10. Pre-chemo brain?

‘Chemo brain is a well described entity’ which refers to problems in concentrating, learning and remembering that are commonly experienced by patients undergoing chemotherapy.  Lisey describes it very eloquently in her ‘Chemo braino draino’ post which you can read here (such creative post titles!).  It is said that problems with memory and concentration may improve once chemotherapy is complete but there is a possibility that they will be long term problems.  Awesome!


In the week or two before starting chemotherapy I had quite a few vague moments.

  • I went to a doctors appointment and when I got there I realised I’d left my handbag at home.  Lucky he bulk billed me!
  • I parked my car and turned the ignition off and was about to get out when the car started rolling as I hadn’t put it in park or put the handbrake on.
  • I put my son’s bottle of milk in the microwave for 5 minutes instead of 50 seconds.  Don’t worry, I didn’t let him drink it.
  • There were several occasions when I would say something to my daughter, she would say pardon, and then I’d have no idea what I just said to her.
  • I arranged to meet a school mum for coffee/hot chocolate and went to the wrong cafe.
  • I made myself a piece of toast and cut it up like this:


Which is how I cut up toast for my one year old son!

And all of this was before starting chemotherapy, so I couldn’t blame it on chemo brain.

(I know what you Tomo’s are thinking.  That all sounds like a normal day in the life of Sonya!)

What about pre-chemo brain?  It hasn’t been described as far as I know but it seems like a true entity to me.  There are many eponymous syndromes and diseases in medicine.  This refers to a syndrome or disease which is named after someone; usually the first person to describe the condition but sometimes conditions may be named after a patient.  Hodgkin’s lymphoma is an example of an eponymous disease, named after Thomas Hodgkin who described it in 1832! Other examples are Parkinson’s disease, Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. There’s even a Baker’s cyst.

Eponyms are a long standing tradition in Western Medicine and being awarded an eponym is regarded as an honour.  However, it is regarded as bad form to attempt to eponymise oneself.  I don’t care about that.  I’ve got an eponymous cancer, I think I’m the first to describe this pre-chemo brain and clearly, I had it, so I’m claiming it.  From now on, anyone who displays problems in concentrating, learning and remembering (what may be better recognised as blonde moments) in the weeks prior to commencing chemotherapy has ‘Baker’s brain’.


5 thoughts on “10. Pre-chemo brain?

  1. Funny, however, I don’t think there is such a syndrome. You are related to Sonya and she has those moments on a weekly basis and she is not about to start chemo. My guess is it runs in our family! X

    • I Just laughed out loud – again – and I have Sonya’s daughter in the car so I can’t explain to the family why I am laughing out loud as that would mean explaining to Bella her mums “moments”….. By the way, I’m not driving and reading your blog and texting all at once with 3 children in the car (that would be a true “Tomo” moment) x

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