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Is this chemo brain?

hi all,

I was diagnosed with TNBC with positive nodes April 25, 2022. I have finished 10 rounds of taxol/carbo, 7 rounds of keytruda, lumpectomy, 4 rounds of ac and 20 rounds of radiation. My last chemo was January 28th and radiation was march 23.

I’m looking for a little reassurance for what I’m feeling. I’ve told my onc how I’m feeling and she says it’s just going to take time. I look really good in my bloodwork. My head is so unclear, a fuzzy, full, heavy feeling that gets much worse especially when I am tired. My body feels like I carry 100 lb weights. It’s so hard to explain but it worries me. I don’t have issues with forgetting things and that’s what I’ve read Chemo brain is, not what I’m feeling. I also have hearing loss from the carbo and that gets worse as well especially when I’m tired.
I realize this is going to take time for my body to heal but I don’t feel as though it is getting any better

If anyone out there has any input I would be more than great full!

Thank you in advance,

Karen

Comments

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,372
    edited April 2023

    Hi there. I went through treatment in 2021 but never experienced anything like you're describing. I was fatigued while having radiation treatment but that resolved in a month or so when treatment ended. As far as chemo brain, I associate that with a tendency to forget things or similar to a "senior moment," not a physical manifestation or feeling. Others may have a different experience so maybe they will see your post. Good luck.

  • cyathea
    cyathea Member Posts: 321
    edited April 2023

    thelazyaranch4, I know exactly how you’re feeling. Chemo is a challenge for all cells in our body, unlike immunotherapy which is more targeted to affect cancer cells. The effects of chemo are stronger immediately after treatment, but the drugs also have longer term effects. For me, the fatigue and “slow thinking” have continued. I am 55 and my brain doesn’t work very well now. I search for words, concentration is difficult, and mental tasks take longer.

    Fatigue comes and goes for me. It could be related to my autoimmune diseases rather than chemo. During treatment, the fatigue was worse when my iron levels were low, so I made sure to eat more red meat than I do normally.

    After I finished chemo, surgery, radiation and immunotherapy, I thought I would feel better in a few months. That didn’t happen for me. Although things did improve, I’ve had to adjust to a “new normal”. I love my job (I do tech consulting work in data analytics), but I do wonder whether I’ll ever be as capable and high performing as I was before cancer. Everyone is different and no one can predict my future, so I just try to take one day at a time and do the best that I can.

    For me, 2019 and 2020 were worse than 2021, but 2022 wasn't significantly batter than 2021. You are still in the early days, so I'd say give yourself more time to heal. Things will probably get better for you.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited April 2023

    thelazaranch4 - I did ACT&Carbo in 2020, radiation in 2021 and Xeloda 2021-2022 and and several surgeries in between, and I feel exactly as you do. I did have some other health issues prior to being diagnosed, but my MO has attributed it all to my treatments. Not to mention, I am only nine months out from my last dose. It's very frustrating, but I just take things one day at a time and hope it gets better.

    I agree with Cynthia, give yourself time to heal. Your body has been through a lot.

  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 1,150
    edited April 2023

    seredipity09 - Good that you have an oncologist that will "admit" to these issues being caused by the treatments. Thank goodness, you're not just being told it's "normal aging" or "probably a little anxiety and depression", etc. These things really need to be acknowledged for what they are.

    thelazyranch4 - Do give yourself time for things to settle out, but I for one have never been the same since chemo and radiation 4 years ago. Better, but never the same.