Posted 8/22/2010 10:07 AM (GMT -6)
Hi Judy, welcome and I'm sorry that this PCa is giving you such stress as I well remember my stress 14 months ago.
My sister, who had had cancer surgery a number of years ago said to me a few days before I was eviscerated, "in a couple of years this will all just be a blip in your past." I couldn't imagine it being a blip. I was in major panic overload. But, here I am, and the surgery as well as the pain, anguish and agony which followed the diagnosis and filled panic time to surgery is really just a blip on my backward radar. Oh sure, every 90 days I get a bit fussed for a few hours while waiting for my latest PSA, but with each test that becomes less.
I do, however, have one major side effect which is rarely discussed here but which, in all openness and honesty should be fessed up to and acknowledged: I'm alive! And, the cancer that's likely to kill me isn't PCa ---- it's the one I don't know about. The PCa one is being monitored and if it pops back up ( I had dinner two nights ago with a friend whose PSA suddenly went up 8 years after surgery) there are many treatments I can do to keep the beast at bay.
Now, as for getting on top of your stress, pain, anguish and agony here's some advice from the old fart department:
* Before treatment, which you'll be finished with come Thursday, the critical thing is pathology and the reason it is critical is that it is the key to making the treatment decision. The good news is you've got your pathology, the decision for surgery has been made (and it's an excellent decision, I'm sure) you've got the surgeon, the OR is booked, and, as my surgeon said to me, "the most dangerous part of surgery day for you is the trip to the hospital. Once I've got you in my OR you're safe." At 56 your husband will be even safer in the OR than I was. So, you can reasonably and realistically cross pathology, treatment decision, and surgery off your worry list. "Easy for you to say!" you're saying --- and you're right, it is easy for me to say. I've been there, done that, and frankly it was a piece of cake. I've had more stress having my teeth worked on than the surgery was. They've got drugs in the OR he's going to love. You've not been there, done that, yet. However, if you take a deep breath, and let reason take over from emotion (granted, not easy when you think there are monsters under the bed going to jump out and bite you) then you really can cross pathology, treatment decision, and surgery off the list.
* The next thing to worry about is recovery. I was able to minimze my recovery concerns by telling myself that every day across North America there were thousands of surgeries more miserable than mine --- new hips, new valves, bowel cancers, etc. --- and all those people were coping with recovery; I would too. And your husband will. Once he's rolled out of the OR and says 'hello' to you you'll both feel 1,000% better and each day will get better and better. So, I think you can in all good conscience cross recovery concerns off your list.
*So, we're pretty much left with incontinence and ED. Pretty much worst case is he dribbles when he sneezes and injects whoopie juice to get a woodie. Can you and he live with that? Is having him alive, laughing, and sneezing worth worst case? Yes, right? So, in all good conscience you can cross this off your list. Whatever changes there are in life style are ones you'll learn to live with --- and the operative word is 'live.'
What it boils down to, Judy, is you've got yourself worked up into a state (and I've been there so I have total sympathy for you) and that state is far, far more based on emotions grinding on emotions than it is on realistic, statistical, worries. Whatever issues M and you may have, need for radiation, or whatever, you'll deal with.
You ask how do you deal with the fear? You'll deal with it when you put it into perspective. And, when you do, you'll start to worry about the real risks --- the dangers of that drive to the hospital, for example. I don't ask you to minimize the risks. Just put them into perspective.
I'll be watching for a post from you at the end of the week.
Sheldon AKA Sleepless