Featured image: CONNOR BOTTS
It’s not easy to talk about the uncomfortable things that make you feel very vulnerable, but I offer that it is both necessary and wise to do. Fear can be and is often a very common emotional reaction prior to, during, and after prostate cancer is detected and then treated.
Things like fear of death or possible side effects from surgery or radiation therapy or hormone therapies all can play havoc with your mind, emotions, and mental balance. At some point you may start to question, “What will happen if I get sick again in some later stage after treatment?”
A wide range of emotions
Having an honest conversation with your urologist can help put these worries at ease by letting them know your concerns. At that point they can tailor their advice as it impacts your individual case and possible outcomes. I also believe that getting in touch with someone who has walked the path before you can be a significant source of comfort and help put your mind at ease. This is not the time to self-isolate.
Being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be a devastating experience, and it does not necessarily matter whether your type of cancer is aggressive or slow-growing. No matter how you slice it, facing a potentially life-threatening disease is never easy to take in. The range of emotions that any of us can feel on any given day may vary from sadness, anxiety, fear, and more.
And no matter how you look at it, from this point on you may always be faced with some combination of these elements lurking in the back of your mind. From the moment you get that call to finally making your decision on what to do next. I got my “no so good news” cell phone call while sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic while parked on the East River Drive in New York City. I was almost 3 hours away from home at the time, and for the entire drive home I kept asking myself, “Why did I answer that call?”
Fearing what will happen next
From the moment you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, there is an unpredictable element that goes along with every thought and decision you will make. Which MD is the best for me? What treatment options are best for me? Do I treat this now or wait for a while?
At this point you can spend a significant time wondering about side effects or wondering if a recurrence or any number of other “what if” possibilities may occur, including questions surrounding sexual performance and other quality-of life issues. In the end no matter how much you suffer through these questions, in the end no one really knows what will happen next!
Turning to others for help
It is true that being positive may improve quality of life when you’re living with cancer, but perhaps it doesn’t work out that way for everyone. Maybe expressing negative emotions can help for some. One thing to consider, though: if feeling down makes sense in light of what’s happening, then maybe talking through things isn’t such a bad idea. Sometimes you may need to reach out to someone who understands where you are in your journey right now.