Friday, October 31, 2008

Mind Your Memory

Today I was at the Cross Cross Institute at the Mind Your Memory course or session. The course is to help understand and cope with what we call 'chemo brain'. Chemo brain is used to describe forgetfulness, absentmindedness, and inability to focus when performing daily tasks. Simple things like forgetting common words, remembering simple details like where you parked, trouble concentrating like having to read pages of a book over and over again, and so on. It seems to be worst with short-term memory.

So the question is ... do you have to have chemotherapy to have chemo brain?

The facilitators said it is difficult to say because there are so many causes of these symptoms ... such as .... fatigue, depression, grief, pain, stress, anxiety, worrying, medication, hormonal changes, and so on.

They offered some coping strategies that can help make this easier to deal with ... like making lists, use a journal or organizer, etc. The nutritionist stressed that proper diet helps with improving brain function and exercise helps with fatigue.

For myself, my short-term memory is terrible, I have to write everything down or it is gone. However, I am taking a college course and did really well on the mid-term exam and have no trouble doing the weekly assignments. So even though you feel like you cannot remember anything at all, you can. Granted, I am not working and have a lot of time to spend on it.

My motivation came from a story where after being diagnosed with cancer and getting chemo, a lady in here 30's when back to school and became a doctor. I figured if she could become a doctor, I should be able to take some college courses.

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