• Wondering how long short term memory loss and memory "XXX" last?

    Asked by Bashiemn on Friday, August 10, 2012

    Wondering how long short term memory loss and memory "XXX" last?

    I've completed chemotherapy and am wondering how long "chemo brain" lasts. Specifically, I find myself at work having brief moments of blanking out completely. Can't really remember what I'm doing while I'm doing it. Luckily it only lasts a second or three. Will this go away? Also wondering how long the short term memory loss takes to go away in general.

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • IKickedIt's Avatar
      IKickedIt

      I'm glad I'm not alone....not glad that I have it or others have it because it's a terrible confidence-buster.

      I finished chemo in October 2011 and I still have a lot of short term memory loss and in particular, very short term recall. What others might call short term, meaning within the past few weeks and month, isn't the same as what I call immediate recall. My short term memory is poor, but my immediate recall is even worse. I cannot remember what I go into the next room to get, I will go back to the lunch room to fill my water bottle and walk right past the copy room forgetting to pick up things off the printer.

      It's very, very frustrating. I'm curious to hear other people's stories and how long it is taking them to recover. My short term is improving, but I don't think my immediate recall has gotten any better. I write everything down. I started a new job in February, which when I was in my prime, would have been a joke of a job, but it is challenging for me which is humiliating for me. It's difficult to accept these new limitations, which I hope and pray won't be permanent.

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I would tell ya, but I forgot.

      over 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I had chemo and radiation 24 years ago, started noticing this then. I asked the Oncology docs if the chemo had anything to do with it and was told no. Well now we know different. I still have the same type problems, and I will say they are worse now than then. So I don't know if it goes away or not. With me, it hasn't and is getting worse. I did have another round of rAdiation 3.5 years ago, some have said that also causes the same problem.

      My things that I cant remember.
      Peoples names, that I have known since I was a kid
      Names of plants and products I use in my business, and have for 20 years
      Yes, the forgot what I went in that room for
      I can watch a movie for the second time, because it's like I never seen it the first time.
      Wife will tell me to bring something home, I forget to stop and get it. She says I just dont listen.

      Many more, I think.

      over 4 years ago
    • HeidiJo's Avatar
      HeidiJo

      We called it chemo brain! I could not remember simple words. I would ask my son "what is that thing that goes on your foot? He would say shoe? No the other thing; sock? Yeah thats it!"
      It completly went away for me probably within a few months, I cant remember! lol

      over 4 years ago
    • Linda754's Avatar
      Linda754

      I am experiencing short term memory. I don't remember people's names. I forget what program I am looking at when the commercial comes on then I remember when the commercials end and the program comes on. I forget what food I have in the cabinets and refrigerator until I look. If I don't see it, it does not exist. I write my self a lot of notes. I don't remember what I did yesterday until someone reminds me. It is very frustrating. I don't know how long this is going to last.

      over 4 years ago
    • jhale17's Avatar
      jhale17

      MY THOUGHTS ON CHEMO BRAIN - September 2007

      In order to give you my experience with chemo brain first please acquaint yourselves with the medical field’s description. Here are a few excerpts from the American Cancer Society. For the full article go to Seeking Solutions to “Chemo Brain” What Causes It? Who’s at Risk? Dated 2004/06/17 may be seen at, http://www.cancer.org/docroot/NWS/content/NWS_2_1x_Seeking_Solutions_to_Chemo-Brain.asp

      “Just about anyone who's had any experience with cancer knows that chemotherapy can cause some unpleasant side effects. Nausea, fatigue, and hair loss are all common complaints.

      Over the past few years, though, a lesser-known side effect -- the cognitive dysfunction commonly called ‘chemo-brain’ -- has been getting more attention from patients and doctors.

      We have increasing numbers of long-term cancer survivors who are trying to get back to a normal routine, and that's where you begin to notice things like cognitive side effects of chemotherapy.

      'Subtle Shifts'

      People who have chemo-brain may find themselves unable to concentrate on their work, or unable to juggle multiple tasks. Some find they don't remember things as well as they used to.

      The impact on the individual really depends to a large extent on what kind of demands they have at work or in life in general… People who have very demanding or stressful jobs, or have to multitask and need high cognition, those people are going to notice subtle shifts.

      Subtle or not, chemo-brain is frustrating to patients, who may suddenly find themselves unable to accomplish tasks they formerly completed with ease. And it's a mystery to doctors, who are still trying to understand what causes it and who is likely to suffer.

      But researchers are making progress, and new studies have yielded more insights.

      Patients must also remember that most people do eventually recover fully from the effects of chemotherapy.

      Lots of people have cognitive problems during chemotherapy, but there is a recovery process that goes on with time… A lot happens over 6 months, more over 1 year, and some after 2 years.

      For a given individual, chances are that their cognitive function will recover to normal or near-normal levels a year or two after chemo."

      End of American Cancer Society excerpts.

      Here is a summary of my personal experiences with Chemo Brain.

      There are side effects to chemotherapy and the one that is hard to explain are those that affect the brain.

      When I use the nonprofessional term of chemo brain, I liken it to the term headache. Their similarities are not in the type of symptoms they share, as much as they both refer to a large category of ills.

      Headaches are well known and most people understand that they come in many forms, some mild, some severe, some easily treatable and some not. To my understanding chemo brain also has a wide range of effects, most of which are short term during and after chemotherapy treatments.

      For me the effects have been short term. They started during and continued after treatment. They varied from day to day with mornings more difficult than afternoons. The symptoms tend to be lack of concentration, flu like feelings in the head that I refer to as dull headiness. This dullness caused indifference in doing many of my normally enjoyable activities. Things I normally respond to as “why not” became “why bother.”

      An example is that I was disappointed in my inability to want to watch football on TV. The fast action in the video was just too much for the little grey cells in my brain to process without making me want to turn away for the TV set. I found myself choosing activities that required slower brain processing time.

      Another effect is postural light headiness where when getting into a standing position too quickly you become momentarily lightheaded. This is not necessarily chemo brain as it is low blood counts or low blood pressure; just another thing one’s head may go through in chemotherapy.

      You must keep in mind that everyone is different and what side effects I experienced may not happen to others.

      Fortunately, my symptoms resolved themselves shortly after chemotherapy. Some effects improved by the day others took longer before I noticed any change. The things with serious impacts on my normal activities started getting better in a couple of weeks. Obtaining a clear head that allowed me to have a productive day came after about a month. It was sure a good feeling to get back to the “why not” mode and loose the “why bother” syndrome.

      Other minor chemotherapy side effects lingered for many months, mainly needing naps and having to conserve your energy to do the important things before “dropey” sets in. To me, dropsy is that feeling of wanting to drop into every chair you walk by in order take a rest. These issues got better with time. However, I still find myself using the phase chemo brain when I forget something and no one really knows for sure if it is.

      over 4 years ago

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