Time marches on and soon we realize it has been several months since we’ve posted anything. Life is good. Kevin remains stable and it’s the holidays! Thanksgiving was spent with family and we had a great meal with great company. Christmas is right around the corner and then we can begin thinking about spring!
Kevin had an MRI in December and we got great news! No progression! Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!
Something comes to mind that I wanted to write about. Does brain cancer cause personality changes? Is Kevin the same person he used to be? The answer is not as obvious as it may seem. The explanation is more complex than it initially appears.
Any cancer diagnosis could bring about a change in personality for the person diagnosed. Some people consider it a “gift”, a wakeup call to the fact life is short and can change in an instant. Some feel it is a “gift” to discover who ones true friends are and to find kindness in the world. I am happy for those who feel this way. I truly hope they complete their bucket list and go on to live very happy lives. I’m not sure if brain cancer is different or if it’s just me, but I don’t see any of this as a gift.
In order to discuss whether or not brain cancer changes ones personality, it is important to define “personality”. One must first understand, the essence of “personality” is a summation of one’s life experiences to date, with possibly a bit of nature over nurture thrown in for good measure. Brain cancer often brings with it, a number of personality changes, largely due to physical changes in the brain. Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone with brain cancer. Consider for a moment, part of your brain is missing, what remains has been radiated and poisoned. You are now on any number of medications, and will remain on medication the rest of your life. Some of these medications cloud your mind and create a sense of detachment to the world around you. You constantly live with the fear of recurrence and the knowledge that you have a disease which to date, is considered incurable. You’ve been told by a number of doctors that this disease will almost assuredly recur and will likely take your life. You know that if and when it recurs, you may lose your ability to speak or walk or live life as you’ve known it. You may truly, truly lose your personality. You are in your early 30’s and are unable to work due to the constant fatigue and lapses in short term memory. You are likely physically unable to have children. You live in a reality where literally no one can truly understand your journey. NO ONE. Because no two brain tumors are alike. You, as much as anyone, want to be “normal” again. But like your personality, your “normal” has changed forever. Therefore, having undergone both a physical and psychological trauma, it is hardly surprising to find the cancer fighter is no longer a carefree bundle of joy, as they may have once been. To overcome the above takes a mental strength most of us don’t possess. It takes the ability to realize that one’s outlook is about perception and one’s perception is one’s reality.
Kevin is the same person he’s always been. He has always been an old soul. He is smart and kind and funny. Perhaps he needs things repeated more often. Memory loss is like that. If you have memory loss, you may not remember not remembering. It helps to make a list, but one could easily forget to make the list. Or misplace the list.
To be honest, we all change over time, with or without brain cancer. The personality is in a constant state of flux. Everyone going through major upheaval will change and perhaps those with brain cancer change faster or a little more. Kevin wakes up every day, puts a smile on his face and goes about his day. He may be productive in a way which is different than he used to be. He may not always be as happy or social as he once was. He may not be the Kevin other people think he should be. My advice to Kevin? People who love you will adapt. People who love you will not judge and will accept there are things about your disease they know nothing about. My advice to others who may want to voice an opinion regarding anyone else’s personality? Just don’t! Check your health privilege and be grateful you have one more day and one more week and one more year to spend with your friend who has brain cancer. Educate yourself. Understand that because someone doesn’t look sick, doesn’t mean they are not sick. Have a little bit of empathy, because there but for the grace of God……
Thank you for following our posts. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! :)