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Managing emotions

MrsBerry
Posts: 102
Joined: Dec 2017

Hi, I am a new member. I got my diagnosis last week...and my husband got a Dx of prostate cancer one day later. My emotions are swinging wildly from hope and courage, to despair and unholy fear. I will have surgery on 1/11; he meets with a surgeon on 1/3 to determine his next step. His cancer is a moderately high grade so I am sure he will need surgery as well, and fast. My case is grade 1 endometrioid carcinoma, but I am still terrified.For both of us.

I am having trouble eating. I cannot vent to my hubs, he has his own demon to fight. How on earth will we manage? I have no idea. For now, I just need to manage my emotions. It doesn't help that Christmas is an emotional time on its owN, and makes for delays in meeting with docs and getting our medical ducks in a row. Any suggestions on ways to keep the anxiety at bay? 

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 820
Joined: Feb 2016

Oh, I’m so sorry you and your husband are having to go all through this, especially at the holidays. My best advice is to try to just take one day at a time right now and try not to jump to conclusions. Believe me, all of us here know how hard that is but will be in your best interest. Try to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas and have hope for what is to come for you and your husband. Do you have any other family?  If yes, now is to rally the troops and get all the support and help you can. It’s okay to have trepidation and fear but try not to stay in that place and try not to go down the deep holes. This will be a marathon not a sprint. I’m sure some of the other ladies will be along soon with much more inspirational words than me. Hang in there Mrs & Mr Berry. 

MrsBerry
Posts: 102
Joined: Dec 2017

thanks for responding, CheeseQueen. We have told some family, but not all. I do not want Christmas to be a day of long faces and cancer talk, so it is better to wait and tell everyone after Jan. 1. 

Donna Faye's picture
Donna Faye
Posts: 272
Joined: Jan 2017

Your double whammy has knocked you down and for good reason. I have found it is best to let those who love you - family, friends, doctors,etc. know what is going on and ask for support. That was hard for me to learn but it actually helps them too as they are now able to feel useful.  This was my second time around so not as scary as first but know this. Learning to wait patiently is a must with cancer. I got my diagnosis on Dec. 15, 2016 so waited until after Christmas to share as I knew I could not tell them anything re treatment until after the holiday when doctors have few appointments. I had my surgery meeting on 6 Jan. and surgery on 25th!  Then has to wait 6 weeks for healing and then start chemo in April, radiation in July,etc.

Patience has never been my talent but I am learning. When I felt blue I called someone and we went to a movie or out to lunch. My son in laws, one an EMT, other a radiologist, gave me my Lovenox shots for the first week as I was too chicken to do them! My grandsons, 12 and 14, came and did yardwork and vacuuming, neighbors brought meals. So, ask for help...it is OK to do that. The year has taught me not to be so dang independent and has brought us all closer. 

Must also say how much this site helped. Long distance buddies!!Hang in there!  Let us hear how things go.

Big hug!  Donna Faye

 

saltycandy13
Posts: 167
Joined: Dec 2017

I'm so sorry.  I have been waiting 5 weeks just to see a doctor.  Gyno/oncologist just to get the ball rolling.  I AM A WRECK.  I am on Klonopin.  It keeps me from tearing my hair out.  Aside from taking tranquilizers, I have found trying to keep busy with the gym and the dog and house, keep my mind off of it.

 

Please try to stay strong.  We are all going through similiar things.  These doctors just make up wait and wait.  I have 2 more weeks to go just to get my consultation and then I need my hysterectomy ASAP!

 

Karen

evolo58
Posts: 293
Joined: Dec 2017

hope and courage ... check  
despair and unholy fear ... check

(Asking ladies on board ... how many of these emotions have you felt? I believe, if we are honest with ourselves, most of us have felt at least despair and/or fear ... more than once. Probably frequently. I think that's perfectly OK. Venturing into doctor- and medical-land is scary, full of terms we don't understand, and Googling them can make us worry quite a bit. What is important is that you don't give up!)

Waiting is part of the game. I was first diagnosed on 11/28, after several weeks during which I had an ultrasound, two physicals and a CT scan. My PCP managed to pull a few favors and get me examined by the gyno/onco on 11/21, rather than my original appointment on 12/1.

I am not sure about your husband, but I do know with certain cancer cases, including prostrate, some doctors now do neoadjuvant chemo for advanced-stage cases. This is what I'm undergoing now. Three rounds of chemo pre-surgery (hopefully), another CT scan to determine if any problem tumor areas have shrunk (malignant or suspicious, but not necessarily malignant at this point), surgery if the CT scan looks better, three more chemo rounds. Possibly radiation in some cases. Testing and treatment protocols may differ from patient to patient. So if a doctor proposes doing pre-surgery chemo or radiation, or going for a second test, don't be overly surprised. 

I think most of us, when confronted with cancer of any stage or grade, exclaim, "Just get the !@#$ing thing out of me! Stop pussyfooting!" Consulting with a second doctor may help put your mind at ease with your husband if neoadjuvant treatment is warranted, if there seems to be an unwarranted delay, or you have some serious quesitons about treatments. In my case, since I have an advanced-stage UPSC, neoadjuvant treatment is extemely common, and this second doctor at a different facility told me she would have done the same exact thing. That put my mind at ease, and it made me feel like I was doing SOMETHING, rather than staring at the calendar. Do NOT be afraid to ask questions and persist in getting answers. Both of you are literally fighting for your lives!

But in any case, tests and results seem to take forever, and often, even after waiting, these results don't seem particluarly clear until a second test or the surgery itself. I sincerely hope that your next Christmas will be a time of celebration and hope.

MrsBerry
Posts: 102
Joined: Dec 2017

Donna, Karen, Evolo - thank you for your responses. I am going to try to have a festive Christmas with my family. You are all in my thoughts. HUGS, MrsBerry

ckdgedmom's picture
ckdgedmom
Posts: 166
Joined: Oct 2017

I second all that evolo said...

patience has never been my virtue...but I have learned it with this cancer...

as hard as it will be try and enjoy your holiday...you have been hit with a double whammy and I can't imagine how that feels..

you will be in my prayers...

 

 

MrsBerry
Posts: 102
Joined: Dec 2017

Thank you ckdgedmom.  Patience has never been my strong suit...  :p

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2827
Joined: Jun 2010

I've had breast and endometrial cancers and my husband has had prostate cancer.  He did not have surgery. He had radiation only.  His cancer had a Gleason score of  only 6 but his PSA was 40 and all 6 cores were positive. He was also 70.  I hope your hysterectomy goes well and it is Grade 1 and I also hope you have it done robotically. You will recover much faster and be in much better shape to help hubby if he needs you.  

 

saltycandy13
Posts: 167
Joined: Dec 2017

Everyone on here has been a great inspiration of hope for me.  

I have to share that last night I watched a show called "Dog and Beth-the fight of their life."

If you are not familiary, Dwayne Chapman, (Dog The Bounty Hunter) from tv's A/E network, has his wife, Beth Chapman, who was diagnosed with stage 2 throat cancer back last summer.  The show is very inspriing and very hopeful.

I can say I feel much strength after watching Beth Chapman and what she went through.  All with a happy ending of "cancer free."  I immediately went to instagram and Beth is looking great.  They gave her a 50/50 chance with 13 hours of surgery.

If you can catch it again or read about Beth Chapman, wife of Dog The Bounty Hunter, it sure helped me.  She really went through so much emotion, and highs and lows.

 

Karen

MrsBerry
Posts: 102
Joined: Dec 2017

Oh, Double Whammy, I am sorry you have to go through all That! Hubs is Gleason 4+3, we meet with a surgeon on 1/3. My surgery is going to be robotic, thank goodness. 

Salty, I will look up Ms. Beth.

Thank you all again. 

HorseLvr's picture
HorseLvr
Posts: 102
Joined: Nov 2017

I'm so sorry you and your hubby are going through this. I totally understand your feelings - I'm a few steps behind you, waiting to start testing procedures in Jan - and it's been driving me nuts. A piece of advice I was given very recently by someone with training (not on this board) is to remind yourself that there is nothing you can do to impact (in my case, the procedure). Deep breathing and meditation was also suggested, as well ask talking to someone and not keeping it bottled inside.

 

Try to relax and enjoy the season and not think about what lies ahead. Easier said than done, I know. Last night, I went to church even tho I'm not religious. It helped take my mind off things. 

saltycandy13
Posts: 167
Joined: Dec 2017

horseLvr:  I've never been super religious either, but praying I do believe does help at times.  We have to be in touch with God or whatever our spirituality is.  It does give me peace for some of the time

barnyardgal
Posts: 227
Joined: Oct 2017

I'm sorry. My dad had prostate cancer at 65. He opted to treat it aggressively and had surgery and radiation 40 times. He has been cancer free for 15 years. 

MrsBerry
Posts: 102
Joined: Dec 2017

Barnyard gal, that is so encouraging to hear about your dad.

KatnHat's picture
KatnHat
Posts: 27
Joined: Jan 2017

what you're going through. I know it must sound so trite, but please do talk to your husband and voice your fears and cry... you have every right to. I would suggest you see a social worker together as well; they offer free services at my cancer center (St. Joe's Providence in Burbank, CA). Gosh, I don't know what I would have done without my husband there to take care of me after my hysterectomy (Oct. 2016). Subsequent chemo and radiation was NOT bad for me; though I did get sick the last week of radiation.  But of course, husband was there for me.

I hope you have some family members or good friends to help each other. I found people REALLY do want to help with things such as meal preps, driving to treatment, just talking it out... My hubby set up a Facebook Support page for me and it was so gratifying.

Soup52's picture
Soup52
Posts: 902
Joined: Jan 2016

Mrs. Berry welcome to our group. I’m sorry that I just saw this having been gone over the holidays. We can all relate to your fears. I had a d+c in August of 2015 and a wait to see oncologist and then scans etc. no surgery until mid October. After surgery internal and external radiation and chemo I have been clear since August 2016. I know waiting is difficult, but I wanted you to see that even with a wait for treatment good results are possible. Oh after I had been cleared my husband took his yearly visit to the urologist. He too was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His treatments have been hormone treatments, external and internal radiation. He gets a hormone shot every 6 months. We won’t know how well he has done until later in the year. He has done well with everything so far, so once again hope is possible. Prayers for you that all goes well!

MrsBerry
Posts: 102
Joined: Dec 2017

KatnHat, you are right, people will want to help, and I will have to ask. Soup I am so happy to hear that you are free of disease. Mr Berry sees the oncologist today. 

I am trying to view this as a long journey in the dark, where I can only step ahead when the next step has been illuminated. My sister in law volunteered to be a listening ear when I need to talk, scream, vent, wig out, lose it, whatever!

Kcosta617
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2017

Something that helped me in the early stages of my diagnosis was my local cancer support group.  Sometimes strangers are easier to talk to than family; at least it will be a group of people who really KNOW what you ar experiencing.  Ask your doctor for a referral or just google.  It also might be worth considering couples counseling.  A crisis like this can bring you and your husband together or cause you to retreat to your separate corners for fear of worrying each other or hurting each other's feelings.  Just two suggestions that helped me. Otherwise, you are already doing what is right for you and I know it can be overwhelming to add one more thing.  Best wishes to you and your husband.  

SF73
Posts: 277
Joined: Oct 2017

I think this is a marvelous suggestion. MrsBerry, I am so sorry that you guys are going through this. Wishing you both many healthy years together. 

Hulya

MrsBerry
Posts: 102
Joined: Dec 2017

Kcosta and SF73- thank you so much for your replies and good wishes. 

I am getting closer to my surgery date. I know there will be MORE WAITING after that, before I know my staging and need for further treatment. MrB will likely go the hormone/radiation route, the surgeon does not see him as a good candidate for radical prostatectomy.  We have an appointment with the radiation onc in two weeks.

My great worry is that I will require further treatment after surgery and will not be able to care for and help him adequately. He already relies on me a great deal. 

Just typing out these thoughts is helpful. I cannot say them to anyone in my life right now. Blessings on us all.

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