THE BLOG
07/10/2013 06:28 pm ET Updated Sep 09, 2013

Chemo Brain

After going through chemotherapy some people experience something called "chemo brain." Here's an excerpt from the American Cancer Society's website regarding chemo brain:

"Though the brain usually recovers over time, the sometimes vague yet distressing mental changes cancer patients notice are real, not imagined. They might last a short time, or they might go on for years. These changes can make people unable to go back to their school, work, or social activities, or make it so that it takes a lot of mental effort to do so. Chemo brain changes affect everyday life for many people, and more research is needed to help prevent and cope with them."

Now what was I saying? Oh yeah, so that's the technical definition and now let me explain it in layperson's terms. One time, after treatment, I went to the grocery store and I was carrying my reusable canvas bag on my arm. As the cashier finished bagging my groceries into three plastic bags, I looked down, saw my reusable bag still on my arm and laughed to myself.

That's chemo brain. It's the madness we all feel normally: What day is it? Where did I put my keys? What did I do last weekend? Now magnify that times one hundred and you have Chemo brain. Okay, maybe my formula isn't scientifically valid but that's what it feels like.

I know that I'm different post chemo. My mind works, or doesn't work, differently than before. I don't feel so impaired that it disrupts my daily life but sometimes it can be frustrating when I want to talk about the beach and this is what comes out, "you know that place where they have water and sand, what's it called again?"

If you're going through it, know that you're not alone and if it's causing you distress in your everyday life then talk to your doctor about it. You're not any less intelligent than you were before. Your brain cells have taken an ass kicking, along with every other cell that was affected by chemo and now you and they just need some TLC. Now go call your doctor before the chemo brain kicks in again and you forget.