Mood Changes After Chemo & Radiation

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RE: Mood Changes After Chemo & Radiation

by Courtney5 on Thu May 29, 2008 12:00 AM

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I had Thyroid Cancer and radiation treatment.  I am 5 yrs remission now, and I would say that mood swings definitely happen.  It's a little different for me, because your moods are regulated by the thyroid hormone (and i have no thyroid now, and am on replacement therapy) but I would say I had some definite moodiness from the radiation alone.

 Your body is under alot of stress, and I think it's pretty common to feel like absolute crap.  I think its safe to say that when anyone feels bad/sick/bloated/weak they are more irritable.  But also-- this trauma could cause PTSD symptoms.  I had symptoms of post-traumatic stress, which includes being withdrawn or angry, etc.  It went away though, but took a good 2-3 yrs before I felt normal and could open up and be less selfish.  Fighting cancer is a selfish time for the person going through it.  It may take a good 2 yrs before he can look back and say "wow...you are an amazing person for all you did for me during that time."  Right now he is focused on fighting and surviving.

hang in there, and just know that he probably doesn't mean to be hurtful. Maybe there is some chemical imbalance going on-- have you checked his thyroid levels?? 

-just a thought. :)

 

RE: Mood Changes After Chemo & Radiation

by sergeantmajorette on Thu May 29, 2008 12:00 AM

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Oh, my Lord!!! Can I ever relate to this!!! My little brother is 54 (NSCLC with brain mets), and is driving me completely crazy. I'm filling out his forms for Social Security disability, and he went off on me when I asked the dates of his marriage and divorce. "How am I supposed to remember that? It was like 30 years ago!" When was the last day you worked? "I don't know!!"

And he refuses family counseling for himself, his daughter and granddaughter. He swears they're fine and there's nothing wrong with any of them. And yes, I did point out that cancer is wrong with them, and even normal people need help dealing with it!

There is a lot of support out there for caregivers. Get some.

RE: Mood Changes After Chemo & Radiation

by Tammy58 on Thu May 29, 2008 12:00 AM

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I was diagnosed in Feb. 06 with recurrent breast cancer, Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer to the bones, and now recently to the liver.  

I experienced MAJOR mood swings after finishing treatment in April 1999 after my first go round.  To the point of being diagnosed as bipolar 3 years later.  I have since taken antidepressants and a mood stabilizer.  I question, daily as a matter of fact, am I REALLY biologically bipolar, or was it everything I'd been thru.

The physical, mental and emotional changes are horrendous.  I was diagnosed at age 38.  First you have to deal with the shock.  Then there are masectomies and what the disfigurement does to you emotionally. The fear.  Then the chemo along with the steroids.  I was thrown into menopause.  Losing your hair.  6 weeks of daily driving to get a radiation treatment.  You get thru that, and you're hair's starting to grow back.  Then the drs. want to give another round of chemo, just to be sure they "get it all", and there goes your hair again.  And that's not even considering the nausea, anemia, exhaustion, constipation, you name it.  After that, I had 2 failed reconstruction surgeries.  I got a staph infection at the reconstruction site that almost killed me, so the implants were removed.  A month later some weird form of thrush.  A month later, Bell's Palsey (I woke up one morning with half my face paralyzed). Treatment for that?  More steroids.  All that during the throws of menopause.  Then of course they give you Tamoxifen - further manipulating whatever hormones the menopause hasn't.  All that in 24 months.  

Between the emotional aspect - trauma of it all, and the physiological and biological changes induced by drugs and treatment, how could one NOT have mood swings? I wound divorced after 20 years because of all the above. 

The short answer is yes, I'd say mood swings are quite normal.  A cancer patient is feeling "everything" - sad, afraid, angry, frustrated, grateful to wake up another day, loved, unloved, understood, not understood, you name it.  We're all over the place.  I'm sure it is hard for you taking care of your husband.  I know that except for the physical aspect of the disease and/or treatment, you are experiencing many if not all the same emotions, while also having to take on a lot of extra responsibility.  It's hard no matter how you look at it.

RE: Mood Changes After Chemo & Radiation

by chrislol on Thu May 29, 2008 12:00 AM

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I am also a caregiver to my husband and I wanted to pass on a suggestion I saw on another cancer board.  There is a program called 4th Angel Mentoring Program that sounds interesting for anyone needing help or advice.  The program is available for both cancer patients and caregivers.  I have not yet used it myself but may still try it the next time I have a really bad day. - yes, there are bad days.  He is almost a four year survivor but it has been a battle all the way and he continues to have major health issues in addition to, and probably because of, the cancer and the treatments.

I have pasted the link below.  In case it doesn't work you can just go to the KCA website at kidneycancer.org and click on the 4th Angel Caregiver link in the box on the right. 

 http://www.kidneycancer.org/index.cfm?pageID=307

If anyone has tried this program I would love to hear about it.

Hang in there.  After a while you will learn to live with the bad days and learn not to take it personally.

 

RE: Mood Changes After Chemo & Radiation

by Sagitelle on Thu May 29, 2008 12:00 AM

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On 5/27/2008 ecmb709 wrote:

My husband was treated last fall with chemo and radiation for SCC in neck lymph node with unknown primary.  He's been seeing his oncologist every two months for checkups and so far everything is fine. 

My question is this:  Are mood changes common after treatment?   He's not a pleasant person to be around.  He has little patience and tolerance for anything.  He seems angry at everyone. His behavior toward others can be quite rude.  He doesn't seem like the same person anymore and, frankly, I don't like the person he has become.

 Any advice?

I have Stage 4 colon cancer with metastases to the liver. I have been under chemo treatment for 10 months. Dealing with the reality of my life expectancy (a year ago, at the age of 52, I was told I had 2 to 3 years to live with chemo treatment) has been overwhelming at times. I have been, in turn, hopeful and depressed, patient and short-tempered, serene and disturbed, energetic and exhausted, accepting and enraged by the hand I've been dealt by fate.

The side effects have sometimes reduced me to tears. There has been periods when I could not eat because my tongue was swollen and covered with ulcers that felt like rasor blades and which made swallowing and talking painful. I have suffered terrible bouts of constipation, nausea, and vomitting. I have experienced headaches and once fainted from medication I was given to cure my headache. Opening containers can be difficukt now because my fingers are very sensitive and my nails are so soft thet they tear very easily. My nails have also become slightly deformed.   

I was very active before and it can be frustrating now to have to curtail my activities. I used to walk an hour everyday at a fast pace and do most of my grocery shopping on foot and carry it back home in a packsack. Now, when I do my grocery shopping on foot, I have to limit myself to an hour at a time as the soles of my feet start to hurt. I have to stay off my feet for the rest of the day because walking becomes painful.

Sometimes I get angry about things that shouldn't matter. If I do become short-tempered, I apologize to my husband. He's a tremendous help to me and his constant support is extremely important to me. He's been my rock. He comes with me to all my chemo appointments. He cheers me up when I need cheering up. He holds me when I cry. He makes me laugh. He tells me I look fine even though I've lost most of my hair and have put on weight because of the chemo.

It's hard to come to terms with the fact that I no long-term future. All my dreams have to be restricted to the present and the near future. While I might outlive my prognosis by a few years, I know I probably won't be around in 10 years, possibly in 5. It's the toughest thing I've had to deal with in all my life.

Your husband needs you. He may be wondering why you're still there with him, He may be afraid you'll leave when the going gets too tough. Reassure him. Over and over again. He needs to know that his cancer makes no difference in the way you feel about him.        

   

 

RE: Mood Changes After Chemo & Radiation

by ALL_good on Thu May 29, 2008 12:00 AM

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I recently had a Bone Marrow Transplant, following 5 yrs disease free remission following intensive therapies for acute bcell leukemia. T these therapies include intense chemo to the brain (via Ommaya catheter) and radiation.

The extensive intrathecal (brain) chemo and hi-dose brain and spine radiation may develop side effects, one of which is called "Encephalopathy"
-Has many of the side effects you described, and is by no means your husband's or doctors fault. If his condition doesn't improve or stays status quo- go to a neuropharmacologists or neurooncologist for diagnosis.

RE: Mood Changes After Chemo & Radiation

by Karenb on Thu May 29, 2008 12:00 AM

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I am a stage IV colon cancer patient.

I have gone from being fully independent working full-time, wife, mother of two high schoolers to two years later > on social security disability, three surgeries, 4 different chemotherapies, my two children away at college = and to top it off recent prostate cancer diagnosis for my husband.

So now my husband gets to be the patient and I get to be the caregiver. Unfortunately now we both understand both sides of the issue.

I recognized that I have mood swings, anger, fear, and many other emotions. I asked my dr. for help and he did give me a prescription. There may be drugs available to help your husband cope.

And you may need help too. There are great forums (like this one). See if there is a wellness community in your area. Are there other family members, neighbors, church, friends that can help? It can be too much and you may need a break.

One thing I have learned is that many people want to help but don't want to intrude. Don't be afraid to ask for help - they are waiting for you to ask.

RE: Mood Changes After Chemo & Radiation

by naominhl on Thu May 29, 2008 12:00 AM

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Be patient! I am sure he does not like the person he may of become but during this time only the person going thru this truly understands.  I my self just finished chemo and about to start radiation.  We go thru so much emotion during this time and no matter how many people we have to support us it is still the hardest battle we go thru.  We have our ups and downs if he is anything like myself or others I have talked to there is more downs than anything.  Because of this we pretend things are good when deep down inside we feel like screaming.  With your husband going thru this all you can do is try to understand where he is coming from..  It is a hard and lonely road were on.   And we have support and family but stilllwe feel like were all alone!

RE: Mood Changes After Chemo & Radiation

by AngelaS on Thu May 29, 2008 12:00 AM

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I don't think it was rude, it is just the truth.  I am a caregiver and my husband had a whipple procedure and is now going through chemo and radiation.  He can be a real bear sometimes, but he is here with me still and he relies on me for emotional support.  No one understands like I do what he is going through, not his mom, not his friends, just me, his wife of 18 years.  When he gets too crabby I step away for a minute. He usually sees that he has been crabby and even has apologized at times. I may not like him at times but I will love him as much as he needs me to in order to get him through this.   That is the point she was trying to get across, be supportive and put yourself in the patient's shoes. I would be crabby too I know I would.  Maybe she should think about how she would be if she were the patient......

 

Angela

RE: Mood Changes After Chemo & Radiation

by rollman on Thu May 29, 2008 12:00 AM

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On 5/27/2008 ecmb709 wrote:

My husband was treated last fall with chemo and radiation for SCC in neck lymph node with unknown primary.  He's been seeing his oncologist every two months for checkups and so far everything is fine. 

My question is this:  Are mood changes common after treatment?   He's not a pleasant person to be around.  He has little patience and tolerance for anything.  He seems angry at everyone. His behavior toward others can be quite rude.  He doesn't seem like the same person anymore and, frankly, I don't like the person he has become.

 Any advice?


 

Hi!!! let me start by saying that being a caretaker of a cancer patient is a very difficult job.  My husband also had SCC of the base of his tongue with nodule involvement.  He underwent chemo and radio. It was very difficult to see him turning into such a stranger.  He has always been an extremely happy,loving person, always positive, joking and smiling.  A week into his treatment all that changed drastically.  He became withdrawn, quiet, lacking motivation and interest,moody, at times depressed, demanding, and sometimes even showing temper tantrums if things didn't go his way. As a health professional I was extremely puzzled by the severity of his symptoms thus I started to research the phenomena. There is a new syndrome that scientist and physicians are just starting to study; it is called chemobrain and it may affect up to a 20% of patients treated with chemotherapy even up to a year after treatment. Researchers have found that during treatment specially when agents such as cisplatin (high metal agents) are used, the size of the brain is reduced.  Scientist are not sure yet that the chemobrain phenomena is the cause of the severe mood swings experienced by some cancer patients, however they have found that those showing such strong behavioral changes indeed have experienced the chemobrain changes. However, don't be concern because the condition is reversible, it might take some time and require a lot of patience and love from you, but stick by your man, things will get better.

My husband recently hit the one year anniversary mark. So far he is doing great and slowly coming back to be the same wonderful person that he was.  However, don't forget that cancer is a deep scar with life long implications, the experiences of all the treatments and the uncertainty that goes along with the diagnosis surfaces more often than none.  Just be patient and supportive.  Let your husband know that you are there for him for better or for worst. Little reminders are the best, a good unexpected hug with absolutely no words at moody times or a simple quiet time together work wonders.  Best of luck to you and your husband. God bless both of you

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