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"Chemo Head"


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I just had a question about a side effect of chemo. I've been calling my dad "Chemo Head" (affectionately, of course :) ) because he's had trouble remembering things, but doing well otherwise. I think I read somewhere at some point that feeling foggy, spacey and forgetful were all side effects from chemo, but would feel better hearing it from some of you. Can anyone relate?

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Hi Angie,

Well my dear, you hit the nail right on the CHEMO BRAIN!! Yes, there is what they call Chemo Brain. 8 years ago when I went through my chemo, they didn't have CHEMO BRAIN!!! But, I DID!!! :roll: My memory wasn't was it use to be, and it was very hard to consintrate, and I would cry at the drop of a pin, or be happy at the flip of a hat. Well, 5 years ago an article came out confirming that people that do chemo (but not ALL) do are can have what they call Chemo Brain. I used that excuse for oh......6 years after I completed my treatments. Well, they say it clears up as time goes on, but out of all honesty I will say I am STILL not the same after I had chemo. But, I am still alive, so who am I to complain!! :wink:

So, tell Dad, he has CHEMO BRAIN and it's TRUE, but tell him it CAN come in handy too!!! :wink::roll::D I think ALCASE also has that article on there website.

Warm and Gentle Hugs,

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Angie -

My husband has experienced "chemo brain" since he began treatment. It is very real. Two of his oncology nurses, one of whom is a cancer survivor herself, told him about this side effect. My husband was an avid reader of novels. He hasn't picked up a book since starting treatment. He can't focus. He only recently began reading the newspaper again. While he was receiving the Cisplatin and VP-16 he had trouble on occasion in finding the words he wanted to say. During this current stay in the hospital he's been doing crossword puzzles to keep his mind active.


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My mother, who has a genius-level IQ and is one of the smartest people I know had serious chemo/radiation head. She had 15 days of whole head radiation (last treatment 2 weeks ago tomorrow) and 2 rounds of chemo (2nd round 2 weeks ago today). I went to visit and it was scary! It was like dealing with someone stoned on 'ludes. No logic, severe depression, spacey, no memory, paranoia, the works! However, she is now back to normal and thinking clearly again. It took about 10 days. I think the radiation and the pain from the shot to boost her white cell count contributed to her problem. A triple whammy. So...if she can go through that and bounce back, I'm sure your dad will as well. Remember that it's the medicine talking, not your dad, if he says whacky things. It will get better!

Hang in there....you're all in my thoughts and prayers.


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Yes, as others have said, "chemo brain" is real. The causes have not been all sorted out, but I understand that sometimes it resolves completely over time, and sometimes there are lingering effects. I've heard patients say it makes a good excuse for not "remembering" when convenient! :) On the other hand, it gets darn frustrating, too. Here's hoping for complete resolution, in time.

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