Father with Stage IV Glioblastoma - extreme anger issues, paranoia

newuser01 Member Posts: 1
edited June 2017 in Brain Cancer #1

Hi everyone, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma in January after initially having a seizure in November.  A little backstory, my dad has had anger issues since I was a child.  The smallest thing could cause him to fly into a fit of rage, whether it was someone not answering his phone call or being 15 minutes late when they were supposed to be meeting him.  He and I have never been super close and for the last 6 years he has lived abroad, with him making a visit every few years and maybe a few emails/calls a month.  

After being diagnosed he moved back to the US and wound up being about an hour away from where I live.  It has been a rocky 7 months but in mid March it seemed like he had reached a good place, all things considered.  His angry outbursts subsided, he moved into an independent living facility, began chemo and radiation, and I would visit on weekends.  His demeanor could even be described as pleasant.  A few weeks removed from completing chemo and radiation he had a seizure which put him in the hospital for a week.  Upon release it was determined that he would need 24 hour care so that was arranged and is currently ongoing.

In the past 2 weeks he has become extremely volatile and belligerent, similar to how he was December through early March.  He curses like a sailor, calls me names, accuses me of stealing his money, and is just impossible to communicate with.  I call to have a nice conversation and check-in and he immediately starts on how I am stealing and tells me "f--- you" and said he would have my boyfriend fired from his job.  I delayed visiting last weekend and told him I would give him some time to cool off and would come when he was feeling better.  I try my best to remain calm and not engage this behavior.

This past week he had an MRI and the remaining tumor significantly shrunk.  I thought this would help but it doesn't seem to have.  My anxiety and stress are non-stop.  Just talking to him on the phone sends me into an anxiety attack as he is so hateful and angry with me.  I don't know what I can do and sometimes it is very difficult to separate the disease from him as his fits of rage have always been the norm.

I feel terrible for him and what he is going through and I feel guilty to even complain.  I just don't know how to handle this and feel like nothing makes a difference.  Has anyone experienced something similar?  Any words, advice, anything you can offer is very much appreciated.


  • fightherfight
    fightherfight Member Posts: 1
    Keep your good memories close


    I am going through a similar experience with my mother's behavior. My mom had her grade 4 GBM removed Sept 2016 and today she is still with us and somewhat independent. I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties you are going through with managing your dads anger and accusations. My mom, since her status has become recurrent since April, has become very impatient and curses more that I've ever heard her say those kind of words before. She also is very vocal about things that bother her in ways where she is almost yelling at my sister and I (which are her caregivers). It's tough for us but we are thankful that she is with us and we try to make her happy even on that bad days.

    Is your dad on antiseizure meds? How about a steroid like Daycadron? Her oncologist says that because of her recent increase in her steroids (to combat the brain swelling) her behavior can become more combative and aggressive. The behavior get me very anxious to where I find myself always thinking about her condition and wishful that our family can have happiness is these difficult times. I too live and work away 3 hours away so I can visit often. In fact, I return to her home every week after a 3 day work week. It is tough to not know how each week will be. The ups and downs are such an emotional roller coaster. But the advice I want to share with you is to focus on the good memories you two have shared in your life. We both know our parents better than anyone else and its the disease that has hijaked the brain causing the behavior. Remember the man he was to you and know that behind the cancer that still remains.

    The memory and rational thought (believing you steal from him) are from the frontal cortex, which is also where my moms tumor was, BUT the love, joy, kindness are all from a more primitive area of the brain, the limbic system. Deep inside, beyond the hurtful words, that all remains. Remembering all this can help with your anxiety. Remember that you are blessed to have him around and receiving treatment. We both know that the longevity of the disease is not what we desire so make peace with yourself and hold on to the memories tightly as these will be the ones you will always remember him with. Take care

  • lthenderson
    lthenderson Member Posts: 19
    Once destroyed, rarely comes back

    It took me a long time to come to this realization but it feels as if it should have been obvious. In case it isn't obvious to you, I'll tell you what I realized. The tumor destroyed a significant part of your father's brain. Radiation destroyed some more. Those parts of the brain used to control functions that perhaps moderated your father's anger in your case, allowed my mother to make rational decisions under stress in the case of my mother. But they are gone now and not likely to come back. Some things can be rewired through relearning but others are just gone for good. The best thing you can do is to learn to accept that this is the new normal and understand that it isn't personal towards you. In my mom's case, we have learned to reduce stress in her life which triggers the irrational decision making at times. I also acknowledge that it is the cancer damage talking and not her at times. Once I came to peace with this, it made life much easier and better for both of us.

  • Sanjeevkalluri
    Sanjeevkalluri Member Posts: 1
    Glioblastoma grade 4 (brain cancer)

    My sister in law was detected with glioblastoma grade 4 (brain cancer) 20 days back. Immediately she shifted to hospital and undergone two surgeries and her  2 head flaps were removed . doctors advised for radiation and chemo ..after tht also she can only survive 12-18 months..I'm not interested in allopathy..n I wanted to search for alternative source...can anyone please suggest if in homeo,ayuvedic or dietary pattern...I wil be greatful to those advicers..tnqs in advanve

  • TurquoiseDusk
    TurquoiseDusk Member Posts: 1
    Personality changes

    I've read a lot about the use of steroids to reduce cerebral edema, and one of the side effects that is common is personality changes and anger. It can also be the result of sodium or potassium levels going off, or medications given during and after surgery like dilauded. (My dad went totally off the deep end when they gave him dilauded in the hospital, and my aunt too.) And obviously pressure in the brain pushing on different centers, or just the fight or flight response when dealing with extraordinary amounts of stress or fear.

    I hope things get better for you, that's very hard. Try to remember it's not personal and not take it to heart. ❤️