Jump to content

How many of us feel this way

Connie B

Recommended Posts

Hi Friends,

I was wondering how many of us Lung Cancer Survivors tend to feel we don't comprehend things as well as we use to?

When I was going through my chemo and radiation treatments many moons ago, I remember the feelings of not being able to comprehend things I read. It was aweful.

I also remember my memory not working as well as it use to also. I had a GREAT MEMORY, and during my treatments, poof it just left me. I couldn't remember how to spell simple words and I DO MEAN SIMPLE, the word, THE, and the word ALWAYS, amoung many others. It really scared me. My memory did get better, but honestly it's not like it was before treatments. Some days are better then others in that area. And the same with the Comprehension issue. Some days I comprehend very well, and others NOT SO!

I feel at times as if I lost a big part of who I am or was. And I guess I did! I've learned to live with it for the most part after all this time, but once and a while it really bugs me and makes me feel sad and worthless and sometimes down right stupid.

I use to be sooooo good with numbers math, phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, etc., and NOW, I have to right everything down either on my calander or on a note, etc., or I forget. I'd like to blame it on age and some of it I will, but this has been going on since my chemo days. Sadly enough it appears to be getting worse with every surgery I have as well. But, the bright side of all this is, I'm still here and I know it's a small price to pay to be here. But, it's just one of those things I sometimes struggle with.

Thanks for letting me share.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Connie my friend...You certainly are not alone...I am so sorry that you are feeling this way but I certainly understand...You have had a whole lot more to deal with than I have and you have been a real trooper...you handled it soo well....You are an inspiration to me and alway's have been....Now the fact that this is bothering you is bothering me...this is not like you... :(

My little memory lose goes like this..."I get in my car..and say.."now where was I going"...It only lasts for a second and then "Im back"... :) than I sometimes walk in another room in my house and say..."now what did I come in here for"...and I read a lot and sometimes read the same paragraph over and over before I comprehend...Now since I have not had chemo... I have to blame it just partly on 'old age' :? But I have to say having had LC is a big part of it...because since than ...I have not totallaly gotten my brain to work the way it used to...always got that ^%$#@* in the back of my head..."Like what the he$$ was you doing in my body"?


I try to live normally...cause like I said..I will NOT accept the "new normal"...I know you guys think I am crazy when I say that...but in my mind..it's like saying.."ok LC ..you win"....Uh UH not going do it..no way....Going to keep thinking positive ...having a lot of faith...and deal with what ever I have to deal with...with the help of the Good Lord I will.

Well shame on me..I was writing this post to try and console YOU and here I am dumping on you...sorry honey...just get carried away some time...

Feel better soon...I know you will...you are too strong to let this little bump get to you...take care and God Bless us all...hugs to you and everyone here...PamS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can relate to this post real well. Before the treatments started, I had a good sense of memory. I can still say tht I have that today. I can name off things about the past that others have forgotten. I can go back and tell you what year things happened etc.

Now my comprension is another thing. I have to read the same paragraph in the newspaper several times to comperhend what it is saying. My wife and family have to tell me things several times before I can get it to sink in. You may tell me something today and I ask the same question again, possibly several times. Is it my hearing? Did I not hear you or is it my memory...forgetting that I ask you? I can't really say that it is either one except that what you told me didn't sink in.

Now on the other hand, the thing that sinks in real well is if someone mentions Dollywood. That I can hear well. :lol:

Thanks for bringing this one up Connie. I have thought of posting this to see the response of others.I am looking forward to hearing more on this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As the others said Connie, you're not alone.

My memory is a bit spotty now, and I have to think about spelling a lot more but my main problem is concentration.

I don't seem to be able to focus the same way, books take longer to read, can't always sit through a movie.

Chemo was my life saver, and I'd take it again in a heartbeat, but it certainly took something away as well.

As the others have pointed out......we're still here, so I guess it's a small price to pay.

Put us all together Connie we'd probably have a full memory, maybe an even better one than before!!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Connie, don't worry about the spelling! It should make you feel young. Young kids now don't have to learn to spell. They have computers to do spell check. You don't need to know how to add and subtract either, get a calculator ( where's spell check for that!)

Connie the most important thing is we have your friendship and loving smile.

Donna G

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Comprehension - slow, non-existent at times

Speech-some days I cannot spit the correct words out for the life of me (although my mom has this problem too so many it is hereditary?)

Math - Hahahah - I used to arrange multi million dollar loans - now I can't figure out the restaurant tip.

Repeated Questions-my kids swear I ask them the same thing 3 times a day and I never remember their answers.

Once I stopped worrying about my "mind" issues so much, I began enjoying the blessings every day brings.

Connie, you may not be able to remember my name some days BUT you are a true angel on earth. Your kind words, laughter and support have helped me (and so many others).

Love ya,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I teach college math up through linear algebra and differential equations. I noticed a problem with thinking after chemo too, and so was hesitant to jump back into the difficult classes.

I thought it was from chemo, but after the heart stents last May I could breath so much better and guess what? My memory and thinking has improved 100% too. I even noticed my speaking and vocabulary has improved.

Maybe it was stress or just not enough oxygen? I still have stress over my health though. :)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh WOW Wendy, I have that problem too where I will be talking and all of a sudden I forget the next word. :shock::?:oops: It's like me saying " Did I _ _ _ _ _ ......" Then I have to think where did that word go??? It's wierd stuff!! Now I fumble for words too!!! OY VEY! Sometimes I don't say the right word for the sentence I am saying. That's what I call a fart blossom moment! :lol:

I know part of it is menopause, but then again I have been going through that since 1995 when I started on chemo. :shock::roll: The menopause issue is STILL lurking around me. It can go away any day now!

Like Geri, I too have major issues in the Concentration areas. I use to do arts and crafts things all the time, and now NO WAY! :( I use to sew and I can't do that anymore either. I just don't have the patence nor the concentration levels to do any of that stuff anymore. What a bummer! My life has become somewhat hum drum.

I could understand all this if maybe I was 98 years young, but damn, I'm only 54 going on 55. :shock::roll::wink: But, the turth is, it is what it is! And I DO COUNT MY BLESSING each and every day that I get up in the morning. I know just HOW LUCKY I really am. But, once and a while even (I) have my whiny days. This to shall pass.

But truth be known, all this did start when I was on CHEMO!! And its' just blossomed over the years.

Well let's see, what was I goign to do after I rote this?????? :lol::lol::lol:

(((((GROUP HUG)))))))

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ditto, Ditto, Ditto. Me too. I love to read and I haven't read a book since chemo. People ask for my phone number and I give them my zip code. I forget names I have known for years. And my typing is terrible. I think one letter and hit another. I use to be an oxymoran, a smart blonde. But not anymore. Hugs, Liz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I had to give my phone number to someone over the phone a while back. My mind went black, and then gave them a phone number from 3 houses ago.

Why did I forget my current phone number and remember a number over 10 years old? It was the chemo. It had to be. :lol:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

This all hits very close to home!

I've had cognitive difficulties (aka "brain fog") for a number of years, long before starting chemo. This has been a result of Meniere's Disease, a poorly understood inner ear condition where the hearing and balance function of one ear (usually just one, at least at first) is progressively destroyed, probably by excessive fluid pressure. The first several years there are frequent, perhaps weekly, debilitating attacks of spinning vertigo and nausea which occur without warning and last a few hours or longer. After several years, where I am now, the vertigo/nausea attacks may become very infrequent or essentially disappear, with only the deafness and some general unsteadiness remaining. One reason for this improvement is that the brain has learned to filter out the faulty balance signals from the "bad" side, but at a cost. Like a computer that's burdened with having to transfer huge amounts of data in the background, there's less capacity left over for immediate (foreground) tasks and a lot of things get left by the wayside.

So for me "chemo brain" was nothing new, just more of the same. It takes me more time and concentration to accomplish a task, and other things are disregarded either consciously or unconsciously. My MEMORY is still good IF something registers, it's just that a lot of stuff doesn't register in the first place. Isn't life interesting?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't worry about the whiny days Connie, I figure that I must be over the cancer when I can whine and complain about the after effects - like forgetting words etc - instead of worrying about whether the chemo's working.

I'm also ticked about the effect chemo had on my finger nails so the cancer must be gone!!!! What a thing to have a pity party over. :):):)

Whine all you want, we ALL understand exactly where you're coming from.

Now what was you name again?


Link to comment
Share on other sites


You're in good company.

Chemo brain is no joke.

My short term memory is shot -- things fall

out on the way to long term memory.

More inversion of numbers and letters.

More brain fog.

Not quick and clever so much anymore.

Much harder to concentrate.

Much of it does come back with use,

but much of it doesn't

Okay, so if we turn left up there, then we must be almost there???? I think we need to go 14 miles. Don't ask me why 14 miles, but it just seems like we are headed in the right directions. HOOORAYYY!! :roll::wink:

Nonni says she won't settle for new normal.

At IIIa I don't have a choice.

It's new normal or nothing. I can't go back and pretend none of this happened, either cancer wise (which did a great deal of injury in and of itself) or chemo wise. Radiation didn't hit my brain, only up to my earlobe.

But it's better than it was.

My hearing is still for beans, but I can listen to the church choir again, and it doesn't sound like mud. Things quit tasting like platinum a while back.

Finally got the pain mostly under control.

Can still get around and work without O2.

So, yes, Connie, I have noticed changes.

The sun shines brighter, the birdsong is sweeter, spring air tastes cleaner.

All in all -- it's okay, I guess.

I don't have to carry around THE SUITCASE with THE BUTTON in it, from nuclear war fear days. So my brain works well enough.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I was going to reply some time ago, but I forgot what I was going to say :roll: . It seems, that with the exception of Ned, I am older than any of you :x . So I can claim 'old' age AND chemo brain :lol: . But I can also claim a disability due to a vision problem. In fact, my eye doc just explained to me that my mind is 'wired' incorrectly due to it :? . So I have lots of excuses :lol: ! I am no longer the sharpest crayon in the box or the brightest bulb in a socket, BUT I am better than lots, so I am a happy camper.

Bless us all for even worrying about this! As my 87 yo former next door neighbor used to say........'at least I can sit up and take nourishment.' God bless Harry!

If I ever remember what I was going to originally say.....I'll get back to you :wink: .

Love to all you feeble-minded friends.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, the brain is definitely foggier than it used to be. Mostly short term memory is poor. Brian has to repeat things to me "remember I told you such and such?" DUH! Some days I feel truly dumb. I tried reading, and yeah concentrating on a book is difficult. Some TV shows have plot twists that I just don't follow, so he explains it to me :? I really think part of it is chemo, part of it is menopause, part of it is stress and anestesia(?) from the operations did a number on me. One thing that I do find odd is I can vividly remember all the "dreams" I had when I was in a medically induced coma. They still seem very real to me, but don't ask me what I had for breakfast! Honestly, I can feel pretty stupid at times.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay maybe we need another 12 step program here. We'll start it with: Hello, My name is .....

And what am I here for? :P

Out of all the things I could find to complain about this memory issue for me seems to be the biggest. :roll: Guess it's pretty petty when you look at that over all picture. :roll::wink:

BUT I can see I'm in GOOD COMPANY! :wink::D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I won't claim the "old age" alibi, like Kasey did, as I'm still a relatively young, 67 year old, member of the group. I will admit however, having difficulty remembering which post I'm responding to.

It is comforting for me to note how many of us had the whiplash minds and memory processes in our earlier days and have now been brought to the level of other mere mortals. This just affirms that I'm still relatively "normal" for my new peer group.

Don't bother responding to this post as I'll probably forget it myself.

(Spelling compliments of "Spell Check " features.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now let's see...why am I here again?....Oh Ok I know....'hutch/Maryann....I certainly didn't mean to offend you or anyone for that matter when I say I won't settle for the 'new normal'...that's just my stubborn Italian brain....meaning I just want to think normal and not have C on my brain every minute of the day....

Now let's see if I remember correctly. :) ..I think I read that you are a 6 and 1/2 year survivor...and that is soooo wonderful ...and wishing you many many many more years of survival ship....So honey ..I would say that you have every right to 'live normal'..and enjoy life...now that doesn't mean I don't have all the symptoms that you guys have from old age ..menopause...what ever...I do......but I have to say it again...I hate the phrase.."new normal"...maybe I'm not 'normal' in other way's....LOL...but not the 'new normal"....

Take care...love you guys..hugs...PamS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The worst for me is remembering words. I know what I want to say but I can't get it to come out. And now that I am back to looking for work I just don't know if I'll be able to be the productive person I used to be. Oh Well, Just blame the chemo and make everyone laugh.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.