Monday, March 5, 2018

Online Prostate Cancer Support: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good
If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are a number of fantastic resources available to you. I spent a great deal of time visiting online support forums. What I liked best was the anonymity. You sign in with a screen name, and no one knows who you are. This enabled me to feel comfortable asking embarrassing questions. For example: “Anyone else find themselves urinating during an orgasm?”
I was amazed that I could ask any deeply personal questions and expect that I would receive multiple answers. Help with practical issues was available as well. When I wanted to know about buying diapers, I’d go online to a forum to ask, “What’s the best brand of diaper to buy?” Men would share their experiences and make recommendations.
I can’t say enough about the positive elements of online forms.

The Bad
It took me years to realize that all the support I received online wasn’t helping Brenda at all. In fact, the more time I spent online with other men coping with prostate cancer, the more isolated and alone she felt. There are advantages to attending a person-to-person support group with your partner. Prostate cancer is a couple’s disease, but I felt the issues we were coping with were too embarrassing to discuss in person, so I refused to attend any local support groups.

I believe my relationship with my wife suffered, because I neglected to find places where we’d experience mutual support.

Another online word of caution. Not everything you read, especially when relying on information from other people or from the marketing departments of companies for specific PC treatments, is true or accurate.

The Ugly
I never heard of an internet troll until I visited prostate cancer support forums. An internet troll is someone who joins a group for the sole purpose of starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, or off-topic, messages in an online community. A troll's goal is to hurt as many people as possible.

I became the target of personal and hurtful attacks. I’ve discovered it’s important to join forums that have a zero tolerance regarding personal attacks and trolls. I appreciate those forums that allow you to block specific individuals from your posts should that become necessary.
Overall, I believe the internet is an amazing source of information and support. Here’s a few of the helpful places I’ve visited:
Note: This article appeared in Prostate Cancer News Today 

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is:

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