Dealing with Losing Things

The challenges of life after cancer may include “losing things” all the time. This is not the occasional losing things of healthy busy people, but a pervasive problem with losing things throughout the day, every day.

Losing things can be a big deal during and after an illness like cancer. Besides disrupting your day, losing things may…

  • cause embarrassment and loss of confidence

  • strain relationships and reshape roles in unwanted ways

  • make you feel like you’re wasting time looking for lost items, which is especially upsetting if you believe every minute is precious

  • feel like salt on a wound, if you're dealing with major losses due to your illness

  • stir a sense that the physical world has become uncertain, which may exacerbate anxiety related to uncertainty about the future

The first step is to report the symptom to your healthcare team. Doing so opens opportunities for your physicians to improve your care by…

  • Determining whether there's a need to evaluate for other causes of cognitive impairment

  • Reviewing your medications and adjusting them, when possible 

  • Guiding you to resources on minimizing the problem with some behavioral changes and adjusting to the challenges in healthy ways.

The symptom of “losing things” often goes unreported. Some patients don’t want to complain. Others believe it’s not important enough. Still others fear it might signal Alzheimer’s Disease or brain cancer. As a Healthy Survivor, remember: The diagnosis sets us free, even if it hurts when we learn it.

From  Healing Hope—Through and Beyond Cancer  Illustration by Emma Mathes

From Healing Hope—Through and Beyond Cancer Illustration by Emma Mathes

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