Chemo Brain…it’s a real thing. It’s something that frustrates many women, but taking proactive measures, talking with other patients and learning what is working for them, can help in the process. Chemo brain truly is something that is commonly heard of when going through breast cancer treatment. So how do you cope and keep life in order when so much is going on and changing in your world? Here are a few common ways you can deal with chemo brain during breast cancer treatment.
Keep a Journal
This doesn’t mean a formal entry for every move of every day, but keep a journal, notepad or even a memo box on your phone with you 24/7. Why? During chemo it’s very common to be forgetful…or at the least, you have SO much being thrown at you from your doctor of what to do/not to do, that you need some place to write it down to refer to later. Having that memo/journal reminder, will help keep your ‘don’t forgets’ at bay.
If you’re a mother, you say this to your children frequently of “let’s go have some quiet time”…well the same rings true for patients going through chemo. Having quiet time…be it meditation, yoga, listening to music or just being still, truly helps your brain calm, collect and be more attentive when you need it.
With the new changes going on with treatments, doctors appointments and more, on top of the ‘normal’ schedule of work/school/family events, keep a large family calendar that you request EVERYONE in the family fills out to help you out. Details of sports practices, to PTO meetings, to doctors appointments or even if your significant other may be working late some night/or you need someone to pick up dinner for the family. Asking each family member to help with this keeps things visual and you won’t be left holding EVERYTHING on your shoulders.
This seems to be a common thing that helps for many levels of treatment, but according to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, exercise such as walking, dancing or even some light weight lifting has shown to help the side effects of chemo brain. And quite frankly, putting on your favorite music and just dancing will improve anyone’s mood!
Your body is going through a lot. It needs sleep to rest and heal and simultaneously, that rest will help you reboot and restart on your days. Many times, rest will help the symptoms of chemo brain…even a simple 30-minute power nap to calm your mind and refresh your body.