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Is there really such a thing as chemo brain?

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2012

I hear "yea's" and "nay's". I had 4 rounds of chemo and am currently undergoing preventative radiation to the brain. I have been deemed "cancer free" but with SCLC I know that is probably temporary. But my brain feels like mush. Remembering names is almost impossible. Please tell me I'm not alone! :-)

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

My husband had chemo a number of times during his six year battle with cancer. I definitely noticed some chemo brain. He never had a problem with directions until post chemo. After chemo he found himself turned around several times. He also had memory problems. I'm guessing that some people have some chemo brain and others don't. Fay

Dar Mack
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2012

My 36 year old wife had 16 rounds of chemo in 2011. She is STILL foggy and has now decided that she wants a divorce - for no real apparent reason, other than she is 'not sure if she loves me.' I cared for her during her whole ordeal and was probably more stressed out than she was. I went to every chemo appt and all 5 surgeries. Our marriage was closer than ever. Then, once she started recovering, she started trying to live life at 100mph. Now, the kids (11yo M and 8yo F) and I are just obstacles to her trying to live life and enjoy every ounce.

I hate cancer and I hate chemo and I hate what it did to her brain.

Monica Beausoliel
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2013

I just joined this site and hear your frustrations and pain. How are things because I see your post from November?  I just joined as a mother of a 28 year old son who just went through chemo and waiting for surgeries.  I am on the computer researching and looking for information/support.  Your post wants me to comment as a woman and as a caregiver ..someone who loves someone battling cancer. And yes, I do remember the brain burn my son spoke of after round 3.  It was horrible and we can only hope the person's individual response is positive.  

Are you still on this site

Keep loving her 100% no matter what 



Best Wishes 



grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

I saw a news report recently on a study that has found scientific proof of changes in the brain following some chemo. Just thought I'd pass that on. Fay

Posts: 193
Joined: Nov 2012

I, too, did see the news report stating that "chemo brain" is a real reaction to chemo. The report showed parts of the brain with different colors reflecting activity in a "normal" brain and the activity in a brain exposed to chemo. There was a clear difference. Some people are affected more than others. It's no wonder since our brains are made up of cells and chemo kills and damages both the good and the bad cells.

I finished chemo three months ago and still have it (and probably will for a long time). During chemo, I had memory problems, I said and wrote the wrong words, forgot how to spell words, became very emotional and weepy out of the blue, misunderstood what people were saying, couldn't focus while reading, etc... I didn't work during chemo and really am amazed that some people are capable of performing a lot of work (and thinking) tasks. I know a lot of people do it but I am not sure I would have been effective or productive.

I believe it is real.

Posts: 39
Joined: Oct 2012

I believe too it is probably real from all the stories I have heard, but I have absolutely no experience with it. Yep, Deena, I am one of those that worked nearly full time through most of my chemo and couldn't tell that it affected my daily functioning very much. In fact, I hardly knew I was getting something as poisonous as chemo. Isn't it amazing how everyone's stories are different? I read the stories here on the CNS and count my blessings!

pattyanny's picture
Posts: 544
Joined: Jul 2009

Chemo-Brain? Oh yes! Unfortunately, I am a living testimony to this side effect. I am 3 years out of treatment and thankful for everything I have, and have become a new me. Like it or not, I am trying to deal with the loss of hearing, losing teeth, vision loss, appetite & weight loss. One of the worst things is the fog that overtakes my thought process, whether it is while driving, in the middle of a conversation,or just trying to muddle through my insurance, disability, or daughters' college applications. Let me assure you, it is real! Here is the most recent link, and I am grateful that it is finally being recognized as a REAL condition. Yes, I try to compensate by writing things down, but it is scary, and keeps me isolated from socializing. Names? Lol! I try,but have learned to ask the person, again, by introducing myself, as a reminder. I do not want to wear "I had cancer and suffer from CRS!" on my t-shirt, and most people just accept the forgetfulness. I wish you well,but know you are not alone. Here's the latest link, which helped me because I thought I was losing my mind! (Maybe I AM! - Lol)
Love & Blessings. Patty


Posts: 683
Joined: Apr 2010

You do lose focus and forget alot, but who wouldn't after being diagnsed with cancer then to put the poison in your bodies. Fortunately, it does fade away. Good success to all of you.

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2012

I paranoia part of chemo brain or am I looking for an excuse?

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2013

I was told at a cancer survivors clinic that memory loss can occur. Sometimes my memories from my child hood have blanks in them. I can't remember everything. Sometimes I just remember bits and pieces. I do believe this was caused by chemo.

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