Ask Caroline, a Macmillan Nurse working with people who have Leukaemia, Myelodysplasia...
Jane is a haematology nurse with extensive experience in stem cell and bone marrow...
It seems that at long last they are studying what everyone has been telling the doctors about for years....
Chemo brain.. I often blame it for things.. Not sure if it is just getting older but sometimes my mind will just go blank with PIN numbers etc even though I have used them for years!
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Oh, its real. I've been forgetting my friends' names lately. How embarrassing!
I am certainly forgetting things more - but that was beginning to creep up on me before I was ill. But overall I feel whatever has happened to my brain is for the better. Inside of trying to mentally juggle everything at once, I simplify, break things down and make lists. And I forget to worry about things that weren't important anyway.
My concentration and memory have been badly affected. I mentioned in my profile that I used to do employment and discrimination law, before I was ill, but now I struggle to remember any of it. I used to be really sharp, but now I struggle to write letters I would once have knocked off in half an hour. I also forget the name of everyday things now. It's really quite scary.
Don't worry, it does get better over time. As the article said our brains are quite plastic and we can learn or relearn new things. I think we just need to find whatever pace suits us now. I couldn't do an eight hour day any more but I can do a shorter day and feel I'm making some progress.
And i find the concentration for driving is hard so I limit my radius of travel.
Chemo brain has been real for a long time and its only the last 8 years or so its been officially recognised I found being open and advising friends and colleagues it was an issue I had and at times would struggle was the best strategy, even laughing about it at times, as it took the stress of finding words or struggling to express my view away completely and most people were good about it. Sometimes I even played 20 questions when it was bad to try to get the words or name I was struggling to remember. It also helped restore self confidence too which sometimes is an issue when returning to work.
Yes, I thought you'd all find this interesting!
it can resolve quite a lot, given time, daughter had around 9 years of chemo and other treatments, hers got really annoying. She used to ask folk who wanted to book her, to confirm via email or text, as a way of getting around it. She does still not always remember to reply to emails, but tends to remember to do so to texts.
As a professional freelance musician who continued her work for most of those 9 years it could really get a bit worrying, including really bad concentration at times, particularly when in a classical music gig where she had to count bars rest. But she got by!
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