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When does chemo brain "go away"

Snowkitty's picture
Posts: 295
Joined: Jun 2010

Finished chemo Sept 2 this year. I still feel like the dullest knife in the drawer. It gets old. Plus the eyes are still a bit fuzzy off and on. This can't be the new normal for me, can it????

I told the kids a long time ago that when my mind goes, to put a pillow over my head. Is it time for the pillow?


tgf's picture
Posts: 954
Joined: Mar 2009

No ... it's not time for the pillow ... but it is time to take it easy and try not to worry about how those brain cells are (or are NOT) working. It does get better ... but it takes time. You've got to remember what your body has had to endure these past months ... so the "fuzziness" is not going to go away overnight. I know it's a bit frightening at times. My surgery, chemo and radiation were finished by last March ... and quite honestly ... I still don't feel as "sharp" as I thought I was before all of this started ... but it gets better every day. Maybe it is a new normal ... but at least I'm here ... and so far so good cancer-wise ... so ... as long as I can still work, remember my grandkids names ... and find my way home at night ... I'm a happy camper!

It will get better ... I promise.


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

BUT, I found about 3-4 months, and things got MUCH better!!!

I still have my moments, but I am 55 years young, so that could also play...

A suggestion: when my beau completely lost his short-term memory as a result of some drug snaffu in the hospital, he regained alot of it by working Sudoku puzzles...I work them all the time...have a book in the toilet (that STAYS there...lol).

Hugs, Kathi

mariam_11_09's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Nov 2009

I finished chemo on 8/26 of this year. The Onc. told me that there are various side effects from chemo that can peak 3 - 5 months AFTER chemo. As for the chemo brain, I find that some days I am back to my normal self and other days I am crawling around in the gutter in a fog. I do find that when I get a really good nights sleep the next day I feel I am back to my normal self and when I don't I am in that fog again and can't focus on anything. It just takes time and for each of us it is different.

I think physically and pyschologically we need to be very kind and patient with ourselves.

take care.

patti anne's picture
patti anne
Posts: 101
Joined: Oct 2009

I finished chemo a year and a half ago and there are times, in mid sentence, that I completely forget the word/words I was going to say. I still blame it on chemo. :)

weazer's picture
Posts: 440
Joined: Mar 2010

I too finished chemo about a year and three months ago, and I still have my moments!
Even with my vision, mostly when I'm over tired!
I'm 51 I think : ) and that might play into it a bit, I'm not sure but I'm just Happy to be alive.
Take care sweetie...Karie

missrenee's picture
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

I finished chemo in May--and I still can be a feather head at times. My problem is telling a story or making a point--and then completely loosing my train of thought--sometimes mid-sentence! When I'm with friends or hubby--I just laugh, but with others, it's sort of embarrassing. Also--I've lost two debit cards and my checkbook. Good thing I have a saint for a husband!

Things will get better.

Hugs, Renee

Posts: 32
Joined: Nov 2010

Everytime I come in I see something new....Brain Fog....geez I was hoping to continue college through all of this but I may have to put that on the back burner.....I'm gonna be 60 graduating from college Again....LOL

faith_trust_and_a_little_bit_of_chemotherapy's picture
Posts: 319
Joined: Jun 2010

I know a couple of 5+ year survivors that still...

uh huh.

What the Hell, we're still here.


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

6 years, day after Thanksgiving, that I heard those 3 words!!!!!

I agree, we ARE still here...YEA!!!

Hugs, Kathi

Posts: 113
Joined: May 2010

I spent 8 or nine months of my last degree program while doing the mast, chemo and radiation. I found that school saved my soul! It made me focus, I found that my pride could override that stupid chemo crap. I decided, come hell or high water, I would finish school, with no grades below 3.5 allowed.

I only missed 3 classes during the whole thing. I know I would have gone insane were it not for the concentrating school required. Of course, once I finished treatment, chemo brain totally set in! so then I went back into the workforce...which really requires me to be on my toes. True, there are some days I totally blank out in the middle of directions from a lawyer, but my concentration is starting to come back.

I knew if I just shut down and decided to just wallow in the cancer, that darn beast would win. I kept telling cancer "I don't have time for you, if I keep busy enough, and run fast enough, you will just go away, cos you can't keep up with me!" So far, it's worked.

Don't let cancer be your life. Let it have a few days every couple of weeks or so, but remember, it's YOUR life, not cancer's. Keep rockin' it while you have it!!! (Oh, and I'm 55, finished school last April. You're just a spring chicken!)

faith_trust_and_a_little_bit_of_chemotherapy's picture
Posts: 319
Joined: Jun 2010

kept me sane and focused.

However, for my own amusement, I tried to do SuDoku whilst in the depths of chemotherapy. My brain was shot to Hell. I could get up and commute to work daily, but figure out which @#$%! number belonged in which @#$%! little box and.....pffft. About a month after I finished chemotherapy, I bought the same exact SuDoku book and there was no problem.

Be gracious with yourself.

sea60's picture
Posts: 2618
Joined: May 2010

after almost 5 years I still have this. My job requires me to remember a million things so it can be a struggle. Every morning before I get off my truck I pray that God enables me to have a sharp mind to do my job.

Plus, I think the menopause has a lot to do with it.



carkris's picture
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

I finished last january. I find mostly short term memory is affected the most and worse when I am stressed or tired. I was really concerned early on, I couldnt remember if I took my meds or just thought to. Since then it has gotten significantly better. I also find though that I can concentrate much better on a single thing, but that too much all at once is well too much. Some of this is aging and I am slowly getting back to my pre cancer mind set.

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

are better than others. I now embrace my situation, and laugh - cause I can use it to my advantage with family and friends - just a side bar to the upside of chemo brain.

What I found that helps me -- is using my left hand to brush my teeth (I am right handed), puzzles larger ones in the beginning, now on to smaller sizes - and doing thing opposite of what I would do normally - example: grocery shopping - I enter my supermarkert in the opposite door - start at the opposite end of the store - forcing meself to thinkkkkkk .. driving my car to the far end of my walk, and starting there ending up at home - where in most cases my husband or son drive me back to pick up my car .. I changed the side of the sink I washed or rinsed off my dishes .. little things like this, and it is improving my mind set, sharpeness and outlook regarding 'chemo brain'. In fact, I am now reading more complex books .. as I have moved from the 'See Spot Run' series! LOL It has been such a difficult journey, no doubt.

Strength and Courage

Finish 1 year of TCH on 8/20/10 ...

Vicki Sam

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I will try entering the grocery a different way, too!!!

Although, the stores actually help you with that...lol...every so often they rearrange things. This is to keep the public from being able to just get the one thing they need...they are forced to go down the aisles and look, hopefully picking up impulse buys along the way....HORRIBLE for we brain-inpared!!!

Laughter is the BEST...you got it!!! Even after almost 6 years, I STILL used the 'chemo card'...and am planning on using it for ever!!!

Hugs, Kathi

Sharon968's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 2010

Oh My, I was supposed to start Chemo next week, but I am having to put that off due to infection during expander placement that I am still trying to recover from. I will hopefully start soon so we can move on, but Oh my, I have done this for years...forgetting words mid sentence and while telling stories, etc....I'm nervous now...I may be in big trouble! I have heard that stress will cause this too. None of us are stressed...right? haha. Good luck to everyone.

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