will have some bumps along the way. Between diagnosis, treatment, finances and changes in relationships, there’s a lot that might keep you up at night. And if worries pile up, it’s normal to feel stressed or anxious.
Stress and advanced
It’s important to know that you’re not alone in your journey. Others have been right where you are, and many men are able to extend and maintain a quality of life for prolonged periods. Although everyone’s exact path is different, the key is to take it one day at a time and make looking after yourself a priority.
Counselling, support and
activities to reduce stress
On a day-to-day basis, there are several
things you can do to be more at ease.
Showing up to a doctor appointment is essential but it’s only one part of the visit. While you’re there, it’s important to tell your doctor or care team what’s really going on with you. They need your honest thoughts, to give you the best care and keep watch over your progress. Your honesty can help them suggest good coping strategies or even prescribe a useful medication.
Talk to your
doctor or care team
Talk to your nurse, doctor or someone else in your care team. They can help you understand your diagnosis, treatment and side effects, listen to your concerns, and put you in touch with other people who can help.
At a time when you have so much on your shoulders, someone who’ll listen without judgment is critical. Counsellors are trained on how to listen well and give you space to express yourself. They even help you find your own ways to deal with feelings and make your own decisions.
Many hospitals have counsellors or psychologists who specialise in helping people with cancer - ask your doctor or care team at the hospital if this is available or if they know of services in the community you can access at low or no cost to you. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to a counsellor, or you can seek out a private counsellor yourself.
To find a counsellor near you, visit the Irish Cancer Society.
Talking to other men with prostate cancer can be a helpful way to connect with people who understand what you’re going through. Speak to your doctor for recommendations on any good local groups, or check online for ones that interest you.
Some men find that talking with a spiritual leader or counsellor can be useful during this time. It may also help to visit places that make you feel calm, at peace and grounded, like a lake or somewhere out in nature.
Keep a journal
When you start to have negative or worrying thoughts, write them down. This will get them out of your head, so you can focus on positive thoughts instead. It may help to share your journal with a counsellor, so they can help you work through it.
Try meditation and yoga
Sitting in a quiet room can help you notice loud, negative thoughts. You might hear yourself thinking, “I’ll never get through this” or “I’m not really a man”. Meditating and thinking about your strengths and what makes you happy can turn these thoughts around. Yoga and taking gentle stretching breaks can loosen you up too.
Regular exercise and eating nutritious food can boost your mood and give you energy. That positive energy can reduce your stress and put you at ease.
Reduce or cut down on
smoking, alcohol and caffeine
Smoking, alcohol and too much caffeine can be harmful. Cutting back or stopping these completely is recommended.
Share with your partner,
family and friends
Being open with people you trust can lighten the load on your shoulders. Don’t be ashamed or afraid to talk through what’s bothering you. Your support system wants to help you get through it. They just need the opportunity to be there for you.