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Really bad memory !!!

24 REPLIES 24
angibobs
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Hi there

 

At first onc team blamed anything and everything! They accused me of being depressed, anxious, said it was menopause, I can't remember what else - oh lack of sleep! I disagreed and indeed a psychologist ruled out most of those things. They said it was tamoxifen ( no sorry memory probs etc started before I took Tamox)

 

There is much research about chemo brain and breast cancer - have a peep on Google.

 

Anyhow - I went last week for my yearly visit. I was all geared up for an argument with them as I was beginning to feel like the world didn't believe me. But I saw a new lady and was astonished she knew what I was going through and had other patients the same. 

 

Everyone is different - it might be the meds for you...

 

I've managed to get a referral to memory services rehab for coping techniques - we'll see! 

 

Hope it improves for you xx

katieb
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Hi angibobs

what did the onc team say then?

my memory's no better you just have to get on with it don't you? But I did speak to my surgeon last month and she said it is the medication not chemo as that would be out of my system by now. At my hospital they're trying to setup an 'After ClinIc' for the problems we have after treatment has ended which I thought was a good idea. BCNs are good but they're so busy all the time.

im still doing the list, notebooks everywhere then can't remember where I've put them - it's so frustrating! But actually reading this thread has made me feel better - year and a bit to go for the five years. Will it improve then do you think?

 

katieb

 

angibobs
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Hi Katieb, I wondered if you were any better. It hasn't eased for me. Came on here to read up on memory problems and read a post further down. "This describes me exactly" I thought! Yes, of course it did - it was my post.

 

I have at least got my onc team to recognise the problems at last!!

 

Angibobs

katieb
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

I've just found this thread on the new website - I thought it was only me! I've looked at the link and that's me. I was also worried about dementia but feel much better now in a way. I work in a care home and see the elderly with dementia & sometimes actually think is that me. I use a pill box too and there are days when I forget my tabs completely. I do try to slow down and not fill my head with too much. I finished treatment in January 2012 so haven't got too long left on letrozole.. Will the memory etc improve then? I hope so but if not will live with it - thankfully. Take care ladies xx

dollywood59
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Hi all. Talk about bad memory. Tonight for tea, I thought I'll  do some nice salmon fillets,  heated up the oven to correct temperature  had the salmon wrapped in foil, oven reached the temperature,  set the oven for 20 minutes, waited for salmon to cook. Looking forward  to this. Bing bong, 20 minutes later ,yay ready. No!!! I fogot to put them in. Everything else  was ready  but the salmon!!  So in the end I had to microwave them. Can't  believe  I  did that, lol. Must be the Tamoxifen! !!!!

angibobs
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Hello Lottie

Bit of a delay but just seen your post - my memory / focus / concentration is awful (finished last Apr) 

 

I have lists but forget or ignore them! 

 

Oncology has head in sand it is not recognised I don't think

 

Perhaps they think I make it up!

 

Hope you manage to cope xxx

gk
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Gilly and all

 

I too have just discovered these articles after my worries about my memory and ability to multi task have increased. I'm 43 and was in a responsible jobso I know what my brain was capable of. I hoped my brain was out of practice and needed warming up like after maternity leave but I don't think that's it any more - ive exercised my brain and i forget even basic things like my friends name! I'm not on any hormone treatment and the research out there seems to be pointing to chemo as the culprit so ladies don't reject your meds....

 

My concern is what to do about it. I'm 18 months out from finishing treatment and the studies are quite variable in the timescales looked at for recvoery and studies looking at helping are very early days.

 

Damn cancer and damn side effects. There just is no getting on with life as it was even after you get the thumbs up from the doctors. I exercise and am still pooped! I feel I've aged before my time.

 

Why don't they warn you about this? 

Butterfly318
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

There are some good clinical research articles on Chemotherapy Induced Cognitive Impairment if you Google. I still have meds dosette box to make sure i don't forget Letrazole, calcium etc  I am 2.1/2 years on from end of Chemo, have peripheral neuropathy remaining but my brain functioning is as near to previous as i think it is going to be.  I had 12 moths at least where i wrote everything down in a little book, appts  GP anything that somebody said etc etc  This very gradually improved.  Take Care  Gilly x

MonicaS
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Yes lottie63, they are.  I've been misplacing words for a while now, I can't leave the house without compulsively checking the stove, doors, windows, etc. (having once left some eggs boiling on the stove when I went to the Turkish Baths, not a relaxing experience when I remembered...), can't find keys, glasses, obviously can't remember why I went upstairs - or downstairs, today my husband found my bank card in my dressing gown pocket.  I'm sure I had a good reason for putting it there, but...

 

The checking thing started before the cancer, sparked off by being harassed at work over 2 years, but the elusive words and misplacing things is more recent and has got worse since I started on Tamoxifen.  I was on Anastrazole for app 3 years but swapped due to the joint and muscle pains, only to get the leg cramps.  I don't remember having the same memory problems on Anastrazole.  What makes it worse is my Dad died of dementia and I'm always on the lookout for it. 

 

Research helpfully points out the taking oestrogen can improve memory problems.  Great!  However, I finally decided it's better to accept that it's happening and try and manage it rather than stressing out about why it's happening.  So, pill boxes, phone alert for Tamoxifen, shopping lists, To do lists, etc.  Also I found this article useful, especially the bullet points:

 

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/coping-with-cancer/coping-physically/sex-hormone-sympto...

 

I noticed it's harder to multitask and do things on autopilot like I used to, I need to focus more on what I'm actually doing, e.g. in the kitchen if I'm tidying up like a mad thing, I need to look at the thing I'm putting away or I might put it in the wrong cupboard.  Memo to self: Don't do things on the fly.  Slow down. And try not to obsess about it because that just makes it worse. 

 

Hope you're feeling better

 

M x

 

 

 

Nattyoo
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Thank you Maryland, for the chemo brain study link. It's always reassuring to know there are facts behind our symptoms and side effects. I'm 52, too, and determined to try and regain some mental agility! I've just finished chemo and having to relax into not remembering words for the moment. It's quite an interesting ( if frustrating ) phenomenon. Will just have to enjoy the internal world a little longer and concentrate on creative pursuits...
Natalie x
Nextstep
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

I keep my Tamoxifen on the kitchen counter and have it with my breakfast.  I write the date on the packet so I know if I have taken it.  Good job I read this thread because despite my foolproof system I realise I haven't taken it this morning!

Na123
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

There is baby brain - proven, chemo brain - well recognised, I think there is also 'cancer brain' from the going through the diagnosis and treatment all of which is life changing.
I've not yet had my chemo, but already I find it really difficult to think clearly, or remember what would ordinarily be easy - started writing lists
I don't know if the memory improves - but it will be about finding strategies to compensate and work round😕
Weeannie1
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Hi Lottie and CassieB,

I agree with you Lottie that it's more to do with the treatment I have endured, rather than my age. Thanks for the phone tip Cassie, but unfortunately I've tried that one. I work shifts and can never get a stable time on a daily basis when I can have my phone go off and have my tamoxifen near by. And then there's the fact that I can't remember where I've put my phone (or car keys, house keys, bank cards . . . . .the list goes on and on!!!)

Take care x x Ann x x
CassieB
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Do you have a mobile phone which has an alarm? You could set it to ring as a reminder.
lottie63
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Hi Weeannie

                     I am also 52 years young so its definately not age !!! I like you i keep the pill box on good view, right next to the kettle which is rarely cold in my house, cant believe I didnt think of one before its ideal, see this site is brilliant for tips and help and also eases your mind when you see your not the only one losing the plot !!

 

Love L x

Weeannie1
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Hello ladies,
My goodness, my memory is so bad at the mo. Had 6 fec75 and now been on tamoxifen since August last year. Decided to get a pill box last November because I kept forgetting to take/whether I'd taken my tamoxifen. Only prob now is that I've got to leave my pill box on my kitchen counter in my line of vision, or, yes you've guessed it, I forget to notice my pill box and subsequently forget to take my tamoxifen! Some of my friends tell me it's my age (I'm 52) and that they have bad memories too, but nothing like me. Glad to know I'm not the only one who's affected by this, coz it does play on my mind that something more sinister could be going on in my brain. Can't stop them gremlins unfortunately!!!!!!
lottie63
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Songbird,

                I got the pill box and its a great idea, I set it up for the week and so far have had to check most days did I or didnt I take the pill, problem solved if its not there I took it lol, memory still shocking .... Costing me as well now as keep double buying, today was t-bags which I had brought yesterday but forgot hey ho wont run out will I

 

Dollywood- glad your house is still in 1 piece !!

 

Love to all

 

L x

songbird68
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Interesting thread, ladies. Some have had chemo, some chemo + tam/AI. variety of ages. But we all have similar memory issues. Maybe the shock of diagnosis is a factor?

Dollywood - you were very lucky to strike while the iron was hot - not in flames!
x x
dollywood
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Hi L , I Know what you mean about having a bad memory. I'm  on tamoxifen  and blame this for my bad memory.  Last week  i left my iron on all night  in the spare room and only realised  when i went in there the next morning,  and smelled a funny smell. When I  realised  it was the iron, the handle had burned . So lucky, could've  set the house on fire!!!!

Cheery13
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Well ladies, this is interesting! I had triple neg bc so not on any tamoxifen etc so can't blame memory loss on that! I definitely think it's the chemo! Really find this quite challenging now I'm back at work, but my lovely class are very helpful at reminding me of what's happening/where I've left things etc! 

lottie63
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Thank you ladies, Songbird thats a great idea I will get a pill box tomorrow, if I remember what I went out for that is 🙂 I joke about it but its actually getting scary... thought I might be close to dementia ! Maryland I am the same I can pull out a great letter or estimate but hardly string a sentance together and my husband is always finding the missing word for me , always on the tip of my tongue but stays there, well sorry to say this but I do feel better that its not just me, and Heva I am due to see onc in July to discuss wether to stay on tam or not its a scary thought coming off .... but will take their advice.... now where did I lose those marbles of mine 🙂

 

Love L xx

Maryland
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Hi Lottie....and I thought it was just me (or simply me getting older!!). Finished chemo in July 2012 and my memory, concentration etc. seems to be getting worse. I can write a perfectly good 'strategic' document, but sometimes can't string a sentence together :(. Thought it was the Anastrozole; however a small Canadian study has shown, just this week, that chemo brain does exist! The characteristics are exactly what I'm experiencing! Here's the link if it is of any use http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/researchers-say-chemo-brain-is-real

songbird68
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

Hi Lottie, I hear you on this! I'm not so bad, most of the time (can't remember lol)
I would like to share a tip from a lovely lady who also has this problem: get a weekly pill box. One compartment per day of the week. Load it up for the week and you're sorted:) It's way better than reminders on phones and alarms and things. I mean, you can turn those off and still not have done something (well I can anyway!).
I think you can pick them up at chemists, or a pound shop?
x x
hevaw
Member

Re: Really bad memory !!!

This is my first post on here, although I've been on tamoxifen for 4 years now and yes, my memory and awful! I struggle to think of the right words to use sometimes and often feel like I've been out on the beers because I've forgotten so much information! As good as the stuff is, I'll be glad to see the back of it and I'm counting down the months until I finish in April 2016! I feel your pain Lottie63...I think 😉

lottie63
Member

Really bad memory !!!

Hi ladies

               I finished active treatment in August 2012, chemo/rads and I am on Tamoxifen for the forseeable, now my memory is the pits 😞 its getting worse by the day so much that last night I took 2 tamoxifen as I honestly couldnt remember taking the 1st one so took another and then it slowly dawned on me that I had ! today I went shopping and couldnt remember if I had turned off a gas ring before I left, I had but came all the way back to be certain as I honestly couldnt remember .... Its getting a real worry as it seems to be getting worse and worse, is anyone else this bad ?

 

 

L x