Chemo Brain is a Real Side Effect of Cancer Chemotherapy

I have been fighting cancer now for about four years. Actually, we were pretty sure I had it when I started urinating blood on April 8, 2008. This is all covered in my prior article about Non Invasive Bladder Cancer. So, this time I would like to talk about what my family has been calling chemo brain for about three years. Today I found out it is a symptom that affects numerous people when on a chemotherapy regimen and it has a technical name. My doctors always knew what I was talking about. I was told it was not out of the ordinary. They also told me it gets better. Well, it does. About six weeks to eight weeks after I have my last treatment in a series, it does get better. The technical name for what I am experiencing is, “Post Chemotherapy Cognitive Impairment,” or PCCI. I will finish writing this article tomorrow. I just didn’t want to forget about what I wanted to write or what it is called.

This is what I experience when going through chemotherapy. I often start to say something and then forget what I was going to say or what I was talking about in the first place. Sometimes when I am talking about something I can’t think of the specific word that I am looking for. To give you an example, I walk into the kitchen to get something to eat. I open the refrigerator door, look inside and wonder what I am looking for. I can be talking about one of my favorite television shows and forget what the name is. I have put my wallet in my pocket and looked all over the house in panic not being able to find it. I could go on but I think the reader gets the idea.

So here is what we know about PCCI, and again this is also my personal experience and what the literature says. It gets better. It takes time for the foggy brain to clear up. It can be frustrating but you need to remember you will be fine and you need to share this with your family. For me, during the last four years I have been having Chemotherapy every three months. Now it is three times in three weeks every six months. It takes me about three months for the fog to clear.

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