Symptoms of brain secondaries?

Hello ladies, I haven’t posted much recently but I do log on fairly regularly and especially like to catch up on posts from those of you who were diagnosed around the same time as me last year. Anyway the thing is, I had a strange ‘episode’ this evening about an hour ago when out walking one of the dogs. It came on very suddenly with no prior warning and it felt like a cross between feeling very drunk and what I imagine having a mini stroke must feel like. My vision got suddenly blurred and I just couldn’t get my eyes to focus or look straight ahead, and I think maybe one of my eyes kept trying to wander to the left (although not sure), and I was having difficulty walking and couldn’t co-ordinate my movements. I was on my own in a secluded lane and my first thought was oh shit, my head’s swimming and I’m going to pass out and I hope I don’t keel over here because no-one will find me for hours! My next thought, after a few tentative steps where I was lurching a bit to one side, was to sit down before I fell arse over elbow. By now I felt pretty scared. I managed to phone my husband with difficulty (as I couldn’t focus on the handset, like I’d gone a bit cross-eyed) and asked him to drive over to collect me. I rapidly felt OK again, and managed to walk to the foot of the lane, and I’ve been fine since. The whole thing lasted about 30 – 40 seconds from start to finish. I’ve felt fine since. I’ll make an a appointment with my GP tomorrow but in the meantime I’d appreciate any comments, especially from ladies who have brain secondaries, as obviously that’s what’s going though my head. I hadn’t eaten much today, mostly fruit and veg, and so my husband thinks it’s related to that, but it definitely wasn’t one of those hypo-light-headed dizzy feelings, it was something I’ve never felt before. I’m not looking for reassurance, just some factual info from anyone who has felt anything similar? I’d be really interested to know how many ladies out there have developed secondaries despite having no apparent spread to lymph nodes in their primary diagnosis. BTW I have just recently had a chest xray taken because for a couple of months I have had intermittent achey feelings in my ribs and breastbone, and the results stated that there were ‘no convincing abnormalities’ detected in the bones. (However I don’t like the use of the word ‘convincing’ because it suggests that there might be something there nonetheless, and I’m wondering whetehr to push for a scan instead). I know I am paranoid anyway, as so many of us are after the end of treatment, but tonight’s weird experience has left me wondering…… Any info gals?
Love to you all ladies. xx

You poor thing - how very scary.

I can’t help with any info I’m afraid but hope it gets sorted and that you’re ok.


Scottiedog that sounds so very scary. I wonder if you should really be contacting someone straight away and not be waiting for morning. Are you at a stage in your treatment that you have a contact no. at your hospital or even out of hours GP. It does also sound a little bit like a TIA (transient ischemic attack). They don’t result in permanent damage and can pass off so quickly. I think some people can experience this during the night and not notice it even. But anything odd going on in your head like that certainly needs checking out. What a blessing mobile phones can be. I do hope it isn’t anything serious.


im with dawn i think a visit to a and e would be helpful… get somebody to take you incase it happens again. think its something that needs investigated…

if your unsure about going to a and e why not phone nhs direct/24 and ask their advice.

i had a few worrying episodes a few months ago like being spaced out and feeling drunk even though i wasnt feeling dizzy and losing my balance but turns out it was because is stopped my antidepressants too suddenly… but i did need a head ct scan.

fingers crossed its not anything too serious but please please get it checked out

Lulu xx

Thanks girls. Have phoned NHS 24 and they say someone will call me back in the next 2 hours. I think you’re right, I need to get it seen to. I have been taking low-dose aspirin for the last few months after reading a report that it can help prevent recurrence of BC. (My consultant said that although he wouldn’t recommend it, it was up to me and he wouldn’t stop me, but the evidence wasn’t conclusive that aspirin is effective). But you would think that would help protect against anything like TIA wouldn’t it? Anyway I’ll let you know how things go. Thanks for the advice. Better safe than sorry.

I would also advise you to perhaps get an eye test done. I had a few very funny episodes like this, also problems with reading and the computer screen would bring odd things on - as I am short sighted I alternate between contact lenses and glasses. When I went for my regular eye check in January I found out I needed varifocal lenses in my specs and my contact prescription adjusted.

Hi Scottiedog,
I hope you got seen and reassured last night. To answer your original question, my brain met manifested itself as a low level but permanent headache that I had for a month before I had an MRI. There was no sudden onset, nor any balance or vision problems.
Hope you are feeling better this morning.

Hi Scottiedog, Sorry you have had this horrible experience. Please let us know how you get on. I agree with everyone above. If it had happened to me I would have gone straight to hospital to have it checked out…but I am not trying to scare you…but I would just worry about it all the time. This needs investigating but that doeasn’t mean you have brain mets. Hugs to you. Love Val

How worrying! Let us know how you get on. X

Wo! It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the forums but this particular subject is close to heart because I do have brain mets. Any questions are welcome but I would like to say, if anyone feels worried about anything, you should mention it to your Onc assuming you all see your oncologist on a regular basis. I had two oncologists on the go when I was diaagnosed with brain mets (I only see one of them now, the one I trust most) I’m on Herceptin, I keep a very close eye on things and when I discovered Herceptin doesnt reach the brain,or chemo’ for that matter. I asked for a brain scan because I was feeling a tingling sensation in my head and was worried. One of my Oncologists told me not to worry, said it didn’t sound suspicious. My other Onc advised a brain scan. Better safe than sorry, she said and if it’s worryng you then lets check it out. And so thats how It was discovered. You tell them it’s worrying you very much and if you have a good Onc. He/She will put your mind at rest by scanning you.

Hi again, thanks for all your replies - they have all been extremely helpful. The doctor is thinking it may be one of 3 things (that’s if it’s anything at all and not just a weird on-off occurrence). Either brain mets, TIA or labarynthitis. I know which of those 3 I’d rather have! He said he thinks it’s unlikely to be TIA although there is an increased risk due to the anti-oestrogen effects of tamoxifen. I’m being referred for a brain scan within the next couple of weeks to check in case it is brain mets. (Meant to ask if the brain scan would rule out TIA but forgot - rats!) I’m just glad that I’ll be seen and will worry about it all when the time comes, but for now it’s back to life as normal, at least for a wee while. Thanks again ladies. Value your support and advice so so much. xxx

Hi Scottiedog - i’m really hoping all is well and you’ve got things moving to find out what’s what. Please let us know.



Hi Scottiedog, Glad you have been to see your GP and that a scan is being set up. Ask the nurse when you go for the scan if it shows up if you have had a TIA. She may be able to ask someone there if she doesn’t know herself. Keep us posted. I hope that the scan is soon and that you get things sorted out soon. Much love. We are here holding your hand, love Val

Any damage from a TIA should show up on an MRI or CT scan. Hope all goes well and this turns out to be something very minor. finty xx

Hi Scottiedog,

I twice had that happen to me and it was scary. Once I was in Asda and my eyes went funny and I felt peculiar. I hung on to the trolley and managed to get through checkout and then it passed. I reported it to my GP and my Oncologist, neither of them had heard of it before as being related to the meds. I went to the optician who could find nothing wrong. I had a brain MRI as I was on Herceptin and worried about the brain mets. Nothing was found. I still have the odd occasion when I am using the computer or reading when I have slight problems focusing. It is now 4 weeks since I finished the Herceptin and I am hopeful that it will disappear along with other nuisance side effects.


Hi Scottiedog,

Just want to wish you all the best. I hope it turns out to be something simple.

I had an episode similar to yours last December just after I finished Rads. It was slightly different because I eventually passed out and came round a few minutes later on the bathroom floor. Never did get to the bottom of it but brain mets were ruled out by a scan. On the other hand my mum has brain mets and has never had any symptoms at all. They were picked up by a scan she had prior to going on a trial.

Jan xxx

scottiedog - As you are taking aspirin, I would have thought it is unlikely to be a TIA, as that involves a blood clot. Aspirin is more likely to cause a bleed, although as I am assuming your dose is very low (75mg?), not very likely. As I understand it, whereas strokes can either be caused by a clot or a bleed, I don’t think TIAs are caused by bleeds, but it is worth mentioning that you are taking aspirin.

Do hope it was just a one-off. Good luck.

Ann x

Well hi again folks, thought I’d update you… Had a CT scan of my brain and it has showed that there is an old (ie not recent) infarction, on the left side of my brain, which is really weird I think, because I can’t think I’ve ever had anything that would suggest a stroke prior to the turn I described at the start of this thread. The GP who gave me my results says that it needs further investigation but he’s not sure what that will involve yet. Anyway, it doesn’t seem to be related to having had BC, and it also doesn’t seem to be related to the strange turn I had a couple of weeks ago, (or at least that’s what the GP seemed to hint if not exactly say). I am now wondering if this is what may be responsible for my word-finding problems and general muddled-ness I sometimes feel, and which I had put down to a mixture of chemo brain and ‘just me’…Once again any thoughts or knowledge appreciated. I’m OK about it all (mighty relieved it’s not secondaries, which is what I suspected) but not sure what to think really… Sorry this is all me, me, me. I do know that some of you are having a much tougher time than me. My love goes out to all readers and posters on this site.

Hi Scottiedog, AS for the wordfinding problems…I am much older than you and I have had this problem for a long time. I used to blame the chemo, which I think it was, but my husband has the same problem so I think it is age related!!..You should hear us sometimes trying to have a conversation when neither of us can find the word…often someones name. It happened today here in Edinburgh …and I said oh there goes???we both knew who he was but the name escaped me…I knew which programme he was in and who he worked with…worked it out in the end…it was Frank Skinner…it is jsut so frustrating! Earlier today I was on my own at the Gyle shopping centre and a shop was being opened… cameras around, people watching, I knew the face…was it a Spice Girl?..a singer???..a model???..No it was someone in Coronation Street, still don’t know her name…but hey ho…you can’t win them all!! Hope your problem gets sorted out soon. It sounds as if you are in good hands though. Keep us posted with any news. Best wishes, Val

Oh Val, your post has made me chuckle! I too suspect that my brain doesn’t function just as well as it did 10 or 20 years ago. I rely on lists for remembering pretty much everything, and at the moment the names I constantly get muddled up are my 2 dogs (actually I regularly muddle their names with the names of my children too, you’d think I could at least get my kids’ names right!). Chemo provides a nice excuse for my addled brain but perhaps I have to face the fact I am (wee whisper here) just …getting …older!