• chemo brain vs. chemo fog

    Asked by jackieg on Thursday, April 20, 2017

    chemo brain vs. chemo fog

    To me these two things are very different, but I am wondering if anyone else feels the same way and why or why not.

    18 Answers from the Community

    18 answers
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I call them the same, but honestly hadn't really thought about it. I can see why you say there is a distinction between the two. My definition of brain fog would be difficulty understanding or comprehending/learning (I have this when something is involved or complicated) and chemo brain is lack of short-term or even long-term memory. Are those your definitions?

      5 months ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      Im not sure I understand a difference?

      Inability to remember v inability to comprehend?

      5 months ago
    • jackieg's Avatar
      jackieg

      Geekling, to me chemo brain is just what everyone describes it, but I also experienced something that I consider chemo fog. Chemo fog to me was while on certain chemo it felt to me that there was a fog covering my eyes and making everything grey andwhen I finished and it started leaving my system, this fog lifted and everything became clear and bright again. I still had chemo brain, but the fog had lifted.

      5 months ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar
      Lynne-I-Am

      I did not have the " chemo fog " experience you described jackieg during my treatments, but then everyone is so different in their reactions to chemo. Did you discuss this experience with your doctor? Thank goodness this was a temporary experience.

      5 months ago
    • jackieg's Avatar
      jackieg

      Lynne-I-Am, I agree with your statement about everyone being different 100%, that is why I asked. My Dr. and I talked extensively 22 years ago been it happened. It could be that medicines are getting a lot better than they were then too.

      5 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I didn't experience the fog you describe either. Wow. Sure am glad it was temporary!

      5 months ago
    • andreacha's Avatar
      andreacha

      I've also have never had the "fog" you spoke of. Just the memory part. I had always thought "chemo brain" and "chemo fog" were the same.

      5 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Jackieg, since it sounds like your experience was different from everybody here, you should definitely tell your doctor before your next chemo, in case he wants to make an adjustment (?). I don't know anything you don't, but that's just a good rule of thumb with cancer treatments. Occasionally patients have their dose decreased, etc.,

      You could look up your drug for side effects, just for curiosity's sake. Could you have been about to faint or something similar? The doctor needs to know. Best wishes!

      5 months ago
    • jackieg's Avatar
      jackieg

      BarbarainBham, this happened 22 years ago she I was first diagnosed with cancer and I spoke to her extensively back then.

      5 months ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      @jackieg, yes, I know the grey zone.

      I did not have it from drugs but from radiation. My friend, Jeff, described it just as do you. I just called it agony. My mind constantly turned to concentration camps because it was the best correlation to my experience. Maybe we were past known limits of human endurance? Im not sure it could have felt worse but it continued and continued until I no longer felt -- felt anything except the pain.

      I did not feel alive. I was also a ghost for some time into recovery.

      For me, there simply has to be another way. I traveled into that grey death zone because I was told lies. I am grateful for my life. I would not go that route again.

      I know my experience wasnt yours but I do believe that no human being should enter that domain. My disappointment that other ways are not yet standard knows no bounds.

      Our US Constitution guarantees that it is better for 100 guilty men to go free than for one innocent to be punished. It is a hit jumbled in my brain today but it isnt right for doctors to lie to patients. They are trained to do that lest there be another way outside of alleopathic medicine. Or there are a lot of stupid and narcicistic doctors practicing today.

      Best wishes.

      5 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Geekling, are you being literal when you say what is in our Constitution about better for 100 guilty men to go free than for one innocent to be punished? I have to admit I haven't ever had a Civics class, but I've never heard that that's in it. I don't agree with that.

      5 months ago
    • jackieg's Avatar
      jackieg

      Geekling, mine wasn't from depression or from anything my doctors told me. I have been on other medications and the same medication since then and have been fine. I am guessing it was the combination of medicines that made me feel that way. My doctors have always been honest and up front with me. Does that mean they have told me every little thing or not forgotten to tell me everything? No, but the same goes for me, I try to tell them all, but it doesn't always work that way

      5 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Most of the time I see them described as the same thing. The symptoms that many use to describe one are the same as the other. You talk about 22 years ago, I feel your pain there, mine was 29 years ago and I definitely have issues related to the chemo I had back then. I had no drugs what-so-ever to help with any side effects, nausea, or anything. I keep thinking it will one day get better, and lots of people laugh it off saying it's just old age creeping in. I don't think so.

      5 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      My cancer had made me very and previous to diagnosis I was deeply depressed. So when I started Chemo I was in what can only be described as a gray funk. When I started Chemo/Radiation, my mental power went to zero. I could not think at all. My daughter had to take over all my bills. My left me completely. I had to relearn my social security number. Before Chemo both my written and spoken grammar was perfect. To be honest before chemo I had somewhat of a reputation for being somewhat of a absent-minded professor. That is sometimes I would become so lost in thought that I would forget what I was doing if it was something mindless like taking a walk. During chemo I was in a complete fog I couldn't even put together a complete sentence. I had what I dubbed Yoda-speak, because most of my sentences came out backwards. I also forgot to put on articles of clothing. And I would have fleeting "where am I moments" It took a year and a half for me to be able to have an adult conversation. I still haven't recovered all my mental facilities. So to me the two terms are one and the same

      5 months ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      @BarbarainBham. Yes, I was being literal but the phrase is often 10, lol, not 100. The concept goes back to ancient Rome but William Blackstone also followed it as did the Supreme Court in 1859.

      Although I have had history classes, I should admit that I do a lot of reading and research on my own just for the joy of learning something.

      https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=209545

      This below is what I remembered. You ought to, if you would, read the Federalist Papers and other writings of the gentlemen who created this country. It might widely open your eyes and could even change your mind. Those fellas wrote passionately and well.

      http://www.bartleby.com/73/953.html

      5 months ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      @jackieg. It was the lies that had me to agree to going to that awful grey death zone. It was being there that depressed me.

      I have become a little more skilled at protecting myself but they get you every time. The first time I asked detailed questions but relied on the answers of only one person who turned out to be a bubbameister. I stopped with him in the middle of treatment as I considered whether or not to continue. He tried to defend his lies to me. Ugh.

      To rid myself of a blood disease (a result of a botched chemotherapy infusion) I took experimental drugs. I followed the results of the drug testing and finally agreed to an off label use of a combination of them because, with that protocol, no one had died.

      The drug company hid that the drugs were sulphamoids to which I am very allergic. About 1/4 of the population is allergic but, alas, my allergy is extreme. I could have prepared myself better. I could have defended against the inflammation the allergy produced. I found out, by accident, about six months after my 'cure' while I was still a bit crazed and foggy and (seemingly unreasonably) angry.

      I immediately took steps to abate the allergy. That was a year and a half ago and I am still taking steps. When I first told the renouned specialist doctor, he doubted me. It took him over 6 minutes to confirm my words on the company website for prescribing doctors.

      I could go on but I get boring. Something is always being hidden from us lab rats.

      5 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Jackieg, it sounds like maybe your BP went low or something from anxiety, which is more resolved now. I fainted one time at the dentist when they gave me a shot. They put an oxygen mask on me and everything. Later when I warned the dental school about it, they gave me a small dose with a doctor in the room. My heart started racing, etc., but they focused on keeping me calm, and gradually I've now almost gotten over it.

      I'm not afraid of going to the dentist, but I am nervous about the shots.

      5 months ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      @BarbarainBham it is a thing unto itself.

      For me, it lasted for months. The world becomes flat and colorless. There is no vibrancy.

      It is kind of the diference in feeling when you take a brisk walk to when you trudge along at the end of a 10 mile hike with a full pack.

      There is no joy. You might notice something but you do not react maybe because there is no extra energy.

      A gf took me to Art Basel right after treatment while I was still in a grey zone. I noticed a piece which normally would have elicited a big response out of me. At the time I did not even give the work a second glance as trudged on through the show. I had a photo of me taken that day in which I looked like a big fat bunny rabbit trembling with fear and very trepadatious.

      Years later I realize how much the piece affected me but, at the time, everything was grey and seemingly meaningless as I had no energy or volition to react.

      I was just spent .. For several months.

      5 months ago

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