Friday, August 16, 2013

How To Avoid Buyer's Remorse After Prostate Surgery

Buyers remorse is an emotional response on the part of a buyer in a transaction, which may involve feelings of regret, fear, depression or anxiety. Buyers remorse is difficult to deal with when it involves the purchase of an expensive item. When it involves deep regret regarding the removal of your prostate this feeling of  remorse can ruin your life for weeks, months or years.  I've collected a few quotes over the years from men who've expressed buyer’s remorse on various on-line prostate support forums. Here’s a sample of some of those quotes. The first quote came from a man who died from prostate cancer approximately 6 months after writing this heartbreaking post:

Regret! Not from PC but from decision to have a radical prostatectomy.
It's now about nine weeks after surgery and things seem to be getting
worse.The physical pain from the surgery is gone but everything else is 
deteriorating. There is not a minute where I don't regret my decision and 
prefer to just evaporate. There is no denying it; I am now a freak. I don't 
respect myself and, in all honesty, I don't know how others would respect 
me either. Sleep is now my only comfort. Perhaps a very deep sleep will 
help me to evaporate, permanently.

Other Expressions Of Buyer’s Remorse:
I’ve asked myself a thousand times since my RP in June 2009…..WHY? I can still say I wish I had never had the surgery.

I’m 7 months in and wish I never let them talk me into having it removed. My life has changed and just keeps getting worse.

May 9 2011 I under went a radical prostatectomy Worst decision I ever made. 2 years later I still suffer from the side effects of the surgery. My life has change forever. I'll never be the same again. I am in a deep depression and forever will be. I would NOT suggest surgery to anyone.

I just feel like a freak afterwards. I feel like I'm not even a man anymore. I wish now that I had never let anyone touch me, and that I would have preferred that I had just let the cancer kill me instead. Had I known then what this would be like, I would have told them to kiss my ass. I'd have just taken whatever time I had left. I won’t ever go within a mile of another doctor.

Buyers remorse is often accompanied by a depression and sense of hopeless and futility about life. You can feel this way even when you've been cured of cancer. You are not alone. Many men feel this way, but knowing that doesn't make your life any better. One positive outcome in reading blog is this: A secondary cause of pain is that you can judge yourself very harshly for not feeling grateful to be alive and/or cured of cancer. There is no need to get down on yourself for feeling this way. That said, I believe the level of discouragement and depression expressed in the comments above requires men to do something they hate to do.....GET PROFESSIONAL HELP.

I'm convinced God still has a plan for your life and it's a good plan, but you'll never get to experience this plan until you get the help you need to overcome your sense of discouragement, futility, depression and possibly your wish to die.

If you don't get help, you'll not only miss out on the wonderful plan God has for your life, the chances are you'll ruin your marriage, and relationships with the people you love most. You will withdraw from everyone and everything.

In the book Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend they explain that healthy boundaries keep the bad out and allow good in. Unhealthy boundaries do the opposite. They don't allow the good in, and won't let the bad out. Without professional intervention there is a great risk of wasting years and perhaps decades of your life living in misery.

Here's a few links to find out if there is a prostate cancer support group near you:
Us Too International
Prostate Cancer Foundation
Man to Man

If you are thinking about surgery, the best way to minimize the possibility of you experiencing buyer's remorse is to get accurate information, develop realistic expectations by talking with at least 6 or more men who've had surgery. Here are some websites to help you find those men:
Healing Well
Prostate Cancer Info Link

 Since where you will land post surgery is in a great part dependent upon the skill of your surgeon, find one who has performed a minimum of four to five hundred surgeries. Read, discuss, and learn the facts before you make the decision to have surgery.

Last but not least, don't believe the ads and the on-line marketing for robotic surgery. Maintain a very skeptical attitude toward the men who were cherry picked to advertise for treatment centers. They will tell you how easy it is was for them to get their life back after surgery. It’s highly unlikely you’ll feel that way.

In my book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Sexual & Spiritual Aspects of Prostate Cancer I share both my personal experiences as well as my professional training as a Medical & Psychiatric Social Worker to help other men and couples overcome buyer’s remorse, depression as well as a variety of pre and post surgical issues. I priced the Kindle addition below $3 to make this resource affordable. You can look inside the book, and read the reviews at

The best cure for buyer’s remorse is not to develop a case of buyer’s remorse in the first place. Knowing what life is like without a prostate before surgery can help you to avoid this very painful and distressing condition.