Hi. This is my first post on this message board. I have spent my morning researching online causes for my son's anger and thought maybe first hand stories may give me some insight.
A brief history:
My son was diagnosed with an inoperable low grade glioma in the brain stem when he was 3.5 years old. It is a focal medulla tumour (Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma - Grade 1 Glioma). He underwent a partial resection and biopsy which took 4 weeks for him to recover from. He then underwent 16 months of weekly chemotherapy (Vinblastine). He finished his chemo in Jan 2010 and is now 6.5 years old.
He has only very subtle, minor side effects from his tumour and/or surgery - to most people he looks like a normal, healthy 6 year old. He is very bright and has advanced verbal skills.
90% of the time he is a total sweetheart and an absolute joy to be with. The other 10% of the time he is not fun to be around. He gets very over the top angry over nothing (generally). He yells, swears, throws things, hits, slams door, screams he hates us....etc. Often we can't figure out the exact trigger. These episodes happen more often when he is tired or hungry and seem to be related to frustration. School is starting in a few days and we are very worried he is going to be expelled for his behaviour. I will definitely be speaking with his teacher and principal to make sure they understand that his behaviour is not his fault, but they can only put up with so much bad behaviour. This started about 10 months ago, but has been getting progressively worse over time.
Does anyone know what could be causing this? These are my thoughts:
- severe malnutrition from age 8 months till diagnosis at 3.5 may have hindered proper brain development (he was severe failure to thrive, but no one could figure out why - his tumour sucked away his appetite and he wouldn't eat. ever. he was a very sick little boy.)
-the brain surgery may have damaged something though this is unlikely because they only removed the part of the tumour that was hanging off the brainstem and avoided the tumour within the brainstem.
-the tumour location itself. his remaining tumour is 1.3cm
-the chemo drugs which killed healthy brain cells as well as the bad ones.
-the chemo which shrunk his tumour significantly causing alteration of the neural pathways
-being so sick for so long during such a critical time of childhood/development
Which is most likely? Has anyone else had experience with this? What did you do? Any insight or advise would be most appreciated!!!