Wednesday was a good day. Felt pretty good most of the day, just got a little tired in the evening. If that’s my biggest complaint, I can’t really complain, can I?? :)
I consider myself to be of average mental ability, but I certainly have my moments where I forget things, have difficulty concentrating (wonder if that has anything to do with Pinterest, that devil!), have a hard time remembering people’s names, and I can be slow to complete some tasks (that’s part of a perfectionist tendency that tries to rear it’s ugly head from time to time).
I’m a little concerned, however.
Have you ever heard of chemo brain? Me either, until recently.
A couple of friends who have gone through chemo mentioned this to me a while back and I didn’t give it much attention then.
Apparently, in addition to the traditional, more common side effects of chemotherapy, there is also something called chemo brain – a sort of mental fog – which is a mild cognitive dysfunction that can occur during and after treatment. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the symptoms are:
- Forgetting things
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble remembering details
- Trouble multi-tasking
- Taking longer to finish things
- Trouble remembering common words
Well, I hate to tell the doc, but these were fairly normal “conditions” for me prior to chemo! If it gets worse than this during treatment and beyond, we might have a real problem on our hands. Ha ha
The causes of chemo brain vary from the cancer itself to the medications used for treatment, to age, stress, low blood counts, etc.
The ACS suggests the following to cope with or help minimize the effects of chemo brain:
- Use a detailed daily planner – Doing this already, but could be better at it
- Exercise your brain – Hmmm, my job kind of does this, but maybe I need to add puzzles or something to the mix. Mom – does this mean I have to start doing sudoku??????
- Get enough rest – I’m sleeping pretty good and napping when I need to on weekends
- Exercise your body – This will happen the DAY the stent is removed (ok, maybe the day AFTER the stent is removed)
- Eat veggies -Wonder if a diet of mashed potatoes and baked potatoes counts as veggies??
- Follow routines – Got this one down pat
- Don’t multi-task – This is tough to do when you work for lots of people, but I’ve also heard other productivity experts say that multi-tasking is death to productivity so there’s probably something to this.
- Track your memory problems – Well, if I’m having memory problems, how am I going to remember to track them???
These sound like good tips for all of us, huh?
I have to say, in all honesty, I’ve noticed some slight changes in my mental abilities since having that first round of chemo. Even on days when I feel pretty good, I find it hard to concentrate and if I don’t write something down the minute I think of it – it’s gone. My memory wasn’t great before lymphoma; it’s even worse now. I’ve also had a few instances where I couldn’t think of a word that I knew I knew, which is not something that usually happens to me.
We’ll see how this all progresses as I go through more rounds of chemo. Who knows? Maybe among the things that I will forget will be how awful I feel following chemotherapy! There could actually be an upside to having chemo brain. :)
Hope you guys have a wonderful day! Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. I appreciate each of you so very much!!