Navigating the Road to Recovery
After Prostate Cancer Treatment
Recovery from prostate cancer treatment is different for everyone. Once you have selected your treatment option, talk with other prostate cancer survivors who can help you understand what you can expect during your recovery process. Remember to include physician specialists, supportive family members, and friends who can provide various levels of support during your treatment and recovery.
Setting Your Expectations
For each treatment, recovery can vary in length. For those on hormone therapy, for example, treatment will extend for months or years, often intermittently. Knowing what to anticipate can help you manage your expectations.
You might feel tired, weak, and uncomfortable. There are medications that can be prescribed and pain management techniques that can be explained to help you get through pain or discomfort. As your needs during recovery change, so might your healthcare team need to be changed.
Staying connected with those who have been there, who are there, and who understand will help you live a full and balanced life.
Once you have an estimated time for your treatment and recovery, alert your employer as to what changes, if any, or time-off arrangements you’ll need to make to ensure you have time to devote to your care.
It may not be an easy road, but you are never alone. As you progress along your journey, the need for multiple interventions may affect your recovery time. You may need to adjust your support team from time to time to ensure your needs are met.
Living with Prostate Cancer
Many men are experiencing a full life and living well with prostate cancer, even though life may be quite different from before. Recognize that your life may have changed because of your prostate cancer.
Many men find it helpful to their recovery and deeply rewarding to give support to others, just as they may have received support. Men have said that other survivors who were total strangers often provided valuable perspectives during their diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Staying connected with those who have been there, who are there, and who understand will help you live a full and balanced life. You can help others in the same way.
You Can Fight Back
You are now equipped with the information you need to take your first steps toward treatment and recovery. You can live with prostate cancer. Seek out other men who have been treated for this disease. They can provide a wealth of information and support as you travel on your own treatment path.
10 Tips to Help You through Recovery
1. Take an assessment of how your
treatment will affect your ability to
perform your job, care for your family,
and continue with your daily activities.
2. Involve your family and friends in your cancer treatment and recovery. Remember to take the time to find out how your family is doing. Your journey with cancer has an impact on your loved ones, also.
3. Communicate your feelings and concerns to your healthcare providers, family, and friends.
4. Make healthy lifestyle choices by consulting with your doctor or a nutritionist.
5. Get plenty of rest.
6. Exercise, as appropriate for your physical condition and with your physician’s approval.
7. Just as you seek medical attention for the physical aspects of your diagnosis, be sure to seek support for the other areas of your life affected by your diagnosis as well. By addressing all areas, you can improve your overall health, well-being, and quality of life.
8. Seek support as soon as you need it from your doctor, family, social worker, counselor, clergy, or other survivors.
9. Be aware that your sex life and lifestyle may be affected by your prostate cancer treatment. Possible side effects of prostate cancer treatment include bladder control problems (incontinence) and erectile dysfunction (impotence).
10. Make sure you understand whether your cancer is being removed completely or is being contained. Continue to monitor your status and markers.
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Giving back is another way of fighting back against prostate cancer. Consider volunteering your time offering other prostate cancer survivors the patience, strength, and endurance you received along the way. For more information on how you can get more involved, call 1-800-80-UsTOO or visit UsTOO.org.
Excerpted by the permission of Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education & Support Network from UsTOO.org.
This article was originally published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, September/October 2012.