ANA Discussion Forum

Post-Treatment => Cognitive/Emotional Issues => Topic started by: mesafinn on September 16, 2014, 01:20:02 pm

Title: How's your temper?!
Post by: mesafinn on September 16, 2014, 01:20:02 pm
I've reviewed this site for any answers to this topic but haven't come across anything specific so thought I would ask:

I had Gamma Knife almost seventeen months to the date.  Side effects have ebbed and flowed, and I have my next MRI in about two weeks for the 1.5 year mark.   

One side effect I have noticed--and I don't know if it's related to my treatment or not--is a "shorter fuse."  I have always been a patient person.  I have a somewhat long fuse, and this has been helpful in my profession and personal life.

However, my temper seems far shorter than it used to be.  I am more moody, I get irritated more quickly, and I have gotten hot-tempered in the past month or two which is new for me.  I had noticed it myself, but both my mother and my spouse commented recently that I am quick-to-react when I never used to.  I asked when they started to notice this, and they said about six to nine months after my treatment.

I'm curious if anyone else has experienced this?  I recognize my hormones could be out-of-whack, but it's bothersome to me that I am responding this way to people I love.  I can't say for sure that it is the GK (I found I'm often asking, "Is this a side effect?" to anything "new" in my life) and would welcome anyone else chiming in.  I hope it subsides, and even though I knew that side effects could last two years or so after treatment, I am ready to be "healed"!!

Thanks.  Hope everyone is staying well.

Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: ANGuy on September 16, 2014, 03:01:35 pm
Being patient and even tempered is over rated.  Some times people need to be dressed down.  When people waist my time I make them pay a price to discourage future grief from them.  That said, you should have more patience with your family than the general public.  They are your family after all. 

Just make sure that you don't treat your family worse than strangers.  If you would put up with something that a complete stranger would do to you, put up with it from your family.  But you are not obligated to put up with crap from some guy on the street just because your parents and Sunday School always told you to be polite.
Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: Kathleen_Mc on September 16, 2014, 09:47:47 pm
I would suggest possibly the stress of being "ill" may be playing a part in your situation. Dealing with critical/life threatening illness can be stressful, some even end up suffering PTSD from the experience. Anger can be part of the issue also, sometimes we don't even realise we're angry and it can come out in different ways....just suggestions.
I don't think I've ever heard of anyone suffering changes to thier personality from Gamma Knife but then again ya nver know
Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: SDTom on September 17, 2014, 09:42:28 am
I think you have gotten good advice. I think the procedure may only be part of the problem. There may be other issues weighing on you. I didn't have your specific procedure but I can say that my temper was unpredictable for a while. An antidepressant helped a great deal.
Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: mesafinn on September 17, 2014, 02:02:48 pm
I appreciate the replies, but I think my query has been misunderstood.  I understand the distinction between behavior and personality--but I was inquiring if anyone had experienced physiological changes (mood alteration) as a result of their treatment. 

After having a physical today, I discussed it with my doctor who noted that both chemotherapy and radiation can have significant effects on mood, temperament, and the body.  He gave me literature to read and directed me to plenty of resources that indicated this can be a not-altogether-uncommon side effect that many individuals have experienced but don't always acknowledge and/or talk about.

The mind/body balance is important when coming to terms with the AN.  But my doc assured me this is more of a physical reaction impacting my mental state more than anything else.  He was confident it would pass.

Here's extending Hope to all of us!
Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: arizonajack on September 17, 2014, 04:24:25 pm
My own opinion for the two cents that it's worth is that it's not the GK that's doing this, it's the entire experience of having an alien life form attack your brain and do you life-changing damage.

It's enough to make anybody angry for a long, long time.

Some people deal with it better than others.

Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: Tod on September 17, 2014, 08:07:47 pm
In  my case, it was the opposite. So very much of my anger and short-temper faded away. I tend to attribute that to two things. One, the tumor itself was causing/had caused personality changes. Two, I gained some seriously needed empathy...a trait which I seemed to have only in deficit.

Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: ANGuy on September 17, 2014, 08:35:14 pm
My own opinion for the two cents that it's worth is that it's not the GK that's doing this, it's the entire experience of having an alien life form attack your brain and do you life-changing damage.

It's enough to make anybody angry for a long, long time.

Some people deal with it better than others.

I agree.  And besides, how the heck could anyone do any kind of study to determine if the treatment caused changes?  What would the control group be, healthy people they fired a gamma knife at?

The main thing is to determine if there is an issue and then what you are going to do about it.  Take long walks, tai-chi classes, anti-depressants or take up wood working if it helps. 
Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: robinb on September 18, 2014, 11:22:29 am
Hi Patrick-

In my unprofessional opinion, I prescribe a River Cruise vacation!

-Robin :)
Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: Crazycat on September 19, 2014, 01:16:24 am
Oh, I know exactly what you're talking about!

My surgeries were 9 years ago and my nerves are still shot. It's especially bad when I wake up. My skin crawls when there are others around me. It takes a few cups of coffee to acclimate; though there's more to it than just a simple matter of elevating my blood sugar. 
Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: ewhitese on September 21, 2014, 08:01:13 pm
Change in my temper?  I began to see extreme changes in my interaction with others at about 4 months post GK.  I am currently one year out, my tumor has swelled and seems to have plateaued as seen in the one year MRI.  I found myself in depression at the six month time frame.   As my hearing went away I became a little paranoid.  Hearing in crowded rooms is impossible, I now avoid crowds.  Listening to music has lost my interest, I don't here specific parts of music and so some songs are altered enough I just don't enjoy it now.  I hear sounds that are extremely annoying to me while others who have normal hearing don't hear but miss parts of conversations that those same people here without issue.  My wife does recognize my moodiness and has made adjustments in her interaction with me as well.  I am full aware that I am short tempered and irritable over insignificant things.

Fast forward to now, I am more comfortable with my predicament than six months ago, I have retired, simplified my life and taken on a new appreciation for what I have instead of focusing on what I have lost.  I choose my social calendar very carefully, I ignore what I can't understand and move on.  If I am having a bad day, stay to myself no need to bother others with my grumblings.  I am paying closer attention to my temper, yes my buttons are easily pushed and I am aware of it, there for I am more prepared to deal with it, preventing sudden outbursts or blowups over trivial stuff, still get caught occasionally with my pants down sort of speak.

I do believe I have settled into a better psychological frame of mind just in the past month and a half.  I hope it is a sign of a return to normal, time will tell.  How much of my temper, paranoia and depression were associated with GK surgery I don't know.  My brother in-law is a retired Iraqi war veteran with PTSD, we spent a great week long adventure, running around his old neighborhood, chit chatting and site seeing, we discovered that physically and psychologically we have some things in common.  Never considered the idea of stress induced emotional mental reactions to the sudden changes in me until his visit in beginning of September.  Not to compare myself with the trauma of active duty special forces combat, my experience post GK are mild comparatively speaking.

I am aware of side effects to surgery effecting dreams from some research I did early on but never read anything about temper specifically.  So as was so well put in this thread how are you going to test the theory, wouldn't wish anyone to have his head strapped to a table and blasted with gamma radiation just to see if he'll get mad or not.  The actual procedure didn't phase me a bit, other than the mask making my nose itch.  I guess the real question is how am I going to meet this challenge and what tools do I have to make a difference in my situation.  I try to approach every day with that frame of mind and things get easier as I do.  I am not saying that I have put away my grumpy pants for good and I am not saying I don't share your quick temper, but I own it and realize that which is irritating me isn't irritating everybody, makes it easier to remove myself from the situation than make everyone else deal with what is irritating me.  Hope my ramblings are of use to anyone besides myself, sometimes it helps to write and reflect on a personal level as well as commiserate with like minded folks.
Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: sandycraig on June 15, 2016, 05:06:25 pm
I can relate. I have no patients I seem to be angry all the time. I'm not sure what I am angry about but I have things from the past that I wasn't even a part of and I can't seem to let them go. I don't cry as much as I used to but I always feel like I could. I'm not sure what to do.
Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: Sheba on July 18, 2016, 10:41:14 pm

The tumor pre-op or post-op is messing w/ some very primitive but critical "wiring" in our brains - I've read that the "Startle reflex" (like babies have) is disrupted and links to anxious feelings / fear feelings, so people may feel more anxious / irritable ?? with AN pre/post op ???   Babies are supposed to "freak out" if they think they are falling.  I think the vestib malfunction is hitting that button, more so for some people than others.

Seems like whatever you can do to stabilize the "inputs" to your brain - e.g. surgery cuts the malfunctioning vestibular nerve) helps your brain to adapt to a stable new set of fewer inputs - and work past the stressy startle reflex type reactions?   
>>Vestibular Therapy.  Also Meditation is good idea ??? learning to notice your reactions, what is causing them, guide yourself to a calmer place?

have not seen a lot of research on this - just a few places mentioning the startle reflex is part of our puzzle w/ AN related changes

Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: mcrue on September 30, 2016, 05:49:40 am
I guess this thread answers my question as to whether-or-not we become "nicer, the same, or meaner" after being diagnosed/treated with an AN.

Interesting thoughts.

Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: gedavis on October 03, 2016, 08:34:52 am
Husband's fuse is super short and he is "right" all the time.  Everyone has noticed it.  Definitely seems to be an affect of the surgery or trying to deal with the loss of hearing etc. 
Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: kareno on October 25, 2016, 02:44:35 pm
I have been viewing the ANA website for many years.  Many ANA folks who have had surgery or radiation complain of constant cognitive and emotional issues.  They experience frustration, short fuse,low tolerance, anxiety, loss of ability to concentrate,memory loss,anti-social, terrible mood swings, language issues, aches and pains, headaches and fullness in their head, lack of patience etc.  Some have received cognitive therapy which could be helpful.  I have seen this question many, many times. 
Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: Petrone on October 26, 2016, 09:58:43 pm
Just my opinion, but I think there is little or no relation between AN treatment and temper or mood. What is the etiology (causation)?  Sure, it can be stressful to receive an acoustic neuroma diagnosis, decide on treatment, and undergo surgery or GK.  But, can having a benign tumor in your head directly cause a bad temper or bad mood? Doubtful.   

What else might be the cause of a bad temper or bad mood?  Poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol or substance abuse, depression, social anxiety, bad job/career, unfulfilled dreams/aspirations, bad marriage/relationship, angst about wars, poverty, elections, etc.     

Personally, I consider my AN as something of a blessing - in the sense that my worst health challenge (so far) has been to have an acoustic neuroma.  It could be much, much worse. I have two close family members who are dying of cancer. Several close friends of mine have autistic children. My brother-in-law drove himself to a hospital several years ago with flu symptoms and died 6 hours later of bacterial meningitis (he was 33). I've known other family or friends who've had epilepsy, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, etc. 

Life can be hard. It can also be glorious. Sometimes it depends on the lens you're looking through.         

Title: Re: How's your temper?!
Post by: Boise Jim on December 20, 2017, 04:30:51 pm
Well, Petrone, I would much rather listen to the advice of my neuro-oncologist, who said that it is very common to have temper issues after the radiation, especially where mine was located. My wife and I noticed that shortly after my GK, my temper got really bad. It didn't get better so off I went to his office. He prescribed Citalopram and everything got WAY better. Back to what it was before my AN. Good for you that you didn't get this as a side effect, but many of us do.