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Chemo Brain


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Has anyone had this? Mike is having some problems remembering things. The doctor says it comes with chemo, but I guess I am a worrier. I keep thinking, what if it is a brain met. He had a scan before surgery in November and everything was fine. I searched goggle and from what I read, chemo brain is what he has and it says it can last for a few years.

How do you deal with the waiting? He goes back to the doctor on Feb. 3rd. He has not been cancer free very long, so maybe this will get easier, or maybe it won't. It is always in the back of my mind that it could come back. I know that if it does, we will fight it again and again, but how do you deal with it? Anyone have any helpful thoughts?

I think that today is one of those days. He was in the woods today and shot his bow for the first time since surgery, so he is doing great. The memory thing is just getting to us both.



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Hi Kim,

Chemo brain is very real and I think varies in duration and severity. Some people don't get it at all.

I had it for a while, at the risk of sounding glib I don't remember how long it lasted. I had trouble remembering things and concentration was a problem.

Reading a book became a pain for a while.....I had to keep re-reading pages to get back into the story as I would get distracted and not know where to start up again on a page or not know what the story had been to that point.

I don't think it's a permanent thing, so try to laugh about all the things he forgets, after all even if it's permanent it's not terminal!

Things do get easier as time goes on, I'm over 4 years from dx and still have pre-test jitters - not to the same degree but they're still around and I've been clean for almost 4 years. In between dr visits however I don't worry too much any more but, having said that, a new ache or pain can take on a new significance - some days a new hang nail was a concern!!

There are all sorts of "new normals" to get used to and the worries will get fewer and fewer with time.

Good luck to you both,


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Hello Kim,

It is not long ago that cognitive dysfunction

(chemo brain) is getting more attention from

doctors, patients kept talking and complaining

about it for years and now finally they are

keeping in touch with patients that are complaining

to find which chemo brings it on and how long

it last.

Good luck,


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Gary has had Chemo Brain since his 4th treatment. We were just talking about that today at the infusion room with his nurse.Don't worry about it infact it can work in your favor. If you buy something that you don't want him to know about and when he sees it all you have to say is I told you about it a few weeks ago.LOL


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Ah yes, we've been dealing with chemo brain so I've been researching. There is quite a bit of information about breast cancer survivors with cognitive problems related to chemotherapy because up until recently they lived the longest and provided a more reliable control group. Even though Jeff's last scan was in November we had another brain scan done just to be safe. I would suggest that you do the same. Brain mets can sneak-up quickly but are fairly easy to deal with nowadays with Gammaknife and other forms of sterotactic surgery.

love, Trish

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Kim: What a delight to see your family photo and put faces with the names I've been corresponding with for so long! Re. "chemo brain" Jim also has some days when remembering silly little things drives him crazy... it's worth exploring physical causes, but stay positive by believing it's a temporary and short-lived side effect. Your experience with surgery is so encouraging. Jim was told he wasn't a candidate for surgery because the mass was too close to the heart, but we may explore additional opinions in the future if this latest chemo (Navelbine) doesn't work. His chest pain, weight loss, cough, and hoarseness have gotten worse and the radiologist's reading of his recent CT showed progression to a different part of the lung than the original tumor. We are hoping for the best... for him and for Mike. Jim's not looking forward to more hair loss just when it was growing back, but it doesn't bother me at all! Good wishes! Sandy

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dear kim, I always thought people were being "flip" about mental lapses calling it chemo brain. Then I looked it up and sure enough there is such an effect. I asked my onc nurse if she had ever seen it and she said she had only seen it a few times in her 25 years of onc nursing. I asked my oncologist and he said that he feels it is an effect from loss of sleep and stress more than chemo.

A month or so before I was found to have lung cancer, I took one of those Tickle IQ tests. So now I am going to test myself every 4 months or so and use the initial test result as a baseline to judge any effect. Hey, I'm 73, gotta dodge alzheimers now this. Also, I work crossword puzzles really fast. I will check and see if my crossword proficiency is decreased. Well, my brain's all I got, so gotta take care of it. :lol:

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