Living with prostate cancer can take an enormous toll on your emotional wellbeing and it can be hard to remain positive.
People often talk about ‘fighting cancer’ and you may feel that everyone wants you to be strong and will try to help you keep up your morale. Yet the truth is that you are perhaps experiencing moments of doubt, mental and physical exhaustion, and fears about what the future holds for you and your loved ones.
This is natural and it is important to try to not give up and to find someone or somewhere to talk about how you feel. Your healthcare team are there to help you and there are many patient support organisations that could put you touch with someone in a similar situation.
‘Fighting’, ‘combating’ or ‘defeating’ are all words that may be used to describe how cancer is being tackled. Perhaps you are comfortable with this war-like talk but if you are not, then do not be afraid to say so. Do not feel guilty if you do not feel strong enough or are not willing to take up this fight if you feel it is being forced upon you. Take each day at a time and talk about how you feel at your own pace.
Hormones And Your Mood
Your hormones significantly contribute to your mood, so it is not surprising that taking a hormonal treatment may disrupt it. The treatment can change your mood and you can feel irritable, melancholy and find it difficult to sleep. If these disorders are mild, relaxation exercises, yoga and spa activities have shown encouraging results
One must be careful when changes of character are more sudden or deeper, as they may be warning signs of depression. Indifference to what used to please you, sadness, tears, repeated aggressiveness and impatience, sleeplessness or oversleeping, overeating, dark thoughts, low self-confidence and an inability to make decisions are all signs that advice is needed from your doctor.
Make Positive Lifestyle Changes
By participating in the Feel+ programme you are taking a positive step towards taking control of how prostate cancer and its treatment affect you.
Thinking positively may not be as easy as it sounds, but talking with others and asking for help when needed, as well as making small changes to your lifestyle can all add up to a healthier and happier you! Do not wait for things to feel better, try to ‘think positively’ and things will improve.
Regular exercises or sporting activities, such as jogging and walking, can help you feel more toned, flexible and fitter. They can also help lift your mood through the release of endorphins.
Eating a nutritionally balanced diet can also work wonders for your mental wellbeing. Drinking alcohol in moderation and stopping smoking are other important lifestyle changes that can substantially improve your heath and how you feel.
Remember to take time out occasionally to celebrate your achievements no matter how small they may be. Share your successes with others and tell them about the benefits you have obtained.
Involve Your Family And Friends
Recommended for patients with prostate cancer, this programme is also good for anyone aged over 60! Jan involves his wife in his three exercise sessions each week. "We carry out the exercises whilst we talk and as I have more experience with the programme, I play a little at being a teacher!" he confesses. Other patients involve a friend of the same age, or a friend made at a patients’ group.
Talking about the programme to other people is recommended as it encourages you to maintain the pace and allows you to share your efforts and progress. Some patients may have suffered from a degree of indifference from those around them about the disease. Talking about the programme is both a reminder that you are, or have been, ill and shows that you are not ‘letting yourself go’.