Forgive if this has link has been posted prior, but I have not been researching the topic since my last post in 2018. I found this article that really covers the current understanding by the medical community on cheom brain/cognitive impairment. In short, it says that more research is needed. The positive side is the recognition that this is an important issue. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5819720/
This research echos what I and others with “chemo brain” have been saying - 1) it is real, 2) we need to have mental health baselining, if at all possible before treatment, and cognitive testing after. A comparison for post treatment mental health assessment. Chemo brain is likely a combination of the stress/depression caused by cancer, its treatment, and it post treatment affect on the body (post dramatic stress disorder); and the effects of the chemical/radiation/stress on body overall. And it may never be like before cancer.
I am doing better, but still struggle with chemo brain. I get distracted easily, can not remember things prior to my treatment, difficulty verbalizing, etc. I have worked with my local oncologists, and local mental health professionals to understand and address my “chemo brain”. Due to lack of research, I have not gotten a lot of help from the oncology side, but have had some success dealing with it from my local mental health team.
I was able to leave my high pressure corporate day job for an equally demanding job, but one where I am in control and passionate about - I opened an urban winery - so it is amazing what I can remember about the wine I make and the ability to speak about it easily. Something I struggled with in my corporate job post treatment. So as much as I believe there are physical causes and solutions, the depression and disinterest as we reevaluate how we want to spent our time in our post cancer treatment world is also a factor in this.
1) Recognize and not be frustrated by the new you - i take naps when tired, set boundaries on how I will spend my time.
2) Positive action to improve health and well being - the old "eat right and exercise" is critical and works. I have taken up running for physical, mental, and social well being.
3) Talk about struggles and ask for help from loved ones and health care community.
For more of the back story, you can check these threads out.
year 8 check in : http://coloncancersupport.colonclub.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=60389&p=478748&hilit=brain#p478748
year 5 checkin:http://coloncancersupport.colonclub.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=53560&p=424506#p424506
Year 2 checkin: http://coloncancersupport.colonclub.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=34910
Post chemo and back to work: http://coloncancersupport.colonclub.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=20059
Mid Chemo brain fun: http://coloncancersupport.colonclub.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=16481#p128784
Immediately after the surgery in 2010, and my rationale for the chemo/surgery choice I made (read all threads): http://coloncancersupport.colonclub.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13877
If anyone has any questions ask here or feel free to PM.
I remain indebted to the people on this forum whom helped me thru this tough issue and I hope this information can help others.
I wish you all the best - health, success, and happiness.