Chemo Brain. It’s a Real Thing.

 In Articles

Dealing with the Cognitive Effects of Chemo

I had to bring an expert in for this one. Introducing Melanie Young, a certified health coach, nine-year breast cancer survivor and author of an award-winning book to help newly diagnosed women called Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide to Being Fearless & Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer.

Breast cancer and chemo

Melanie has a chapter about chemo brain with tips to counter the effects, as well as long-term impact. She experienced it during and after treatment, and still has brain “burps.” So I interviewed her the other day:

Q: How did you know that you had chemo brain?

A: I was a writer, a wordsmith. I had trouble forming words, it was like my brain was dislodged.

Chemo Brain. It’s a Real Thing.

Q: What helped you with your symptoms?

A: Staying hydrated and exercise definitely helps. Even just a walk in the fresh air, or a ride on my reclining bike to pump oxygen through my body. Playing Scrabble and writing in a diary regularly also helped a lot. It’s about figuring out what you’re having trouble with, then focusing and working on that. In my case it was words.

Q: Any other suggestions?

A: I organized drawers; my brain felt jumbled so putting things in order was a good distraction. It also helped me regain a sense of control. I also decided to stop scheduling anything later in the day. I just grew too tired sometimes. Business proposals, meetings, I only scheduled those in the mornings.

Surviving Chemo

Q: What would you say are the best ways to manage chemo brain overall?

A: Sleep, exercise, drink plenty of water….and make a to-do list every single day. But only limit it to five things.

I really enjoyed chatting with Melanie. Thank you for your insight and these great tips!

To learn more about Melanie, check out her radio show: Fearless Fabulous You!

You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter.


Recent Posts

Let's Stay In Touch!

Sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know about all of my favorite things.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Tips for falling asleepBreast Reconstruction Surgery Options - Education, Advocacy and Support