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Chemo Brain?

staceyp's picture
staceyp
Posts: 26
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi everyone,

My husband has been battling recurrent colon cancer for the past 2 years. He recently completed 6 months of chemotherapy (Avastin, Oxaliplatin, 5FU). I started to notice about midway through that he was becomming more and more forgetful.

He finished his chemo about 6 weeks ago. He is still forgetful. He can't remember where he puts things, he asks me the same things over and over, and he tells me the same stories 2-3 times a day. He doen't pay attention to things (sometimes when driving). I'm worried. Is this normal? Could this be a side effect of chemo? Is it permanent? I should mention that he is young, 38, so it's not age related. When I point it out, he laughs and says it's just "chemo brain". And he doesn't see it as a problem. I don't want to add to his stress by being overly concerned. That's why I need some input from you guys. I would be interested in hearing from survivors as well as caregivers. Am I alone here? Or is this completely normal?

Thanks for any light you can shed on this,
Stacey

CAMaura
Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Hey Stacey, Yah...It is normal. I don't think it is permananent and I asked my doc's nurse about it. Wish they had mentioned the possibility before I noticed it, but maybe they are not sure that it will hit everyone...Anyway, it does get better. So happy that he is laughing it off...That is a good sign! Take care and do run it by your doc - Maura

neon356
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi Stacey,
There is no real 'normal' when it comes to side effects. Everyone seems to have various combinations of symptoms that can occur with chemo and/ or radiation treatment. But chemobrain is quite common, I know I suffered from it and several on this site have expressed the same symptom. It seems to especially affect short term memory. It usually improves after treatment, although in my case I feel that to a degree some of the symptoms of chemo brain have persisted. Hope this helps,.. Carl

lfondots63's picture
lfondots63
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Stacey,

Chemo brain is normal. We all get it. I walk into a room and can't remember what I meant to do. Sigh. I forget that I tell people something also. Or I can't remember who I told. I'm only 42 so not too old yet to be doing this. If it gets very worse is he maybe on other meds that are doing this? And the laughing, it is either that or crying because he probably notices it too just can't help it. It is good he is laughing over it. It is supposed to get better once the chemo is out of the system. Make him drink lots of water to help keep flushing his system. Some symptoms linger up to a year or so after chemo. I only stopped 2 weeks ago so I can't validate that yet. Just know that it is common and HUGS for your worries.

Lisa

staceyp's picture
staceyp
Posts: 26
Joined: Jan 2006

Thank you all so much for the info. I do feel much better now. I'm glad to know that it is common and that we are not alone. I wish everyone good health!

Stacey

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Who am I? Where is this?

Yes, chemo brain is alive a well. The BETTER news (which I was concerned about) is that a new study out shows that chemo brain does NOT mean a higher chance of Alzheimers when we get older....
YEA YEA YEA YEA!

Hugs, Kathi

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

yea yea yea yea yea, yourself... now go put your clothes on...

(forget something after that last happy dance?)

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Clothes??? What is THAT?????

Something to EAT?????

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Hi,

I have seen several posts about chemo brain. I read the way this affects a person. Not to downplay the effects of chemo but I was wondering how much of the forgetfulness and confusion is not attributed to the worry and stree that the disease causes. The reason I ask, my husband is the patient but I am the one who feels like she has chemo brain. I forget stuff, wonder why I walked into a room, etc. I have to get hubby to remind me of things I need to do at times. Again, I am not trying do downplay to effects of chemo. I know there are many and affect ech one differently.

Hope everyone if feeling good today.

Betty

debralla
Posts: 205
Joined: Feb 2006

Hi Stacy
I have to agree with everyone about the chemo brain , I also like what Betty said .
I know for me with all of the Dr, Appt the scans and treatment it can be pretty overwelming . I started taking walks at night and it has helped. email me if you have any questions .
Take Care and God Bless .
Debra

staceyp's picture
staceyp
Posts: 26
Joined: Jan 2006

Thank you again to everyone who offered help to me. You make some excellent points. I'm sure it's a combination of chemo, stress, and medications. I'll be glad when things get back to normal. Is that possible?

Stacey

scouty's picture
scouty
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

Hi everyone,

I am a stage IV survivor that statistically is not supposed to be alive today. I am quite doing well thus far (hopefully my next testing will comfirm that). Trust me....... CHEMO BRAIN IS WICKED AND IT IS CONTAGIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!! That's it and enough said. The ole bod can't take but so much and I personally think it is a very good thing we don't remember anymore then we do.

Lisa P.

jsabol's picture
jsabol
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

HI Stacey,
I finished chemo 2 years ago (5FU and leuco) and I must say, I was very worried about my own "chemo brain". I can now say that I think the worst has passed, and I'm pretty much back to myself.
I think folks here have hit on some important points. The amount of stress and distraction of appts, infusions, side effects is huge....I was also very fatigued, and I know that part of not remembering things was just not having the energy to pay close attention to begin with.
I also really lost my sense of direction, which had been really good. I culdn't believe it, and neither could my hubby, since we had come to depend on me to find our way around. By the time we went to Italy last fall, I was back to being able to get us all over Tuscany!
Give it time, and try to relax. I felt better each week for a long time after chemo was completed. Judy (who has a few years on your hubby)

vinny3's picture
vinny3
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

As the others have said chemobrain definitely happens. I didn't get it when I just had 5-Fu. Now I am on Folfox/Avastin, 4 cycles so far, and I definitely notice some short-term memory problems. I often run into someone I know and can remember the first name but it may take minutes, or hours for the last name to come to me, even my friend's names. I think some is the effect of the chemicals and some is the fatigue. At least it gives me an excuse if I make a mistake.

Dick

vinny3's picture
vinny3
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

Further proof, I just tried to put the charger plug for my cellphone into my PDA.

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