Is this chemo brain or just me?

thelazyaranch4 Member Posts: 35 Member
edited May 2023 in Breast Cancer #1

hi all,

I was diagnosed with TNBC with positive nodes April 25, 2022. I have finished 10 rounds of taxol/carbo, 7 rounds of keytruda, lumpectomy, 4 rounds of ac and 20 rounds of radiation. My last chemo was January 28th and radiation was march 23.

I’m looking for a little reassurance for what I’m feeling. I’ve told my onc how I’m feeling and she says it’s just going to take time. I look really good in my bloodwork. My head is so unclear, a fuzzy, full, heavy feeling that gets much worse especially when I am tired. My body feels like I carry 100 lb weights. It’s so hard to explain but it worries me. I don’t have issues with forgetting things and that’s what I’ve read Chemo brain is, not what I’m feeling. I also have hearing loss from the carbo and that gets worse as well especially when I’m tired. 

I realize this is going to take time for my body to heal but I don’t feel as though it is getting any better

If anyone out there has any input I would be more than great full!

Thank you in advance,



  • Tamiann
    Tamiann Member Posts: 23 Member

    Hi, Karen!

    I haven't been through near as much as you, but I can tell you that it took me about 6-8 weeks for my energy to recover after radiation. Your body has been through so much, it really is just time.

    I didn't go through chemo but I have had several friends go through it. They say that chemo brain is definitely a focus and attention feeling, but the fatigue/weight/fuzzy-ness that you are experiencing is also very normal after so many radiation and chemo treatments, and it's probably due to a combination of both treatments. The feeling of being weighted down sounds similar to the depression that I experienced after radiation.

    Be gentle with yourself, and don't expect too much. Allow yourself to take the rest you need to heal. It's really OK.

  • CarrieF4
    CarrieF4 Member Posts: 18 Member

    I am close to you in timing. Also diagnosed with TNBC no nodes July 2022. Did AC and Taxol finished Jan 5, 2023. Lumpectomy February and 16 rads finished April 4. I feel tired at times and definitely forgetting things but I also agree that that weight your feeling could be depression. Maybe try and take walks outside and make plans with friends. Get out of the house for sure. We are here if you want to talk.


  • thelazyaranch4
    thelazyaranch4 Member Posts: 35 Member

    Thank you both for sharing your experiences and suggestions! I really appreciate it!!

    I get out and walk on a daily basis now that the weather is somewhat decent enough to do so!! I have also been trying my best to get out and do something at least once a week even if it’s a short adventure. Im so used to being very active and relaxing is very hard for me to do but sometimes I wonder if maybe I’m being too hard on myself? I have an appointment with a new gp next week and am hoping he will have some helpful suggestions. I’ve never been depressed so I’m not sure? Ive been very happily married for 34 years and happy with my life with the exception of this speed bump!!

  • CarrieF4
    CarrieF4 Member Posts: 18 Member

    Give yourself a break. You have been through a lot physically and mentally. I hope you have answers with the new GP.

  • RPStumpf
    RPStumpf Member Posts: 16 Member

    i signed in to encourage Karen, but all the reply posts have helped me, too! I was diagnosed TNBC April 10, 2022, so our situation is similar. After carbo taxol, Ac, surgery, radiation, and keytruda throughout, I am tired. SO tired. There are 3 more keytruda treatments, done in July. I worked full time or almost rull time (very flexible schedule) because I am a workaholic, needed to be distracted from all the what ifs. Throughout, I rested when needed but worked when insomnia hit or I needed distraction. My mind was clear.

    However, since radiation ended in February I have struggled with such fatigue, some brain fog or chemo brain. Also I took antibiotics for a March sinus infection (Levaquin) that caused severe leg tendon and muscle weakness (gradually improving but occasionally I need a cane because it is painful and I get unsteady). Neuropathy in right foot since last summer is slightly better. I developed pneumonitis from radiation and have an occasional ugly cough and wheezing that tires me out.

    i listed All The Things because like you, Karen, I was very concerned about the brain fog. However, someone pointed out that I have been through a lot! My body is still healing. It takes time. A woman who had TNBC treatment 5 years ago with similar treatments (no keytruda) said it took her 1-2 years to start approaching normal, and she was in better shape than I am. I am slightly overweight and that contributes to some of my issues; also depression could be a factor when you feel your body is not "normal".

    All of that to say, be kind to yourself. Have grace for the fogginess and make room for it. Rely on systems that remember for you (if it's not in my calendar or Google Task list, it doesn't exist, in my case!!). Lean into your spiritual practice (i have leaned on Jesus like never before, and find joy and comfort and strength in him!). It's a journey. We've come so far, and been through so much. It just takes time! We are warriors, still in the battle. We can do this! Blessings to you, and thank you to all the other encouragers on here.