docs where she goes can't figure out why the cognitive problems are not clearing up despite the fact that no recurrence is seen in the scans and the swelling is going down.
So, they referred her to a psychiatrist to try and figure out if depression is playing into all of this.
We haven't gotten an appointment yet, they are hard to get into to see, BUT we'll get there.
These problems can clear up.
A lady from an organization called "gray matters" told my neice that she too had cognitive problems related to tumor and treatment and she came out of it with TIME.
I dunno, we just gotta keep engaging our loved ones and hope for the best.

fandm
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2011

Thanks for the response. I'm sorry to hear your wife is also struggling with aphasia. Mom had a 6-week course of radiation to start her treatment, and the aphasia got much worse about 2 weeks after that. She had surgery to remove the largest tumor, but there is a 2nd tumor that was inoperable. However, the tumor that was removed is the one that was in the language area and the swelling has gone down, but the aphasia is still there and, if anything, getting worse. She is taking Avastin and Temodar, but they don't seem to have had much effect so far.

We are fortunate that Mom is still able to communicate verbally. She cannot write, but she can follow a conversation pretty well and her memory is very good. Her cognition issues can be a problem, though. She occasionally does some weird things, and there is very little she can actually do to pass the time. She also cannot control her eating; she has a ravenous appetite due to the Dexamethasone she is taking and she eats everything in sight.

I sincerely hope that your wife continues to improve. I am learning how difficult the waiting game is. We are waiting to see if the cancer will respond to the treatment or if there is another treatment that could help.

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