Butterfly Anna
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Chemo Brain!!

Butterfly Anna
Posted by
14 Jan 2016

How my memory and brain had been affected!

Yes it is actually a thing and I am currently having first hand experience of this!!  I only started to notice it once I had finished my treatment and was back home starting to get back into my so called 'normal' life.  Having to run the home again, get ready for Christmas, my daughters dancing activities, etc!  It took me weeks to remember the time of my daughters dance lessons, I had to keep asking people over and over again!


One of the symptoms of this is that sometimes I cannot get the right word out for something! For example the other day I was trying to say 'buffet' and I actually said 'barbecue'!  I now use the word 'thingy' a lot!  My brain seems to get stuck and I just cant get the message from it to my mouth to verbalise the word I'm thinking!!

Memory loss is another symptom, for example me and my sister ordered our daughters the same dress from the internet and I even handed the money over to her but, the next day when I saw her I said 'We need to order those dresses for the girls', to which she replied, 'Anna, we did it last night and you even gave me the money!'  This was one of the first times this happened and before I had Leukaemia I prided myself on my brilliant memory!! 

This is actually well known by other cancer patients, I have spoken to a few and luckily we can laugh about it.  However at the same time its a little worrying as so far I've managed to get away with it, there might be a time when my forgetfulness causes some damage!  Now I check my diary several times a day, ask others around me to keep reminding me of things and write lots of lists!  I am hopeful that in time this will improve!!



Anna I'm so glad that you've written this blog as this is something that happens to me, too, and is a much more common long-term side effect than people realise including the patients themselves.

The important to remember is that you're not alone although I've found in my own experience that things have improved over time.


Hi Anna you are not alone in this.... l too suffer the same thing & so forgetful l have to make sure l complete tasks before moving on, more often than not recently l find l get distacted whilst taking my meds only to find them still sitting on side when l go for the next lot ! As you say it is something you laugh over but still worrying, the plus l haven't foregotten the way to the pub yet !


Hi, thanks for getting in touch!  Its something I hadn't heard of before I was diagnosed!  I'm hoping it will get better in time.  I too get distracted and forget to do something if I don't make myself stay focused and finish the task, interesting to hear you are the same!!


We had never heard of 'chemo brain' until after my sons treatment for AML, it was scary for him at first ,especially when one day he couldn't remember going to look at a job and the customer was trying to jog his memory with things like a lovely lake that was there that he'd commented on. I remember he put the phone down and looked at me, and said I don't remember it at all. He was still in hospital at the time so we just put it down to everything that was going on. Then when it happened again and again, they said the word 'chemo brain' . Two years down the line and cancer free , he is still forgetful but we've learned to laugh about it. I wish you all the best with your continued recovery Anna xx


Hi Anna,

l'm 8yrs post SCT & suffered quite badly from 'chemo brain', I noticed it was always worse when I was tired. However, Altzeimers Society posted 'reasons other than dementia for memory problems' & I read this & decided to go to my GP. After a blood test which proved I was really low on Vitamin D. This has made such a difference!