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Memory loss from radiation


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Hi everybody:-)

Does anybody have much experience with short term merory loss from radiation therapy to the brain. The one treatment the docs have done for my mom appears to have taken her ability to remember her last sentence. Our family is trying to determine if it could be the brain tumor causing it or if it could be the result of the radiation treatments.

Is it permenent?

Thanks in advance

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My husband had 14 whole brain radiation treatments after he had surgery to remove a single brain tumer.

Yes, he has some trouble with short term memory but not drastic. His concentration and balance seem to be the most affected.

Why aren't the doctors considering other treatments? Have you gotten a second opinion? They seemed to have rushed her to hospice. Why?

Oh, my husband is 61 and the doctors say they were taking this very agressive approach because he is young and healthy.

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My husband just finished whole head radiation last Thursday (14 treatments). It exhausted him and he said his head seemed very foggy taking his ability to "think" away. By this weekend he already seemed a little better. The steroids were the worst. I think the experience with radiation was much worse than the chemo. Necessary, but nasty. I agree with Ginny - why did they send you to hospice so quickly? My husband is 59 and they are also treating him aggressively do to his age and his health. We have never asked the "how long" question because I feel no mortal, doctor or not, can tell me how long Hugh will live, but they have consistantly treated Hugh with remission as the goal.

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My mom had spent nearly a month in bed suffering from nausia and vomiting, thinking she had a bad flu or something . After a few weeks she went to the docs at Kaiser who said she had a sinus infection and was dehydrated so they gave her antibiodics.

It wasn't untill she almost died from dehydration that she was taken to the Kaiser emergency and thats when they did the tests that found her cancer.

By this point her body was so weak that she couldn't take care of herself. Since we were told by the docs there was nothing that anyone could do we agreed to let them take her to a hospice. It wasn't until after that that we found that it was Kaiser that wouldn't do anything.

She had fluid in her lungs that was removed in the emergency room but i'm afraid it is returning and i think that will be the end. Right now she is bed ridden and in the the hospice they won't do anything to help her, they will make her passing as comfortable as possible though.

My family doesn't believe there is enough that can be done to do anything. They see the swelling, that i think is from the steroids, her trouble breathing from the fluid in her lungs and her weakness and don't want to make her suffer with treatments. My mom says she wants to fight this, but can't even get out of bed to go get a second opinion.

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This sure doesn't seem right to me. Of course I am not there but everyone that I know of gets a fighting chance. What is Kaiser????does your mom have insurance?

Gather your family together and get your mom to another oncologist. Don't wait. She can always go back into hospice if the other dr says that is what she needs but at this point I don't think she was given a chance to fight this cancer. I know she is very weak for being in bed for a month with the flu like symptoms but usually lung cancer does take a person that fast.....

You have a computer, go to www.blochcancer.org and get educated real fast on what one can do for lung cancer. I sure hope you act fast.....

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Yes, Kaiser is a large health care provider and we have gotten a lot of information from Richard Blochs cancer info center. The hospice doctor just told me that radiation therapy to the brain does not cause short memory loss, and we are also being told to remove the fluid from her lungs is very painful and risky ..any opinions?

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my mother-in-law is 72 and was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC in May/02 and they immediately did an emergency brain surgery to remove a golf ball sized tumor at the base of her brain - which was making her nausous and dizzy. She went through radiation right after that and since then she's had memory problems. We've asked the doctors (her onc and rad. onc) and they both say it could be the radiation or the tumors or combination of both. We found the longer she went after having the radiation done, the worse it got. She started having balance and dizziness again and we did another MRI and found that one of the tumors is growing again, so back to radiation. i would get another opinion, 62 is alot younger than 72, i would be more agressive with the doctors, get another one, get a second opinion, we have had to really get tough with them to get answers. It's sad they don't seem to care anymore especially with you are over 70, they think it's a waste of money to keep you going. its so sad...i feel for you, but please get her somewhere else - or at least another doc. has a neurosurgeon looked at her scans?

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Mike-

Call, get a second opinion from Dr. Lynette Wang, neurological surgeon at the Kaiser in Redwood City. Kaiser will pay for the second opinion if it's within their group, a doctor from the Kaiser in SF will have to write a letter and then Dr. Wang can look at the scans to see if she can conduct any type of surgery on any of the tumors in the brain. My mom was having the exact symptoms and in my eyes, really saved my mom or at least relieved her from a lot of the pain she was having. My mom's brain is free from cancer right now and it's due to the surgery and radiation...now we get to concentrate on the lungs. Don't let Kaiser control this situation. Tell you mom about my mom's brain and tell her to hang in there.

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Are you signed up with Kaiser as a person they can discuss things with? I now talk to my mom's doctors all the time without my mom being there. My mom has signed me and my dad up as advocates through some paper work they have there and now they discuss everything with us. If I were you, I'd get copies of all her xrays and take them to the doctor yourself...your mom shouldn't even need to be present. I'm in the process of getting more of my mom's xrays and they said all I need is a letter from my mom saying that I can pick up the xrays for her. Now getting them to get the xrays ready is another story. I've called them three times and haven't heard back from them yet! :x You've got to push things with them. I pushed so much in the beginning and it was very hard, but once they got to know me and realize that I'm a resilient person, they didn't fight on things so much anymore. I wrote that letter to the doctor with copy going to the Dept. of Managed Health Care and now my mom is getting the royal treatment. We have special meetings with the doctor now where she is there to just answer questions. The doctor is even offering now to write a letter recommending the clinical trial if my mom is a candidate! Good luck, Mike. If you need any help dealing with Kaiser, let me know.

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My mother had short-term memory loss after 15 days of whole-head radiation. And everything I've read/researched says that this is a common side effect of brain radiation. It may be temporary; it may be not.

One option you may consider for consultation is that MD Anderson will consult by phone with your doctor. You can have your mother's doctor call their 800 number and ask for the oncologist on call for the thorasic (sp?) group and get another opinion. It may cost money, I'm not sure.. Also, Anderson has a nurse named Kay Herdon (or close to that) who's at 713-792-6363. Leave her a message and she will return your call. She's a physician's assistant and was wonderful with me. She's pretty matter-of-fact and doesn't sugar-coat things, but she's also very compassionate and knowledgable.

Praying for you and your family...

Terre

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