Forgetting Stuff and other problems…


I have noticed in recent weeks some cognitive issues that concern me. Shortly after my treatments ended in 2007 I consulted my Oncologist about the “Chemo brain” phenomenon and he flat-out denied it. I Googled it tonight after some issues this week have brought on a low-level depression about problems I may be developing as late-term side effects of the chemo I received. …I mean who knows?

Taken from the ACS webiste:

“For many years cancer survivors have worried about, joked about, and been frustrated with the mental cloudiness they notice before, during, and after chemotherapy. We don’t know its exact cause, but this mental fog is commonly called chemo brain. Patients have noticed chemo brain for some time, but only recently have studies been done that could start to explain it.Research has shown that some cancer drugs can, indeed, cause changes in the brain. Imaging tests have shown that in some patients, the parts of the brain that deal with memory, planning, putting thoughts into action, monitoring thought processes and behavior, and inhibition are smaller after chemotherapy.Though the brain usually recovers over time, the sometimes vague yet distressing mental changes cancer patients notice are real, not imagined. These changes can make people unable to go back to their school, work, or social activities, or make it so that it takes a lot of mental effort to do so. They affect daily activities and need to be researched further.Here are just a few examples of what patients call chemo brain:

  • forgetting things that they usually have no trouble recalling—memory lapses
  • trouble concentrating—they can’t focus on what they’re doing
  • trouble remembering details like names, dates, and sometimes larger events
  • trouble multi-tasking, like answering the phone while cooking, without losing track of one of them—less ability to do more than one thing at a time
  • taking longer to finish things—slower thinking and processing
  • trouble remembering common words—can’t finish a sentence because you can’t find the right words

For some people these effects happen quickly and only last a short time, while others have mild, long-term mental changes. Usually the changes that patients notice are very subtle, and others around them may not even notice any changes at all. Still, the people who have problems are well aware of the differences in their thinking. Many people do not tell their health care team about this problem until it affects their everyday life.

What is known is that chemo brain is a real problem that affects both men and women. Even though chemo does not seem to be the only cause, studies have suggested that up to 70% of people who get chemo will notice symptoms of chemo brain.”

You can read the rest at the American Cancer Society website.

I have been dealing with a lot of external stress this year and things don’t seem to be getting easier. Forgetting things, getting frazzled and stressed out easily isn’t helping my situation.

I can feel a serious “burnout” coming on. I need to divert a lot of stress and distractions in my life and maybe see a professional about this concern that is just developing now. Is it “Chemo brain” or am I just looking for a villain?

Maybe I’m just losing my mind…

I am planning on easing back into water-colors and perhaps use that to alleviate some stress and anxiety. Jazz always helps too.

Ah, well. Life goes on.

Welcome to the new Blog.

…Nobody gets out of here alive. We are all in this together. Might as well make the most of it.

Be Well.


Published in: on October 31, 2009 at 12:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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