I have a brain tumor in my left hypothalamus, not sure if related, but I have been feeling extremely irritable and sad almost like I’m going to have an outburst of anger and I have also had problems with speaking today, I tried to talk but my words would not come out right. I feel hopeless!

A: The hypothalamus is one of the centers that controls emotion so it doesn’t surprise me you are moody. On the other hand, a diagnosis of a brain tumor is enough to make anyone sad and angry. Your trouble with speech isn’t something I’d expect, unless it is a symptom of depression. But I may not have complete information.

You need to be talking to your oncologist or whatever specialist you are working with. Once the initial shock of the diagnosis wears off, it’s normal to have lots of concerns and questions that you maybe didn’t think to ask before now. You didn’t mention if you have a partner or family to help you. If so, please ask someone to accompany you to your doctor appointments. It’s hard to stay focused when we’re anxious or depressed. Ask about what symptoms may emerge and what treatments and preventive measures you can take to keep you more emotionally balanced. Think about seeing a therapist who can teach you more coping skills and who can help you negotiate the complicated medical world you now find yourself in.

It’s often helpful to know that we’re not alone when we are challenged like this. I encourage you to find a support group to add to your network of support. People who are going through much the same thing are often the best help in finding information and resources as well as in just being present for each other. I know. I’ve been there. I had brain surgery 14 years ago. I send you my very best wishes and prayers.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie