Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Anxiety,Depression, Suicide and some of the view from my place.

with 2 comments

A penny for your thoughts

A penny for your thoughts

I have been thinking about writing about this subject for some time now but have hesitated in placing pen to paper for a number of reasons. I have searched everywhere for background material on these issues, and in almost all cases I have been succesful in turning up technical information only. While the different sites and the information they contained was invaluable, I felt there was an imbalance for what I personally needed.

Apart from technical stuff I was also seeking the human experience of cancer patients and their carers dealing with Anxiety and Depression. I was hoping to establish some comparisons and perhaps insights I could relate to when dealing with my own demons. Sadly I found  little of value available.Without going into great depth along technical lines regarding Anxiety, Depression and Suicide the following facts should be kept in mind.

1) Anxiety and Depression in cancer patients is 25% higher than in the healthy population.

2) Suicide rates in cancer patients are double those in the healthy population.

3) I could find no figures for anxiety,depression or suicide for carers of cancer patients.

Before I begin my own tale of some of the view from my place I would like to apologise to those that may think I indulge in self pity. What I write about next is combated by me with alternate ways to think that keep me on the best positive track I can manage. I am not vegetating feeling sorry for myself but remain as cheerful, active and optimistic as I can.

Advanced prostate cancer is what I have and since it came along I feel like I have lost control of my life. The road from my diagnosis till now seems like it has been all down hill health wise. Not from the cancer mind you but from the effects of the treatments I have had. The only effect the cancer gave me was in the beginning with urinary problems that led me to my GP in the first instance.

After diagnosis I began ADT (hormone therapy) and suffered (still do) all the side effects of this treatment. I underwent a TURP (re-bore) and suffered the known side effects of this procedure plus a bout of bacterial prostatitis that took months to clear up. I completed radiation therapy just prior to christmas and experienced the known side effects from this plus some bowel issues.

I would have liked to have continued an intimate relationship with my wife but that has disappeared along with my dangley bits. I have finally overcome incontinence for the moment after almost ten months of embarrassment. I would have liked to continue working for a bit longer except for the loss of mental capacity and the ability to focus on more than one task at a time. The fatigue and weakness would not have allowed me the ability to last a full working week in any case. However I am of pensionable age and am getting by OK. Chores and projects around the house now have to fit in with my health time table of manyana.

Dark thoughts come and go at strange times, sometimes when I am out walking sometimes when watching TV. Dark dreams steal inside my head while asleep and awaken me in the night. I try not to discuss these with my wife for fear of burdening her with more concern.

Knock knock knockin on heavens door

Knock knock knockin on heavens door

Muscle weakness leads to pain and stiffness that magnifies into more dark thoughts. Breathlessness accompanies exercise or exertion and sometimes for no reason at all. Coughing spasms erupt that began a few months ago and no cause was found by a CT scan of the lungs. Pain arrives during sleep either in my back, my hips or my legs and keeps company with the dark dreams and then mysteriously goes away.

My dark thoughts and dreams are really my fears. I fear my cancer will progress and the down hill slide continue. I fear I will become a burden on those I love and respect. I fear the helplessness and hopelessness of incapacitation. I fear the loss of my identity and independence as a person.

I deal with these fears that come as dark thoughts by letting them run their course through my head. I then deliberately run through my present position and remind myself of the following. These are only fears and thoughts, none of this has happened yet and I do not really know if they will. At the moment I am OK and dealing with this and things are manageable. There is absolutely nothing I can change about the past. This thing called cancer is what I have today, right here and now. S0 I choose to change the way I think about the fears right then and there by not letting them dominate and dictate how I am living today. The future will be what it will be in its own good time.

All that is written above is some of the view from my place. Unfortunately I can only guess at what dark dreams and fears my wife and carer must endure and how she managers to cope. It is probably about time someone, somewhere investigates these issues on behalf of the thousands of carers doing it tough out there.

Lee aka Popeye


2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Looking forward to seeing you soon Pop….Love you xxxooo


    20 March 2013 at 12:59 am

    • Well said Pop I find what you said on how you deal with those thoughts/dreams to be very comforting and I believe it’s important knowledge for everybody. What I mean is that fears are what they are, they are 2 dimensional & are created in our own mind, I for one have never been physically hurt by a fear. At the end of the day we all make decisions and you made/make the decision to not let them fears control you. That’s all it is a decision that NO these thoughts don’t hurt me. Credit to you, as you know awareness about mental health and changing our stigmas about people with depression is some thing that feel greatly for and you are right this needs to be studied more because depression is not a rare thing in fact all most everybody will suffer from it al least once in their life.
      Top stuff speak to you soon.

      Jesse Stan-Gall

      20 March 2013 at 11:57 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: