Friday, December 22, 2017

Words Matter to Prostate Cancer Survivors

How many of us as kids heard this phrase or repeated it to someone who teased us? "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." The irony is that we knew it wasn't true before we said it. We were hoping we could hide our hurt from the person making mean or hurtful comments that we still remember as adults.

On our journey of cancer survivorship we hear comments from others, and we make comments to ourselves. Some of those comments are uplifting and encouraging. Others not so much. Have you heard any of these posted on this link at            Prostate Cancer News Today 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Twenty Things Cancer Survivors Wish Their Healthly Friends & Family Knew

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was 57. My PSA (prostate-specific antigen) remains undetectable seven years after my surgery.I expected there'd come a time when I'd give up my cancer survivor status. I thought I'd return to thinking about myself in the same way I thought about myself prior to my diagnosis.

That never happened, and I don't believe it ever will. In other words, once a cancer survivor, always a cancer survivor. It doesn't matter whether you're in remission for 10 months or 10 years. I suspect most of us living with cancer live with the possibility of a reoccurrence.

I realized I'll never go back to my pre-cancer days or identity. I'll always be a cancer survivor. I think all cancer survivors have certain sensitivites we wish our healthly friends and family knew.
I asked several men with prostate cancer what they wished their friends and family knew about living with cancer.

Some of their responses are listed below. I added a few of my own.
1. Looks are deceiving. You can't judge how well I'm doing based on my physical appearance.
2. Living with cancer is highly stressful before, during, and after treatment.
3. Please don't share stories about miracle cures.
4. I don't want to hear stories about people you know who died from prostate or any other form of cancer.
5. Don't feel pressured to say something wise, give advice, or cheer me up.
6. If you're seriously interested in how I'm doing, listen rather than talk.
7. Before, during, and after treatment, physical, emotional, and relational challenges occur.
8. There's no such thing as "good cancer."
9. Cancer isn't contagious. Using a cup, fork, or spoon at my home won't give you cancer.
10. If treatment has affected my erectile functioning, I probably feel awful about myself as a man and as a partner.
11. Sometimes I feel anger, jealousy, or hostility toward folks who are healthy.
12. I'm facing financial pressures. Missed work and high deductibles and co-pays changed my economic circumstances.
13. I may feel so discouraged or depressed that I'm sorry I survived my treatment.
14. I need breaks from thinking or talking about cancer.
15. The effects of treatment cause quality-of-life issues that are difficult to talk about.
16. My values and priorities may remain unchanged or undergo a radical transformation.
17. My relationship with my partner is changing. We don't know whether coping with cancer will bring us closer or tear us apart.
18. Comfort clich├ęs like "You'll beat this" or "Think positive" can permanently damage our relationship.
19. Don't judge me if coping with cancer challenges my faith or the goodness of God.
20. Waiting for test results is highly stressful, even if I've been in remission for years.
After reading through this list, you may wonder what you can do to help your partner, family member, or friend cope with cancer.

Here are a few of my suggestions:
• Before you say or do anything, give up on the notion that it's your job to say or do something to make it easier to cope with cancer.
• Give the gift of focused listening. This means listening to things that are uncomfortable or difficult to hear without changing the subject or fixing a problem.
• Share some non-cancer-related time together. When possible, ask to go out together for a meal, a cup of coffee, a movie, or a walk. Any activity you can enjoy together is a valued gift.
• If you feel called to pray, rather than say, "I'll pray for you," ask if there's something specific you can pray for.
• Laughter is great medicine. Finds ways to share laughter. Watching a comedy together is one way to laugh together.
• Give specific rather than general offers of help. Rather than say, "Call me if you need anything," say, "Is it OK if I bring a meal over tonight? What would you like?"
If you have other suggestions, please share them.

This article appeared on Prostate Cancer News Today

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Where is Prostate Cancer Taking You?

As aging has a diminishing effect on almost every part of my life (moving me from weary to wearier) and limiting the things I do. (Like avoiding long distance driving at night.) 
I've endured more than a dozen surgeries. I've had three organs removed. (One of them my prostate, and a new one put in. (A penile implant.)

I find this devotional provides me with a different perspective. It's wonderful and reassuring to know that I'm also moving from "strength to strength." God's Word often changes our perspective for the better. Case and point here:

Psalm 84:7
They go from strength to strength.

.........That is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking, we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good order for our journey, but by-and-by the road is rough, and the sun is hot, we sit down by the wayside, and then again painfully pursue our weary way. 

But the Christian pilgrim having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome travel and struggle as when he first set out. 

He may not be quite so elate and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was, but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly, far more surely. 

Some gray-haired veterans have been as firm in their grasp of truth, and as zealous in diffusing it, as they were in their younger days; but, alas, it must be confessed it is often otherwise, for the love of many waxes cold and iniquity abounds, but this is their own sin and not the fault of the promise which still holds good: 

"The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint." Fretful spirits sit down and trouble themselves about the future.

"Alas!" say they, "we go from affliction to affliction." Very true, O thou of little faith, but then thou goest from strength to strength also. 

Thou shalt never find a bundle of affliction which has not bound up in the midst of it sufficient grace. God will give the strength of ripe manhood with the burden allotted to full-grown shoulders.

-Charles Spurgeon -

How has your faith made a difference in way you live your life as a cancer survivor? Paradoxically as I move from "weary to wearier" I'm also moving from "strength to strength." 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Don't Let Cancer or Unwanted Change Ruin Your Holiday

I believe most of us want to experience a Hallmark holiday when celebrating Christmas or Chanukah. Unfortunately, the tragedies of unwanted change and loss often intrude to rob us of our joy. If we decide to judge our grief or ourselves for grieving we add to our suffering and misery.

As a PC survivor I've learned it's important to make room for everything you feel during the holidays, be that sorrow, grief, loss, disappointment, etc. Whatever it is, acknowledge it and make room for it, not as an unwelcome interruption, but rather as part of your life circumstances and personal history. 

It's also important to find things to be grateful for. This may require time and effort but it's a fruitful, worthwhile, and healthy activity.

Give up trying to experience a Hallmark holiday and live the one you have,  accepting the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow that comes with living in this world. I'd also recommend adding some humor to the season, find some things that make you laugh.

Last but not least, find a way to bless or bring joy to someone else. Add these things to your holiday celebration and you'll have a genuine, life affirming holiday.

Friday, December 8, 2017

What To Do When the Misery of Prostate Cancer Won't End

If the misery of prostate cancer, or the treatment of cancer, impacts your every waking moment here's what you can to do:
Visit this link at Prostate Cancer News Today. When The Misery of Prostate Cancer Won't End.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Don't Let Prostate Cancer Steal Your Joy

I received a present that cost the sender nothing to send. It's so valuable to me that I would trade it for a million dollars. If you're coping with cancer this holiday season, you'll want to read this article titled: Don't Let Prostate Cancer Steal Your Joy This Holiday Season published in Prostate Cancer News Today.