"I'm taking chemo, and now I have trouble remembering things, and completing sentences, like I'm getting Alzheimer's disease, what's going on?"
In an issue of Cure magazine, the article "Lost in the Fog" explains that this is very common. Doctors call it "Cognitive Dysfunction," we call it "chemobrain." The article stated "Their finding were that 32% of the patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy and 17% of patients treated with standard-dose chemotherapy had cognitive impairment when tested with standard neuropsychological tests, while only 9% of the control patients showed impairment." The complete article can be read online at:
American Cancer Society Mayo Clinic
Chemobrain: More on Chemotherapy
Not at all - concern about your cancer returning is an issue that is faced by every cancer patient. It is something that you learn to live with. That is not to say that it goes away, it doesn't. Every new pain, every new experience that you have relating to your health, can bring on the old "oh my gosh, is IT back?” The best suggestion is that now you need to be pro-active about your body. We all know that we have pains, strange feelings, flu, colds, headaches, etc, in the normal course of living. If we were not cancer survivors, we wouldn't think that every new pain was a crisis. You need to just be aware -- not scared!
If the situation lingers, or it is a lump in the other breast, or you have some kind of normal breast cancer related symptoms, of course, be sure you see your doctor. But don't dwell on the little stuff that occurs in life. Learn to distinguish between what could be a problem, and what is simply a normal process in our bodies -- getting older as a cancer survivor presents challenges, because as we age we normally have some "getting older problems". The only rule of thumb that I can suggest is, be prudent and bring problems to your doctor, but not to the extent that he/she hears so many from you, that they "stop hearing you". Remember the story of the little boy who called wolf? We need to recognize true problems, and not bog our doctors down with "sniffles" "gas pains" or "sinus headaches." Remember, you must now learn to KNOW your new body - because after Chemotherapy and Radiation your body isn't the same as it was before, plus Survival means getting older and "getting old ain't for sissies". –
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I have Cancer...
...it does NOT have ME!