Cancer Related Brain Fog: How do you cope with it?
<p>I attended an Empowered to Live Well Session on Cancer-Related Brain Fog at Rochester Cancer Education Center yesterday. Very interesting. I think the most important fact I learned is that it is a real thing, it is not just me. This condition is called many things: chemo fog, chemo brain, cancer-related cognitive impairment or cognitive dysfunction.</p><p>I copied the following from Connect Cancer Education page that suggesting following sites for additional information:<br />Both http://www.mayoclinic.org and http://www.cancer.org have information on Chemo Brain including signs, symptoms, questions to ask your doctor, and more.</p><p>Laurie</p>
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Hello @pml, Thank you for the private message. I'm sorry that you didn't receive a response to your post in the Cancer Education – Lung Screening Newsfeed article (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/comment/802613/). It may be because not many members have seen the article. I thought I would respond to your private message in this discussion started by Laurie @roch. If you click the link below it will take you to the top of the discussion where you can read through the posts by members discussing brain fog associated with cancer treatments.
— Cancer Related Brain Fog: How do you cope with it?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/cancer-related-brain-fog/.
@lisman1408, @1nan, @trixie1313, @gingerw and others may have some suggestions or tips to share with you to help your husband.
Here's an article from Mayo Clinic with tips on how to manage it:
You are not alone. I totally understand how you feel. I have taken 3 estrogen inhibitor to no avail. When the pain and other side effects make you feel as if your physical body is standing next to you to get away from everything, its horrible. I also am taking anastrozole now (4th inhibtor) for 10 months. I guess combo of all these meds, plus anastrozole now, does make a person feel brain fog is all around you. My son remarked I am senile. That hurts down to the core. My thoughts are with you.
@lisman1408 Oh, how hard to hear this from your son! He probably would be apalled to hear how his comments have affected you! Have you shown him this post and your replies? Or perhaps your dr would kindly explain how much stress that puts on you? Has he noticed your reluctance to "engage" since his comments?
I have fibro, along with other health issues that include brain fog. Where it used to be that I was easily distracted by things ["shiny object syndrome" or "look, a squirrel!"] it has morphed a bit into a sudden loss for a word to finish a sentence. My husband will unkindly say, "finish what you are saying". Friends who understand will gently prompt me, "you were taking about…" to get me back on track. You never know how seeing a family member work with brain fog will affect someone.
We are all here, and many of us have our words stolen every day too.
Brain fog is a real problem, for years there was questions about if chemo brain was a real thing. The studies say yes and they call it brain fog. If I ever get dementia, I will just proclaim “chemo brain”. Hahaha
Thank you Becky for your kind response. It’s nice to have this discussion board to talk with others who understand and have some of the same side effects! I don’t know what I’d do without my friends here!
@lisman1408 I am so sorry to hear that your family doesn’t understand how difficult brain fog is and that it’s not a choice. I included this link to an earlier discussion that had a good article on brain fog. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/comment/649496/
Maybe your husband and son could be encouraged to read it and try to understand. And show your friends, too. You really don’t want to stay home.
Could you ask your husband to go to your next doctor’s visit so the doctor can explain brain fog?
I’m 68, the worst for me is that my son told me that I have dementia. That really hurt. My husband doesn’t really understand either. I KNOW that for me, the drugs that I must take to prevent recurrence of breast cancer causes brain fog.
Each of the hormone drugs I’ve taken to prevent recurrence suppresses estrogen, and low estrogen causes brain fog. I can only describe it as permanently being ‘menopausal’ with no end in sight.
Anastrozole was the worst for me. I’m currently on Exemestane and that’s better, but I’m still not my former self. My regular doctor specializes in geriatrics and I told her about my son’s observations of dementia. She put me through all sorts of testing for my mental clarity, including a brain MRI. She found nothing that could indicate dementia. Or anything wrong with my brain at all.
But now, I’m so self conscious of making any kind of a mistake that I just stay home by myself where I’m comfortable, without anyone to criticize me for my brain fog. I’ve come to love my alone time! I’m most comfortable and feel like myself just being alone. When I do go out I stay to myself as much as possible.
Brain fog is my middle name! It started after chemo 29 years ago. It was not too disturbing, forgetting names etc. My profession required constant focus- I think this led to chronic stress. I retired early and with time I managed ok. It worsened about 5 years ago after several months of treatment with immunosuppressive drug ( for autoimmune illness). Initially it was scary- I felt as if part of my “ hard drive” was erased. Not only was my brain foggier than ever, but I also had difficulty with performing certain activities, such as playing tennis, parking the car.
I’m 77 now and I don’t have to be sharp all the time- I need brief rest periods to recharge. I also do crossword puzzles.
@cgirl0721 Brain fog is pits, isn’t it? I had it for months after the onset of my autoimmune disease. I found this article that may be of interest. It seems to say that in a subset if people , that brain fog stays for a long time
How long have you had brain fog? Is it changing at all?
Maybe you can switch to another drug. My oncologist was willing to prescribe several.