Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Word about Chemo Brain.....

I know I have mentioned the words "chemo brain" from time to time in my blogs here and there, but haven't really explained exactly what it is. Doctors and Scientists have studied this phenomenon, along with Psychiatrists and Psychologists. They all agree it is "real" as MRI's and Brain scans prove that there is decreased functioning, however no one can tell you exactly why or how it occurs. They know it has to do with receiving Chemotherapy but that's about it. Studies show that some people fully regain all their functioning when they are no longer taking chemo and others do not. Some people improve in some areas and others do not. This is why chemo brain is so difficult to describe.....even the pros can't describe it!! Chemo brain creates a real challenge for those of us who were blessed with the size of a guinea pigs memory to begin with. Then add in chemo brain and I'm just a flippin barrel of laughs on any given day. Chemo brain has affected me in a variety of ways and some days are better than others. I'd say across the board it makes me VERY forgetful. Not the "where are my keys?" forgetful, I'm talking about simple simple words. And the kicker? When I forget one of these simple words I will use more complicated words to try to get the person I'm talking to to know what I'm talking about. For instance......if I couldn't come up with the word "refrigerator" I would say "you know...that large machine in the kitchen where we put food in to keep it cold or to make things freeze"........oh yeah.....that''s happened!! It's amazing how many words just go away. I am so much fun to have a conversation with, it's like playing charades some days!! One day I literally forgot how to add. No kidding. Now I'm no Math Major like Lindsay, but I've managed all these years to get by and especially have no trouble balancing my checkbook. But I truly forgot how to add. The numbers just meant nothing......crazy huh? I've also said that chemo has made me a pathological liar. If you know me you know... I DO NOT LIE. Chemo brain makes me think something has happened or someone said something and it's totally not true. Don't get me wrong....it's not that I am hallucinating or anything like that, it's more like I'll think the doctor said this or that or I had a big lunch, or swear I did whatever, when in fact......the doctor did not say whatever I think they said......I refused the lunch I swore I ate etc etc......This symptom is a little more difficult to explain, as you can see I'm even having a hard time explaining it here. LOL Another gift from chemo brain is that I repeat myself because I FORGOT I said things. I'm talking about things that happened that SAME day! I am at the point and have been for awhile, that I find MYSELF annoying!! I would dread talking to me......LOL Thank goodness I have people in my life that can get past my chemo brain and know the "real" me is lurking in there somewhere. Hee Hee. Now please remember, life shattering chemo brain moments don't happen everyday. I can still hold an intelligent conversation 90% of the time (if you catch me on a good day......wink wink) Just wanted to share what Chemo brain is for me.

1 comment:

Carrie K said...

Hi there! Wow I just happened upon your site and everything you have said is "me to a T"!I had chemo two years and then again last year. My children are 9,11 and 20and continually tell me "Mom, I told you that" or "Mom, don't you remember". I can honestly say that at times I have just said oh yes I forgot because it is so difficult for me to say I cannot remember. Things such as you said about numbers are oh so true! Even when I write I find that I have to reread the same thing at least a few times because the sentence doesnt sound correct or is confusing. I have a hard time focusing on doing bills for any length of time or even reading a book. Sorry that you are going through this also. My Dr said well sometimes it improves over time but this doesnt seem to be the case with me and unfortunately no one seems to have any suggestions to help! Sincerely, Carrie PS-Hope you can understand this!! But at least we are here to write these things! Best wishes