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Trouble Concentrating, Memory and Confusion

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

I can't seem to get back to my mental capacities and I am not sure I ever will. I try so hard to remember important things but I just can't. Since my Thyroidectomy I have to do something several times before I can retain the information. This is so unlike me. I have a demanding job that requires quick thinking and prioritizing and I am really struggling with this. I get confused easily and and can't focus on the task at hand. Then I start to panic and it gets worse. I am easily overstimulated and feel like I want to crawl in a corner and hide. Is anyone else having this problem?
Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

girllon
Posts: 14
Joined: Jun 2011

hey i used to work in an advertising agency where you'll have to be on ur toes 24/7. but because of the same problems tat ur facing now im not workin and at home. dont know whether i will be able to get back to the active person taf i was. and i feel since we are mentally irritated tat we are able to be like before, tat adds up to the body condition tat we are now facing. i think maybe we should try some energy or memmory supplements. do you think tat might me useful ?

amorriso
Posts: 186
Joined: Oct 2010

Yeah - I've been more forgetful since my surgeries etc too. I do try to write things down,but even that doesnt help all the time. I'm a middle school teacher - I can cover for my slipups most of the time, but I have also found I have trouble spelling.

The kids have had to help me from time to time.... they get a good laugh over it. I make myself to suduko and crossword puzzles to help with memory. I think its worked a bit.

I know my thinking isnt the same as it used to be and yes - it is frustrating. I worry about it too because my father and 2 of his sisters have alzeihmers. I'm scared this may set me up to go down the same road someday....

Hoping we can get our memories back in full!

Andree

bkane101
Posts: 35
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi Julie,

Yes I've got them same problem! I first developed it after having 2 children (the pregnancy dumbness) and now with the hypothyroid issue and cancer it's gone through the roof! I have to triple think everything and I feel like maybe I've lost some of my short term memory. I still have some problems forming words and stutter at times and I wonder if that's part of the memory thing. I thought about applying for an opening in my office that does some accounting but then to have to think all day with numbers is probably not the best position for me to be in. I, like someone else said, do crossword puzzles and jumble puzzles to try to help my brain but I feel like I just stare at them and then I get frustrated and quit. Quite sad, but I hope some day when I'm out of hypo hell even my memory will be normal again.

Labs tomorrow!!! We'll see!
Take care,
Barbara

nasher
Posts: 507
Joined: Apr 2010

When people used to ask me if I had any gaps in my memory or the like I used to respond with

I don't remember any gaps or something like that.

Now it is no longer a joke, I still live with notes and reminders and still keep forgetting things.

I have a checklist to make sure I have everything with me when I head out to work... and I forget to do the checklist some days and guess what I forget some things that day.

I use countdown timers to remind me that I had something planned or needed to do something... and a lot of the time it takes me a min or 2 to remember what I set the timer for. Yesterday for example I was doing multiple loads of laundry (1 hour timer) and I did not immediately remember what the alarm was for 3 out of 7 times yesterday.

When I forget things I get panicked now and then.

Sigh... or the fact that I got called away from the computer and forgot I was mid posting

At least I have not forgotten to spell-check this one.

As for crawling into a corner I have a corner desk in my office that’s secluded so luckily I don’t run into that feeling too often...

Craig

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

While I feel bad about this problem, I am just glad that it's not just me. I am not sure how long I will be able to work. I feel like such a failure sometimes. Today I was very short tempered with my boss. Then she pulled me aside into an exam room and chewed me a new butt hole. I apologized and still felt really bad and stupid. I know everyone makes mistakes so I shouldn't be so hard on others nor myself. So I got my butt chewed by a patient's son and then by my boss for someone else's mistake. I just didn't handle it very well and I feel like a real schmuck! I panic easily and then I can't focus on anything. It's like I chase my tail trying to accomplish tasks that keep piling up on me. This week the doctor I work for was giving me instructions and when I reached for a pad and papper she stopped me and said, "just listen, you don't need to write this down." But I did, she doesn't get it either. I will forget even if it's written down sometimes. Just wondering if I should consider applying for disability or if I will even have a chance at getting it. I could always go back to my old career, but it was so unstable financially. I guess I need to keep praying for answers. Thanks for listening.
Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

canuckfan
Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2011

I am confident that the lack of TT and RAI sucked me memory right out of me! I hear this a lot though so I don't feel it's unusual....even if I don't appreciate that its the norm. I have found over time it's coming back. Quite a few members on the Thyroid Cancer 411 group (on Facebook) take supplements that help but I haven't found my way to adding more to my system yet, I want to get regulated first.
Best to all of you!
Beth

Barbara Mazz
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2011

Wow Sunnyaz you described how I was feeling for a year prior to finding out I had thyroid problems and thryoid cancer. I didn't know my thyroid wasn't working, or that I had cancer.I had no lump, or goiter, or severe weight gain etc. I went to a neurologist reporting those same kind of memory symptoms and for all kinds of tests. I thought I had early Alzheimer's or something? I was starting to panic with my memory loss, I couldn't remember how to get on the computer at one point, and was driving to the mall and couldn't remember how to get there, when it was so bad. Now after thyroidectomy February 2011, and RAI March 2011, and now that the synthroid has kicked in, I am feeling much better. My memory is pretty much back, Although I do occasionally get an episode where I can't remember something important to me, an I do get a slight panic, but its rare now. Are you taking your thyroid replacement meds? Have you told you endocrinologist so he can adjust your meds? There is definitely a relationship between the thyroid and your memory. That is why they report trouble in school to the endocrinologist in children. Its a sign of meds needing to be adjusted, often times. The lack of thyroid effects more things then I think anyone realizes. I wish you well and hope you get this stuff all straightened out. How old are you. I am 50

nasher
Posts: 507
Joined: Apr 2010

One thing I would like to make sure is that the doctor’s don’t just lump EVERYTHING into well you have thyroid issues.

I don’t know if I had memory problems before thyroid cancer was found or for how long but now I know I do and probably had for a year or so before they figured it out.

One of my biggest problems is figuring out what I need to tell each of my different doctors, right now I have

1) PCP Bangor (primary care provider one of 3 doctors working as a team)
-- works with my high blood pressure, anti-depressants, most my meds and refers me to everyone else up to and including #13
2) ENT Bremerton (the ones with the frozen section that I am trying to get B-RAF tested don’t know the doc cause the doc who took my thyroid retired.
3) Endo Madigan (dealing with synthroid/Cytomel and anti depressants)
4) ENT Madigan doing everything they possibly can to say the vertigo I have isn’t there fault (right after 2nd surgery for hearing I started having vertigo)
5) Neurology Bremerton (sure that the vertigo is ENT Madigan’s fault)
6) Neurology Madigan (ENT Madigan trying to get a 2nd opinion)
7) Sleep study center Poulsbo (Sleep Apnea doctors referred study to Harrison)
8) Sleep Study Harrison (preformed sleep study sent info to Poulsbo for diagnosis)
9) Physical Therapy Bremerton (knees and arm issues)
10) Physical Therapy Harrison (dealing with vertigo)
11) Psychiatrist Bremerton (thinks I’m "Normal" with a little stress problem)
12) Nutritionist Bremerton (weight management)
13) eye doctor Bangor (vision changed with thyroid issue)
14) Disabled American Veterans (working my disability claim with the VA)
15) Primary Doctor VA claim (sole job to prove I am physically / mentally fit and assign other doctors to retest everything
16) VA cancer/endocrine system
17) VA hearing
18) VA Vertigo/balance
19) VA Sleep issues (and sleep apnea)
20) and many other doctors as the primary VA claim doc wants to send me to.
Oh and after any appointment I need to set up another with my PCP Bangor (I actually only do this like 2x a month) to update him/them on what everyone else is doing.

One thing I have learned is that it’s not normally 1 issue that you have its multiple. Being that I have at least 10 different doctors/technicians that I see in a 2 month period it’s a wonder I remember what to talk to them about.

I probably would not have found out about my thyroid issue until a few months later if I did not go to ENT Bremerton for my hearing issues (Otosclerosis - a type of hearing loss)

@ Julie-SunnyAZ - I don’t think you will qualify for a disability but you won’t know unless you ask/apply for me the thyroid cancer is part of my disability from the military.
@ Barbaa Mazz – yes your endocrinologist will adjust your meds to a point but it might not be thyroid related. (oh and I am 40)

Oh for EVERYONE who is going through thyroid problems be sure to have your vision checked (if you can) cause when your thyroid goes bad it can cause lots of vision problems)

@ Beth canuckfan – what supplements are people taking.
I do not know if I have any other issue that’s all I can remember at this time, but I have found out that each and every one of the doctors NEED to know your other issues even though they focus on one.

I take notes when I can and have tons of check lists that are useful when I remember to use them.

Make sure you list each of your problems and what seems to set it off/aggravate it and maybe the docs will be able to figure out if it’s just your Synthroid/Cytomel being off or it it’s something else.

Oh and more back on topic
With all the medical appointments, learning to read lab reports, scheduling life around medical appointments, taking your meds at multiple different times, and we are surprised that we forget things work related.
I defiantly remember more than I did prior to them getting my Synthroid/Cytomel set close to correct. I just don’t know if the current memory issues I am having are thyroid related or how much of them are thyroid related.

Ok forgot what else I was planning on saying so I guess I better post this

Craig

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Don't know why but I remember long term stuff but not short term. Just forgot what else I wanted to post. Oh yeah, I finally admitted to myself that I have depression issues and went to my PCP. He says that depression can have an affect on memory. Haven't had any luck with anti-depressants in the past. He wants me to try a combination of Effexor and Trazadone. I read the side effects and personally, I am scared. I have to quit taking some of my other meds that have really helped me. He says that they are hindering and exacerbating my depression though. I am so confused! Anyone else tried either of or both of these med's together? The Effexor is for the daytime and the Trazadone is for nighttime. Some have said that they have a very hard time waking up in the morning. They report feeling like a zombie throughout the morning and not awake for a good part of the day. I have to be awake and ready for work every day so this in addition to the past allergic reactions to other similar med's has me concerned.
Thanks in advance for any input.
Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

3boys_mom
Posts: 47
Joined: Jun 2011

I was on Effexor, and it worked great for 3 months--then it stopped working. Just a warning, it is a mother to get off of. I am currently taking Pristiq and I have had great success with it (and adding Cytomel to my hypo thyroid). I've been on Wellbutrin, Lexapro, and I think one other but can't remember. I did well on Wellbutrin as well, was on it for 3 years. But it can be hard on the liver.

I hate depression, and I have suffered with it for years. It does affect the memory. I just don't know how much of my depression is actually caused by my thyroid?

Sarah

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi Sarah,

I really appreciate the input. I just don't know if I want to use anti-depressants. I was on Wellbutrin many years ago when it first came out and did fine with it except it decreased my libido and that's not okay with my husband, bad for a good marriage. My doctor is afraid he will hunt him down if that happens. Doc's not willing to risk it. LOL.

When you say, "it's a mother to get of of" what exactly happened when you titrated off of it?

3boys_mom
Posts: 47
Joined: Jun 2011

Sorry, I've been visiting family--
For me I switched directly from Effexor to Wellbutrin and I had a whole weekend of acting very manic. My house has never been so clean, I didn't sleep the whole weekend. When my mind returned to somewhat normal, and my friends and family all came down on me wanting the know why in the hell I was acting so crazy, I did some research. Found it was very hard to get off of. (and I was on the lowest dose) The fact that I switched to another AD probably kept the worst of the withdrawal symptoms away. It also KILLED my libido! Ironically, Wellbutrin did not lower, but rather raised my libido. The Pristiq has not bothered it. BTBH, almost all of the AD are hard to get off of. To really do it right, it takes anywhere from 3-6 months. And don't let any doctor tell you otherwise.

As a long time patient of AD, who hates taking them with every ounce of my being, I hate being off of them more. But AD will not help if you are just blue without the chemicals in the brain being off. Now knowing as much as I do about the thyroid, I've wondered how much of my depression has actually been caused by my hypo.

If I may ask, are you on Cytomel therapy? Cytomel has done more for my depression, anxiety, and irritability than anything else I've taken. I know some can not take it with their cancers, but might be worth looking into. If I wasn't staring cancer in the face, I would be working on getting off my Pristiq.

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

So, I tried the meds and with no luck. The Trazadone gave me leg cramps all night long and horrible nightmares. Even worse than the ones prior to taking the Trazadone. The Effexor made me nauseated and gave me diarrhea. My libido went to hell in a hand basket immediately. Wellbutrin did the same thing but without the horrible side effects. This just won't work for me or my husband. I only took one dose of each and decided to stop both. I have decided to use more natural means and possibly try the Cytomel/Synthroid combination. My Endo did pose this possibility and I think I will take him up on it at my appointment in September. In the interim, I am forcing myself to do at least half an hour of aerobics every morning. I am faithfully taking my multi-vitamins, CoQ10, Flaxseed oil, Selenium and vitamin C. I found out that vitamin C can NOT be taken at the same time as my Selenium. I was searching the web and I stumbled across this information by accident. The combination can be toxic, and I was taking them together every day. This may have been part of my problem.

Anyway, thanks for all of your input, I really appreciate it.

Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

maricela2009
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2011

Same here. I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma and off work for 11 months. I returned to my demanding job and it has been a challenge. I now use my phone alarm and calendar to remind me of things I have to do. I also can not retain informationn like I used to. I recently reduced my hours from 8 to five per day for the next three months and am getting somewhat more confortable. I should have returned to work part time instead of full time like I did. I had no idea how hard it would be. You may need to reduce your hours in order to keep your job and your benefits. My job was able to work with me and allowed me to work part time with the full time benefits. I was not aware of this until I asked.

srsbutterfly
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2011

I was unaware that what I have been feeling was related to my thyroidectomy. I was diagnosed in May and I had my surgery in May, I returned to my demanding job in June and it was a struggle getting back into the swing of things....I felt as if there was a tornado in my head, and I could not focus. I was taken back out of work to get my mind right, and I am slowly but surely feeling some progress. The first two weeks was a mess, but I am on my third week and I am starting to see some clarity. However, I seem to panic about the smallest things.

I am so glad that I looked on this website because I thought I was going crazy.

butterfly

Baldy's picture
Baldy
Posts: 225
Joined: Mar 2011

The phrase, "Tornado in my head," caught my eye. This could be a symptom of hypothyroidism, what I've seen listed as "rapid thoughts." Are you certain you're recieving a large enough dose of replacement hormone? Have you had your blood levels checked since your surgery? Have you talked to your doctor about this?

Alan

srsbutterfly
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2011

I hope to be recieving the right dosage, but I am uncertain. I have had my blood work drawn three times since my surgery, but I have not heard from the Endo regarding the results. I have even placed a call to see if I can get in sooner than my scheduled appointment; still waiting for a call back. I have spoken to my doctor regarding my "tornado" and I have been seeing a pschologist regarding this as well. I hope my body adjusts soon to all of the changes because it is not a good feeling.

butterfly

srsbutterfly
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2011

I hope to be recieving the right dosage, but I am uncertain. I have had my blood work drawn three times since my surgery, but I have not heard from the Endo regarding the results. I have even placed a call to see if I can get in sooner than my scheduled appointment; still waiting for a call back. I have spoken to my doctor regarding my "tornado" and I have been seeing a pschologist regarding this as well. I hope my body adjusts soon to all of the changes because it is not a good feeling.

butterfly

teamwink
Posts: 97
Joined: May 2011

I'm not sure if this is helpful, but could the issue be related to anxiety? I myself have had issues with it since the diagnosis of cancer, and it can influence you in many ways - from mental/emotional to physical stress. Not to mention that some of us are just not what we were pre surgery, and I for one was not prepared for that aspect of it. I think the mental health part of this cancer is highly overlooked :(

srsbutterfly
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2011

I agree teamwink...and it is sad that after the Thyroidectomy the surgeon only writes you out of work for 2 to 3 weeks..I think the time off should be at least 6 weeks or just 6 weeks to deal with all the anxiety.

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Yes, I agree. This is definitely anxiety which leads to stress and depression. I can feel my heart pounding out of my chest. I feel short of breath and I have acid reflux with chest pain. Sometimes I think I am having a heart attack.

I wake up in the early morning dreading work and have to talk myself out of the feelings of panic. My co-workers laughed when I told them that I have to lie to myself by making believe it is the weekend so that I can fall back to sleep and then I am ticked off at myself when I have to get up. Eventually I will catch on to my own lie's. Sort of sick, but so far it's working for me. I just wish I didn't have to work. Life would be a lot easier to handle. I keep playing the lottery, wishing and praying.

Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

nasher
Posts: 507
Joined: Apr 2010

all of this sounds interesting to me

a lot of it sounds like secondary causes.

it is all related to your thyroid surgery and cancer and surgery and....

its kind of like if you injure one leg you favor the other and at the end of the day both legs are hurting.

with myself its the fact i have multiple issues all together

1)TT (listing it first cause of the site)
2) is the cancer going to come back
3) sleep apnea (a separate medical issue so i don't get good sleep)
4) Vertigo (so my mind is defiantly spinning and doesn't help with sleep)
5) multiple meds to be taken at different times of the day plus the side effects of them.

I have found that tricking myself doesn't work i just get up the same time every day of the week take my synthroid set a 1 hour clock.. then figure what i needed to do that day.
After that i try to remember to take my other meds and have breakfast 1 hour later (after checking to make sure i don't have fasting labs that day).

yes I am sure anxiety is in the lot of things but its a secondary symptom caused by everything else just like depression.

a remember when i was meting with my mental health professional. He was surprised that I was the only thyroid cancer he had seen in his 8+ years once he heard of all the problems and issues. then he chatted with the other shrinks in the office. He had found out that in over 20 years I was the only person in any stage of thyroid cancer that had been seen by mental health. and that there were very very few cancer patients at all.

The biggest problem with all of this is if you start going to a shrink... that is ONE MORE appointment you need to remember about. Next week I have 5 medical appointment and i had two others but i need to reschedule them (issues with the clinic not mine) so i have to pull out my schedule and look at theirs to figure when i can fit in another appointment.

Literally the hardest thing with a mental health person is you sit down and he expects you to complain and gripe and whine and then he will only ask probing questions to try to figure out if he can help you figure out what caused this or that or...

looks at my clock ok 34 more min before i can have breakfast.

Another big issue that we all have to watch out for is the doctors assuming that your symptom is part of the "thyroid issue" and not a completely different issue.

I am also trying to get used to a new med I was given last night for my vertigo.

they took me off of Valium (for 7-10 days)and put me on meclizine (3x a day)even though this new one WILL make me tired it should help prevent the vertigo and i can safely drive with this one as opposed to Valium.

in 7 days I see an ENT doctor about the B-RAF mutation stuff... and will see if i can get the meds sorted out or if i need to set up ANOTHER appointment with my PCP just to ask about meds.

yes teamwink was ABSOLUTELY correct they overlook mental health. Another problem with it is just like the big C. people don't want to talk about mental health.

oh yea and i need to talk to my PCP or some other doctor about increasing/changing the anti-depressant i am on cause I seem to be getting worsening depression AGAIN.

I knew I had some more points to make by I'm havering trouble concentrating and remembering what they were. (seriously this isn't just a funny tag line joke)

Craig

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Yeah Craig, I agree with that too. I am pretty sure that the anxiety is related to the lack of thyroid.

I started on my own mental health program. Seems my PCP doctor only wants to prescribe medication and I just don't want to take them. They never have agreed with me. So... I quit taking my Diazepam and Muscle relaxers for the most part (as he thinks they could be playing a role in my anxiety/depression). I only use them when I absolutely need them. So now I only take Synthroid, Omeprazole (for GERD) and my daily supplements including a multi-vitamin, selenium, flaxseed oil, CoQ10 and extra vitamin C. I am doing a half hour cardio work out every morning before work (even though it's very hard for me to get up that early). In only two weeks, I am handling life's situations much better. My memory seems to be improving and I don't seem to care as much when the doctor I work for gives me my daily reaming. She actually complimented me for the first time in over two months today. My other boss even noticed the change in me. I think I actually see some hope for myself. Just hoping that a side effect of this new mental health plan is a little bit of weight loss.
Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

3boys_mom
Posts: 47
Joined: Jun 2011

Glad you are feeling better. On another board someone found out that taking selenium with something else (can't remember what) can be dangerous. Do you take all your supplements at the same time?

Also, I can't remember, have you tried the Cytomel? Good luck!

Sarah

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

I take my Multi-Vitamin, vitamin C, 1 CoQ10 and 1 Flaxseed oil in the morning. At night I take another Flaxseed, 1 CoQ10 and the Selenium. I think the Selenium is also helping with sleep. Selenium and Vitamin C are a bad combination (toxic). I also take Metamucil (fiber) in the evening before bed.

I was on Cytomel after my TT because my Doctor wasn't sure if I would be doing RAI. I had the shakes really bad on it. Couldn't put on eye make up because my hands shook too badly. I thought I had Parkinson's Disease. Then my Doctor opted not to do RAI and I went on Synthroid. Big mistake not doing the RAI the first time around.

He offered to put me on a combination of Cytomel and Synthroid at my last appointment and I said I would think about it. I might take him up on it in September at my next visit. I have lost about five pounds since starting the new program. If the weight loss continues I may not go on the Cytomel just because I don't want to upset the existing balance if it's working.

Thanks and Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

poppit
Posts: 11
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Julie, I am presently in that state, but that is because I have been off my meds since July 8...follow-up thyroid scan.

It will get better and you will be going along thinking wow, I remembered that, or I feel better about this. It will take time, but it is possible. my TT was 9-29-09 and, with the exception of these blips for scans and such, life is all but back to my new-normal.

Hang in there, all WILL be right with the world again.

poppit

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

I had my TT in 2009 also. Mine was in November. Then I had metastasis to the lymph nodes and had a right neck dissection in June 2010. Then another in December 2010 because the stupid ENT didn't get the targeted nodes. I switched to a better surgeon that specializes in Endocrinology Cancer. I never had to go off of my meds for two RAI treatments because I had the thyrogen shots.

I just haven't felt the same since I lost my thyroid. I gained fifty pounds during the whole ordeal and it's been very hard to deal with. I have lost some of the weight but still have a little over thirty to go.

It doesn't help that I hate the doctor I work for. She is always berating me. I have horrible nightmares and wake up in the middle of the night dreading work. I am starting to get used to her because I don't take offense as much to what she says to me. She makes me feel like such and idiot sometimes. I do feel a bit better on the new "all natural" plan, but I have a feeling that I will never be what I was before.

I decided to add another supplement to my plan. B-12 is supposed to give me more energy. I bought the 6000 mcg sublingual tablets at the store today. One of the doctors I worked for in the past gave B12 injections to his weight loss patients and it really helped them with weight loss and energy levels.

Thanks for your positive attitude, I am hanging in there the best I can.

Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

amorriso
Posts: 186
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi. I've had lots of the same problems as everyone else - my worst have been the aches and pains. And yes, the doctors just seem to brush it off.

I take B vitamins, D supplements, calcium and vitamin E. I've also started acupunture. The acupunturist listened to all my history, and I have to say I have noticed some improvement in how I feel. I go twice a week, and actually have managed to start jogging again. I feel a bit better memory wise too.

I'll keep up the treatments - it could be all mental but I'll do what I need to to feel normal.

Good luck all

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