• How long did you suffer from "chemo brain" after having completed your rounds of chemo & how many chemos did you have?

    Asked by ymeg on Monday, November 28, 2011

    How long did you suffer from "chemo brain" after having completed your rounds of chemo & how many chemos did you have?

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • jasperjoan's Avatar

      I did NOT have mainline chemo, but took the chemo pill; first Arimedex, then Aromasin. With both of these I had what I understand "chemo brain" to be.
      I could not remember things; the worst that I did was throw away the diamond stud earrings that my husband had given me, thinking they were rhinestones and I had real diamonds! I had put the real ones in with my Christmas jewelry to wear over the Christmas season. Then I forgot that I had done that and when i saw them I thought they were costume jewelry like my other Christmas jewelry and that my REAL diamonds were in the box where they normally were. My sweet husband has forgiven me and says he will buy me another pair, but I have declined his offer.
      My husband did have me tested for Alzheimer's after my memory became so bad....I couldn't remember the simplest things. I passed with 30 out of 30, but by that time I had taken myself off the chemo pills, and my memory has improved since doing that.
      There are still things I can't remember; places we've been; incidents in our lives; people we don't see often. Sometimes the memory will come back as I calm myself down, and tell myself I do NOT have Alzheimer's.
      I took the chemo pills for about 2 1/2 yrs. They wanted me to take them for 5 yrs. My drs. tell me that I do have some protection as I took them for that period of time.
      My breast cancer tumor was slightly under a cm.; no cancer cells in the margins or lymph glands. My prognosis is good. I do know that once my body produced cancer, it COULD again.....it also may NEVER do so again.
      As my breast surgeon told me, I have to decide on my quality of life. She totally supported my decision. At my last visit, she told me that I look the best she has seen me since my diagnosis. I have been off the chemo pill around a year or so. Jan. 2012 marks my 4th anniversary of my surgery.
      My oncologist had originally told me that the chemo pill did not cause confusion. However, she now says that it does in SOME people. My college friend in TN says that her friends that take the chemo pills are also having the confusion/memory loss....apparently more so than the mainline chemo patients.
      My advice is to talk with your medical team. Assess your cancer markers; your lifestyle; your support team; read about the medicines; talk to other cancer survivors. How does YOUR body normally react to medicine? Mine is very sensitive to meds. I need less than the normal dose for my body size. They have trouble waking me up when I am under anethesia...I can't convince them that they need to reduce the amt. for me.
      I don't remember how I got home from my surgery; I don't remember how I got to the car; I don't remember making a phone call when I got home; etc. I am "out" and "irrational" for hours after surgery. They had a hard time "waking" me to get me dressed and out. (My surgery was outpatient).
      Each person is different. YOU know your body. YOU have to be comfortable with the decision that you make....as well as your family.
      I don't say this to scare you....again, MY body is sensitive to meds....yours may not be. Your cancer may be more advanced/different from mine. You may have cancer in your family; I don't. I do have Alzheimer's/dementia and have walked that road for over 20 years with my parents....THAT'S my fear.
      Pray; talk with your family; talk with each of your medical team drs.; talk with other survivors; read about the meds. Once your've gathered your info, you will have to make a decision that YOU are able to accept whatever the outcome.

      almost 5 years ago
    • mspinkladybug's Avatar

      13 round of chemo plus 2 years femara chemo destroys all cells including some brain cells it slowly gets better BUT if u take femara or any other ai you will still be foggy I am 3 years out. BUT there is treatment out there play video games do word puzzles retrain your brain write stuff down and talk to ur dr about alhimizer meds

      almost 5 years ago
    • PetraW's Avatar

      I had extreme brain smash (as I call it) after my first chemo treatment. It was as if my brain hit a complete wall. I could no longer spell and I was unable to write down customer orders I took over the telephone. I simply could not transfer what I heard, process it and write it down. My memory, once absolutely excellent was no longer reliable and my analytical skills were minimized. My brain is my tool. I have a business and even in my day-to-day living it is the one thing, I totally rely on. I am sharp and quick, I can multi-task on several levels. After this first session my oncologist immediately adjusted the steroids that patients usually take the day before, the day of and the day after the chemo session. He dosed it down so I only took them on the day of the chemo. That made it much better and I did not have the severe reaction after my other 3 chemo sessions. Now after 4 months I still have a loss of short term memory. I feel overwhelmed much faster. If there are several thing going on at the same time I get lost in the process and I still have a hard time to focus when I am reading factual information. As long as there is a story line I am fine, but reading newspaper or magazine articles or technical stuff, I loose the thread. To counter balance this, I write everything down. I have very detailed lists for each day, down to little things like "make the beds" and then I work myself through the day along the lists. I challenge my brain wherever I can: doing homework with my kids, multiplication tables while I am driving in my car, reading articles from start to finish. And the big one for me, I started to write a blog. It is personal and only few people, mostly family have access to it, but what it does is that it forces me to remember the events of the day and it helps me to keep track of time. I write every day before I go to bed and I try to be as detailed as possible and as specific in my language as I can. The blog also documents things for my family, if they would ever have go back to read up on this time in our lives - they could. It is very good practice for me. There are many things you can do to keep your brain sharp or get it retrained. Just don't let the wave wash over you.

      almost 5 years ago
    • justbreathe's Avatar

      I am two years out from chemo. I had a total of seven treatments. With the severity adriamycin-cytoxan w/neulasta, then taxol w/neulasta, to this day I have "chemo brain". It just seems to take me longer to process things than before chemo. I hope that it will subside but by then I may be to old to really know!

      almost 5 years ago
    • jamrck's Avatar

      I had 12 wks of chemo - Taxotere and Cytoxan. I take better notes than I ever did in school, but am still bothered by chemo brain after 4.5 yrs. I didn't think about the Aromasin still causing it. I go back to the oncologist in January and will find out if I'm staying on the Aromasin or not. I have to multi task at work and can still carry that off most of the time. I just rein myself back in and concentrate. Sometimes I can't think of a word or person's name when I'm talking. I just tell people that I don't know if it's chemobrain, the hot flashes burning the brain cells, or just too much to remember.

      almost 5 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      23 years ago I had 6weeks of chemo, thought that was it, had another 6 weeks after it came back, also had 28 radiation treatments to the back of head and throat/neck. Was radiated again 3 years ago, same area, no chemo this time. My case is getting worse as I get older, 51 now. I can't remember things that I used to, cant concentrate on some things. I blame it on the chemo still.

      almost 5 years ago
    • osu2sum's Avatar

      I had 8 rounds of chemo every other week taking 4 adriamycin-cytoxan w/neulasta, then 4 taxol. I finished in July. I had some chemo brain in that I had trouble remembering specific words. I feel I'm back to normal now. I can still forget things, but then I did that prior to chemo. Use lists and make sure you keep them in the same place. It works for me...

      about 4 years ago
    • juliec3's Avatar

      I had 6 rounds of chemo, once every 3 weeks starting last September through this January. My chemo brain didn't start until the end of June. First anxiety, then loss of ability to drive. Concentration/multitasking is difficult. Read that this can last years (I hope not!) and that a few medications can help (Ritalin, Provigil, Aricept). Getting a doctor to prescribe me one, though, has been difficult. 2 down, 1 to go...and it's the oncologlist/gynecologist. He better give me what I need!

      about 4 years ago
    • graygoose311's Avatar

      I suffered more of the chemo brain after my second round of breast cancer in 2007. It took most of a year to recover and even after that I had times that would seem like chemo brain. Now it is 2012 and I am mostly recovered. Rarely do I have chemo brain.

      about 4 years ago
    • Loafer's Avatar

      I have just completed 4x T&C and have not experienced chemo brain ( fingers still crossed). I have read it affects 25% of people, and varies with chemo treatment. Hugs and speedy recovery to you!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Jaimebrie's Avatar

      I still have really bad chemo brain. I had 6 months of chemo and then an additional month. I had neurologic testing done and it did show cognitive deficits from chemotherapy. I really do not have any short term memory and for me it is very difficult because I always had a fabulous memory and could remember everything. How about you?
      Best always, Jaimebrie

      over 3 years ago
    • juliec3's Avatar

      Still no luck getting the psyche to prescribe me a concentration med. I can drive 15-20 minutes at the most, then work 4-5 hours, but sometimes on the way home, I lose my ability to focus. That makes me anxious.

      over 3 years ago

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