“Okay, write a new blog posting for the week, add some inspirational quotes to your website, add some stories on nutrition”, etc. So says the new friend that did an incredible job to develop my website. “Now, what did she say that I need to work on next? I wrote it down somewhere, but where?” “Chemo Brain” is rearing its ugly head, again. “I’m so sorry. Could you repeat that just one more time? I do apologize. It’s “chemo brain”. Don’t worry, It cannot be passed from one person to another.”

Scott jokes with me from time to time and tells me that I gave it to him. In my defense, it was given to me by not one or two, but three different chemo drugs. Top this off with having had radiation and immunotherapy at varying times and you have yourself quite a cocktail. 

“Chemo Brain”. Is that really a thing? It must be. Losing my car keys when they’re in my hand, is one thing, but this is different. Experts prefer the term “cognitive dysfunction associated with chemotherapy” or “post-chemo brain.” Well, la-di-da….

A few of these experts suspect chemo drugs may slip past the “blood brain barrier” – say that ten times, fast – which separates chemicals that belong in the brain from those that do not, and adversely affect cognitive skills. I have been spending time repeating to friends and family about my “chemo brain”. I don’t ever like to say that anything is a waste of time, but explaining this can be as difficult as the “chemo brain”, itself.

What I often hear is, “you’re getting older”. I’m only 52. Does this mean I am beyond middle age? Could be, but I have not returned to full time work for many reasons. Age is not one of them. Fatigue, pain, and apparently, “chemo brain”. Some days are worse than others. When I feel as though I should be doing additional work throughout the day or retaining information that would seem a simple task to most, I am reminded of the “chemo brain”symptoms and here are just a few: 

  • difficulty learning new skills
  • confusion
  • short attention span
  • taking longer to complete routine tasks
  • trouble with verbal memory  – such as remembering conversations

Please check with your doctor if you have questions or concerns. I’d love to chat with others about this subject. Comments are certainly welcome. Thank you and until next week, K  xo

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