CDC Symptom Diary Card

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More on Chemobrain

I had the pleasure today to meet with my DVR counselor and the specialist who provided my Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation.  I am writing a short note about the results and about what will happen in the future. 

I also see my gynoc tomorrow for CT exam and blood level check up to monitor for OC recurrence.  I want to make certain that my Dr. gets this vocational information.

Well, if you knew me in highschool, college or after college, you would have thought me to be relatively smart enough to live a good life.  I got through high school and college fairly easily, and up until chemo, never had any issues with cognition.  At least not that I know of.  Mom always said I had an above
 average IQ.  Now I want to get my highschool records to see.

Now, my life is different.  I rank at 18% in numerical reasoning/skills, 14% abstract reasoning, and 80% in verbal reasoning.  All these were timed aptitude tests.  I did show some improvement on the untimed tests (numerical @26%) and (abstract @ 61%).

I would have never been accepted into college, let alone OT school with these very poor scores.  I've never really dealt with impaired cognition before.......................will I ever regain the strength of my brain?

I am in shock and very sad today.  BUT......there is good to be found.

Although my personality test showed me to be introverted, my interest tests show I want to be involved in artistic, social and conventional activities.

So, voc rehab plans to have me receive one more psycho-neurology test and then place me in a community based setting for on the job function assessment.

They are very supportive to help me find work that accentuates my strengths.  I am now not sure if I will ever qualify for any retraining.  I just don't know what to think.

Like I said, I am really shocked at such low scores, and bummed.  They want me to join a support group too so that I can build my self esteem.

Can you believe cancer can do all this?  Isn't it enough that my body was ripped apart and left me with ongoing pain and nausea that will probably last for life.  Now I have to deal with the financial consequences of losing my mental strengths, and am not sure if I can rebuild my mental skills or not.

I pray that I will be able to improve my mental function.  I will post on the results of the neuropsyche evaluation and CT Scan as well.

I just don't want to be "dumb"..............I never thought in a million years that I'd have to deal with cognitive decline.  It's not the end of the world, it could be worse, so that I know.

I have to accept that I operate differently now, I'm not the same.  I'm me, just different.  There is a silver lining here somewhere and I am so so so so relieved that my DVR team is so supportive.  It seems they are taking great care to help me get back to a normal life as best as possible.

I guess don't send me any budgets to balance or anything like that, HA!

Peace and God Bless


  1. I'm in my 60s and two years post dx. I'm about 8 months past my last carbo/taxol chemo. During a shortly after chemo I recognized an annoyingly lesser cognitive function in myself. Definitely! However, I am happy to tell you that my thinking almost feels normal again. Keep exercising your brain and keep active. You may be surprised at how well your brain works in another 6 months. Bless you.

  2. Denise, that would be so frustrating! As if you didn't lose enough in your battle with cancer itself. I wonder if therapy could help you regain or rebuild some of what you've lost. Totally different scenario, but my husband had a brain hemorrhage a few years before I met him. He was in a coma and when he came out of it, he'd forgotten how to read, could barely talk - but with lot's of work he relearned it all. I'm not sure if it's possible after chemo, but surely worth looking into..

  3. Thank you ladies, I will look into brain drain and exercise activities. I can't believe that this is permanent, but maybe some of it is. I don't know.

    Teri, I hope your husband is doing well now.

  4. Sorry so late on the response - yes, he's doing great! Fully recovered. :)


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