(AVM) Arteriovenous Malformation & Personality Changes

Nightflight7879 FauxDiva at webtv.net
Mon Oct 2 12:03:43 EST 2000

I have been reading this discussion group with interest for a while. I
want to know if anyone here can direct me to web pages where I can read
about AVM surgery, with specific relation to personality changes that
may occur after surgery. I know that physical changes may occur after
AVM surgery has been done, but I can't find any information about
personality changes that may result due to the brain
surgery...and/or...the medication required after surgery is performed. 

Aproximately fourteen (14) years ago,
my sister had surgery for the removal of an AVM. The mass was "about the
size of a small orange,"...according to her surgeon. It was successfully

The only physical damage she suffered
was a loss of peripheral vision...as well as visual capability to read
easily. Up until her surgery she had been an avid reader, so this loss
of vision was a sad for her and caused some degree of depression.
However, she knew, as did her family, that her out come could have been
far more severe. We were all thankful, as was she...that this was the
only damage she suffered from the surgery. 

That was fourteen years ago, and there have been extraordinary changes
in her personality since then.  Wihout dragging out all the details...I
will simply say...that she  seems to be a different person from the
person she used to be. It is a dramatic change...and in some ways it is
a frightening change, due to the fact that she seems to be on a downhill
spiral. It is almost as if she is caught up in the desire 
for her own self destruction.

I am in some ways familiar with the relief someone may feel after a life
threatening circumstance. I know that after living with the horrific
pain from headaches and blurred vision.....After living through the
brain surgery...and after living through the spinal meningitis that
followed....she had been through a frightening, painful, life
threatening experience. I am aware that sometimes people who have been
through such frightening events may go to drastic extremes to "live"
their lives afterwards.. It creates an urgency to "live," before ones
life is "snatched away". 

My sister is taking a perscription of phenobarbitol...I don't know the
dosage, but it has been increased through the last fourteen years. In
other words it is probably a relatively strong dosage. I wonder if this
drug may have had an effect on her personality. 

In closing...I wonder if there were intangible side effects to the brain
as a result of the surgery...when combined with the increased strength
of medication....that may be responsible for the drastic changes in my
sister's personality. She does, indeed, seem like a different person.
After growing up through childhood with her...and knowing her as well as
we have known each other all these years...it is easy to see the marked
change that has taken place in her. It is frightening from the aspect
that...she is doing dangerous things. 

Any web site that might discuss  AVM brain surgery...and personality
changes..would be very much appreciated. I apologize for posting here if
I have done so in error. I would like to call her physician...but I know
that I can't do that. I don't know how to find information on this
subject. Her AVM was located in the back of her head near the bottom of
the skull. 

Thank you 

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