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Dealing with Chemo-Brain
Nudge
16 Posts
I received Immunotherapy (Opdivo) in 2019 followed by 20 radiation sessions to the right side of my face shortly after. Since then, I’ve been experiencing very poor short-term memory and chemo-brain (scatter-brain), specifically having difficulty organizing thoughts and an inability to focus.
I was improving, but a recent difficult surgery has reamplified my chemo-brain symptoms.
I would love to hear of any proven tips and tricks to help me with this annoying issue.
Thanks Nudge
11 Replies
klamb
54 Posts

@Nudge Hi there - my husband suffers from chemo brain and his doctor prescribed him Vyvanse. It's helped a lot. Might be something to look into?

ACH2015
2192 Posts

@klamb

Interesting to hear that Vyvanse was prescribed for Chemo Brain. 1st time I've heard of any drug to help with this issue. Thanks for sharing.

@Nudge, Like you the chemo, immunotherapy and multiple sedations (for surgeries and surveillance procedures, and immunotherapy ended in 2018) have wreaked havoc with my thought process. I get slow and then back to “normal” - what ever that is. I just have really gotten used to it. In my case I'd be hesitant to take any more R/X meds as I am already on SSRI's for depression.

Remember that the long and short term effects take time to heal, and recover from. Re routing of the thought process is no simple task, and I found keeping diligent reminders in my daily calendars work wonders.

Keep well

ACH2015

Nudge
16 Posts

@klamb Thank you. I’ll look into that.

Nudge
16 Posts

@ACH2015 Regarding Vyvance: I am still on multiple pain killers and an antidepressan, so I will refrain from adding more chemicals to my system. I agree repairing the brain takes a long time and a lot of patience.

ACH2015
2192 Posts

@Nudge

I agree, I looked up the drug and it states anyone on anti depressants (you and I included) is at risk by taking Vyvance. Time and perhaps mindfulness meditation are simpler / safer answers.

I am sure you sense there are many after effects our specialists don't mention, don't believe or simply don't know of when treating us. The side effects may vary so greatly or add more stress to the patients decision making process. Not blaming anyone, just stating some factors I've discovered post treatment. When we consider the powerful nature of these cancer treatments, how can there not be long lasting side effects we are left with?

Balance is the key. Reestablishing balance through time, effort and mostly acceptance has been my key means of finding and dealing with the new normal we live in.

Keep moving forward my friend.

ACH2015

Runner Girl
2289 Posts

@Nudge @ACH2015

I wanted to throw this out there. Have either of you tried Lumosity? It trains your brain. I used it alot when I went thru chemo and afterwards. I've gotten away from it recently but have been thinking I need to get back to it to regain my focus.

Lumosity is an online program consisting of games claiming to improve memory, attention, flexibility, speed of processing, and problem solving.

Runner Girl

Littlebeth
99 Posts

Hi @Nudge

Wellspring has a wonderful, free, 8-week program called Brain Fog that focuses on both the educational and practical aspects of chemo brain. I still struggle with cognitive issues, particularly memory and focus, but the program gave me many tools to help me deal with these side effects. You can find it by searching “Well on the Web Brain Fog” or through a Wellspring site. I believe there is another class starting in January.

ACH2015
2192 Posts

Hi @Runner Girl,

Thanks for the suggestion. I am looking into mindfulness right now, as a means to deal with concentration and improving outlook in the long run.

Much appreciated, and I'll keep it in mind.

ACH2015

Jlo
187 Posts
Hi Nudge:

Chemo brain is frustrating as I know back in 2017 (6 rounds). It was suggested to me to play Wordgames on my computer so I downnloaded Wordscape and play every day for 10 minutes. It can be addictive. I also play Solitaire and Majongs. I noted that Wellspring has an online class for Chemo brain, and my cancer centre had one as well. I can't comment on these courses, but eventually my chemi brain went away. Best wishes. Joan
law1
613 Posts

Hello @Nudge and @Jlo , @Runner Girl , @ACH2015, @Littlebeth , @klamb and all of us who have the delightfully bizarre Chemo Brain. It did not occur to me that my sporadic look and forgetfulness resembling “deer in the headlights” had a name and was very common for those of us with an uninvited cancer and its treatment . Until my friend Jenny commented that my inability to remember complex words while playing Scrabble was due to ‘Chemo Brain’….(any word with more than 3 letters!). who knew the C. B. Club was so large?! Word games such as Scrabble are helpful for the brain to maintain its functioning as are crossword puzzles and speaking slower than usual. Concentration is a challenge as well. Thanks also for the info of certain drug therapies as well.

Susan18
10 Posts

There are a number of Wellspring Programs that are available that can help with Chemo Brain, I took the Brain Fog one and there is also the Healing Journey Series Programs | Well on the Web (wellspring.ca).

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