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Thread: Mood swings and sadness

  1. #1
    Senior User mccindy's Avatar
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    Mood swings and sadness

    This is usually my happiest time of year. I'm a huge Christmas buff and love buying presents for people. This year I find I am having quite a bit of trouble with my emotional state. This last week we celebrated Thanskgiving with family (always the doorway to the holiday season in my mind), decorated the outside of the house, and this weekend we decorated the inside of the house. I don't know if it is because we are in a new house, and my children are so much farther away than ever before, but I find I am really struggling emotionally. Part of me feels it is probably partially the Keppra (always mood swings, always), but part of me lately feels a bit fatalistic and overwhelmed. I feel like I am not over grieving all the losses I've suffered this year (my sanity and peace of mind being part of that, with this diagnosis).
    If I listed all the things that have changed and/or gone wrong this year it would be too much all at once. My counselor says each one is a loss and I'm still grieving over each of them, and it takes time to go through that. I'm starting to wonder if there is ever an end to the grieving process when it comes to a brain cancer diagnosis. When I think I'm finding my sanity and feeling better, it seems I start wondering how many holidays I have left, and if every year I'l be worrying that this one might be the last.
    This might seem a bit premature to those of you who have lost loved ones to GBM, because it is so much faster and more devastating than the grade II astrocytoma I have. I apologize if it seems that way. I'm just struggling after a difficult weekend with all of this, and I didn't expect that the holidays would be so difficult.
    grand mal seizure leading to MRI discovery of a suspicious brain mass in left temporal lobe May 24, 2013
    99% resection of a WHO Grade II diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma July 11, 2013
    1st postoperative MRI October 11, 2013 - clear for any regrowth
    Clear MRI Jan, April, Oct 2014
    Next MRI March of 2015
    1000 mg of Keppra daily with 200 mg of Topamax daily

  2. #2
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    Probably it is largely the Keppra.

    I'll tell you what epitomizes the holidays to me, anymore. In December of 2010 I was in an unfamiliar supermarket in the city where my sister was hospitalized post-surgery, and we were still waiting for the pathology results, though the surgeon had told us he was pretty sure it was a high grade glioma.

    And this idiot supermarket sound-system was blaring at me that "It's the most! Wonderful time! Of! The yeeeear!"

    My sister, on the other hand, never ceased to be a big fan of Christmas. I think you will probably regain your fondness for it eventually, but in a new, post-diagnosis way. Just my thought.

    I think your counselor is right. S/he sounds like a smart person.

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    mccindy,
    i cant imagine how it is to be in that dose of keppra, when my sister is on 1500mg and reacts VERY VERY similar to you. To the point where she cries out loud 3 times a week ( and how many more in secret) . She is in pain and i dont think she will be like she was..carefree. her aggressiveness and mood swings are bad. now my other sister asks me ...what is wrong with her and i say "the usual" and i continue to do the staff i did. i m very tired of this. she also suffers of panic attacks... to be precise she doesnt experience panic attacks but she fears she will have one ( or a grand mal) . so that alone keeps her away from doing the things she did before.
    and im pretty sure its not the diagnosis its that F.... keppra. Because she was diagnosed on december 2012 and had the surgery 6 months after. all those 6 months we had a very great time to be true.Anxious and sad yes but we were not depressed.
    She has nt started therapy because she is starting the prossess of redusing the keppra next week. 250mg per month. in six months she will be keppra-free- if everything goes smooth.... have you talked with the doctor to reduse the dose ?

  4. #4
    Senior User mccindy's Avatar
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    Thanks, both of you. Your kind words do help. Sibling, I hope you are right and I am able to find my love for Xmas again, because it really is a lot of fun for me. Knowing your sister was able to do it gives me strength and determination to do it as well!

    Stardome, I had asked the NO about weaning down the Keppra and she feels I am so high-risk to have more seizures, she doesn't want me to do it yet. I am supposed to have an EEG when I have my MRI at Mayo in April, and she said we'll see where things are then. I don't have super high hopes, though, because when I had some absorption problems caused by another medication recently I had weird dizzy spells whiich they thought might be seiziure related. The nurse said the NO mentioned that if the mood swings and stuff continue we might discuss another medication in April. It sucks. I do understand about your sister's panicky feelings because that happens to me sometimes too, especially when we go out in public. I feel kind of scared especially when there is a large crowd. I never used to be that way. I'm also kind of tired of being weepy, I never used to be a crier but I do a lot now. And I hate it because it does goofy things to my face since one side of it doesn't move the right way!
    grand mal seizure leading to MRI discovery of a suspicious brain mass in left temporal lobe May 24, 2013
    99% resection of a WHO Grade II diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma July 11, 2013
    1st postoperative MRI October 11, 2013 - clear for any regrowth
    Clear MRI Jan, April, Oct 2014
    Next MRI March of 2015
    1000 mg of Keppra daily with 200 mg of Topamax daily

  5. #5
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    I know the idea of more drugs hardly appeals, but what about an antidepressant?

  6. #6
    Senior User mccindy's Avatar
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    I could probably ask the NO about them.... I am a bit hesitant just because there are stories about how they can have the opposite effect sometimes? I should ask, I guess, next time I talk to her. Add one to my bundle of daily pills!
    grand mal seizure leading to MRI discovery of a suspicious brain mass in left temporal lobe May 24, 2013
    99% resection of a WHO Grade II diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma July 11, 2013
    1st postoperative MRI October 11, 2013 - clear for any regrowth
    Clear MRI Jan, April, Oct 2014
    Next MRI March of 2015
    1000 mg of Keppra daily with 200 mg of Topamax daily

  7. #7
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    I thought it was only in adolescents that anti-depressants had been found to cause depression?

    Anyway, I took fluoxetine (Prozac) for eight years. Stopped due to weight gain. However, there were no other side effects and it did work. Doctors no longer push fluoxetine because it's gone generic; instead they're pushing Effexor which I have heard has more side effects.

    I'm now taking 5HTP which I'm not sure actually does anything. It's an over-the-counter but of course would still need to be discussed with your doctor. Some people take St. Johnswort but that has some interferences with prescription drugs; you'd need to check.

    Edited to add: Once you stop taking Prozac the weight gain goes away again. Floop! So it is not to worry about that.
    Last edited by GBMsibling; 12-02-2013 at 11:04 PM.

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    We don't have Thanksgiving over here, so Christmas/New year has a double function: as present time for the kiddies (of all ages) and the time when families get together. Is it always a happy time? Not if those families remember that they did not like each other very much...

    That is for people without life threatening junk in their heads, and not taking mood affecting drugs! Moreover extrovert people are more susceptible to mood swings than introverts. Your mood swings seem perfectly normal in the circumstances.

    As well as the happy pills (and don't discount them) two mental tricks which might help:
    - detach yourself, think it is my condition and medication, not me
    - live for the day, rejoice in family and friends, don't think ahead, What you fear may not happen, something you don't expect may instead

    Easier said than done, but it might help.
    Wife died from a GBM, November 2012. The full story in this thread

  9. #9
    Senior User mccindy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lboy View Post
    As well as the happy pills (and don't discount them) two mental tricks which might help:
    - detach yourself, think it is my condition and medication, not me
    - live for the day, rejoice in family and friends, don't think ahead, What you fear may not happen, something you don't expect may instead
    Easier said than done, but it might help.
    Excellent advice, and words I'll try to remember on a daily basis.
    YOu have all supported me so well in the last couple of days, thank you all so much!

    Sibling, I will ask the doc to see what she thinks. I wouldn't have to worry too much about the weight gain, since I have a lot of trouble keeping my weight up with my GI issues (I am intolerant to a LOT of food).
    grand mal seizure leading to MRI discovery of a suspicious brain mass in left temporal lobe May 24, 2013
    99% resection of a WHO Grade II diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma July 11, 2013
    1st postoperative MRI October 11, 2013 - clear for any regrowth
    Clear MRI Jan, April, Oct 2014
    Next MRI March of 2015
    1000 mg of Keppra daily with 200 mg of Topamax daily

  10. #10
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    Oh, well then fluoxetine would be good; it might solve your weight-loss problem.

  11. #11
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    Mccindy,

    I think that the holidays are hard when you have been thrown a curve ball like a brain tumor! And a new house doesn't help, because there are no memories in it of prior years celebration. So this is the first year to start making memories and to believe that you'll have umpteen more years of holidays ahead of you. That is my prayer for you, along with being able to reduce the Keppra.

    Mare

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    Mccindy,

    a new house means that things can be different. Don't try to have everything as before (it won't be...and not only because of your diagnosis). So a new house with new possibilities, different things, new decorations in new places, maybe different food for Christmas (why not?), new hopes and different hopes. I am sure you will find your love to Christmas again, just it might have "matured" and look a bit different. Go out and find it

    Best wishes from Hopeflower
    My husband had a Grand Mal in Oct. 2013, resection in November 2013. Diagnosed with a grade II diffuse astrocytoma, close to language and motricity centres in the brain (insula glioma). Pathology says LOH on 19q but not on 1p. MGMT methylated. IDH1 mutation, no mutation on IDH2. Due to the location, probably starting with temozolomide.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lboy View Post

    - live for the day, rejoice in family and friends, don't think ahead, What you fear may not happen, something you don't expect may instead
    .
    That has proved true in spades. We worried about jobs, money, how our kids would turn out - all these were fine. A GBM was definitely not on the worry agenda (we had never even heard of the darn things).
    Wife died from a GBM, November 2012. The full story in this thread

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    Agree Lboy. Live for the day, make new memories and traditions to carry on! Don't dwell on the past.....nothing you can do about it now, just make the future better!

    Hope you're feeling better Cindy....remember, this is a magical time of year! Big hugs to you Cindy!!

    Deb

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    Senior User mccindy's Avatar
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    Thanks so, so much everyone. As of yesterday, I'm feeling better and better. I saw my counselor yesterday and she said the same thing as Sibling.... talk to the NO about an anti-depressant. Not as a cure but as some help to get through the low mood-swings. I'm going to call her today. Now that I'm feeling better I'm finding my love for the holiday coming back... been doing some gift shopping and making plans for our trip to AZ. Really looking forward to that. I also starting some writing about the whole thing, kind of got carried away, and now I've got 47 pages of stuff.... maybe I'll see if I can keep on going and turn it into a book.
    grand mal seizure leading to MRI discovery of a suspicious brain mass in left temporal lobe May 24, 2013
    99% resection of a WHO Grade II diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma July 11, 2013
    1st postoperative MRI October 11, 2013 - clear for any regrowth
    Clear MRI Jan, April, Oct 2014
    Next MRI March of 2015
    1000 mg of Keppra daily with 200 mg of Topamax daily

  16. #16
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    AZ for Christmas, the weather will be lovely. Not a white Christmas, however!
    If you are getting low, think about all that sun...
    Last edited by Lboy; 12-04-2013 at 05:03 PM.
    Wife died from a GBM, November 2012. The full story in this thread

  17. #17
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    I also starting some writing about the whole thing, kind of got carried away, and now I've got 47 pages of stuff.... maybe I'll see if I can keep on going and turn it into a book.
    how nice!! to express by writing. i want to do that but im scared of being overexposed if someone reads ( been there done that at 18 when my father found a page on the floor..i was so embarassed).
    anyway. AZ is arizona? r u visiting your son? shopping is a huge therapy i must say.im so happy you are feeling better!

  18. #18
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    I am so sorry to not having time to read all the topic comments but I did want to share that my wife is one year post 5cm tumor removal and the first 6 months were like a clinical trial in life because we ran the field of problems.

    Today we believe this:

    Don't take Keppra because the fatigue and depression are too great. Explore Oxtellar XR with your doctors. Her only side effect to that is some joint pain which is mitigated by Aleve.

    She was on Prozac, which is Fluoxetine by another name. But just switched to a Venlafaxine which seems to be working wonders. Just today she said how much better she feels and is going about the house starting projects and making lists

    Don't take Wellbutrin and/or derivatives without absolute assurance by your doctor because IT CAN CAUSE SEIZURES! Thank goodness for Pharmacists because they caught it after she was prescribed it.

    Hope my comments help someone.. Sorry in such a hurry but working and had to say something real quick about such a relevant topic.

    Love and respect.

  19. #19
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    mccindy,

    I am new here and you are the first post beside my own that I read. It's quite coincidental as I was diagnosed with a tumor due to SPS and CPS. Tumor removed May 31st and diagnosed with Anaplastic Astrocytoma. Post-op MRI on Oct 2nd, just scar tissue.

    Not my whole medical history, but quite interesting to see someone going through something similar at nearly the same time. I've been on Lithium and Seroquel for almost a year (prior to the cancer). My wife swears by it, anyways I hope you find what you need to get by.

  20. #20
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    mccindy,

    Sorry you are going through this. I remember feeling very down my first Christmas after being diagnosed. I was convinced it was going to be my last (and at that time my son was just 5). I couldn't get used to the fact I'd never see him in subsequent Christmases. Given the median survival of 14.6 months I was scheduled to die the following October or so.

    Well - I'm about to celebrate my third with this monster - and you will too!

    Everyone is different, but my 'coping mechanism' has been to live life as if I didn't have a tumor. I feel that every time I change my behavior and actions - it has 'won' in some way. When I feel myself spiraling down, I remind myself of that and give myself a silent 'buck up' talking to.

    I don't like Keppra either, but having suffered a few break-through seizures - like those even less! There's nothing to make you feel as if you have a serious illness like literally being knocked to the floor.
    Nikos

    GBM IV, frontal lobe - March 2011

 
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