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Boooo Cancer. You suck!

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Posts tagged chemo brain:

Welcome back concentration!

Something marvelous is happening with my brain. I am finally at a point where I can concentrate on things again. Mainly words that I’m reading. Let me tell you something. Chemo brain is a very real and very frustrating phenomenon. I guess that, mixed with early menopause from chemo, has contributed to the fuzziness of the last year of my life. I noticed a number of changes after treatment. My ability to retain information was pretty much gone. Someone would tell me something and unless I wrote it down I’d forget it almost instantly. Names, dates, times, words. Everything. I started carrying around a little calendar book and writing everything in there and that helped out a lot! That way I could look at what was going on each day and also cross things off as I did them. I felt more in control of what was going on in my life that way. Another change was that when I would read books, or heck, even a very short sentence or paragraph it was like my eyes would fog over and I couldn’t remember what words I had just read at all, nevertheless what they all meant. The last few days I have noticed with exciting clarity that suddenly I am retaining information again! I can read a whole article on something or a chapter in a book and I know what all the words are! They are clear in my mind and I process the information that they give me so much faster than I did even six months ago! It was such a cool feeling to realize what was happening! My brain fog is finally lifting! HURRAH! I still have a little trouble staying tuned in to conversations, but that could just be because I’m bored, haha! Just kidding. It’s all connected, but I can see it getting better and it’s so much fun to watch. I’m proud of my brain for getting those neurons fired up again! It’s taken awhile but I can feel little sparks going off in my head as words are suddenly strung together to form sentences, and sentences come together to make paragraphs, and paragraphs suddenly transform into entire books before my very eyes. Not just books… information. And not just any information, but information that I retain. Welcome back concentration. It’s good to have you home. 

Tamoxifen Brain?

There is a very real phenomenon which most cancer patients experience post-treatment known as “chemo brain”. Until quite recently, doctors were hesitant to acknowledge that this had anything to do with treatment or that it was actually something real at all. They would blame fatigue or perhaps the patients age with any supposed memory loss. Yet, nowadays many doctors agree that chemo brain is indeed something very real that affects countless cancer patients. 

Now, I didn’t get near as many rounds of chemo as other people have. But I am here to tell you right now that chemo brain is real. Real and incredibly frustrating. Lately I have begun to think that there might be such a thing as Tamoxifen brain. For the past week I have felt… strange. Almost like I was having a constant out of body experience. Everything feels as if it were in a fog. Even typing this right now it seems as if it’s not actually me touching the keyboard. It’s like I’m here but I’m not. It’s so hard to explain. I googled “Tamoxifen memory loss” and a slew of sites came up. Seems I’m not the only one who feels this might actually be yet another very real side effect of all the toxins we take as cancer patients that are supposed to make us better. I swear, I can hardly remember the most simple things. It has been a very real struggle for me lately to remember what day of the week it is, and once I figure it out I am confounded at my complete inability to recall what has happened in the days prior to this one. It is at once frustrating and frightening. I feel like I’m losing my memory completely and it makes me feel scared. 

Also, I think I might be coming down with something and perhaps that is having an effect on me as well. I think it’s been so long since I had a regular old cold that I forgot what it felt like. After going through all the nasty stuff with treatment I guess I associate that with being “sick” now. The bar has been raised for the common cold virus! I keep forgetting that my immune system is still trying to recover and build itself back up again. Maybe that’s what is going on now. I don’t know. I just know I feel weird and I don’t like it. If this keeps up it’s back to the ol’ oncologist for me. If I can remember where she works…