chemo brain loses names, numbers, words

I have been lost in thought about how chemo brain affects my memory. Or maybe it is more precise to say my thoughts are lost in chemo brain.

So often people say they know what it feels like because they forget a name or phone number, but I know that this is different from normal forgetfulness. I have written about chemo brain before, so this is more like a follow-up to say, yes, it’s still here, affecting me every day. It has improved a bit, but for someone who rarely forgot any name for any student in my ten to twelve weekly dance classes of 15 of 25 students per class it is difficult to accept. Yesterday, when I went to a doctor’s appointment, I asked the name of one of the staff only to forget it while I whipped out my iPhone to write it down for next time. That is dreadful.

It seems that it is slightly improved since last year when words would seem to float about my head and randomly land in sentences meant for other words. I would say something like, Hey Jean, I love your shower instead of “your sweater.” I would know that the wrong word was dancing its way across my lips but somehow could not grab it in time. The looks were very funny, though at times it made me feel as though I was really losing my mind. I thought more than once that maybe my mets had gone to my brain.

Now I still have that same situation, but I can identify it before the word dances out. I stop it and then hang, waiting for the right word to make its way to my head and keep going out my mouth. Often, I can get only to “it starts with R” and remain stuck. Occasionally, it will come to me, but not always. It used to be that if I forgot a name, it would come to me right away. Now, I feel like until I remember it, it is a thought that is lost which I must keep searching to find. It’s funny that I remember to keep looking.

So tonight I am still trying to remember that name: it started with an S and was mellifluous and, I think, three or four syllables. Aargh. Maybe I will go look up names for baby girls with three or four syllables and see what I find. Wish me luck.

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© 2004-2011 Donna Peach. All rights reserved.

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One response to “chemo brain loses names, numbers, words

  1. I’m with you. My oncologist insists that it’s the same as I got with the sudden surgical menopause and hormonal meds, but he is fooling himself. My mom thinks that it’s the same as she has from age – but it’s not. Hard to explain to people who haven’t experienced it, though. Thanks for trying!!

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