Chemo Brain

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Have you heard of chemo brain?  NPR ran an article late in 2012 where they explained that physical evidence of changes in the brain have been found in breast cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy.  They actually compared brain scans taken before the patients started chemotherapy treatments to scans taken 6 months after treatments began.  The American Cancer Society called attention to this phenomenon in an article from 2012 and the Mayo Clinic has a short blurb on their website as well.

As someone who used to be quite active in the sciences before taking a slightly different path (and as a cancer survivor), these articles are fascinating to me.  They basically all explain that there are so many factors involved in the brain’s of cancer patients (stress, possible sleeping troubles, varying family histories, etc.) that it is very difficult to narrow down the exact cause of chemo brain.

Regardless of the cause though, some mental fogginess is normal and often goes away with time.

I know I certainly experienced a changing brain during my chemo treatments!  I went from having a photographic memory (where I could remember exactly what 5 random things were in which random drawer) to forgetting where I put everything around the house!  I should mention though, that I also moved in with my fiance (now husband) around that time so it might have also been him moving things every once in a while 😉  I think some of the changes in mental state that I experienced also began around the time I was caregiving for my mother during her illness (just months before my own treatments).  Stress can definitely do funny things to you.

Have you experienced any changes in your brain since you started chemo treatments?  Have you experienced something similar as a caregiver?  Ohhh chemo brain, how I wish you would go away forever.

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