Once my neuro-psychological testing revealed a 20 point IQ drop, the next step was to discuss treatment. The areas identified as deficient have to do with recall, processing speed and executive functioning; exactly the areas I’d reported issues with. I was referred to a speech therapist.
A speech therapist?
I was surprised since my perception of speech therapists is that they, well, work with speech issues. Turns out, speech therapists are so much more than I’d understood.
In addition to the exercises I completed in person with the speech therapist, I was told to download and start utilizing the at home exercises in the application for my phone called “Brain HQ.” I’d heard of Luminosity, which is similar to Brain HQ. My PhD neurologist explained that while Luminosity is not research based, Brain HQ is.
The games/exercises I completed in person and on the ap didn’t feel like they were exercising my brain, but they were. My speech therapist followed my progress in the application and after only 4 sessions in person, I was released in light of the progress I’d been showing.
Next step, repeat the neuro-psychological testing to see if the progress I’d noted was sticking.
I re-did the testing in the first few weeks of the new year and received my results from the neurologist just recently. I’ve markedly improved on all the areas of focus. In fact, I’ve regained all but 5 of those missing IQ points. Doesn’t mean that I’m back to “normal” for me, though. I still search for words and there are still those moments when I just can’t follow a conversation.
The improvements I’ve seen clearly demonstrate that if you exercise your brain, it gets better!! Hope for the most infuriating aspects of the aftermath of chemo is available and within reach.
Now download the application and set your daily, weekly, monthly goals. It’s worth it!