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Personality Change

Posts: 32
Joined: Mar 2015

Good Afternoon,


     I was hoping someone could shed some light on personality changes.  My wife finally had her last treatment, port was removed and her prognosis is very good.  Her personality has changed though.  She now contradicts the majority of things I say, she'll talk over me or others in conversations, she talks to me like I am not intelligent.  A very different personality

Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2015

I can't imagine what it must be like for you to endure the change in your wife. I hope things have improved for you. My brother has had a personality change also. He has become much more sarcastic with a biting humor. Sometimes he'll say things that are hurtful. I think he thinks he's being funny but when he's see our expressions he backs off a bit. He has brain cancer. I think his brain mouth filter is gone now. It's hard sometimes, especially for my Mom, because he has hurt her feelings a few times yet we are the only ones there to take care of him. Sometimes I wonder if he is resentful or bitter or angry just as we are at his cancer. I'm sure all the chemicals he's had to ingest and absorb can't be helping either. I hope your wife reverts back to her former self not only for you but her her own well being. It takes an emotional toll on a person when they aren't true to themselves, whether they know it or not.


Good luck to you and your wife. Take a deep breath. 

Posts: 32
Joined: Mar 2015

I'm very sorry to hear about your brother.  I'll keep your family in my prayers.  My wife continues to tell me she's different since her diagnosis, which I tell her is fine.  I still need to tell her at times that there is a difference between being assertvie and beaing mean/rude/hurtful.  I am a school teacher with a Master's degree and she treats me like I am inept.  I am exhausted working full time, then coming home and hearing for a few hours how awful everything is.  I have done my best, but I am still not living up to expectations and don't think I ever will.  We've lost our home due to this damn disease, and now I feel as though I'm losing my wife, she questions my ability to be a provider yet doesn't want me trying to get a second job.  I appreciate your kind words and didn't mean to start venting again.  God Bless.

Terri Sue's picture
Terri Sue
Posts: 22
Joined: Jan 2015

SpTeach, it's ok to vent here.  That is what we are here for.  We need support as caregivers and sometimes other caregivers and survivors can give us some insight or at least comfort.  My husband too has had a change in personality.  It has driven a wedge between us at times, then we work our way back to each other.  I guess my advice would be to try to stay with her through her healing stage and then take it from there.  Our spouses don't always realize how this horrible disease drowns us in work, debt, and peace of mind.  If you are like me, you feel very isolated from the outside world and trapped in a marriage to a stranger.  Just keep venting on here, please!  It helps some of us to know we are not alone.  Tenes dia bella mi amigo!

Posts: 32
Joined: Mar 2015

Thanks for your post Terri.  I am just at a loss as to how to improve things.  I spent last Monday in the hospital due to my heart pumping irregularly.  I have 3 blocked arteries and hypertension. I'm afraid this is going to kill me and then no one would be there for my wife.  I need to be there but can't seem to catch a break.  I wish my wife could see how hard it can be to be a caregiver.  She just says, "It's nothing compared to what she's gone through".  I understand that, but our side is no picnic.  I just pray and keep on keeping on.  God Bless and I pray wellness and happiness for you and your husband.



wolfen's picture
Posts: 1326
Joined: Apr 2009

Being a caregiver is tough, tough, tough! I have been a caregiver to my husband and my daughter, both of whom lost their battles. Severe illness, frustration at the "new normal", chemo, rads, so many things all contribute to the person's personality and how they now view life.

I never felt a harshness from my daughter, a little stubborness maybe, but then she was mostly an upbeat person throughout her illness until near the the end. My husband was a different matter.  Around others, he would comment what a wonderful caregiver I was and that without me, he couldn't make it. In private, he would say hurtful things such as "You don't take very good care of me", etc. In truth, he had been disabled for 20 of our 41 year union. I had always taken care of him and always would. Over the years, he had become a "glass half empty" person due to so many factors, most of them medical. I am far from a wet rag, but somehow learned to "roll with the punches". Yes, those "punches" still hurt! I remember asking him one time "Do I ever do anything right?". I don't think I got an answer. Two weeks before he died, I arrived at the hospital (where he remained until that last day) and the first 2 things he said were "Are you tired of taking care of me", "Do you want a divorce?" I was sort of floored! I tried to laugh it off and said,"No, you old fart. I'm in it for the long haul!" Yet, to this day over 2 years later, those words ring in my head. What more could I have done?

I don't think there is an easy answer to this one. Marriage is hard, even without illness involved. You really have to work at it. Communicate your fears and frustrations to your mate. Whether she cares enough to do her part is on her now. There will be times you'll still have to "suck it up", but not to the point of letting it harm you. As you said, "where will she be when you're gone?. Give her some insight into this facet.

I hope I haven't offended you or your wife. I have only one last thought. I would gladly put up with all of it again just to have them both back.



blessed lady
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2016

Hey everyone. I am new at this. My hubby finished 6 months of chemo October of 2016. He is 70 years old. He wasn't the kindest or talkative person before chemo for colon cancer. I have noticed that he is very snappy sometimes. He has bursts of angry words. He blows things out of proportion. His driving scares me. He is acting like a child. He says hurtful things and will apologize sometimes. I'm not sure if he is flat out mean...old..has chemo brain. I'm tired. I have a son with special needs. My oldest has survived cancer twice. He had to move back home a few years ago because he was sick. I feel like I want to fly away. I'm so tired. I have gained 50 pounds.  I feel tired. I feel ugly. People say that God only gives us what we can bare. Did he forget about me?


Posts: 1862
Joined: Aug 2010

That God only gives us what we can handle comes from 'Gone With the Wind' not the Bible .

Cancer is not of God.

What was your husband's personality like before the treatment?

I'm sorry you are having such a rough time, lady. Sometimes it is just overwhelming.

Posts: 5
Joined: May 2017

For those of you with mates with personality changes from Chemo, I'm hearing that it's not uncommon.  And I have experienced

bursts of anger and rage from my husband, particularly from the steriods that they mix in with Chemo or give him for nausea and energy

and other symptoms.  A few times I have had to pull over the car when driving back from his chemo treatment because of irrational, abusive

rants and rages.  Although my husband has always had his "moods", he's never acted like this before.  Sometimes it's a little scary.  He has

at times recognized it after the fact and apologized, but when he is in a rage, the only thing I can do is stay calm, not argue with him and

wait for it to pass.  Other times I simply walk away or leave the house.  I am trying to get him therapy, but in the meantime, I suggest that anyone who has access to therapy, a support group or any other form of support, go for it.  This is life-changing and unpredictable, no matter what the prognosis.  Unfortunately my husband has State IV Small Cell Lung Cancer, so along with the negative prognosis, he feels guilty about his disease because after years and  years of trying to quit smoking, he could not, and he tried everything.  So he blames himself and feels weak.  He also becomes offended when insensitive people ask about his illness and then ask if he smoked.  Because he feels they are judging him and his illness.  I find that Guided Meditations, many of which you can find free on the internet help me, and when he's willing to try it, help him too.  Hydration is also key.  Cancer patients get dehydrated very quickly, and when they do, they not only feel bad, they get irrational.  I keep gallons of dandillion root tea made with a little maple syrup or honey and mint in the refrigerator.  If you can find that or they don't like taste, use green tea or squeeze fresh lemons and orange into water with fresh mint. I also use Tiger Balm patches for mild to moderate pain in joints and muscles.  And diversion, diversion, diversion.  What ever little things bring them joy or comfort.  


Posts: 15
Joined: Apr 2016

I never imagined the personality and mood change cancer could cause.  I beat cancer 20 years ago and all I remember is being thankful.  I wanted to live life to the fullest.  My husband has Mesothelioma cancer.  He has had 3 surgeries, chemo and flat lined fot 20 minutes in the past 2 years.  I have never left his side.  He started out telling me and everyone else how much I love him and how good I have been to him.  NOW, it is so different.  He gets mad so easy.  We went furniture shopping this week.  I went to several stores by myself to narrow down what to get.  I wanted to make sure I got a recliner that was comfortable for him.  The first store we went in, he sat on a couch and said, "I want it" "write her a check'.  I told him I had narrowed it down to 3 stores and for us to go to the other two first so he could make sure he would be very comfortable on the furniutre.  He got mad at me and told the sales lady that I could not make a decisoion.  Once we went to the next store he got smart with the sales person and said he would not buy their furniture.  I told the man I was sorry and we left.  The next store we went to he told the lady the furniture was overpriced and he was very hateful with her.  I called the first place back and told them we would take the furniture even tho it did not have a good warranty and did not match our other furniture.  Next, we was making plans to go out of town with three other couples.  I booked our room 20 minutes away from the other couples because of his anger outburst.  I never know when I or someone else will say something to set him off!  He just explodes on people for no reason.  It really hurts when it is the grandkids.  They love him so much and have seen him so sick.  Now I never know when he is going to get angry with them for no reason.  I stayed home for 16 months that I didn't leave his side.  I took him to doctors appointments, rehab and everywhere he wanted to go.  I even drove him 15 hours away to see his mom.  He treats me like crap.  Once I am crying or not talking he starts asking if I am ok.  If I tell him I am hurt he gets mad again so I normally say I am fine.  I have many health problems that have been made worse by the stress.  I love him and take great care of him but I don't feel like I am living with the man I married.  I would never have married someone that treats me this way.  I have started seeing a counselor.  I just started this two weeks ago.  I want to run away so bad!!!!  My vows said for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.  I have to tell myself this alot!!  I am so sad, depressed, confused, angry and every other emotion you can have.  I pray he starts acting different.  I make excueses to everyone for his behavior.  His doctor is starting Pallative care with him in June.  I hope they can help.  So far, the anxiety and depression medicine he is taking does not seem to help.  I am scared to think what he would be like without it.  What an awful disease.  He is very upset that I am seeing a counselor.  He does not want me to.  I have to do something for myself while I can.  I have devoted almost 2 years to him being sick.  If I don't get help for myself from a counselor I will not make it much longer myself.  I pray each of you find a way to take care of yourself.  I know how hard it is to do when someone you love is so sick.

Zappymom12's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: Oct 2015

I love my husband dearly and am passionately devoted to him.  During his cancer journey with Lymphoma (11q deletion and CD 20) he is nothing like himself. I have kept my vows always without a doubt. I miss him dearly even though I am with him 24/7. We have tried through counseling to put our life back together but it is more about the next appointment and survival. How I wish He would reach for me and hold me like he used to. I miss him terribly. I would never change my decision to support my husband and also (in my mind) our family.  I know it is the right choice for me.The FCR chemo did not give him but, three month or so.  He never had a complete remission.  Only three months later he was getting sick again. 15 PEs and 2 DVTs....great fatigue and chemo brain.  I feel like I lost him years ago while he was active duty in the military and the chemical exposure happened. I want my husband back. And now he has started I brutinib. I pray these hemo pills will bring him back to me?  I miss him so. He was absolutely the most brilliant, kind, loving person I have ever met.  He adored his family and loved me dearly.  It was like a switch was flipped in his soul. He's trying to find his way back again.  His driving scares me.  He has road rage.  He constantly corrects drivers.  What happened to this man.  Lymphoma is taking from us.  

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2019

Sadness sums up alot of what I feel since receiving the news of my husbands diagnosis.  A few weeks after we after we returned from our honeymoon last year we received the news.  It has changed our lives to say the least.  There were so many other major life changes happening at the same time so there have been moments that I have thought I would lose my mind completly.  Yet here I am...my husband had stage 3 colon CA.  We did presurgury chemo/radiation which he tolerated...he then had surgery and was left with a temparay ostomy.  His Drs were thrilled with the results; tumor had signifiacantly shrunk and they were able to get eveything and reattachment went well.  So fast forward to today. They scheduled 9 post intravenious chemo txs.  He has two left but at this time not sure if we are going to continue as he not bouncing back physically any more and last week was extremely sick with a gastritis.  We see the oncologist tomorrow.  This disease has taken a lot and there is a lot of losses in my life, right now, especially considering this is how we've spent our first year of marriage...I love my husband very much but miss his dreadfully.  He is physically here...although 30lbs lighter...but mentally and personality not always does he show up...it's like you get the worst parts of the person, when before it was flipped. 

Posts: 11
Joined: Jan 2019

I had to deal with my wifes personality changes that were at times very hard to deal with. She had lung cancer with mets to the brain in form of 20 tumors. The problem was I was never told that this would be part of the caregiving process. It was noticable enough even before diagnosis as my wife seemed "different" to us all before it. We did not know what it was thinking it may have been depression as her sister had passed away 2 months before my wifes diagnosis. But we could seee then a change where she strangely showed no emotions and was not crying at her own sisters funeral. She seemed "off" and started to become distant before starting to sleep much more. After her radiation treatments(10)  she came home for hospice and it became very tough as she was demanding and demeaning at times. But always treating us as if we were her personal servants as my sons said to her one time. Her change frayed our nerves-we were upset. I had my 2 sons helping in the caregiving and even with 3 of us here-it was a 24/7 battleground as she would not sleep. As I read on now I find out the steroids were a problem- the radiation also- it seems that all you had to do to have her get better worked against her and changed her into someone we did not know. There were so many verbal fights-insults- words never that should have been said were exchanged- due to fatigue- fear-worry-depression etc... But as fast as fights came up-they ended as if never recalled by her. She seemed at times to be acting like an 8 year old playing with her little stuffed animals as I would see her-totally lost and perhaps reliving those days as a child- I dont know but I know what I saw and what I thought. She looked like she wanted to go back and be that little girl again. She would curse at us- she never cursed before! We were married 37 years and suddenly she became a total opposite of what I knew  all those years.It was so sad. We had never been advised by nurses or Drs. or hospice as to what to expect. We took her out to Wal-Mart and she got in a cart and then proceeded to run a customer over who was bending over in an aisle and showed no sorrow- remorse-anything as the woman went back at her and myself. We took her out for breakfast and it turned into a fiasco- she had become anti-social in her bahavior and did not care what she looked like to anyone. I was actually ashamed at her behavior for all to see and could not get out fast enough. She did not know what she was doing- she was not her. The poor woman- it was not her fault- she was "body snatched" by the horrible disease. The part of her brain showing emotions was gone- she never once cried! It took over her body -then her brain and in 2 months it took her from us! For all dealing with what you are try and remember it is not the person you love anymore. It is a cruel twist of events. What they do that shocks you is nothing they would ever have done. I dont know why it goes that way but it does. Gods blessings to all dealing with this issue.

Zappymom12's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: Oct 2015

Thank you. 

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