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How To Keep Moral Up

richndavid
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2010

I was diagnosed with pc in October 2008, Gleason 7 (3+4), PSA 12 and had the surgery on Nov 11, 2008. The surgeon said the cancer had not spread but unfortunately it had and it showed up on a PSA test the following September. I had 39 radiation treatments starting January 2010 and had one year of Lupron shots starting December 2009.

Now the Lupron has been discontinued and my first post Lupron PSA test is next month (March 2011) and it is very difficult for me to face it even though all post radiation PSA test results have been undetectable.

The Drs told me that they got the cancer back in December 2008 but it came back. I just want to scream. I feel helpless and things are out of control. There is also a lot of anger issues since I was only 60 when the Dr diagnosed the pc.

The anger I am dealing with but how do you bring about a sense of control in your life when you have no control over the cancer returning? I tried to live healthy by losing weight, eating better and exercising but the cancer still occurred.

How do you keep up moral when you do not know what the next test result will be? How do you deal with the fear that the cancer will return? It is easy to say to focus on this or that but it becomes more difficult as the date for the test gets closer and you have to do the test every six weeks to three months.

I have tried counseling on this issue with mixed results and the local support group only meets once a month and I really need something more than that. My partner is supportive but he has his own issues to deal with on this.

Any suggestions would really be appreciated as I am really going thru a discouraged period now.

Thanks

Rich

mattmans5
Posts: 70
Joined: Jan 2011

Hey Rich ,

Hope you have a better day , The frustration is tough some days , I was diagonsed young also ,

I do at times look at the discussion group of the young cancer survivors just for some perspective , on the fear and troubles I deal with , sometimes it helps , sometimes not , but like you I ask for help .

I am a new york yankee fan so I have that going for me .

take care

joe

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 1292
Joined: Apr 2009

Consider attending a religious group, doesn't make any difference which one, as long as the sermons are uplifting: you want a clergyman who is positive.

Help others by volunteering....you get back more that you put out.

Keep active...fill your life with positive things. so do positive activities.....eliminate negative activities....ones that you feel you have to do.

We here at this forum had posted on a thread that lists positive things in our lives...this was a few months ago....well anyway focus on positive things in your life, not the negatives.

chitown
Posts: 90
Joined: Mar 2010

A chemical dis-balance can happen in this in this trauma that can cause this- I was only 48 when I got the diagnosis and surgery..and had very similar experience Talk to your primary physician to explore starting a mild antidepressant, and while it kicks in 4-6 week take a daily anti-anxiety medicine.
Big taboo thing for many.but this physical situation as well. I think doing this will only help all else you may be doing..good luck

mrspjd
Posts: 688
Joined: Apr 2010

Rich,

Welcome to the PCa forum. Sorry to read of the situation you find yourself in, compounded by the roller coaster of emotions that go with this insidious disease but, kudos to you for being able to write about it and ask for help.

The previous posters have all made some valuable suggestions: volunteering to help others who are less fortunate (yes, they exist), exercise (even if it's just walking down your driveway and back a few times each day), religious affiliation & prayer, psychotropic drugs (with supervision from, & sessions with, a mental health professional), or confiding in a good friend or family member (other than your SO, if he is having his own issues with your dx & tx).

I'd like to add a few more suggestions for both you and your partner. I found one book particularly useful in helping me deal with my husband's PCa and, my fear, anxiety, and stress related to his dx and tx. The book is "Full Catastrophe Living" by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. I was also able to take a series of eight classes that were based on his book. The class is called "Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Through Meditation." The breathing exercises and one minute mediations have been a tremendous resource for me in learning how to get my anxiety, worry and stress under control and put things in perspective.

The basic (simplified) premise of Mindfulness thinking is that we cannot change the past, we have no control over, nor can we predict, the future, therefore, we only have the present--now, this moment, to live in (some say that's why they call the "present" time a "gift"). I'm still a work in progress but, the breathing practice and philosophy of Mindfulness meditation have made a big difference for me. My husband seems to be coping much better than me but, he has also found the practice useful.

It is difficult for some men to admit they need help & emotional support and, in some cultures, even taboo to ask for help. But know that you are not alone. In addition to confiding in a trusted friend or family member, I recommend that, if possible, you seek the support & guidance of a licensed mental health professional. Since you indicated you had mixed results with one therapist, I would encourage you to please interview others, until you find someone who you can work with, and who can work with you to sort things out. Don't give up, there are some good mental health care professionals out there.

In some communities, free mental health counseling services may be offered if you cannot afford them. One resource for such free cancer services, as well as free Mindfulness and other coping classes & strategies, is "The Wellness Community," which is usually located in some larger metro areas. A few established Wellness Community facilities even offer online cancer counseling services. (Google "thewellnesscommunity" with the name of your city).

Whatever path you take, I hope you find the support you need in order to help you get through this "rough patch." I also hope you will consider returning to the forum with updates on your progress & to let us know how you're doing.

mrs pjd

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 1526
Joined: Nov 2010

Rich,
You are not alone. The majority of us (survivors) have confronted similar situations sometime along our fate; this forum is full of comrades were everybody chats and helps.

I am 61 years old, retired, and I find comfort in long walks with my dog, playing golf on weekends and seeing plants growing in my veggie garden (tendered by myself). I also do things to take my mind away at critical occasions such as playing “mind” games (chess, crosswords, sudoku, etc.). Travelling is very relaxing, particularly by train, to meet friends or that far family member.

Knowing what is going to happen to me in this bumpy road has helped me a lot in defeating anxiety. A book named “A Primer on Prostate Cancer – The Empowered Patient’s Guide” by Dr. Strum and Pogliano is an excellent choice for your spared time.

Take care
VGama

Julietinthewoods
Posts: 15
Joined: Dec 2010

Rich, you have received some great suggestions so far. If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of medications to treat anxiety, remember that they can be taken for a short period of time, and you can discontinue them when you feel ready.

I am very worry-prone, and I have found that what works for me is music. I have my ipod loaded up with my favorite music (traditional Irish, especially jigs and reels), and it never fails to lift my spirits. I also love alternative, or indie, rock. If you have an MP3 player, try filling it up with nothing but whatever makes you feel like singing and drumming!

I know your partner is dealing with his own anxiety about your well-being, but it may help if you two make an extra effort to distract yourselves with fun outings. If the weather is good, get outside. I always feel better outside than in.

I wish you the best.

Juliet

mrspjd
Posts: 688
Joined: Apr 2010

Good point about listening to fav music. I do the same and, when combined with meditation, for me it seems to heighten the music enjoyment sensation, taking it to a whole new level of music appreciation...like touching the depth of the soul. Pretty incredible feeling.

Unfortunately, sometimes when one is going through tough times and suffering profound feelings of depression, sadness and/or despair, the senses are often dulled/numb, making it difficult to find enjoyment or pleasure in the little things that many of us take for granted and find satisfying.

I hope anyone unable to cope, or experiencing feelings/emotions that become debilitating, especially in connection with a PCa or other cancer dx and/or tx, is able to find support/help from some of the suggestions offered in this thread, including, if applicable, seeking guidance from a mental health care professional.

Be Well,
mrs pjd

califvader's picture
califvader
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2010

i was 54 when diagnosed. i also had surgery. i am 62 now and dealing with rising psa. i have had days when i was very angry. days of trying to figure out the best course. i find that exercise helps me quite a bit.

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello Califvader

Would you mind telling us how long after surgery did your PSA start to rise & what are the readings? Are you taking any hormone drugs?
Thanks for the reply -wishing you success in defeating this disease.

Rad Hopeful

califvader's picture
califvader
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2010

i had my surgery in sept. 2003. no psa rise until one year later. it has been almost seven and half years since my surgery and my last psa reading was 4.7. i am not on hormonal therapy and trying to prolong that as long as possible. i have been on watchful waiting. i will be seeing an oncologist soon to see if i can get a prostascint scan. my intial readings at surgery were 3+3=6, stage T2.

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