Multiple Myeloma Support Group

Multiple myeloma (also known as MM, myeloma, plasma cell myeloma, or as Kahler's disease after Otto Kahler) is a type of cancer of plasma cells, immune system cells in bone marrow that produce antibodies. Its prognosis, despite therapy, is generally poor, and treatment may involve chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. It is part of the broad group of diseases called hematological malignancies... There are approximately 45,000 people in the United States living with multiple myeloma, and the American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 14,600 new cases of myeloma are diagnosed each year in the United States. It follows from here that the average prognosis is about three years. Multiple myeloma is the second most prevalent blood...

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Chemo Brain

My dr told me today I have chemo brain. I told him I had been forgetting things more than normal and sometimes I couldn't finish a sentence because I couldn't get the words to come out. Anybody else heard of this before or feel this way?

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi poppy, The Dr. is right it's caused by the chemo and the Multiple Myeloma, . But the good news is when you off the chemo and the MM is in remission it will go away or get better. I have it too. Good luck to you.
susz
susz

I hope things get better for you. Its scary forgetting things.How are you keeping?
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi
I had to laugh when I read your entry, as I too have Chemo Brain and have had it for over a year now. I even find myself annoying at times!! I was on chemo for a year before my BMT and that's when it was the worst, but now that I've had my BMT and off chemo I have seen an improvement. It will get better!! Check out my blog about MM at www.janscancerjourney.blogspot.com as I have several entries talking about chemo brain! Hang in there!
deleted_user
deleted_user

I know what you mean about chemo brain and MM. Sometimes I feel like there must be chunks of info. missing from my brain or that I was "absent" when certain events took place.My wife thinks I have "selective memory" as well as "selective hearing."
deleted_user
deleted_user

Poppy-
Yes, while my chemo brain symptoms have improved steadily since my chemo and pbsct in '95-'97, I still experience difficulties with word recollection, facial recognition, short term memory.

I came across and article this am for preventative use of a supplement but I have also been supplementing with this to heal my chemo brain.

http://beating-myeloma.org/forum/side-effects

you can go to this page and search for forum posts on chemo brain-

David Emerson
http://beating-myeloma.org/
deleted_user
deleted_user

I've been fighting MM for 9yrs now. I had chemo for the first yr. then steroids, then Revlimid for the last 4t yrs. I HAVE CHEMO BRAIN!! I can't think of words, I forgot things that I used to know, People tell me things and I ask the same questions, etc. But you know what? my husband has the same symptoms (not as bad,,, but still) and he does NOT have MM. So I'm not sure how much of it is MM, drugs, or just age.! You learn to live with it and it will get to you every once in a while but AT Least your alive and here to complain about it!!
deleted_user
deleted_user

Yes , but with my husband they called it chemo fog. I think he still has it, i know he isn't the same as he was before all these treatments and chemo and his memory and mind is definitely not as sharp as it used to be.
Michelle
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi Poppy-- I know that you wrote this a while ago, but I'm presuming that you are still suffering from 'chemo brain'. I have the same problem and I believe it is a combination of the chemo and the medication for pain as well as the normal aging process. Many people my age (62), who do not have MM, often complain about memory loss and its just a normal process. Doing memory exercises helps this situation, but when you add in chemo and morphine then you have a completely different situation. You have to recognise that this will happen and work on strategies to address it - things like keeping notes of telephone calls, making calendar lists of up coming events, keeping lists of the many things you do need to remember, and using your camera to help twig your memory. All these things help, and I find that eventually I will remember what I've forgotten in that moment, but unfortunately that moment is gone! You need a saving saying - 'I'll get back to you with that answer..." etc. Good luck Poppy, you too can overcome this!!
deleted_user
deleted_user

My husband has this same problem. I have to leave sticky notes to remind him of different things. My aunt found out in August that she has colon cancer. She is now going through chemo and has the same problem.
deleted_user
deleted_user

My mom is the same way. I know exactly what u mean. Is that what they call it? I thought she was having like beginning signs alzheimers. How old are you? If u don't mind telling :-)
deleted_user
deleted_user

Poppy-

The post below is about possible causes of chemobrain and possible therapies.

Possible links? High dose steroid therapy plus blood glucose spikes equals age-related memory decline (chemobrain)-

another reason to exercise during and after dexamethasone/predisone use.

Yes, this idea is a bit of a stretch. No, I have not come across any study to indicate what I am about to propose.

Here are the findings-

1) the average age of a myeloma survivor is 65-

2) "Spikes in blood sugar can take a toll on memory by affecting the dentate gyrus, an area of the brain within the hippocampus that helps form memories, a new study reports."

3) "glucose regulation worsens with age...The ability to regulate glucose starts deteriorating by the third or fourth decade of life..."

4) High dose steroid therapy (such as dexamethasone and prednisone) causes severe spikes in blood glucose sometimes cause diabetes in myeloma survivors.

Based on the above, I think it's reasonable to draw a cause and effect relationship between high dose steroid use and chemobrain.

I apologize for sounding like a broken record but the only two suggestions that I have to combate this side effect are-

1) keep your dose of whatever steroid as low as you can.

2) exercise- ..."said her research has found that regular exercise, even light physical activity, can offset the potentially negative effects of Type 2 diabetes on cognitive function. It is not clear what the mechanism is, she said, but may have something to do with the effect of insulin."

http://beating-myeloma.org/article/side-effects/blood-sugar-control-linked-to-memory-decline-study-says

David Emerson
http://beating-myeloma.org/