I just finished your book "Your Brain after Chemo". It was very good. Thank you for writing it!
Chemo brain was HARD to deal with. My observations now that I am 5 months out:
1. Driving: I should not have been driving. I never had an accident... but I came close too often. See the next item for more details.
2. Spatial orientation:
I pride myself on being very aware of my surroundings, and my "place in space". As an example of the problem: I was driving to a chemo appointment - had done the trip many times - and was totally confused about which exit to take. Fortunately my daughter was with me and provided the directions. Very unnerving. Needless to say, she drove home!!!
I prefer to back into parking spots - it was almost impossible for me to do while on chemo. Figuring out where the cars (and other obstacles) were was terrible. I am not sure how to describe it - it is like my brain kept flipping the things I was looking at.
I study T'ai Chi. Prior to surgery and chemo I was learning a form and practicing regularly. After surgery, but prior to chemo I practiced Tai Chi - it felt good and helped open up my chest. During chemo I found it challenging - but still practiced. The challenge... recognizing my body and its position in space. After chemo, when I joined class again I was very frustrated. I could not translate what I saw the teacher doing to the movement I needed to do.
3. Organization & Decision Making: I am usually very organized and can make a plan, layout the data and make a decision based on that. I could NOT do this while on chemo. I planned a simple conversion and needed to buy a cabinet as part of the plan. I had the numbers for three cabinets all laid out in front of me... and I could not figure out what to do. I finally gave up. And this was a simple plan, but it took me almost a month to come up with... Normally this type of plan would have taken an hour at the most.
4. Alzheimer's-like symptoms: A friend's husband has developed Alzheimer's. I went to the National Alzheimer's website to learn more. I took their little quiz - I felt like I was the "poster child" for it!
5. Dyslexia: I am dyslexic. This became extremely exacerbated during treatment. I have developed many coping skills during my life to deal with this challenge... lets just say, "this was a train wreck" while on chemo.
Is it chemo or is it menopause? I wonder... Hard to know and to say for sure. And let's throw in stress for good measure! Oh yes, and a history of depression. Fortunately that was well under control for this life experience.
As the chemo moves out the problems are clearing up. I am painfully aware that this process is going to take longer than I had imagined! I am thankful for all the little improvements. I try to not focus on it, after all, "what you focus on expands..." but chemo brain is there, and for me, that is a fact.
Again, thanks for your book!
JBF, Pittsburgh, PA
Lung Cancer Survivor