CSN Login
Members Online: 17

Personality Change

Terri_Nag
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2009

My husband was diagnosed a year ago with stage 4 throat cancer including upper pallet. After Chemo and radation the Dr. diagnosed his cancer as terminal. My question is.....Has anyone seen a personality change?? He seems to get nasty verbally and then the next day sleep all day. We are going to the Dr. tomorrow but I wanted to post this and see what you guys think. It is very hard to take some day because as a caregiver I have read that you should just walk away and not get mad...that is really hard.

Any advice?

Hal61's picture
Hal61
Posts: 656
Joined: Dec 2009

Hello Terri, I'm sorry to hear that you must deal with this change in addition to your demanding role as a caregiver. First, you have already given yourself your best advice, walk away and don't get mad. Your husband is reacting the most devastating diagnosis a person can recieve, as are you. It evokes anger and fear and his lashing out is a reaction that as you say marks a change in the man you've known. His verbal attacks are more or less unconscious acts dictated by his condition. The idea of "walking away" is indicated more for your own good than his. It is "hard," because it involves you changing your behavior, but it is for your own health, and as you consciously make that effort to not engage him, it will be eventually less hard for you and you will not share his anger. His behavior may change yet again as hoepefully he comes to grips with the most difficult of situations, but until then I would encourage you to try to make that walk until it offers you relief. Finally, and most important, you and your husband should seek professional counseling to help both of you face what is to come. Counseling can clarify things for both of you and offer tremendous comfort. My heart goes out to you both.
Hal61

handl1983
Posts: 37
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi!

My husband was diagnosed with stage iv throat cancer also- in April 09. His Dr. said that it would be the year from hell, and he didnt lie! It has been horrible! I found that when he had chemo, he got very nasty. It was almost laughable, because I could watch it happen right before my eyes! It is very hard for us, the caregivers to stay calm and patient. Normally, I dont take crap from anyone and it was really hard for me to step back ,count to 10, take a deep breath and keep my mouth shut. But when I thought about what he was going through, I tried very hard to put myself in his shoes. It helped for me. I know how you feel, because I am there with you. I dont know if you are a reader, but I have found that books offer me some sanity. I have spent alot of time in waiting rooms this year, and a good book will at least take your mind off of things, if only for a little while. I am here if you need to vent. God Bless, Lori

Kimba1505's picture
Kimba1505
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

I think the emotional component of this is very hard to navigate. All the physical stuff, there is someone to tell you what to do, when to show up, what to take, when to take it...there is a plan to follow.
Emotionally though, can you get mad at a person who has cancer? When do you comfort, when do you push? When do you give them space, when do you stay close? Someone wrote early on when I was on these boards "develop a thick skin" and don't take those moods personally.
For me that is easy to say...hard to do.
Mark is my primary "go to" person. But when I am scared, upset, or just having a bad day that has nothing to do with cancer...do I go to him? He says yes, but really his plate is full and he needs to be focused on himself. If I turn to a friend, then am I less conncected with him? And as good as that friend is, they don't really know. I think that is why there are support groups, and message boards like this. You can talk with someone who knows, but does not have the personal/emotional connection/reaction. Even as close as we are as caretakers, we don't know what it is like. Mark and I just had a conversation recently where I told him I like taking care of him and I am eager to use the PEG. (weird?) But I said it allows me to be in the fight with him. It is our new itimacy. But then he likes to be independent (he's only let me put water in the tube, LOL)...see what I mean...hard to navigate.

debbiejeanne's picture
debbiejeanne
Posts: 2224
Joined: Jan 2010

kim, lori, terri, I'm so sorry to hear that you are going thru all this. As one who received the care, I can honestly say your help and patiences is greatly APPRECIATED. I don't know that I was nasty with JR while he was taking care of me but I'm sure I had my days. I will be the first to admit that without his help, I COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT! It breaks my heart that you are dealing with the attitudes on top of the cancer but please try to remember that your loved one isn't himself and most probably would never snap at you like that normally. I am also one who doesn't take crap from anyone so I know how hard it is to bite your tounge and walk away, but I urge you to do that for both your loved one and yourself. Then in a year or so when they are hopefully back to a new norm, your loved one can/will return to the person you used to enjoy. Best wishes to all of you.
God Bless you all,
debbie

Kimba1505's picture
Kimba1505
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

We are not hurting like you do. We just lose the balance in the relationship that we have known. I tell Mark, the pendullum will swing, and there may be a day when he takes care of me. It is the give and take that comes with a committed relationship; I would be no where else but by his side. It is a new relational territory though...and the thing to remember, always, it is temporary. We can all hang in, work hard, fight the fight, when we know it will not last forever. Mark's surgeon said to him "this will be 90 days...anyone can do anything for 90 days". (And he -the surgeon- was embarking on a 90 day exercise weight loss plan). But feelings we do have...and what to do with them, sometimes, we are not so sure.
So Debbie, thanks for you thoughts and sensitivity to the caretaker side; but we know it ia all about you guys...and that is okay...because we love you. :)

debbiejeanne's picture
debbiejeanne
Posts: 2224
Joined: Jan 2010

kim, you and all caregivers are AWESOME!! You actually made me cry. See, that is why we, the patients, love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You all rock! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, ALL CAREGIVERS!
Sincerely,
Debbie

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5604
Joined: Apr 2009

Sounds like a side affect of radiation, When I was going through my first treatment I was so bad I ran all my Friends and Children away, no one would come and visit me, It was hard for me to figure out what everyone’s problem was. Then on day after my treatment was over the wife sat me down and explained just how bad I was. The sad thing I did not realized it.

Talk to him and assure him that you will be there; I could not have done it with out my wife standing by my side.

God bless all who are Caretakers

Kimba1505's picture
Kimba1505
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

Hondo,
This is good stuff to know (hard stuff to go through...but good to be prepared for). I imagine not everyone getting radiation has that reaction, but it is good to be forewarned to know it is side effect and not personal. All these pieces of informtion help we caretakers be less reactive; because when we know what COULD happen we are less surprised and respond better.
On Monday Mark enters his 2nd half of treatment...I want to be well prepared...a "batten down the hatches" prepared.
Kim

Terri_Nag
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2009

Thank you all for your support and helping me realize that I guess I have to "take a deep breath and walk away" when this other person comes out of my husband. This is going to be a long haul even though the Doctors said he has 6 mos to 2 years. But my husband said he is going to stay longer just to piss me off!!! His wonderful sence of humor.

debbiejeanne's picture
debbiejeanne
Posts: 2224
Joined: Jan 2010

terri, I love his sense of humor. My prayers are with you both.
debbie

debbiejeanne's picture
debbiejeanne
Posts: 2224
Joined: Jan 2010

terri, I love his sense of humor. My prayers are with you both.
debbie

nicki74
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2010

yes, my father just completed his chemo and rad treatments and wow he can really be a beast! lol... i know he is getting bored, but with the trach and peg tube, he is limited to what he can do... he is still on the fentanyl patch 75 i thought maybe that had something to do with his mooods.. my poor mother, his caregiver, is ready to run for the hills! lol...

illoozions's picture
illoozions
Posts: 31
Joined: May 2010

Hi Terri,
I am a caregiver for my spouse who has base of tongue cancer now, and he has not yet changed his personality (and hopefully won't), but I saw my sister go through what your going through, with her husband. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and the medications and the cancer made him a very angry, selfish, nasty man. If you can keep it in your mind that this is the medications and the sickness that is doing this, it may help you somewhat. My sister said that she felt if was the Lords way of starting the seperation process, by breaking the stronger emotional feelings and giving the surviving spouse time to step back a little and prepare your emotions somewhat.

Just her view, but it made a lot of sense to me. Talking to the Dr about this is a very good thing, because he may be able to adjust his medication to help matters. My sister also kept a diary where she would write and release all the anger that she felt when he was verbally abusive to her (which was not his former personality) This was for her eyes only, so she was able to write everything she felt without fear of anyone thinking badly of her or looking down on her when she resented what she had to go through with him. Remember the man he was and know that he would be that man again if he could!

I will pray for your peace of mind and for your husband also,
Lynette

flsooper's picture
flsooper
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2007

I had a complete laryngectomy Oct 2007
My first year, I have to admit I was a miserable,nasty person filled with anger and fear.
But time has changed my outlook on life and I'm a better person now.
Time heals

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network