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Topic: Who took my brain?

Forum: Life After Breast Cancer —

Managing life after a breast cancer diagnosis, including rediscovering intimacy, coping with fear of recurrence, reconnecting relationships, sharing hobbies and interests, and finding inspiration in daily life.

Posted on: Feb 22, 2021 03:16PM

Fairchild wrote:

Ugh. I just realized I did something I've never done in my whole life. I forgot an appointment with someone for the 2nd time in a week.

I guess there are contributing factors. We were having computer problems at work on Friday. I was being emailed by people about the problem faster than I could possibly post an explanation or address it. I forgot the first meeting in the rush of responding to that. Apologized profusely, called the person, and he was kind enough to reschedule.

And then I did it again. Just no-showed. A colleague pointed it out, which is so embarrassing. I made an excuse, but honestly, I'm mortified. I think wtih all those emails coming in, I got distracted and never got the appointment on my calendar apparently.

I've never had problems like these before cancer. I noticed it when I came back to work after chemotherapy. But that was back in early 2019, and I thought it would go away by now. My doctor put me on Adderall (ADD medicine), which mostly just helps me focus on what I'm doing. But I'm not dealing well with having to have multiple ideas in my mind at one time. For example, when I read something I can't seem to hold it in my brain long enough to write it down. It's really maddening at work, but I'm a professional and I've worked hard for my position. I could retire in 3 years, but I'm ambivalent about it.

I've not talked with anyone at work about this problem, because I find it embarrassing. I've been trying to switch to tasks that are less likely to be impacted by my this problem and reducing the tasks that require a lot of manipulation of mental contents. But that's difficult to do, because that's a large part of my job. So far no one has said anything about it, but I worry that I'm perceived as "over the hill" now because these slips are noticeable to other people.

I guess this system will attach a list below of the surgeries and medicines I've been on. I was recently switched from letrozole to Aromasin, 25 mg. Otherwise I'm off the Big Drugs. I thought "chemo brain" goes away within 2 years.

What gives with my brain? Any ideas and /or recommendations welcome. I'm kind of at my wit's end!

Fairchild Dx 5/5/2018, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 7/26/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 9/6/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/9/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/9/2019 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole)
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Feb 22, 2021 03:22PM Beaverntx wrote:

Fairchild, sorry to share with you that the antihormonal drugs can also contribute to "chemo brain". Having to use more energy to concentrate is one of my main side effects.

Diagnosed at age 77-- Oncotype 17, dealing with this bump in the road of life!!🎆 Dx 1/24/2018, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Dx 1/30/2018, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0 Surgery 1/30/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/11/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Surgery 6/15/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 22, 2021 11:46PM OnTarget wrote:

I feel the same.

I feel that my cognitive functions aren't working as well and my multitasking sucks.

I'm having to do work-arounds. I use my calendar more extensively and I also do each task immediately because I won't remember. I take more notes. If I read an email that is time sensitive, I either do the task or put it in my calendar. It is hard when I have multiple things happening, but I'm learning new skills since I can't rely on remembering.

Forget about remembering names or specific words. That ain't happening.

Diagnosed at 42, Oncotype score 16, ITC in one node- considered node negative. Lost right implant to infection March 2020. Waiting to start reconstruction all over again. Dx 4/8/2019, ILC, Left, 3cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 4/23/2019, ILC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 6/13/2019 Zoladex (goserelin) Chemotherapy 8/5/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/5/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Feb 23, 2021 05:44AM Rah2464 wrote:

Fairchild thank you for starting this thread! I laughed out loud at the title. I can definitely relate, although I have not had the rougher treatments you had, it is just the Tamoxifen for me. It is like my brain no longer records. Word retrieval is on a five minute delay. Drives me crazy.

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/27/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/27/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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